Three main parties reveal their plans for carers and dementia sufferers in battle for Number 10

With the General Election fast approaching, the Alzheimer’s Society has called on the three main political parties to include the following three commitments in their general election manifestos: 

  1. To develop a new system for social care that delivers good care at a fair price;
  2. Make dementia research a higher priority;
  3. Keep Attendance Allowance—a benefit people with dementia rely on.

The three main parties have now published their manifestos, and they have made a number of pledges in these key areas.

The Labour Party manifesto pledges to create a National Care Service through a staged reform process. This would involve:

  • The introduction of free personal care in the home for those with the highest care needs from 2011.
  • A cap on the costs of care charges in a residential care home after two years from 2014.
  • The establishment of a Commission to reach consensus on financing the system; their recommendations will be put to the public at the general election in 2015. 
  • The establishment of a comprehensive National Care Service, free at the point of use, for all adults with an eligible care need after 2015.

Attendance Allowance was not included in the Labour Party manifesto. However, the Labour government’s recently published White Paper, Building the National Care Service, ruled out changes to Attendance   Allowance in the next parliament.

Dementia research was also not included in the labour Party manifesto. However, there is a commitment to ring-fence the science budget in the next  government spending review.

The Conservative Party manifesto pledges to:

  • Introduce a voluntary one-off insurance premium, at a suggested cost of £8,000, to cover the costs of care in a care home.
  • Design a system to allow people to top up this insurance premium—also voluntary— to cover the costs of people receiving care in their own home.
  • Support people to live  independently at home and have access to the personal care they need.
  • Protect Attendance Allowance.
  • A commitment to give  dementia research—including Alzheimer’s disease—greater priority within NHS and Medical Research Council funding.

The Liberal Democrats Party manifesto pledges to:

  • Not implement the free Care at Home Act,  targeted at people with the highest care needs, but instead use the money intended for this scheme to provide respite care for 1 million carers.
  • Establishment of a Commission with cross party-political support to look into the long term future of social care. This would be based on the principles of affordability, fairness and sustainability.
  • Attendance Allowance was not included in the manifesto. However the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Work and Pensions said in the House of Commons on 8th December 2009 that Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance have a ‘long-term future’.
  • Prioritise dementia research in the health research and development budget.

If you would like to read the three main parties’ manifestos, you can find them as follows:

The Labour Party:

The Conservative Party:

The Liberal Democrats Party:

Article adapted from the Alzheimer’s Society website:

 Photograph taken from the Sky News website: