Local Authorities (Duty of Care and Responsibility)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 2nd June 2011.

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Photo of James Dornan James Dornan Scottish National Party

8. To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers that local authorities have a duty of care and responsibility to the most vulnerable in society. (S4O-00008)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Local authorities are required through a range of legislative duties and powers to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our society are cared for and protected. Those duties and responsibilities exist in respect of child protection, mental health, adult support and protection and social work legislation.

Photo of James Dornan James Dornan Scottish National Party

Does the cabinet secretary share my disappointment at Glasgow City Council’s decision to scrap the concessionary rent scheme, which has benefited hundreds of charities across the city? The move leaves many of them facing the possibility of closure. Will she join me in urging the council to put a moratorium on the decision until its own grants integration scheme comes into force next year to give these charities, which deal with the most needy in our society, a chance to put in place an alternative funding mechanism to ensure their survival?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I very much share James Dornan’s concern and agree with the thrust of his question. I am sure that all members recognise and value the hugely important work that is done across a whole range of areas by charities in Scotland, without which statutory agencies, including local authorities, would find their job much more difficult and expensive to do.

Obviously, the rent concession scheme in Glasgow has played an important part in allowing a number of charities to operate sustainably and I hope that Glasgow City Council will engage with the affected charities to come to a solution that allows them to continue to do their good work. Perhaps it would be in the best interests of everyone concerned if some time were taken to consider alternative solutions.