Scotland’s social care system needs to be reformed after the “hell” families and staff have experienced during the pandemic, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have said.
Party leader Willie Rennie has called for a “new deal” for the sector, with a national care service with national standards and adequate funding for services and pay for workers.
In a direct pitch to voters who previously backed the Conservatives, Mr Rennie warned that “bungled reforms” could risk the similar “expensive mistakes of the centralisation of Police Scotland”.
On social care, the Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto calls for national pay bargaining for social care workers and employers to be bound by national standards of fair work.
The party also pledged to scrap charges for care services delivered at home and give relatives of care home residents essential caregiver status to prevent them being separated from loved ones as has happened during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ahead of a campaign visit to Edinburgh, Mr Rennie said: “Scotland’s social care sector needs reform after the hell it has been through in the last year.
“Our reforms are bold and liberal and will attract many people who backed Ruth Davidson at the last election but are not attracted by the leadership of Douglas Ross and Boris Johnson.
“Liberal Democrats will support the establishment of national care service standards, with the funding put in place to meet those standards.
“We will prioritise the establishment of national pay bargaining so that care workers get proper recognition, fair pay and better careers as soon as possible.
“By contrast the Conservatives are backing the SNP’s plans to centralise the social care sector, a move that risks repeating the expensive mistakes of the centralisation of Police Scotland.
“I want Scotland to come together behind a positive programme that puts recovery first, not another set of bungled reforms.”