Local authorities accuse executive of lack of trust over free personal care

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has accused the
Scottish executive of showing a lack of trust over its proposals to
ring-fence the funding of free personal care.

The angry statement from Cosla came on the day that first
minister, Henry McLeish, announced that the executive intended to
support all the recommendations of the care development group in a
package which will cost £125 million for the first year. The
executive was forced to publish the care development group’s
report after mistakenly placing it on its web site. Now ministers
have confirmed their support and will release the Community Care
and Health Bill on Tuesday, 25 September.

The formal announcement was welcomed by campaign and welfare
groups. Maureen O’Neill, director of Age Concern Scotland,
said: “This will make a real difference to many older people in
Scotland.” The executive proposes to introduce free personal care
in April 2002.

Meanwhile Cosla welcomed the recommendations of the care
development group, but will ask members to vote for an urgent
meeting with the executive to express its dismay. Councillor Andy
White, Cosla’s spokesperson on financial issues, said: “We
need to put in place real partnership arrangements whereby the
Scottish executive trusts local government to deliver on shared
priorities. Ring-fencing displays a lack of trust.”

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