A NEW payment threshold for social care in the Borders is at a “best in Scotland level”, a councillor says.

A social care ‘ceiling’, also known as an upper capital threshold, means that anyone with capital above that figure needs to pay for their social care without council support. 

It was agreed at a full meeting of Scottish Borders Council on December 17 that a ‘ceiling’ of £28,500 should be introduced from April 1, rather than the originally suggested £16,000.

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SBC's executive member for economic regeneration and finance, Mark Rowley, described selecting the higher threshold as a “decision from the council to support its residents in the Borders”.

“This may well cost the council more,” said Mr Rowley, a representative for Mid Berwickshire. “It is being more generous to our residents.

“There’s no extra funding available [from the Scottish Government],” he added. “It’s a best in Scotland level. This is a decision from the council to support its residents in the Borders.”

Jen Holland, SBC’s chief operating officer for adult social work and care, said the priority is “to ensure the council can continue to care for as many people as possible across the Borders”.

She added that the £28,500 threshold is the “highest level across the Scottish authorities”.

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The report presented at December’s meeting outlined the proposed changes to social care in the region, with the recommendations put forward supported by councillors.

A £28,500 ceiling is £12,500 higher than guidance from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

The report states that there was “significant opposition” to the proposal to introduce a £16,000 threshold, with 64 per cent of those surveyed objecting.

It continues that there was “an overall view that £16,000 is too low a ceiling and may disadvantage those who have social care support needs but also have a level of independence”.

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