The Scottish government is insisting it will preserve its free personal care policy for older people – rejecting the recommendations of an independent review of public expenditure in the country.
The report of Scotland’s Independent Budget Review Panel said the policy is “hard to justify” and needed to be re-examined in the light of demographic pressures and public spending constraints.
It set out a series of options for reform, including ending free personal care in care homes or reducing the value of weekly payments to recipients.
It said a debate was needed over whether services that were currently free in Scotland, such as personal care, should be subject to means-testing to allow better targeting of those in most need.
But finance secretary John Swinney said the government’s commitment to the policy remained steadfast.
He said: “The government has made clear our determination to protect the vulnerable – which is why for example we will preserve existing eligibility for free personal care and concessionary travel.”