Lead councillors from over half of England's local authorities have condemned the government's free personal care
plans in an open letter to The Times that dubbed the proposals 'unclear and unfunded'.
They called for an independent review of the plans in the Personal Care at Home Bill before the government proceeded any further. The bill has cleared the House of Commons and will have its committee stage in the Lords on 22 February, where the legislation will be scrutinised in England.
The letter was signed by councillors from 77 English authorities. With one exception, they all have direct responsibility for adult social care and they represent all three political parties and every region of the country.
It comes days after prime minister Gordon Brown championed the plan to introduce free personal care at home for people with high needs, in a key pre-election speech.
The letter said there were "major doubts" over how the plan would be funded, citing an Association of Directors of Adult Social Services survey which put the cost to councils at £580m, over half the £250m estimated by the government
Source: Community Care
I fully support the idea of free personal care in principle. However I cannot see how it can be afforded at a time when local Councils are having to make major cuts in so many services,unless of course the definition of "high needs" is to be so tight that the vast majority of people in need are excluded altogether.