The cost of Sotland’s free personal care policy could triple over the next 50 years because of the ageing population, a report has warned.
The policy is already costing more than planned – £127m in 2002-3 against a forecast £107m – but has not yet led to “undue extra public spending”, researchers from the University of Stirling say.
Some of the predicted rise in the costs of the policy could be offset by a shift towards more home care provision, their study for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation claims.
The report comes after the body that represents Scotland’s councils warned the policy was creating major budgetary pressures.
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities said there was a particular problem with funding meal preparation.
While the law states that food preparation should be provided free of charge, Scottish executive guidance says food preparation and meal provision should not be free.
Half of Scotland’s 32 councils charge for cooking but the others do not, leading Cosla to call on the executive to end the confusion.