Legal ruling could change way older people`s services funded

A landmark legal ruling by law lords could change the way
services for older people are funded.

The House of Lords ruled that Fife council was not entitled to
take into account the value of the family home of Mary Robertson,
who transferred the property to her adult sons three years before
she was admitted to residential care in Fife. The case reflects
similar issues in every council in Britain and is set to have
implications throughout the country.

The law lords’ decision, which overturns an earlier
decision by the court of session, could mean that older people are
free to transfer property, capital and investments to relatives
without fearing that the council would later bill those relatives
for a contribution to their care. If applied nationwide the
judgement will reduce substantially the current income level to
local authorities in funding residential services to older

Anne McGovern, deputy leader of Fife Council, said that the
judgement could have far-reaching implications, and ultimately
reduce the amount of services local authorities could provide to
older people.

McGovern added: “We now have to consider this very complex
judgement in detail, along with other councils and the Scottish
executive, before deciding what further course of action to

A spokesperson for the executive said: “We are now considering
the consequences of this complex judgement carefully, and will be
issuing guidance once we have had the opportunity to do so.”

An emergency meeting is to be convened this week involving Cosla
and the executive.






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