Magazine article Public Finance

Free Care Bill at Risk as Parliament Dissolves

Magazine article Public Finance

Free Care Bill at Risk as Parliament Dissolves

Article excerpt

Flagship government plans to provide free personal care for those with the greatest need are in doubt following a pre-election deal with the Opposition.

As Public Finance went to press, the Personal Care at Home Bill was likely to be passed in the 'wash-up' process, where outstanding legislation is rushed on to the statute book between an election being called and Parliament being dissolved. This requires support from both sides of the Commons.

However, an amendment by the House of Lords - which the Opposition insisted on being incorporated in the Bill - requires further votes in both houses at a later date, which would be after the election.

With the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats both opposed to the Bill, this means it is likely that Labour would have to win an overall majority after the election for the plans to be implemented.

The Bill had faced stern opposition in the Lords amid claims that it was not properly financed.

The Department of Health estimated that it would cost £670m to provide free home care to the 400,000 people most in need, and had set aside £420 m of its own budget. …

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