Free personal care: McLeish gives the figures

27 Sep 01
First Minister Henry McLeish has published his long-awaited plans to provide free personal care to elderly people in Scotland.

28 September 2001

Pensioners living at home will receive all personal care free of charge. Those in nursing homes will get a flat rate payment of £90 per week, plus a further £65 per week to cover nursing care if necessary. The figures reflect the average weekly costs of providing such care at the moment.

The £125m package, which will be introduced from April next year, also includes money for local authorities to boost the services they offer so more elderly people can stay at home rather than go into a nursing home. The Scottish Executive will set up an implementation group to oversee the introduction of the new regime.

McLeish said the proposals went beyond the recommendations of last year's royal commission into the care of elderly people. 'We have underlined our commitment to putting older people at the very top of the executive's priorities,' he added.

But the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities complained that the small print of the deal showed the Executive's lack of trust in councils. Finance spokesman Andy White welcomed the introduction of free personal care, but he said Cosla was 'bitterly disappointed' that the extra funding would be ring-fenced.

'We are very disappointed that they have once again chosen to go down this route. It is something we in Cosla have argued against for a considerable length of time.'

Unison's deputy general secretary Keith Sonnet called on the government to introduce similar arrangements across Britain. 'We are extremely alarmed at the prospect of a two-tier system of long-term care developing in the UK,' he said.

Age Concern Scotland said the plans were 'sensible and affordable'.


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