Government Minister endorses Welsh Lib Dem solutions on social care

2009 Tachwedd 18 4:48 PM

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Minister, Peter Black, has welcomed the endorsement of the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas for his party's policies on helping people pay for social care and is now asking the government to back the ideas.

Speaking in yesterdays National Assembly debate on the Social Care Green Paper, the Deputy Minister praised the Welsh Liberal Democrats admitting that the proposals passed at their autumn conference in Wrexham would "make a start on addressing some of the problems" and "make it easier for people to fund adaptations to their homes and see a gradual increase in the numbers entitled to local authority support."

The policies referred to by the Minister are the commitments by the Welsh Liberal Democrats to establish and fund a Welsh Home Improvement Lending Agency to provide equity loans to enable home owners to access money to carry out adaptations and repairs to their homes, as well as the commitment to gradually increase above the rate of inflation the threshold at which care home residents are excluded from local authority support.

Peter Black said: "If the Deputy Minister agrees with our policies, then she should enact them. If the government want any more, we can provide them with a copy of our manifesto." "It is refreshing to see the Deputy Minister put party politics aside and accept that our ideas would have a positive effect on the way that people are charged for care in Wales. But there is no point in noting that we have good ideas, if they remain only as ideas."

"Giving people the ability to release some of the equity from their homes would not cost the government a huge amount of money to set up and would be self funding through the use of private sector lenders. Other ideas will make better use of resources and streamline continuing care decisions so that people get the health care they need more quickly."

"These ideas are not a complete solution to the cost of caring for the elderly but they will make life easier for many and improve existing processes."

ENDS

The quote from the Minister is below: "I know that, to give you credit, the Welsh Liberal Democrat proposals passed at your conference in Wrexham last month would make a start on addressing some of the problems. Your proposals would make it easier for people to fund adaptations to their homes and see a gradual increase in the numbers entitled to local authority support." The policy passed at the Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference in October proposed that: 1. establish and fund a Welsh Home Improvement Lending Agency with charitable status to facilitate equity release loans in conjunction with care and repair agencies to enable home owners to access capital to carry out adaptations and repairs to their home; 2. gradually increase the capital threshold above which care home residents are excluded from local authority support over and above the rate of inflation and reduce the 'tariff' on capital to reflect only the income that can be earned by putting it on deposit; 3. pilot and introduce not-for-profit nursing homes modelled on extra care in which nursing care packages can be pooled so as to employ nurses to care for residents; 4. tighten up the definitions of nursing care and personal care so that people are clear about what they are entitled to; 5. reduce the cost of personal care for those in receipt of nursing care by sharing resources and better management; 6. set up a tribunal to decide disputes between Local Health Boards and Councils over continuing care.

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