The Scottish executive has offered £17.5 million in extra
funds to local authorities in a bid to end the deepening dispute
over fees for private residential and nursing home care.
The announcement came out of the blue on a day that the crisis
threatened to reach new depths. Scottish Care, representing 80 per
cent of private home owners, had reacted angrily to the last minute
cancellation of a negotiation summit, which was the second
cancellation in a fortnight. Home owners were calling for an
escalation of the ban on all new council-funded placements.
Instead, Scottish Care and the Convention of Scottish Local
Authorities will have to examine the new resources carefully.
Malcolm Chisholm, deputy minister for community care, made the
offer and said that he was disappointed that Scottish Care and
Cosla had been unable to find a solution. Chisholm added: “I can
today announce that the executive has pledged to make an extra
£17.5 million available to Scotland’s local authorities
to help bring the two sides together – the equivalent of an
instant £10 per week for each person in care.”
Scottish Care has demanded £50 per person per week in order
to “maintain current service standards”. Chisholm hinted that local
authorities could find a solution out of the total already
allocated to them for social care – £1.25 billion.
Increasingly over the last few weeks, individual home owners have
claimed that most Scottish councils fail to spend such allocations
on community care in spite of the executive requiring that these
funds be ring fenced.
Chisholm stated that the offer of £17.5 million would stay
on the table, but warned “with so many other competing priorities
for health spending, it will not be increased further”.
It is believed that Cosla will arrange to meet with Scottish
Care in the next few days.