Scottish Parliament slams UK government over care green paper

The Scottish Parliament has attacked the UK government for failing to consider the impact of its adult green paper on vulnerable pensioners in Scotland.

The Westminster government is considering using attendance allowance and disability living allowance for over-65s – both UK-wide benefits – to part-fund care for all eligible users in England.

But MSPs passed a motion yesterday saying the UK government had failed “to give adequate consideration to the position in Scotland” in last year’s adult social care green paper.

It called on the UK government to “to consult fully with the Scottish government, the Scottish Parliament, local authorities, NHS boards and other interested parties before proceeding any further”.

Spending on both benefits for Scottish pensioners was £720m a year, with 150,000 older people receiving attendance allowance and 80,000 disability living allowance, minister for housing and communities Alex Neil told MSPs.

Alex Neil, minister for housing and communities, said the removal of these benefits would have consequences for many. He said: “Across Scotland, that would mean more than 67,000 of our most vulnerable people being forced into poverty.”

Neil pointed to research by the Institute for Social and Economic Research suggesting that 40% of recipients of those benefits would fall below the poverty line if they were scrapped.

He said there had only been two meetings between the UK and Scottish governments to discuss the issue.

The debate follows a report by the Joeseph Rowntree Foundation this week, which said the green paper only “weakly acknowledged” the impact of its proposals on the other UK countries.

The possible abolition of attendance allowance and disability living allowance for pensioners has been criticised by campaign groups and the Conservative Party.

However, the Department of Health has claimed that any changes would leave no one worse off.

Community Care is waiting for a response from the Department of Health to the Scottish motion.

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