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Welfare NPC calls on the Labour to launch costed plan for national care service

THE Labour Party needs to launch a fully costed plan for a new national care service, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) said today.

NPC deputy general secretary Dot Gibson told those gathered at the TUC London, East and South East Pensioners’ Network annual seminar to demand “a care system free at the point of delivery to all those in need.”

But she added: “There’s no point in continually exposing the crisis in care and simply reporting examples of the effects of this on individuals and their families as well as care workers.

“We have to promote a policy and fight for it. We can’t go on saying that we need this and we need that. We have to have a policy to fight for.”

She said that means-testing social care meant that “between 30,000 and 40,000 family homes are lost every year to pay for a place in a nursing home.”

Ms Gibson said that this had also created “a two-tier system,” with local authorities “cutting back on what they pay for the care of those people who haven’t got those kind of sums” needed to fund their own care.

She called for “a national care service with free domiciliary and residential care for all existing users, the ones who pay for themselves, and it should be free.”

The campaigner also demanded “the provision of services for the 1.2 million older people who are currently excluded from the system, a modernisation programme for residential homes and the end of private provision. We want nationalisation of that whole system.”

In addition, Ms Gibson called for “improved terms and conditions and training of care staff and improved regulation and monitoring.”

She said the total cost would be “£12bn a year on top of what is already paid through local authorities and government.”

Pointing to similar systems in Germany and Sweden, Ms Gibson asked: “Is there any reason why we can't have this kind of system in this country?”

She said the NPC was “calling on the Labour Party to actually put forward a policy which is costed and is not afraid to say that the whole of society will pay for social care in the same way that we pay for the National Health Service.”

She added: “They weren't afraid in 1945 and ever since then we’ve had that National Health Service.”

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