Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Tuesday, 18 September 2012 17:28 UK

Social Care Bill debate 1

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson told MSPs "we need to empower people to play a full and active part in designing their own solutions to their support needs" while working in partnership with professionals to achieve improved outcomes, during a debate on the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Bill , on 18 September 2012.

Holyrood's Health Committee reported on the legislation in July and said people should be given control over their own care budget.

Its report into the bill proposes the introduction of a direct payment to fund alternatives to council run care, known as self-directed care.

The Scottish government said it would provide £23m across three years to local councils to implement the bill.

But council umbrella body Cosla said implementing the bill could cost between £50m-£90m over three years.

Mr Matheson said that self-directed support must not be, or be seen to be, "a cover for cuts".

The minister said he acknowledged some people had concerns about the cost of the bill, but insisted hew was confident that the transformational funding which was being allocated to local authorities, providers and advice and support organisations would be sufficient to support a significant improvement in the provision of self-directed support options across Scotland.

Health Committee convener and Labour MSP Duncan McNeil said the move to self directed support would be a "seismic change" and agreed it was vital that the process was not seen as "camouflage for cuts" and the Scottish government must ensure the system is "robust".

Mr McNeil said it was "unacceptable" for Cosla to have come to the committee and not stand up its argument over funding, leaving the committee unsure if the funding gap was real or imaginary.

Neverltheless he welcomed the legislation as did Labour's health spokesperson Jackie Baillie and Nanette Milne on behalf of the Conservatives.

Ms Milne said the principles of the bill should be made more explicit on the face of the bill, with a statement of intent further emphasising independent living added to it.

She said that despite concerns over aspect of the bill, overall there was a consensus that the legislation would be widely welcomed across Scotland.

MSPs unanimously agreed to support the general principles of the bill at decision time.

The second part of the debate can be viewed here:

Social Care Bill debate 2


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