Chapter 2.
social care

Welsh Labour’s Promise to Wales


  1. Create a stronger and better-paid workforce - this is the key to delivering better services.  We will ensure that care workers are paid the Real Living Wage during the next Senedd term.
  2. Work with our partners to upskill the workforce and build apprenticeships in care and recruit more Welsh speakers. We will create a Chief Social Care Officer for Wales to bring national leadership and greater esteem to the care profession.
  3. Continue to cap the costs of non-residential social care at the current £100 maximum per week. Welsh Labour will guarantee this will not rise over the lifetime of the next Senedd term. Most citizens will pay much less than this or nothing at all if they are on low incomes.
  4. Maintain the capital limit at £50,000. This is the most generous amount in the UK and means people in Wales can keep more of their own savings and capital before they pay for care.  
  5. Launch a National Social Care Framework to set fair commissioning, fair workforce conditions, and a more balanced care market between public, voluntary, and private providers. We will legislate to strengthen partnerships to deliver better integrated care and health, paying attention to the responses to our White Paper on Rebalancing Care and Support. The Framework will deepen collaboration with the voluntary sector and identify priorities for post-Covid Wales.
  6. Pursue a sustainable UK solution so that care is free for all at the point of need. If the Conservative UK Government breaks its promise again and fails to bring forward a fully funded scheme within the current UK parliament, we will consult on a potential Wales-only solution to meet our long-term care needs. 
  7. Strengthen support for carers through a £1m Covid hardship fund in 2021 and fund a new £3m short-break respite scheme to help carers in their vital activities. 
  1. Invest £40m into the integrated care of older people with complex needs, especially dementia care, developing more than 50 local community hubs to co-locate frontline health and social care and other services. We will support innovative housing development to meet care needs, such as Extra Care housing. We will fund in every local authority a dedicated post to champion work to make Wales an age friendly nation.  
  2. Work with the Disability Equality Forum to improve the interface between continuing health care and Direct Payments.   
  3. Roll out baby bundles for new parents to more families. We will also fund childcare for more families where parents are in education and training. We will continue to support our flagship Flying Start programmes for children in some of our most deprived communities.
  4. Help prevent families breaking up by funding advocacy services for parents whose children are at risk of coming into care. And we will invest £20m to provide additional specialist support for children with complex needs who may be on the edge of care. We will explore opportunities for radical reform of current services for children looked after and care leavers. We will continue to support and uphold the rights of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people.
  5. Eliminate private profit from the care of looked after children during the next Senedd term. We will help fund regional residential services to bring children with complex needs back home from care outside of Wales. We will continue to support our national Fostering Wales scheme. We will strengthen public bodies in their role as ‘corporate parent’ to ensure children looked after away from home get the best care possible. 

Our care system has been battered and bruised by the pandemic. Just like the NHS, it has highlighted the incredible courage and dedication of the huge and diverse workforce in both the public and private sector. The demands on our care services are unrelenting. There is much work to be done to protect, re-build and develop our care services so they continue to be effective beyond the pandemic.

We have learned much from the last year, which we will use to transform our existing care services into a new flexible, responsive, and better integrated system to meet the challenges of an ageing society. Our care services will help people to enjoy meaningful and independent lives in their own homes for longer and where that is not possible, they will have a choice of dignified, compassionate, and positive care. 

We will continue to meet the needs of children, young people, and families when adversity threatens the ability of parents to cope and children to thrive. We will continue to support the social model of disability and will tackle the barriers to independent living for disabled children and adults, ensuring choice and engagement in the life opportunities to which we all aspire. Our care services must be developed by and with those people who use them.  

The care service we want for Wales is one where the workforce is the key to supporting our most vulnerable citizens – whether that’s at home or in a care home. We believe social care is an occupation that deserves the same recognition and reward that other key public service professions enjoy. 

Social care and health providers must work closely together and be equal partners in the design and delivery of services to meet the needs of their local area. Social care is not free at the point of need – unlike the NHS – but is means-tested (and the current Conservative UK Government shows no sign of changing that). The next Welsh Labour Government will help those who are least able to pay for the care they need.

What we did in government

  • Our combined spending on health and social care per person has grown faster in Wales since devolution than in England and Scotland, thanks to Welsh Labour.
  • We have delivered our flagship policy of free childcare for working parents of three and four-year olds - the most generous offer for working parents in the UK. Our investment in the development of 115 new or redeveloped childcare facilities has helped grow the childcare sector, creating quality jobs. 
  • We have promoted children’s rights in all our policies, and we changed the law to help make sure that physical punishment for children becomes a thing of the past. We have continued to invest in Flying Start for younger children while services in England have been cut.
  • We have raised the capital limit for people entering residential care – they can retain up to £50,000 of their wealth before having to pay towards their care. This is the most generous scheme in the UK. 
  • Welsh Labour has maintained a cap on charges for care services people get in their own homes at a maximum of £100. People on low incomes pay much less or nothing at all for their home support services. 
  • Our promise to build integrated health and social care centres in local communities across Wales has been delivered in Tonypandy, Aberaeron, Fishguard, Murton, Penclawdd, Ruthin, Mountain Ash and Pontypridd. Another 11 centres are at various stages of advanced planning. 
  • We provided a £150m Covid fighting fund to support social care providers across Wales and ensured free Personal Protective Equipment for care workers. We provided a £24m Third Sector Covid-19 Response Fund which helped protect charities and voluntary organisations financially through the crisis and helped promote more volunteering. 
  • Welsh Labour ensured a £500 special payment to almost 70,000 social care workers across Wales in 2020 and another £735 in 2021 to thank them for their dedication during the pandemic. 
  • We have provided more than 1,000 tablets to 584 care homes as part of our Digital Communities Wales programme. 
  • We value Wales’ army of unpaid carers - we’ve run a Carers’ Rights awareness campaign and launched a new National Carers Plan to get better services for carers. We fund three major charities for carers with more than £3m in grants and another £1m to support hardship claims. 
  • We funded a national befriending scheme Friend in Need for older people who are isolated or lonely. We launched our vision of a rights and age-friendly Wales in our Strategy for an Ageing Society, which promotes inter-generational respect and solidarity and help us all to age well.