A long time ago I posted about various social issues. One of them was the so-called free personal care in Scotland. A few people spelt out the truth of the myth. It did not suit either the media or politicians of various persuasions to examine the truth of the matter.

Scottish elderly and other vulnerable people, who needed residential care, had certain benefits removed, that their counterparts in the rest of the British Isles were able to keep. By this clawback, there was already a major chunk of contribution being paid to that mythical free care. We worked out that a relative was left with a really tiny sum of benefits from allowances that other British people retained. We did not complain or moan about inequities; we did complain about the iniquity of the claim that there was free personal care.

Various social care organisations and charities now spell out the dreadful scenarios for the elderly and vulnerable individuals of all age groups in the community. Local authorities, who have severely restricted budgets will no longer be able to provide home-help, and arrange for such invaluable support like respite care for carers, (if any is left). The worrying picture painted, is likely to be so. There have been Limitations of service by changing the definition of what constitutes ‘severe or critical need’ for a long time. It is more commonly known as moving the goal posts. Re-defining needs is likely to be played with much more.

Home help provision where I live, used to be means tested help. If you were over a certain low income level, you contributed to the cost of the service. That was generally accepted, until the calculation of the contribution changed to a vastly increased fixed hourly rate, irrespective of the individual’s circumstances. The local authority service provision was in this manner, priced out of the pockets of those who needed it. It became more affordable to seek home help support from private sources, if you could find it.

In urban areas, agencies sprung up under contract to social service departments. This was economic outsourcing. Their service levels and quality of work were of concern. The same applied to care homes, whose services had mushroomed as private enterprise, since the 1980’s.

To counter the worrying standards of care, Care Commissions were set up in recent years, to inspect and regulate standards of practice training and qualification. They were always an imperfect tool, but their existence was preferable to not having any standards to work to. Their budgets are slashed too.

As a humane nation, we did get used to knowing that the vulnerable in our society would be cared for. We are uncomfortable with the growing truth that this is unlikely to continue to be so.



  1. Excellent post, Menhir, and it’s a very worrying situation. People still insist that the most vulnerable will be excluded – as you have shown, they are the first to suffer. :yes:

  2. Yes, Tylluan, the cuts have been creeping since Margaret Thatcher ‘reigned’ over us. Interim governments made sure there were improvements in critical areas, while other ‘savings’ were implemented in other ways and at other levels of our society.

    The contributions we have made to social budgets, we know, have been used elsewhere. We compulsorily paid into a ponsy scheme, run by government, yet there will be no examination or compensation. Nor will we have redress against the accusations of the financiers and ruling classes who accuse us of draining the nations resources! That is obnoxious but typical! Blame the victim not the perpetrator.

    What we have now, is blatant very right wing Conservative dogma being imposed using the convenience of the present financial crisis. I do accept that we will as a British Nation, have to tighten the purse strings, but the extents to which that is being proposed in our social support structures seems to be imposing ‘the unthinkable’ without any concern for the consequences. Unintended, I believe, they will not be.

    I am desperately sad for the weak and vulnerable who did not, like us, have any hand in the global banking crisis, but are being made to pay for the gross misdeeds and misconduct of financiers, who will not be called to account.

  3. This is very worrying, and of course I went through it with my parents. It’s been a shock to thousands of people that they are having to shell out more and more of life savings – if they have been able to garner them – to pay for ever-more expensive (but not necessarily better) care. We were lucky with my parents’ carers, but it was very hit and miss.

  4. Like you, GillyK, I have seen these changes first hand as a consumer and as a gatekeeper. Neither were comfortable positions to be in for anyone either side of the fence, or in the middle of it.

    It has been forgotten that previous generations had to move to where jobs were; extended families and all their support structures, disintegrated. The generations that moved to the work, who paid their dues, who wanted better for their children than they or their parents experienced, (as is the way), are now told they are the pariahs of society. The real pariahs lie elsewhere.

    The majority of people are realists and do accept that there is not a limitless pot of funds for everything that is desired, at the standards that we once wished for. It all has to be budgeted, but not, surely, so harshly that it undermines the basic tenets of decency.

    Nevertheless, our vulnerable people must not be the ones to pay for the profligacy of bankers, poor international governance of their actions and wayward politics.

  5. I have Good solutions : More do not look after the old men, cut them the heating, make work up to the death, euthanize them if too long…

    Result : No pension because no poor retired people (Rich have money to live, that’s no problem)…

    What a good time we’ll have ! As in the Middle Ages !

    Ants will be happy, without these human human cicadas !!!… :)) :))

  6. Seriously, It is easy to sodomize people…

    Rich give money to politics… Politics says “We save people”, “listen to us”, ” we decrease what we give you for your only happyness”…

    After… Less money : less employment : less money : less employment : less noney… I continue ?… Well !

    “How less money ? Dear people, we delete definitively what we gave you… Because it was little, you will not lose a lot and then… you will have to lose nothing more ! Be happy ! Alelhuia !!!”

    And step by step they stop both : the economy and the life…” What a big progress ! It is modern times ! Resign you, slaves ! ”

    Nobody have thought that… It would be possible to increase receipts , credits… In Accounting matter… There is not only debits… but also credits…

  7. I am unclear what you regard as political liberal intentions, in comparison to our political liberal intentions. I believe there are differences of cultural foundation, perception and opinion. I do not know exactly what.

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