Local MSP Jackie Baillie has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling on West Dunbartonshire Council to ‘think again’ on plans to cut the Care of Garden Scheme and impose a Garden Tax on local pensioners.
The SNP-led Council recently announced plans to cut the service and introduce charges for garden maintenance for hundreds of older and vulnerable residents in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Clydebank.
Only those in receipt of disability benefits or a care package from the Health and Social Care Partnership will continue to benefit from the free Care of Garden Scheme.
According to council officials, over 1,100 pensioners and infirm residents who currently receive the service will need to pay £70 per year because they do not meet the strict new eligibility criteria.
Jackie Baillie is now calling on other local and regional MSPs representing West Dunbartonshire to sign her motion to protect free garden maintenance for pensioners and vulnerable residents.
“The decision to impose a £70 Garden Tax on over 1,100 vulnerable residents in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Clydebank is morally wrong and West Dunbartonshire Council should think again.
“The new eligibility criteria do not take any account of low incomes and many pensioners will find it a struggle to pay for the charges. Local councils have been hammered by budget cuts from the Scottish Government but there is no excuse for balancing the books on the backs of our most vulnerable residents.
“I would encourage MSPs from every party in West Dunbartonshire to sign my motion and use their influence to persuade the SNP-led administration to change course.”
Notes to Editors
Motion S5M-09294: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/11/2017
SNP Introduces a Garden Tax for Older and Vulnerable People in West Dunbartonshire
That the Parliament understands with disappointment that over 1,100 older and vulnerable people from West Dunbartonshire will be hit by the introduction of charges for the Care of Garden Scheme, which have been voted through by SNP councillors; notes that the scheme provides garden maintenance for people not capable of doing the work themselves; believes that, under the new criteria, only those in receipt of disability benefits or a care package from the health and social care partnership will be eligible for free service; understands that people will have to make a new application every year, making it harder for vulnerable people to benefit from the service; believes that this action will hurt older and vulnerable people the most, and calls on SNP-led West Dunbartonshire Council to think ag