Cost of ‘free’ care hidden in fine print

When Gordon Brown sat down in the House of Commons after presenting his Budget and my wife asked about it, I could give a gist of the waffle but even as an economist I needed to read the small print to answer.

Likewise Alex Salmond’s “free personal care” means help with dressing, washing and simple medical treatments, but other essential care and nursing homes are notincluded. I have no problem with this as long as people are not misled, because proportionally as many elderly Scots as English will need to sell their homes to pay for such costs. In addition, help with personal alarms, fetching shopping and visits to social centres are part of a postcode lottery, with “day care” costing up to £100 per week in some areas.

Referendum propaganda does not really matter because people have long ago decided but dissembling on “free personal care” leaves families unprepared for the horror to come.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

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Professor David Bell’s 
excellent article on social protection (Platform, 19 February) broadens the current debate about welfare and benefit cuts, such as the 
draconian “bedroom tax”.

It hopefully challenges us all to consider what kind of society we want to live in. 
Recent advances in areas such as housing rights, access to education and personal support in later life have not been shared equally across our communities.

The housing circumstance of a child born today is still the best indicator of their likely future wellbeing. The Scotland we want will be dictated by the choices politicians make. Where we choose to invest and how we choose to pay for these investments will determine how equal a society Scotland can become. UK cuts to benefits coupled with Scottish cuts to social housing that go much deeper than overall national 
budget cuts suggest those of us who want Scotland to have stronger social protections still need to persuade ministers in both Westminster and Holyrood to make the 
welfare state their priority.

Graeme Brown

Shelter Scotland

South Charlotte Street