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9 June 2015, 07:13
Ken Macintosh has pledged to scrap charges for social and personal care if elected Scottish Labour leader.
In his first policy announcement since launching his leadership bid last week, Mr Macintosh will tell the Scottish Pensioners Forum Annual Conference in Kilmarnock that he would campaign to abolish the 'care tax' - charges by local authorities for a range of non-residential social care services which can be over £20 an hour in some areas.
Mr Macintosh will call on the Scottish Government to do more to help the reported 14,000 people in arrears over care charges.
The Eastwood MSP will tell the conference: "Too many people in Scotland are still facing poverty or loneliness in old age. We can bemoan and resist the welfare cuts agenda but we can do so much more using the powers of the Scottish Parliament.
"Scottish Labour worked with others in the first years of devolution to introduce two of the most successful and liberating of policies for older people - the free bus pass and free personal and nursing care. We need to return to that positive agenda.
"We should ensure the decisions we take here in Scotland reflect the values we hold and the kind of caring compassionate society we want to see. A good start would be to abolish the care tax.''
Mr Macintosh will also say that under his leadership, Scottish Labour will be a constructive opposition at Holyrood which will hold the SNP Government to account and also "work with Scotland to positively influence the government agenda''.
He is competing with current deputy leader Kezia Dugdale for the job, and at the weekend he called for councillors to have more say within the party as he set out further proposals for reform.
Mr Macintosh said the next Scottish deputy leader should be drawn from local government as part of efforts to hand control of the party back to its members.
The MSP has already advocated a move from the current electoral college system for electing its leaders to a "one member, one vote'' model, as well as the introduction of open primaries.
He said the reforms were necessary to win back the trust of voters in Scotland after the party was left with just one MP north of the border in May.