A Labour MSP is consulting on a proposed member's bill to abolish charges for people receiving social care services in their own homes.
Central Scotland list member Siobhan McMahon believes that disabled people as well as the elderly living in their own homes are suffering from the impact of increased charges at a time when they are also being hit by benefits cuts and cuts in social care services.
The two key questions raised by her consultation are whether to abolish all non-residential social care charges, in effect treating social care needs in the same way as health care needs; and whether to treat all social care services the same if doing so, or exclude services such as meals on wheels, which provide something that everyone has to do anyway.
"Charging for non-residential social care is increasingly raised with me as an MSP for Central Scotland", Ms McMahon writes in the foreword to her consultation. "I know that many people now find it hard to live a good life with the increasing amounts that they have to pay as a contribution towards their support.
"Local authorities throughout Scotland are faced with hard choices. In order to maintain their services in times of austerity, they have to seriously consider all sources of income but this can have serious consequences for the most vulnerable in our communities if they are hit by a triple whammy of welfare benefits cuts, social care service cuts and increased care charges."
She adds that social care charging may stop many people who need help from taking it up, leading to further social problems.
Ms McMahon proposes to bring a bill forward in the next session of the Scottish Parliament if she is re-elected in May 2016, and if not, that her consultation will prepare the ground for the early introduction of a bill by another MSP.
Click here to view the consultation. Responses are due by 30 January 2016.