Labour breaks promise to care home residents funding

A high profile group of organisations have written to Care Minister Ivan Lewis after the Department of Health reneged on its promise to consult on increasing the Personal Expenses Allowance (PEA) for more than 250,000 care home residents.

The organisations, which include Age Concern England, the Local Government Association and MENCAP, have also criticised the Department’s decision to raise the allowance paid to care home residents by a mere 70p.

The PEA is all that state-funded care home residents are allowed to keep for spending on day-to-day items such as newspapers and toiletries. Under regulations recently approved by Parliament, it has been uprated by just 70p to £21.15 per week.

This has also provoked anger among MPs. Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg MP has led Parliamentary opposition by signing a Commons motion ‘praying against’ the regulations introducing the increase, alongside a number of Front Bench colleagues.

Following a concerted campaign over the last year to highlight the inadequacy of the PEA, the Department of Health pledged to consult on increases to the payment. However, this promise has not been kept, prompting the organisations to take the step of joining together to write a strongly-worded letter to Ivan Lewis. In the letter, they call on him to honour the Department’s pledge to consult and announce an acceptable level for the PEA in this year’s Pre-Budget Report.

The organisations who signed the letter are Age Concern England, Counsel and Care, Help the Aged, the Local Government Association, MENCAP, National Association of Financial Assessment Officers, NHFA Care Fees Advice and the Residents and Relatives Association.2

The letter states:

“From our discussions with older people, we know this is an issue they are deeply concerned about. We therefore hope you will take the opportunity provided by the forthcoming public consultation on social care to seek the views of older people about this. We would then hope the Government could be in a position to announce an acceptable level for the PEA by the time of the Pre-Budget Report.”

Signed by:
* Gordon Lishman OBE, Director General , Age Concern England
* Paul Cann, Director of Policy and External Relations, Help the Aged
* Dame Jo Williams DBE, Chief Executive, MENCAP
* Philip Spiers, Managing Director, NHFA Care Fees Advice
* Stephen Burke, Chief Executive, Counsel and Care
* Anne McDonald, Programme Director Community Wellbeing, Local Government Association
* Gillian Dalley, Chief Executive, Relatives and Residents Association
* The National Association of Financial Assessment Officers

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