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‘Labour’s social care funding inaction causing concern' - Kirsty Williams

April 16, 2013 12:09 PM

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has warned the Welsh Labour Government that it must act now to reform social care funding before it is too late.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are holding a debate this week in the Assembly where they will call on the Welsh Labour Government to implement the proposals put forward in the Dilnot Commission, in order for Wales to have a sustainable and affordable system for paying for care in Wales.

According to the Dilnot Commission, one in ten families will be hit with catastrophic care costs of £100,000 or more in their lifetime. Wales has an ageing population with over 700,000 people over the age of 60 and a higher proportion of older people than the rest of the UK. In the UK, the Coalition Government set up the Dilnot Commission to look into the future of funding of care and support in England and are working to implement the broad principles of the Commission.

Kirsty Williams AM commented:

"The need to secure a sustainable system for paying for care in Wales has never been more urgent.

"For too long the funding system for long-term care in the UK has been inadequate, unfair and unsustainable. The UK Coalition Government has recognised this and are making radical changes to the system in England, yet here in Wales, we have a Welsh Labour Government who seem too timid to act. We need action from this Government, not just statements that constantly kick the issue into the long grass.

"Wales needs a fair and sustainable system where people no longer live in fear of losing nearly everything they own to pay for their care; the status quo causes huge stress and worry and puts a heavy burden on families and carers.

"In England, Labour promised to address this issue and had thirteen years to do so. Yet, in reality they did next to nothing. Three years into the Coalition's term and already they have accepted the principles of Dilnot and have outlined how these will be implemented and paid for. The Coalition's announcement will, for the first time, ensure financial protection for people with modest wealth, while ensuring that the poorest continue to have all or the majority of their costs paid.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats recognise that this is a complex and costly subject, yet that isn't a reason for a government not to act. Our debate is designed to move the discussion forward in Wales. It is a worrying fact that one in three people believe that 'care is free like the NHS'[1]. We need to change this, so that people plan for social care costs in the same way as they plan for a pension. To do this, all parties must work together to find a sustainable solution to reform social care funding in Wales."



[1] According to consumer research by the Association of British Insurers, one in three people believe that 'care is free like the NHS' and that there is no point in planning for future long term care costs