Assembly votes for free personal care for elderly in 2008-9..

This is an interesting one for several reasons, one of which I hinted at previously. The Assembly has voted, by one vote, in favour of an Alliance party amendment to a SDLP motion which called for free personal care for the elderly to be provided for in the 2008-2009 budget and onwards. But, and it’s a big but, only after the Alliance party demanded a recorded vote – the deputy speaker, the UUP’s David McClarty, had initially ruled that the amendment was defeated and the Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey is now to review the cost of implementing the measure.. in 2010.. The BBC report says

However, Stormont sources have said the tight timetable was not binding on the executive.

Important Update observer mentioned this last night, and the Official Report confirms it, I blame the BBC report.. but the UUP amendment was the one which was agreed. See below.The agreed motion (as amended) reads

That this Assembly calls for free personal care for the elderly, which was agreed in principle in the last Assembly, to be addressed as a new priority within the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review, and provided for in the 2008-2009 Budget onwards.



The actual agreed motion, with the UUP amendment, was as follows

That this Assembly accepts the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Long-Term Care of the Elderly; supports in principle the introduction of free personal care; calls on the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to report on the fiscal, workforce and administrative preparations required to implement the policy; and asks the Executive to consider the costs and method of delivery in the context of the Comprehensive Spending Review and in light of the other budgetary pressures facing the Executive.