You are here

Scottish care for pensioners

17th August 2006

Politicians in Scotland are debating how to give pensioners the best deal.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) have announced plans to replace council tax with a local income tax if it came to power.

The Scottish Executive is currently undertaking a review of local income tax, as well as an investigation into social care.

SNP leaders however, have not waited for the report and announced yesterday that its proposed measures would leave 90 per cent of pensioners better off.

The Tories questioned where they would find the extra resources to exempt 538,000 people from council tax.

Deputy leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon said that the moves were part of a drive to 'reclaim' a care cost allowance that pensioners had been able to claim before free personal care was introduced north of the border.

"As many will recall, when the Scottish Parliament decided to introduce free personal care - as an enhancement to elderly care, not as a substitute for existing provision - the UK government, in what can only be described as a fit of pique, decided to claw back money that was already being paid to pensioners in attendance allowance," she said.

"That clawback now amounts to £40 million per year. It is money that belongs in Scotland and an SNP government - standing up for Scotland - will reopen negotiations with Westminster and seek to recover it."

There has been controversy in Scotland over free personal care for pensioners, which was introduced in 2002. There have been ongoing funding issues, because as soon as the measure was introduced demand apparently increased to 'unsustainable' levels.