All elderly people in England who need help with dressing, washing and preparing meals will get free personal care in their homes under Labour, John McDonnell will announce on Monday.
The shadow Chancellor will set out plans for a National Care Service to ensure that all people are guaranteed “dignity in retirement”.
Labour’s move is designed to steal a march on the Conservatives who have repeatedly delayed producing their plans for social care reform.
The issue became a key flashpoint in the 2017 general election campaign.
The party said the move, which mirrors the system in Scotland, would cost around £6bn a year, but argues that the expense would be offset by reducing pressure on the National Health Service.
It said the policy would more than double the number of people receiving state-funded support and cut the numbers facing “catastrophic costs” to pay for social care.
The plans would also sweep away the distinction between health and care needs, which unfairly affects people with dementia, Labour said.
Mr McDonnell will also commit the party to tackling underfunding of social care and promise to help local councils to provide services for local people rather than outsourcing them to private providers.
John McDonnell has pledged to pour billions of pounds into the care service (Photo: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls)
He will tell the Labour conference: “I believe the right to dignity in retirement is a part of that right to health at any stage of life. The truth is our social care sector is a national scandal.
“Nearly £8bn taken from council budgets for social care since 2010. The result is one million people not getting the care they need, 87 people dying a day waiting for care, more than five million unpaid carers looking after loved ones.”
Personal care has been free in Scotland since 2002, while in Wales the amount people have to pay is capped at £70 per week.
“Many older and disabled people who need help with basic tasks such as washing and eating are forced to rely on family, pay for care themselves – or are unable to access care at all.
“The case for reform is overwhelming and free personal care would be a good step. If funded properly, this will be simpler for people to understand and mean more people receive the help and support they need.”