Labour pledges to fix care system at ‘risk of collapse’

The Labour Party has pledged to provide free personal care for over 65s, with the ambition to extend this to all working-age adults, if it gets into power.

Publishing its manifesto, the party said it would build a National Care Service that would provide community-based, person-centred support, underpinned by ethical care and independent living.

It said: ‘Social care funding cuts have left 1.5 million older people without the care they need. Almost £8bn has been lost from social care budgets since 2010. This is having a profound impact on unpaid carers in this country, with 2.6 million carers quitting their jobs to provide care to family members. The current care system is at risk of collapse.’

Labour said it would ensure people would not face care costs of more than £100,000, with a lifetime cap on personal contributions.

The party said it would more than double the number of people receiving publicly funded care packages, which would allow for people with autism or learning disabilities to access more support.

‘Contracts for providing care will not be awarded to organisations that do not pay their fair share of taxes and do not meet our high standards of quality care,’ it said. ‘Our focus will be on the ethical delivery of care that ensures growing public sector provision and providers who meet standards of transparency, compliance and profit capping.’

It said it would end 15-minute care visits and provide care workers with paid travel time, access to training and an option to choose regular hours. It would also increase the Carer’s Allowance for unpaid full-time carers.

The 107-page manifesto, It’s time for real change, said a Labour government would develop a model of joined-up community care, enabling people to live longer lives in better health in their own homes.

Launching the document in Birmingham, Jeremy Corbyn also said a real living wage of at least £10 per hour would be introduced.

Think tank The Nuffield Trust said the manifesto left many questions unanswered.

It said: ‘Reform of social care for all working-age adults, so often overlooked, needs to be an urgent priority not a vague ambition. We need more detail on what will and won’t be covered under free personal care for the elderly.

‘A cap on lifetime care costs offers some certainty, but this depends on where it is set. At £100,000 it would not protect a large majority of people whose needs are more modest but who may still face substantial costs.’

Yesterday, the Liberal Democrats published its manifesto.

The general election takes place on Thursday 12 December.