All the details as Lib Dems launch 2024 manifesto ahead of General Election

The Liberal Democrats have beaten Labour and the Conservatives to the punch, becoming the first of the trio to launch its manifesto ahead of the upcoming 2024 General Election.

The manifesto, titled ‘For a Fair Deal’, went live on the party’s website at 11:30am today (Monday, 10 June 2024), while details were shared by national press in the hours before.

Unsurprisingly, the Lib Dems have made health and social care the focal point of their campaign, with party leader Ed Davey telling Sky News: “This is the healthcare election for the Liberal Democrats.

“We’ve been listening to people around the country, and top of their concerns in so many areas is the health service.

“So we have absolutely made the NHS and care at the heart of our manifesto.”

Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats
Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats

On a YouTube announcement of the manifesto’s launch, Davey added: “There is no doubt that the NHS and care are in crisis.

“We are putting forward a bold, ambitious and fully-costed plan to tackle the care crisis once and for all.”

This should come as no surprise to those who have been paying attention to the messaging coming out of the Liberal Democrat Party over the past few months.

“A fair deal where everyone can get the high-quality healthcare they need, when they need it and where they need it.”

Liberal democrat manifesto, 2024

Deputy leader and party spokesperson for health, wellbeing and social care, Daisy Cooper, confirmed to Caring Times editor Sam Lewis several months ago that the Lib Dems would provide a fully-costed manifesto, which would include free personal care at home for all, as well as a more interdependent health and care system.

She added that while free personal care would cost around £5 billion, it would also reduce NHS costs by £3 billion by reducing pressures such as bed-blocking and slow discharge times.

Daisy Cooper
Daisy Cooper, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats

Now, the party has backed up its promises from the past year, revealing the details of its manifesto, including a £9-billion-a-year health and social care spend, the feasibility of which some are questioning.

Its top three priorities are to create a country where:

  • “Everyone can afford a decent home somewhere safe and clean – with a comfortable retirement when the time comes”;
  • “Every child can go to a good school and have real opportunities to fulfil their potential”; and
  • “Everyone can get the high-quality healthcare they need, when they need it and where they need it”.

What are the Lib Dems saying on care?

Find below everything the party’s manifesto ‘For a Fair Deal’ says on social care:

Everyone deserves high-quality care when they need it. Liberal Democrats want everyone to be able to live independently and with dignity, and receive any care they need in their own home wherever possible.

Carers – paid and unpaid, young and old – do a remarkable and important job. They deserve far more support, but are too often forgotten and ignored.

But social care services in this country are in crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people are waiting for care. Many are stranded in hospital beds because the care isn’t in place for them to leave, putting even more strain on the NHS.

The Conservatives promised to “fix” the crisis in our social care system, that no one would have to sell their house to pay for personal care costs, and that they would not raise taxes to do it. They have broken all these promises.

We will empower care users, and support care workers and the millions of unpaid carers looking after loved ones. We will forge a new consensus on funding to ensure that no one has to sell their home to pay for their personal care. We will invest to save, recognising that providing care reduces demand on more expensive NHS services.

We will:

  • Introduce free personal care based on the model introduced by the Liberal Democrats in government in Scotland in 2002, so that provision is based on need, not ability to pay.
  • Create a social care workforce plan, establish a Royal College of Care Workers to improve recognition and career progression, and introduce a higher Carer’s Minimum Wage.
  • Establish a cross-party commission to forge a long-term agreement on sustainable funding for social care.
  • Give unpaid carers a fair deal so they get the support they so desperately need, including paid carer’s leave and a statutory guarantee of regular respite breaks.
  • Develop a digital strategy to enable care users to live tech-enabled lives.

In addition, we will:

  • Provide truly personalised care that empowers individuals by:
    • Trialling personal health and social care budgets so that individuals are in control of what care they receive.
    • Rolling out digital platforms for care users to develop networks, relationships and opportunities, connecting with care workers, friends and family, voluntary groups and more.
    • Improving communication standards so carers can support care users to co-produce and monitor care plans.
    • Developing a digital strategy for tech-enabled lives.
    • Establishing an Independent Living Taskforce to help people live independently in their own homes, as set out in chapter 10.
  • End the postcode lottery of service provision and provide national, high-quality care for everyone who needs it by:
    • Providing predictable, consistent funding for free personal care.
    • Increasing transparency and accountability as to how money is spent through local authorities.
    • Creating a National Care Agency to set national minimum standards of care.
    • Enabling individuals to transfer their care package so they don’t feel stuck in their current locality due to their care needs.
  • Give unpaid carers a fair deal by:
    • Increasing Carer’s Allowance and expanding eligibility for it, as set out in chapter 10.
    • Introducing a statutory guarantee of regular respite breaks for unpaid carers.
    • Introducing paid carer’s leave, building on the entitlement to unpaid leave secured by the Liberal Democrats.
    • Making caring a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 and requiring employers to make reasonable adjustments to enable employees with caring responsibilities to provide that care.
    • Introducing a Young Carers Pupil Premium as part of an ‘Education Guarantee’ for young carers.
  • Make careers in social care more attractive and value experienced staff to improve retention by:
    • Creating a new Carer’s Minimum Wage, boosting the minimum wage for care workers by £2 an hour, as a starting point for improved pay across the sector.
    • Creating clear career pathways, linked to recommended pay scales, which put an end to the undervaluing of skills in the sector.
    • Creating a career ladder to allow flexibility to work across the NHS and social care, allowing staff to gain experience in both.
    • Creating a Royal College of Care Workers to represent this skilled workforce.
    • Expanding the NHS Digital Staff Passport to include the care sector.
  • Recruit more staff to the sector with a social care workforce plan, akin to the NHS England workforce plan, that includes ethical international recruitment.
  • Support people to age well by:
    • Establishing a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing.
    • Rolling out active ageing programmes and trips and falls assessments for everyone over the age of 75 to prevent falls, avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and promote healthy ageing.
    • Opening fracture liaison services so that osteoporosis patients can get the treatment they need and prevent long-term issues and costs.
    • Support children in kinship care and their family carers by:
    • Introducing a statutory definition of kinship care.
    • Building on the existing pilot to develop a weekly allowance for all kinship carers.
  • Make care experience a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 to strengthen the rights of people who are in or have been in care.
  • Refresh the national strategy for loneliness collaboratively with service providers and people who have lived experience of loneliness, to be overseen by a dedicated Minister for Tackling Loneliness

Read Caring Times‘ interview with Lib Dem deputy leader Daisy Cooper here.

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