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Date: Tues 19 April 2011

Personalisation should be an option, but not a cheap option, says UNISON

Cuts to social care provision should not be disguised by words such as 'personalisation' and 'reform', says UNISON.

In a speech to the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Ayr this morning, Lilian Macer, the union's Scottish Convenor, said that direct payments must complement a range of public services and should not be used to cover for inadequacies in public provision.

Lilian Macer told the Congress: "The ConDem Government is planning to slice into social care provision and try to cover up the wound with sticking plasters, labelled 'personalisation' or 'reform'.

et's be clear, we have nothing to fear from reform. But when the first question isn't 'how do we make a better service?' but instead 'how do we make a cheaper service?', then it's not about reform, it's about attacking services.

"And it's a low, mean, dishonest trick to try to implement cuts to the services of the most vulnerable people in our society. We believe that everyone should have as much independent, choice and control over their care as they want. But this has to be real choice, not the only option because other facilities and arrangements have been closed or made unavailable."

In moving a motion to ensure vital services provided for older people are protected under these cuts, Lilian Macer told delegates that personalisation should be an option, but not a cheap option.

She continued: "There are those that see personalisation as a wonderful way of fabricating millions out of social care budgets. They think that by passing money to people directly - that they won't notice it's less than they used to rely on. Congress, we need to send a clear message to the politicians and decision makers in Holyrood and council chambers, that they need to accept responsibility for the decisions they take about peoples' lives. And that we expect more from our parliament and councillors, than a rubber stamp on David Cameron's cuts agenda."

ENDS

Notes for editors

1. UNISON is Scotland's largest public services union. For more information on our campaign to protect public services, or to download a copy of UNISON Scotland's manifesto, log on to www.unison-scotland.org.uk/publicworks

2. For further information contact John Gallacher, regional organiser for UNISON, on 07904 342 426 or Trisha Hamilton, communications officer on 0141 342 2877 or 07939 478 461.

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