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Elderly care benefits outweigh the costs

9th February 2006

The benefits of increased elderly care policies far outweigh the costs of providing the service and are needed to support vulnerable members of society.

The Scottish Executive's commitment to free personal care for older residents is an important policy and should remain in force, argues a spokesperson for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Professor David Bell spoke out about the policy as the health committee met this week to review the current system.

Responding to claims that the care services have gone over initial budgets, Professor Bell stressed that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

"You look at the numbers involved, the cost of the policy in total is £127 million," he explained to BBC One's Reporting Scotland.

"The Scottish Executive's budget is £25 billion. It only amounts to 0.6 per cent of the Executive's budget. So it's not a huge amount of spending."

The introduction of the care policy in Scotland in 2002 has led to ongoing calls for it to be extended to England and Wales, as well as more recent suggestions that it should also apply to disabled people.