Two weeks ago a special meeting of Falkirk Council’s Housing & Social Care Committee was cancelled when the convenor, Gerry Goldie, resigned sighting proposed cuts as his reason.
Two weeks later Councillor Goldie is posted missing when a report that should have gone to committee comes to the full council meeting on 9 December. The report proposed major changes in the qualifying criteria for social care that will mean hundreds of vulnerable people will have support withdrawn and thousands who receive services such as Home Care and the Mobile Emergency Care Service (MECS) free of charge will be billed in future.
In the Falkirk Herald dated 3 December Labour leader, Linda Gow, bemoaned the fact that Falkirk Council is the only local authority in Scotland that does not charge for such services.
She omitted to mention that it was the SNP who removed the charges for these services before after Labour had sought to target vulnerable people as an income stream.
Leading for the SNP in debate, SNP spokesperson on Housing and Social Care, Cecil Meiklejohn said,
“New Labour and the Tories are united in their abandonment of their social conscience in the case of Falkirk’s elderly and infirm population.
To seek to piggy back their cuts in service agenda on the back of a report intimating that they were receiving and additional £810,000 from the Scottish Government for the funding towards Free Personal Care was beyond belief.
What the SNP gives New Labour and their Tory allies take away and that is a scandal.”
Labour leaders left maverick Independent Councillor to be the main spokesperson for their cuts programme with the Bonnybridge Councillor revelling in the roll of cheerleader for the cuts.
SNP members have pledged to fight the cuts when more details of the budget process for next year are brought forward in February. Said Cllr Meiklejohn
“Labour and the Tories are clearly planning to attack the services the most vulnerable within our community rely upon.
The SNP will fight to preserve the services we put in place because we have retained that sense of decency and fairness that Labour has clearly lost.”