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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 15:10 GMT
6m 'diverted' from care budget
A man asleep
Argyll and Bute Council said it had to asses its priorities
A local authority criticised after it refused free care to a 90-year-old man has been accused of diverting millions of pounds from its elderly care budget.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said Argyll and Bute Council directed 6m Scottish Executive support to other services.

In a statement, the council insisted the demand for care packages had continued to outstrip its allocation.

Ms Baillie said spending on services for the elderly in Argyll and Bute had been cut by almost 20% this year.

She said: "Argyll and Bute Council have let down their most vulnerable residents. Frankly, I am appalled.

The fact of the matter is that the budget to support social work is finite
Argyll and Bute Council statement

"I am demanding that they actually spend the full allocation of money from the Scottish Executive to bring their services up to scratch."

Ms Baillie said 6m had been diverted from the council's home based elderly and personal nursing care budget.

The local authority said the situation was complex and the picture was constantly changing.

"The fact of the matter is that the budget to support social work is finite," its statement said.

Free care

"We have to continually assess the priorities and strike a balance between competing demands on that budget which include child protection and mental health obligations as well as care for the elderly."

Argyll and Bute Council is seeking a judicial review of a ruling by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman that it treated a 90-year-old man unfairly.

The pensioner, from Helensburgh, was entitled to free personal care but the local authority withheld funding on the basis that its budget was overspent.

The case will be heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.


SEE ALSO
Council appeals free care ruling
20 Dec 06 |  Glasgow and West
Council ordered to pay care costs
29 Nov 06 |  Glasgow and West

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