Scottish Daily Mail

Scrap care shambles and boost wages, Yousaf told

- By Tom Eden Deputy Scottish Political Editor

HUMZA Yousaf has been urged to scrap the SNP’s flagship care policy and pay existing staff higher wages instead.

Plans to create a National Care Service have been panned by experts in the sector and were yesterday branded a ‘bureaucrat­ic nightmare’.

During First Minister’s Questions, Mr Yousaf was warned that he must ‘stop wasting taxpayers’ cash’ on the centralisa­tion of care. Scottish Conservati­ve leader Douglas Ross said the ‘shambolic plans’ are estimated to cost upwards of £1.3billion just to set up a centralise­d system of social care.

The SNP minister responsibl­e, Maree Todd, admitted this week it has ‘been a little bit hard for me to get my head around’ the plan.

Mr Ross said: ‘It’s deeply embarrassi­ng for Humza Yousaf that his own social care minister doesn’t understand the plans he drew up himself. These shambolic plans for a centralise­d care service look like a white elephant already.

‘Humza Yousaf is throwing public money away when frontline social care services are in desperate need of more funding. The SNP Government is creating a bureaucrat­ic nightmare – and Humza Yousaf wants a blank cheque to do it.’

He added: ‘Humza Yousaf has no idea how much this centralise­d care service is going to cost, or when this bureaucrat­ic nightmare is going to be ready, or how it will improve the situation for people who desperatel­y need better care.

‘The last thing our struggling care service needs is an administra­tive overhaul costing billions of pounds when it is being starved of cash on the frontline.

‘Humza Yousaf must stop wasting taxpayers’ money and scrap these unworkable plans.’ The First Minister said he was ‘absolutely committed’ to the reforms, which would see local authoritie­s stripped of responsibi­lity for providing social care.

It comes after he faced calls to use cash saved by scrapping the National Care Service to increase carers’ pay from the current minimum rate of just £10.90 per hour.

Mr Yousaf added that he was hellbent on the flagship policy ‘because we know of the extreme challenges that people who work in social care face because of workforce issues – that is the biggest challenge that social care providers face’.

Demand for care is rising because of the ageing population. The number of care hours for the over65s reached nearly 25million in 202122. The proportion of care services reporting vacancies rose by 11 per cent to 47 per cent, with a 30 per cent turnover of staff each year.

Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesman Willie Rennie has said that care services are ‘stretched to breaking point’ and ‘more and more demands on the service are simply not being met because the staff are simply not there’.

‘Bureaucrat­ic nightmare’

 ?? ?? ‘No idea’: Humza Yousaf
‘No idea’: Humza Yousaf

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