Labour and Tories put Falkirk bottom of care league

Cecil Meiklejohn

Kinship Carers in the Falkirk Council area are the poorest paid carers in Scotland under the current Labour / Tory Coalition Administration of Falkirk Council.

Kinship Carers are family members who look after the children of other family members and, according to the SNP, save Falkirk Council millions of pounds in care costs the council would have to meet if they became responsible for the care of these children.

The SNP Government pledged to establish a Kinship Care Allowance in their 2007 manifesto and this year paid Falkirk Council £336,000 in grants to establish a scheme of payment.

In a fierce debate within Falkirk Council the Labour /Tory Administration pushed through a figure of £30 per week, one of the lowest in Scotland if not the lowest. Government policy is to encourage local government to match the level of Kinship Care payments with the equivalent Foster care Allowance.

SNP Housing and Social Work spokesperson, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, moved that the figure should be £60 with an objective of reaching equality with Foster Care levels of payment as soon as possible.

She said,

“Paying a realistic level of Kinship Care Allowance is an investment for Falkirk Council as each child taken into care by the council can cost up to £200,000 a year to look after.

Our research with other local authorities who have set a level of payment is that Falkirk are the lowest payers in Scotland. Some councils have yet to seta figure but of those who have none are as low as the £30 per week Falkirk proposes to pay to Kinship Carers.

This is both unfair and unwise as some Kinship Carers will actually receive a cut in the payments made to them by the council.

The failure of the council’s Labour / Tory leaders to manage the Social Services budget properly, current predications are for a £4.1m overspend this year, is one of the main reasons why Falkirk’s Kinship Carers are getting a worse deal than anywhere else in Scotland.

I do not believe that those who assist the council in such a situation should be punished for the incompetence of the current council leadership.”

Councillor Meiklejohn was supported by SNP Group Leader, David Alexander, who had Administration Leader, Linda Gow, in his sights over what the SNP chief described as “double standards”.

He said,

“As one of Falkirk Council’s delegates to the local government umbrella organisation, Cosla, I see two Linda Gows.

The first is her persona at Cosla where the Concordat agreement between local and national agreement has been confirmed on three separate occasions unanimously.

The Concordat commits Falkirk Council to a higher level of Kinship Care Payment Scheme than that in place in return for various benefits that this Administration have enjoyed.

Despite this Cllr Gow has stated locally that she will ignore the Concordat agreement.

In anyone’s language that is hypocrisy of the worst kind.”

Local Authority Rate of weekly payment
Clackmannan Council £40 to £80
Dumfries & Galloway Council £45
Edinburgh £75 to £93
Falkirk Council £30
North Ayrshire Council £55
Perth & Kinross Council £40  to £111
West Dumbarton £48
West Lothian £72 to £144


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