"My Government will introduce a Bill to enable the wider provision of free personal care to those in highest care need." With these words, the Queen today effectively confirmed that the Governments plans to extend care for the elderly are at the heart of the final legislative programme before the general election.
The Personal Care at Home Bill, outlined in the Queen's Speech, would guarantee free personal care at home for up to 280,000 elderly and disabled people with the highest needs. A further 130,000 who need home care will also benefit for the first time from other measures, including adaptations to their homes, in order to extend traditional home life for as long as possible. Officials estimate that around 400,000 people will benefit from the measures in the Bill, which will cost £670 million a year to implement.
Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: "We know that people want to stay independent by living in their own homes for as long as possible. This Bill will help families by offering free personal care at home for those with the highest needs, regardless of their means. Around 400,000 people - including those with serious dementia or Parkinson's disease - will benefit. And it is a first step towards the National Care Service, which will mean a simple, fair and affordable care system for everyone."