Page last updated at 17:48 GMT, Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Scottish Parliament

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson hailed the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Bill as a significant step forward for social care in the future, before MSPs unanimously passed the legislation on 28 November 2012.

The bill aims to ensure that people can live as independently as possible, enabling them to participate in their communities.

It will introduce a direct payment to fund alternatives to council run care.

The minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson said the new system would give people more control over the support they needed.

During the debate on the bill, Mr Matheson said these new measures ensure that independent living is at the very heart of this legislation.

He told MSPs: "This legislation forms one part of a much wider strategy to deal with an ageing population.

"We will play our part as a government in delivering more control to people over their care.

"This will foster greater flexibility and creativity in the sector and it marks a significant step forward for social care in the future."

Labour welcomed the bill, with their health spokesperson Jackie Baillie describing it as an empowering bill.

Ms Baillie said she believed the legislation would mean "better outcomes" for those in Scotland who require care and support.

She did however express disappointment that a "postcode lottery" was still being played out when it comes to how much services cost.

That welcome from the Labour benches was mirrored by those in the Scottish Conservative Party.

Their party's spokeswoman, Nanette Milne, had warm words for the new measures.

Ms Milne was keen to point out that this would require a "culture change" from councils, adding some would meet that challenge and some may not.

She stressed the implementation of the bill would need to be overseen and penalties put on those local authorities who were not carrying the new principles forward.

The bill's provisions include:

  • the introduction of the language and terminology of self-directed support into statute
  • the provision of a clear framework in law
  • the imposition of firm duties on local authorities to provide the various options available to citizens - making it clear that it is the citizen's choice as to how much choice and control they want to have
  • the widening of eligibility to those who have been excluded up to this point, such as carers
  • the consolidation, modernisation and clarification of existing laws on direct payments

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