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Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 07:37 GMT
Budget studied for elderly care cash
Angus Mackay on BBC Scotland's Holyrood programme
Mr Mackay is chairing a group to scrutinise the budget
Ministers have begun to scrutinise the Scottish Executive's spending plans in an effort to find the cash for care of the elderly and other key initiatives.

The aim is to squeeze every available penny from the budget, but the Scottish National Party has complained the idea has been lifted from them.

Finance minister Angus Mackay chaired the cabinet's new working group on spending.

It is hoped the review will fund the planned new care package for the elderly, but Mr Mackay stressed this initiative goes far beyond that.

Henry McLeish
The first minister said he is committed to free care
The status is confirmed by the first minister's membership of the group, alongside the permanent secretary Muir Russell and ministers Tom McCabe, Peter Peacock and Ross Finnie.

SNP leaders claim a similar proposal from them was previously derided by Labour and that it is a symptom of Executive fears over cash promises.

But Angus Mackay said that was nonsense, and that the new working group will become a standing part of the machinery of government in Scotland.

A spokesman for Henry McLeish denied rumours of a rift in the Cabinet over the elderly care issue following reports that health minister Susan Deacon is unhappy at the Executive's concession on Sutherland.

The spokesman repeated Mr McLeish's commitment to finding a way of delivering free personal care for the elderly.

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See also:

30 Jan 01 | Scotland
Liddell denies elderly care rift
29 Jan 01 | Scotland
McLeish tackles care questions
25 Jan 01 | Scotland
Labour caves in over OAP care
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