Nuffield Trust response to Liberal Democrat free personal care pledge

Press release

Published: 03/06/2024

Responding to social care proposals from the Liberal Democrats, Nuffield Trust fellow Camille Oung said:

“The Liberal Democrats are right to put the desperate need to improve social care as a key part of their election proposals. Free personal care in England could help more people to access some state-funded care, but the costing attached to both this and increasing the pay of care workers looks to be inadequate. All parties should see comprehensive reform of care as a priority but this needs to be built on credible and sustainable funding rather than further tinkering at the edges.

“Free personal care – such as washing or dressing – is only a small subset of what social care can offer, and it risks reducing the flexibility to tailor care around the needs of individuals, including working age disabled adults. Without adequate funding stretched local authorities would struggle to deal with an increase in demand for personal care, as was seen in the early years of implementation in Scotland. We want to see a social care system that enables people to make choices to live their lives, and it’s unlikely this will be achieved by defining a narrow package of care that appears only focused on older people.

“It is welcome that the Liberal Democrats would seek to address care worker pay, which for too long has been uncompetitive with other sectors, but this should form part of a wider long term workforce reform including career progression and recognition that makes sure social care is a valued and attractive sector to work in.”

Notes to editors

The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate

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