Where income from charges fell by that amount given, it is likely that the Scottish Government’s aims of making people pay a smaller contribution were realised. However, if the income from charges fell by a significantly smaller amount or actually rose overall, then it is likely that the aims had been frustrated.
Social care charging is a complicated financial process and there is a real danger that while one change promises to reduce contribution, other changes introduced at the same time could lead to increased contributions.
We found that
- 16% of council areas had seen their income from care charges fall in line with the amount allocated by the Scottish Government meaning they passed at least all of the benefit on to users (5).
- 6% of councils areas saw a smaller fall in income from care charges than the funding given by the Scottish Government meaning they had passed some of the benefit on to users (2).
- 78% of council areas actually saw a rise in income from care charges despite the additional funding given to reduce care charges meaning that while they implemented the change, they found other ways to increase care charges at the same time. (25).
For example, Angus Council raised their charging tax rate from 66% to 70%, Scottish Borders Council raised their charging tax rate from 23% to 65% and East Lothain Council made everyone with £16,000 or more in savings pay the full cost of their services.
These results demonstrate that the Scottish Government need to be cautious in how it makes any future changes to care charges. If the policy is not designed properly then the outcomes may not be as it desires.