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Councils warn of costs of free care pledge

Government plans to provide free home care under the Personal Care At Home Bill could cost local authorities more than £20m.

According to The Times, local authorities have raised concerns over the funding of the Government’s free care pledge, which will offer 400,000 people free personal care at home for those with the highest needs.

Kent County Council claims free care would cost it between £9m and £22m a year, while other areas with large numbers of residents who currently pay for care, but who will want to take up the free care on offer, may be forced to make cuts, according to the report.

In a letter sent to The Times, Bupa Care Services managing director Mark Ellerby said the costs of personal care plans are unrealistic, and the cost to local authorities would amount to £580m per annum as opposed to the £250m assumed in the proposals.

The main benefits of the Bill, outlined in the Queen’s Speech in November last year, would be the guarantee of free personal care for 280,000 people with critical needs, such as serious dementia or Parkinson’s disease.

The Bill will help a further 130,000 people who need adaptations to their homes, and will continue paying the 166,000 people who currently get free care from future charges.

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