Scots loan system prompts fears over postponement of free care

The Scottish executive is considering introducing local
authority loans to delay the individual cost of long-term care.

Malcolm Chisholm, deputy minister for community care, last week
launched Better Care, a “pre-legislative consultation on a range of
proposals to develop long-term care”.

It proposes providing those needing residential care with local
authority loans to help clients avoid having to sell off their
house until they die. The idea was first mooted in the NHS Plan for
England and Wales.

Campaigners believe the consultation represents a cushioned way
of informing the public that long-term care will not be free.

Jess Barrow, policy officer for Age Concern Scotland, said the
public and care professions have failed to realise that the
definition of care is unlikely to meet so-called “hotel” costs of
board and lodgings.

Campaigners believe the Care Development Group, formed by the
executive in February to bring forward proposals on how free
personal care can be introduced to Scotland, will now consider
loans rather than increase the capital disregard – the amount of
assets an individual can retain before they have to pay for their
residential care. This currently stands at £18,500.

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