SNP promise to protect free personal care

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The Scottish government has insisted that Free Personal Care for The Elderly will remain a key health service commitment despite cuts to the Scottish budget.

The confirmation came in the wake of comments from Labour councillor Gordon Matheson who said that the service should not be automatically exempt from cuts.


The Scottish government has insisted that Free Personal Care for The Elderly will remain a key health service commitment despite cuts to the Scottish budget.

The confirmation came in the wake of comments from Labour councillor Gordon Matheson who said that the service should not be automatically exempt from cuts.

Speaking in the Scotland on Sunday newspaper the Labour leader of Glasgow Council had insisted that there should be no sacred cows when the effects of London’s cuts to the Scottish grant reach Scotland’s local authorities.  Westminster is expected to announce ‘brutal’ cuts to the Scottish block grant in October.

Mr Matheson said:
“What I am saying is that these kind of issues must be on the table.  We look at the challenges we now face and that includes universal free personal care.”

Responding to Mr Matheson’s comments SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said
“It increasingly looks like Labour has Scotland’s elderly in their sights. Planning to take away their services and increase their council tax.

“Labour may not value services like free personal care and concessionary travel but the SNP do and so do the Scottish people.

“With the UK Government slashing benefits to old and young it is important we protect the policies and values Scotland holds dear and that includes services like free personal care and concessionary travel.”

Stalking horse
Mr Gibson also responded to Mr Matheson’s call last week for local authorities to raise the council tax, a call supported by Labour’s Holyrood leader Iain Gray.

Mr Gibson added:
“Gordon Matheson is clearly Labour’s stalking horse when it comes to cuts and tax rises.  Last week he led Labour’s call for council tax to rise – a move swiftly backed by Iain Gray and Labour MSPs. This week he is planning cuts to free personal care.

The SNP MSP also attacked Labour’s handling of the UK economy adding:
“Labour’s financial mismanagement wrecked the UK finances and caused two thirds of the estimated £3.7 billion budget cuts facing Scotland over the next four years, with the Con/Lib Dem Coalition responsible for the other third.

“The SNP is proud to have properly funded free personal care for the elderly for the first time. Labour may well disagree with these polices, but the SNP will continue to protect free personal care, concessionary travel and support the priorities of the Scottish people.”

Labour have refused to commit to funding for free personal care with their Finance spokesman Andy Kerr recently unable to confirm its continuation in a Newsnight Scotland interview.

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