Stur­geon will pledge to scrap all non-res­i­den­tial so­cial care costs

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Ni­cola Stur­geon will to­day pledge to scrap so­cial care charges for ser­vices like meals on wheels, lunch clubs and shel­tered hous­ing war­dens.

The am­bi­tious mul­ti­mil­lion-pound ini­tia­tive will be un­veiled as part of her key­note speech to the SNP con­fer­ence in Aberdeen and marks her first ma­jor pol­icy an­nounce­ment for the 2021 Scot­tish elec­tion.

Cur­rently, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties can charge for “non-res­i­den­tial so­cial care”.

That can in­clude care at home, day care, home meals, shel­tered hous­ing war­dens, com­mu­nity alarms and tele­care, laun­dry ser­vices, adap­ta­tions for dis­abled peo­ple and af­ter-care ser­vices for those suf­fer­ing from men­tal ill­nesses.

In her speech to del­e­gates at P&J Live, Ms Stur­geon will re­fer to the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s long­stand­ing free per­sonal care pol­icy and its re­cent ex­ten­sion to cover a wider age group.

She will say that the pol­icy will help keep peo­ple in their homes and out of hos­pi­tal.

“In April this year we ex­tended free per­sonal care to ev­ery­one who needs it, re­gard­less of age,” Ms Stur­geon will say.

“The prin­ci­ple be­hind free per­sonal care and free health care is the same – if you need help you should get it.

“How­ever, de­spite that prin­ci­ple, many peo­ple, of all ages, still have to pay for non-res­i­den­tial so­cial care ser­vices.

“I know from my own con­stituency ex­pe­ri­ence that charges can be a bar­rier to peo­ple ac­cess­ing the sup­port they need.

“And if peo­ple can’t get that sup­port in their own homes, they are more likely to end up in hos­pi­tal.

“So to­day, I am mak­ing this prom­ise – if I am re-elected as first min­is­ter at the next Holy­rood elec­tions, then over the next par­lia­ment, the SNP will scrap all non-res­i­den­tial so­cial care charges.”

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