COSLA’s new proposals to solve accusations of unfairness in social care charging are claimed to help less than 500 people in Scotland.
Ian Hood, Coordinator of the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland said that “only a handful of wealthy pensioners who need help with shopping will be the beneficiaries of this scheme. Councils have increased care charges on disabled people by 21% in the last year alone and they are treating them as cash cows to make up for council cuts.”
COSLA is bringing in a new Standard Financial Assessment Template that is meant to help councils reduce the variation in charges for the same service from one area to the next.
Over 100,000 people in Scotland receive social care and those not entitled to Free Personal Care such as disabled people under 65 or those who require other types of help such as shopping are asked to pay.
Social Care charges have been the target of a vigorous campaign to resolve inconsistencies and unevenness in care charges across Scotland. Scotland Against the Care Tax collected thousands of signatures on a petition and has built a coalition of user led organisations and charities to oppose this.
However the new template, published this week in national guidance for councils, makes no changes in most of the charging rates applying in Scotland. Disabled people will still pay up to 100% of their income after allowances.
There is only one significant change, the assumed interest on savings between £10,000 and £16,000 is reduced from 20% per year to 10%. But these changes only apply to six councils will need to change their rates (Aberdeen, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Renfrewshire, Shetlands and South Ayrshire).
The Learning Disability Alliance figures suggest that as a result just over 500 people will be better off by £6 per week out of the 120,000 people receiving social care in Scotland. Of £1 million pounds raised in social care charges every week, this move will cost councils only £3,000 per week – less than a third of one percent of what is raised.
Jeff Adamson, Chair of Scotland Against the Care Tax said, “The Game’s A Bogey for this template. It does nothing for disabled people all over Scotland. No wonder councils are leaving COSLA. Why would anyone pay for this quality of work? They would have been better off getting in Craig Whyte or Charles Green [former Rangers Chief Executives]. They could have made a better job of this and look what they achieved.