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Cameron attacks 'death tax' care plans

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 10 February 2010

David Cameron accuses Gordon Brown of drawing up unfunded plans to give some elderly people free home care as a means of promoting "cheap dividing lines" ahead of the general election.

David Cameron at prime minister's questions on 10 February 2010.

The Conservative leader asked Gordon Brown repeatedly at prime minister's questions whether he would introduce a compulsory levy on elderly people to fund their personal care, calling on him to "rule it in or rule it out".

Last night the Conservatives launched a nationwide poster campaign attacking what they have branded Gordon Brown's "death tax".

Mr Brown said there were three funding options in the green paper on social care, and attacked the opposition leader for breaking cross-party "consensus" on the policy.

In a furious Commons clash, Mr Cameron demanded to know where the funding for the plans was coming from and said the Prime Minister wanted the "benefits" of the policy before the election, leaving the costs until afterwards.

More than 70 councillors wrote to The Times to say they had "major doubts" over how the government would fund the plans to provide free home care for those most in need.

"This morning local councils controlled by all parties have said your plans on social care are unclear, unfunded, will lead to possible cuts, rises in council tax, they have major weaknesses and crucially will raise false expectations among many of the most vulnerable," said Mr Cameron.

"Everybody wants to do more to help with care but why do you think that so many of the people responsible for delivering this policy are so completely unconvinced by what you've put forward?"

Mr Brown said: "Your party supported this bill as it went through the Commons.

"I don't know if you've done another U-turn in policy, but we have set aside £670 million in the next year - £420 million will come from the health service to provide that care for urgent needs.

The prime minister said it was surely in the interests of the House that parties were united on the issue of providing care to people in their own homes.

"And surely a party that supported the policy one week, shouldn't be opposing it the next week," he added.

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