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Monday, 20 November, 2000, 13:12 GMT
Vote focus on care costs
Nurse and woman
Elderly care is at the centre of campaigning
The political temperature is increasing three days before the Glasgow Anniesland by-election on Thursday.

The Scottish National Party called on the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, to clarify his stance on funding personal care costs for elderly people.

Mr Brown visited the constituency ahead of the poll for representatives in the Scottish Parliament and at Westminster.

The by-election was caused by the death of Donald Dewar.

SNP leader John Swinney said Mr Brown was "swaggering" into campaigning for the constituency shortly before the vote.

Pensioners in nursing homes don't benefit from the 200 winter fuel allowance or free television licences

Tory chairman Michael Ancram
He said a vote for the SNP would force the government to acknowledge his party's position that the Sutherland Report, which called for personal care costs to be paid for by the state, should be implemented in full.

Referring to reports that Mr Brown had told First Minister Henry McLeish that they could fall out over the issue, Mr Swinney said there was clear confusion in Labour ranks over what the party's stance should be.

"Gordon Brown and Labour in London are putting obstacles in the way of elderly people in Scotland having their personal care costs met," Mr Swinney said.

Mr Brown refused to answer questions on Scottish funding for the Sutherland recommendations and reports of his alleged "disdain" for fellow cabinet ministers.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown: Visted shipyard
Speaking at BAE Systems shipyard in Scotstoun, he said: "I am here to talk about jobs and pensions."

On Sutherland, he told reporters: "What are matters for the devolved parliament are matters for the devolved parliament."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Jim Wallace also focussed on health by visiting Gartnavel Hospital in the constituency.

"The Scottish Liberal Democrats have been committed to changing the focus from waiting lists to waiting times," he said.

"We said that it was no longer acceptable to focus on waiting lists when it was waiting times that mattered to patients."

'Pension gimmicks'

Meanwhile, the Scottish Conservatives pledged to increase pensions by at least 9.50 a week as they campaigned in Anniesland.

The party's UK chairman Michael Ancram said his party planned to "abolish Labour's pension gimmicks" to benefit those most in need of residential and nursing care.

"Pensioners in nursing homes don't benefit from the 200 winter fuel allowance or free television licences," he declared.

"We only need to look at the derisory 75p a week rise and their withdrawal of the Christmas bonus for two years under the last Labour Government to see just how important pensioners rate in Labour's priorities."

The full list of candidates is:


  • Dorothy Luckhurst, Scottish Conservative

  • William Lyden, Family Action Movement

  • Charlie McCarthy, Scottish Socialist Party

  • Christopher McGinty, Scottish Liberal Democrats

  • John Robertson, Scottish Labour

  • Grant Thoms, Scottish National Party

Scottish Parliament

  • William Butler, Scottish Labour Party

  • Thomas Chalmers, SNP

  • Judith Fryer, Scottish Liberal Democrats

  • Rosie Kane, Scottish Socialist Party

  • Kate Pickering, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

  • Murdo Ritchie, Socialist Labour Party

  • Alastair Whitelaw, Scottish Green Party

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19 Nov 00 | Scotland
Report backs free OAP care
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