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Fear at Labour reneging on free care in Scotland

Labour&#39s commitment to providing free personal care in Scotland has come

under scrutiny after its Scottish manifesto failed to refer to the issue

specifically.

On long-term care, the manifesto only says: “The Care Development Group is

looking at the provision of long-term care of the elderly and will report

in the autumn.”

Labour agreed to free personal care only to stave off a defeat in the

Scottish Parliament. This would result in a higher level of state provision

than in the rest of the UK but a final decision rests with the executive.

The Care Development Group, headed by deputy minister for health Malcolm

Chis-holm, will report later this year and many fear the proposals will be

toned down.

Help the Aged head of public affairs Mervyn Kohler says: “The fact of the

matter is that there a lot of people who are being forced to sell their

homes although we cannot put an exact number on it. It is the major reason

leading people to worry about how they are going to fund their care.”

Age Concern Scotland assistant director Linda Dunion says: “I can

understand why people are concerned that Labour might backtrack. The

Parliament has voted, now the executive has to act. The definition of

personal care by the Care Development Group is key and we would not want to

see a very narrow definition.”

A spokesman for the Liberal Democrats says: “As far as we are concerned,

Labour has made an unequivocal commitment to providing free personal care.

There have been suggestions of arm-twisting behind the scenes but if they

renege on the commitment, they will be voted down again.”

A Labour spokeswoman says: “It is better to wait until the recommendations

of the report are out than say anything specific at the moment.”

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