Central Scotland SNP MSP Alex Neil has welcomed news that no local authority in Scotland will be able to charge pensioners for help with food preparation. A report from 2008 found that North Lanarkshire Council were one of eight Scottish councils charging for food preparation, Mr Neil is delighted that so many people will now benefit from legislation scrapping the charges.
Following Lord Sutherland’s Independent Review of Free Personal and Nursing Care last year, the Scottish Government agreed that the existing legislation on food preparation lacked clarity. Working with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA), these regulations will clearly outlaw charging for food preparation.
The previous Labour/Lib Dem administrations failed to pass robust legislation, allowing this anomaly to exist.
Commenting on the regulations, Alex Neil MSP said:
“This is a very welcome move and one which will bring direct and meaningful benefits to so many people not only in North Lanarkshire but across Scotland.
“After years of hesitation and inaction from the previous Labour/Lib Dem administration, the SNP Government is introducing tighter legislation to ensure that all local authorities provide food preparation without charging individuals.
“Scotland’s Free Personal Care policy is rightly respected and admired for providing real support and benefit to some of our more vulnerable older people.
“Last year North Lanarkshire Council was one of eight Scottish local authorities found to be charging for food preparation under existing legislation. Now, to the benefit of the vulnerable in North Lanarkshire we shall see that stopped.”
1. The draft order laid before Parliament includes a general requirement for food preparation not to be charged for and a detailed list of specific actions covered by this.
2. The Scottish Government provides funding to all local authorities in Scotland to meet the costs of the Free Personal and Nursing Care policy. Councils provide support to eligible older people in care homes or in their own homes following confirmation of need through a comprehensive care needs assessment.
3. Subject to the consent of the Scottish Parliament this order will come into force from 3 April 2009.
4. Around 9,600 residents in care homes currently receive personal care payments, with around 6,200 of these also receiving nursing care payments. Around 42,400 people are benefiting from free personal care at home.
5. Lord Stewart Sutherland published the Independent Review’s report and recommendations, and reported to Ministers, on April 28, 2008. In that report Lord Sutherland found that eight councils did charge under the existing legislation (Argyll & Bute, Dundee City, Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders and Stirling).