Scottish executive pledges funding for personal care

The Scottish executive has announced that it has allocated the
resources to fund free personal care for older people as part of
its spending plans presented by Angus MacKay, finance and local
government minister, today, writes Reg

Addressing the Scottish parliament, Mackay was expected to deal
with the allocation of £200 million of new money allocated to
the executive in the spring budget. In addition, he revealed that
an additional £289 million had been “realigned” from other
budget heads.

In MacKay’s official statement, meeting the costs of free
personal care was given major prominence, but with scant detail at
this time. MacKay said: “This money goes well beyond simply
delivering free personal care, allocating over £432 million to
our main priorities of health and education.” The social care
sector has welcomed the decision positively but cautiously at this

Age Concern Scotland, one of the most active campaigning
organisations pressing for implementation of the recommendations of
Royal Commission on Long Term Care, described the decision as
“extremely welcome”. The organisation’s director, Maureen
O’Neil, sounded a cautionary note when she said: “We will,
however, not know exactly which elements of care will be free until
the care development group publishes its definition of personal
care in August.”

The care development group, chaired by Malcolm Chisholm and
comprising of a membership of experts, was formed by the executive
following its formal commitment to introduce free personal care in
March of this year.

O’Neil gave a clear steer on what was expected: “Now that
the money has been promised, the care development group should make
sure that its definition of care covers all the very personal tasks
which are so necessary to basic human dignity – help with
dressing, eating, bathing and going to the toilet.” O’Neill
described this definition of care as “the very minimum which the
vast majority of Scotland’s pensioners will find

As with every other campaigning organisation, Age Concern
Scotland would comment no further until all the details had
emerged. They were clear that there should be an ends to means
testing, no variation between different parts of the country and
the money allocated should go to the services very quickly.




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