MSPs demand National Care Service costings
The Scottish Government must release updated costings for the proposed National Care Service by Friday 12 May, Holyrood’s finance committee has said.
The committee said it was becoming “increasingly concerned” about the lack of information on the financial implications of the National Care Service Bill, the legislation that will set up the new service.
The bill is currently making its way through parliament but the Scottish Government has said it is delaying the process after a number of committees expressed concern about it.
The stage one debate on the bill had been expected to take place in June but it will now not take place until after summer recess.
The finance committee has previously raised “significant concerns” over the cost of the legislation, saying it did not come with an “overall estimate” of costs which have the potential to be “significant”.
Last month it rebuked the former social care minister, Kevin Stewart, for failing to provide additional information.
Convener Kenny Gibson has now written to the new minister, Maree Todd, urging her to publish a revised financial memorandum for the bill.
He wrote: “We are becoming increasingly concerned at the lack of information available on the financial implications of the bill and frustrated that we have still not received the updated FM [financial memorandum] we requested back in December last year, particularly given that the Scottish Government had argued that the original FM needed no amendment.”
He added: “The committee therefore repeats its call for a revised FM, which takes into account the recommendations listed in our report of 1 December, to be provided at the earliest opportunity, and no later than Friday 12 May.
“We also seek within the same timeframe, a detailed breakdown of spend to date on the NCS, including those costs arising directly as a result of the provisions in the Bill and those which result from the wider NCS programme.
“The committee further requests clarification of the new timetable for completion of stage one proceedings on the bill.”
Todd has also been invited to appear before the committee on Tuesday 23 May.
The bill was introduced last June, after an independent review of adult social care made the recommendation in February 2021.
The review said a national care service should be placed on a statutory footing to sit alongside the NHS.
But several organisations have expressed concern that the service would take power away from councils and therefore remove local decision-making from social care delivery.
The Scottish government has said that the service would end the “postcode lottery in the provision of care” and that additional money would be made available to ensure its success.