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Labour controlled Durham County Council is planning to close seven of its 12 care homes. It says the reason is that more people are choosing to stay at home and are avodiing residential care. Some of the Council's care home are only operating at 50% capacity. So the closure sounds eminently sensible. But can you imagine all the Labour spin about "wicked Tories leave the old to die" if a Conservative Council took the same decision?

Meanwhile the Labour Party are seeking to boost their credentials as the party for the elderly with the Personal Care at Home Bill. It offers "free" personal care – that it would be paid for by a hike in Council Tax. The Local Government Association estimate it would cost double the £670 million estimated by the Department of Health and would mean £50 on an average Council Tax bill.

Writing in The Times, the Labour peer, Lord Lipsey says:

Fortunately there is no chance of the policy coming into force before a new government takes office, but it is wholly wrong to manipulate the hopes and fears of the elderly by having a political battle about their care.

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