Poll: Most Scots believe care is individual's responsibility

Most Scots want to see an end to the country's flagship free universal benefits such as university tuition and elderly care.

The cost of providing free personal care for the elderly has risen from £132 million 2002 to £500 million.

They should instead be targeted to those who need them most, new polling evidence shows.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently cited the benefits which all Scots enjoyed to justify her plan to make middle-earning Scots pay more income tax than elsewhere in the UK.

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However, a Panelbase poll at the weekend found 53% supported graduates having to pay a contribution for their degree course once they have finished studying and started earning.

It also revealed that found 53% agreed that the question of who pays for personal care should be dependent on the resources of the recipient.

The survey of 10,20 Scots found 35% believe the government should foot the bill for care, regardless of the elderly person’s means.

The cost of providing free personal care for the elderly – which was introduced by the previous Labour/Liberal Democrat Scottish Executive and has been maintained 
by the SNP in government – has risen from £132 million when it was brought in 2002 to £500 million.

Free university tuition for undergraduate students based in Scotland now stands at £155 million, with Education Secretary John Swinney spending £75 million to pay for 13,450 EU students.

Mr Swinney said: “The Scottish social contract was a central plank of the manifesto on which the SNP Government was elected just last year.

“From free medicine to free education, it means that when it comes to public services, households in Scotland get the best deal anywhere in the UK.

“For 10 years, from time to time, we have heard some people question the sustainability of that social contract.

“But, for 10 years the SNP has proven that a competent, focused, progressive government can deliver these vital services, even in the teeth of ideologically driven austerity from Westminster.

“The evidence for its success can been seen in the record number of students from poorer backgrounds now in our universities, the best A&E performance in the UK, and the thousands families who have been sheltered from the infamous Tory Bedroom Tax.

“The Scottish social contract remains at the heart of the progressive, inclusive nation we want Scotland to be.

“The contrast between this vision and that of the hard-right, Tory, Westminster Government is now at the centre of the political debate.”