Angus MacDonald backs SNP call for clarification on Labour's national care agency implications
Monday, 08 November 2010 17:29
SNP Candidate fro Falkirk East, Councillor Angus MacDonald has backed Falkirk Council’s SNP Group Housing and Social Work spokesperson, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn who has written to New Labour Leader in Scotland, Iain Gray seeking clarification of the implications flowing from his announcement at the recent New Labour Party conference that if New Labour win next year’s Holyrood elections they would set up a National Care Agency to deal with all aspects of care in the community.
Cllr Meiklejohn is seeking clarity on the implications for Falkirk Council Homecare and MECS staff as well as service users after receiving representation from worried council employees concerned for their future and the future of the services they deliver locally.
Said Councillor Meiklejohn,
“At present it is local authorities who assess local people’s needs and often deliver the required services such as Home Care and MECS themselves.
If an unelected and centralised national care agency is to be established, as outlined by Iain Gray at the recent New Labour conference in Oban the question from staff want answered is, what will happen to the hundreds of local jobs currently performed by Falkirk Council care staff?
Clearly there will be no requirement for Falkirk Council to employ Home Care Assistants, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers and the likes if their responsibilities are to be performed by staff employed by the national care agency. .
Labour need to tell these people what will happen to their employment and what changes will be made to their terms and conditions if they transfer out of council employment if the level of savings outlined by Mr Gray are to be realised.”
The SNP are also demanding to know what the implications are for service users. Cllr Meiklejohn went on to say,
“Although services users are now paying hefty charges for the use of services such as Home Care and MECS courtesy of the current Labour / Tory coalition administration in Falkirk, previous SNP Administrations have abolished charges for essential services.
"If New Labour get their way then that option of making these services free in the future will be removed from local politicians and instead we will see a steady growth in charges as those responsible will not have to face the local consequences of their actions.
"I hope that this ill thought out power grab from New Labour will been seen for what it is, yet another attack on the public sector workers who have delivered care services to vulnerable people for many years.”
Backing Cllr Meiklejohn's comments, Councillor Angus MacDonald said:
"I look forward to seeing the response from Labour as it is clearly a concern to both Council employees and service users that local control and accountabiltiy of all aspects of care in the community will be wrenched from the Council if Labour get their way. The proposal for a National Care Agency is of course part of Labour's uncosted wish-list, so we'll wait and see what comes back from Labour should they attempt to clarify their ill thought out proposal."