Moray continuing to charge for community care services will be “morally unfair” and the Council should copy the lead from elsewhere in Scotland and axe the care tax.
That was the view being expressed at Moray Council by Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Sean Morton, who is pressing for the abolition of community care charges in the region.
On Wednesday Councillor Morton proposed a motion that the local authority investigate the merits and costs of abolishing community care charges. Currently anyone under the age of 65 in receipt of community care can be assessed on their ability to make a contribution towards that care.
The Labour councillor’s motion was put in place in reaction to moves by the ruling administration to reject his proposal that charges imposed on day centre users, learning disabled and people with mental health issues be reversed.
Councillor Morton said: “We proposed this motion because we were trying to work with councillors to tinker round the edges in all good faith, trying to stop the new charges on people who weren’t being charged before.
“Moray Labour already has a policy to axe care tax – to scrap community care charges.
“When we realised even our modest attempt at change would be rejected by the administration we decided to call for a root and branch review of the pros and cons of community care.
“We need wholesale change – we thought the council should debate that. We wanted councillors to read all the merits and costs for themselves and decide if it’s moral to be charging people who need help, through no fault of their own, to get up in the morning, to eat and take part in daily life.
“We would do what Fife Council did – axe care tax.”
However, Councillor Morton’s bid failed as he could not gain support from other opposition groups. He said: “We don’t think that’s moral or fair and we think it’s a breach of human rights.
“Anyone could be hit with these charges at any time because we never know what’s round the corner. With the help of the SNP, the opposition parties could have forced a debate on this.
“But the SNP opposed even debating and end to this unfair tax on the sick and disabled.
“Given that all they ever do in this council is say no, without a plan of their own, we now know what the N in SNP stands for – they’ve become the Scottish No Party.
“Well, with or without them, we’ll continue our fight for those who need our help.”