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Outrage over council care home charges

By SPP Reporter

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Charges more than double those in south
Charges more than double those in south

ELDERLY people in the Highlands are paying thousands of pounds more to live in local authority care homes than in many other parts of Scotland.

Figures show that pensioners staying in residential homes run by Highland Council pay an average of £735 per week – an annual £38,220.

It is the fifth most expensive total in Scotland – residents in council homes in Shetland pay the most at £923 per week, while OAPs in Orkney have to stump up £902.

However, in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and West Lothian, residents only pay £315, which works out at £16,380 a year – around 43 per cent of what Highlanders are charged.

Outraged elderly campaigner John Morrison said he was disgusted “self-funding” pensioners had to pay more than double the amount than many other areas.

Self-funding OAPs have to pay for their own care if they have property, assets or savings worth more than £23,500, although the Scottish Government provides a weekly £159 grant.

The council said the high charges were down to the contrasting sizes of its portfolio of homes and higher staff wages.

However, Mr Morrison, a committee member of the Highland Senior Citizens Network, said the sky-high totals, obtained through freedom of information requests, showed elderly care fees were an unfair “postcode lottery”.

The elderly pressure group is to write to government health secretary Nicola Sturgeon and Highland MSPs asking them to investigate the charges.

“It is apparent that the elderly of the Highlands suffer from the additional cost of living due to the north/south divide,” said Mr Morrison.

“I find it incredible that it costs an elderly self-funding resident in a council-run home in the Highlands some £420 per week and £21,840 more per year than for the equivalent care provided in homes run by four south of Scotland rural local authorities.”

* Read more on this story in this week's Northern Times.

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