MSP Siobhan McMahon today launched a consultation on the abolition of non-residential social care charges.The consultation was launched at the Scottish Parliament and will be open until Friday 30th January 2016.
Currently, many disabled people are being driven into poverty due to the increasing amounts of money that they have to pay as a contribution towards their social care.
Ms McMahon believes that non-residential social care is an equality and human rights issue and, therefore, should be free at the point of delivery. She also believes that the current system is unfair, because charging procedures for these care services differ considerably between local authorities.
Previously, a petition was lodged at the Scottish Parliament by the ‘Scotland Against the Care Tax’ group which was signed by 4013 people and urged the Scottish Government to abolish all local authority charges for non-residential social care services.
The consultation has received backing from many organisations including the ‘Scotland Against the Care Tax’ group, Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, and Quarriers, who were all represented at the launch event.
There were also a number of people present from across Scotland who have experienced first-hand the difficulties these charges can present to disabled people who wish to enjoy the things in life that non-disabled people take for granted.
- You can read the consultation document here, and respond by completing the online Smart Survey here
Siobhan McMahon MSP said: “By carrying out this consultation I hope to encourage debate on the system of social care charging in Scotland and find out the public’s views on the issue.
“For those people who use it, social care is an example of the essential practical assistance and support needed to participate in society and lead an ordinary life. Enabling disabled people to participate in the economic, social, cultural and civic life of the community not only allows them the freedom to exercise their human rights, but also benefits society as a whole.
“I believe that it’s now time to complete the journey that Scotland began 13 years ago when it became the first part of the UK to provide a degree of security for all older people when they started to need care to live in their own homes. We should make sure that this security is extended to everybody who needs social care to enjoy their basic human rights. That surely would be a fairer Scotland.”
Ian Hood, Coordinator at Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, said: “At Learning Disability Alliance Scotland we understand how important this issue is and I would urge as many people as possible across Scotland to respond to Siobhan McMahon’s consultation.
“Social care is essential to many disabled people in order to help them take part in the lives of the communities they were born and grew up in. It’s also essential for those who are facing the end of their lives and want to spend their time with dignity and respect in their own communities.
“One in five people in Scotland have a disability and the number of people living into their 80s and 90s is increasing. Finding an answer to the question of how our society manages their support and helps to keep as many people as possible being fully active and a functioning part of our community is essential.”