HC Deb 17 September 2004 vol 424 cc1966-7W
Mr. Keith Bradley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the projected cost is of providing free personal care for all elderly people for(a) 2004–05 and (b) each of the following 10 years. [189461]

Dr. Ladyman

The Government have estimated that the cost of introducing free personal care for everyone in England would be same £1.5 billion at 2003–04 prices. None of this extra expenditure would increase choice or services available to older people. The Government have not made estimates for the next 10 years. On 8 September, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, published projections to 2051 of the future costs of long-term care for older people in the United Kingdom in the report: "Future demand for long-term care in the UK: A summary of projections of long term care finance for older people".

The report concluded that long-term care spending in the United Kingdom would need to increase by about 315 per cent., in real terms between 2000 and 2051, to meet demographic pressures and allow for real rises in care costs, if dependency rates, patterns of care and funding arrangements remained unchanged. In terms of personal care, the researchers estimated that if free personal care had been introduced across the whole of the UK in 2000, public spending on long-term care would have risen immediately from £8.8 billion to £10.3 billion, and projected public spending would reach £42.6 billion or more by 2051, compared with £35.4 billion if current funding arrangements were maintained.