Wales Election 2016

Abolish care fees to save families thousands, says Plaid

Elin Jones
Image caption Elin Jones says Plaid's plans are about being fair to people who have worked all their lives and paid their taxes

Scrapping care fees for the elderly and dementia sufferers would save families thousands of pounds each year, Plaid Cymru has said.

The party wants to scrap both fees over a 10-year period, at a cost of £226m.

Plaid health spokeswoman Elin Jones said those with relatives in residential care for dementia could save up to £30,000 a year.

Other parties have committed to raising the amount people can keep before being charged for social care.

Ms Jones said Plaid Cymru would honour the "social contract with people who have worked throughout their lives, paid their taxes, and who now need care".

"Over a period of ten years we will make all social care in Wales free, starting with domiciliary care that takes place at home, then making it free for those with dementia who are in residential homes and then, finally abolishing all charges for everybody over 65," she said.

"Currently if you pay for care at home through the local council, it costs up to £60 per week, or £3,120 per year. Under Plaid Cymru plans, that would now be free, benefitting around 44,000 in Wales.

"Making residential care free for older people with a dementia diagnosis will mean that instead of paying up to £30,000 per year in care costs, your house and savings would be protected, meaning peace of mind for you and your family.

"This will help the approximately 13,000 people in Wales living with dementia who would be guaranteed free care in the second phase of our plans."

Image caption Darren Millar says the money people have to spend on care is a scandal

The Conservatives, also campaigning on commitments to older people on Wednesday, would protect £100,000 of assets for those in residential care.

The current threshold is £24,000.

Party health spokesman Darren Millar said: "Too many older people see a life's hard work spent on care costs.

"It's deeply unfair, and a scandal that's been ignored by the Welsh Labour Government for far too long.

"A Welsh Conservative Government would prioritise support for those entering residential care.

"We'd protect capital assets of up to £100,000 - quadrupling the current threshold - and we'd allow people to plan for their future with certainty as to their anticipated care costs, setting a maximum weekly cap of £400 for residential and nursing care."

Labour also wants to lift the threshold, to £50,000, while the Liberal Democrats' say they would raise it, but have not yet announced the amount they would increase it to.

UKIP say they will maintain the £60 per week cap on care costs for people in their own homes.

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