Sturgeon to scrap non-residential social care charges if re-elected
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will use her keynote speech on Tuesday to announce that if re-elected as First Minister in 2021 the Scottish Government will move to scrap all non-residential social care charges.
Sturgeon will also use the podium to set out how an independent Scotland will be act as a bridge between the UK and European Union in making the country a “magnet for global investment”.
In the first major SNP policy pledge for the 2021 Holyrood election, Sturgeon will tell conference on Tuesday afternoon: “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”.
“In April this year we extended free personal care to everyone who needs it, regardless of age,” she 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.”
On independence, Sturgeon will say Scotland is “rich enough, strong enough and big enough to take our place among the proud, independent nations of the world”.
“But we must reject a post-Brexit race to the bottom and embrace instead a race to join the top tier of independent nations,” she will say.
“And consider this – as an independent European country, Scotland will have a unique advantage.
“We will be in the EU single market and also the closest neighbour to our friends in the rest of the UK – a bridge between the EU and the UK, making our country a magnet for global investment.
“That’s what I call the best of both worlds.”
Responding to the scrapping of care charges, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland chief executive Professor Ian Welsh called for a broader review into the funding of social care in Scotland.
“Care charging uncompromisingly demands that those who are entitled to use non-residential care services pay more to achieve the same basic human rights,” he said.
“In some instances, this can lead to disabled people and people living with long term conditions deciding to forego much needed care and support, or going without other basic necessities in order to pay for care and support.
“Whilst we believe that social services should be universally free, and welcome moves to ensure that this policy is applied fairly to everyone who accesses non-residential care, we support a broader review into the funding of social care to ensure long term sustainability.”