Magazine article Public Finance

Lewis Backs Expansion of Personal Care Budgets

Magazine article Public Finance

Lewis Backs Expansion of Personal Care Budgets

Article excerpt

Elderly people and their carers should be given the flexibility to use personal social care budgets to fund gardening or cleaning services, care minister Ivan Lewis has urged.

Lewis was speaking to a June 4 Local Government Association conference on the future of adult social care as the government starts consultation on how care will be organised - and funded - in future. 'It isn't just about a E6bn black hole over the next 20 years, it's about social justice,' he said.

Lewis signalled an expansion of personal budgets, which service users can use to choose and fund their own care packages. The budgets were 'not about choosing from an existing menu' of services but about 'people being able to think innovatively and imaginatively' about the support they needed.

He said some social care recipients had been told they could not use the budgets for services such as gardening or cleaning. ? don't accept that,' he said, adding that for some families, help with tasks such as gardening would give a family member the time to provide personal care for an elderly relative.

For some people, access to their own budget would follow the Direct Payments model, but others would still have an earmarked personal budget, even if buying services was handled for them by their local authority. …

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