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More funding needed for free elderly care policy

24th November 2005

The Scottish executive has called for more funding to ensure that its free elderly care policy can carry on, reports Scotland on Sunday.

Widely praised when it was introduced in 2001, the free personal care for older residents in Scotland was seen as one of the "flagship" policies of the executive but could face significant cutbacks if additional funding is not secured.

The provisions have helped hundreds of elderly people across the region but demand has far outstripped initial budget estimates and the number of people benefiting from the care is set to decrease, warns a report by finance chiefs.

"There are more people needing services (legitimately) than councils have resources to pay for. More resources need to be put into this system or else it will begin to crumble," it states.

At least £7 million extra funding is needed, according to the report, to ensure that the free personal care is maintained from April next year and other related policies such as free bus travel for the elderly remain in operation.