Personal budgets have been heavily promoted in government policy in England as a means of increasing the personalisation of public services, particularly in the field of adult social care. The Care Act 2014 for the first time creates a statutory requirement for personal budgets to be allocated to all individuals using state funded social care. This article examines how a particular rhetoric has developed in social care policy around personal budgets, which draws freely on the language of the disabled people’s movement and suggests that grassroots ideas are the central purpose for the introduction of personal budgets into policy. [---]