About 150 people, service users and carers, protested today noisily in front of Edinburgh City Chambers against the privatisation of the care and support services. The final decision on the competitive tendering processes is planned to be made on 19th of November. The protesters from SWAN, the Learning Disability Alliance and Save our Homecare Services called to stop the selling off of this vital service to private companies.
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According the the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, Edinburgh council has competitively tendered care and support services for 777 people. The previously advised option for Direct Payment to the support users have been frozen in October, apparently to not upset the tendering process. 170 people asked for Direct Payment so they could stay with their existing provider.
The Edinburgh Support Workers Action Network, the Learning Disability Alliance and the Save our Homecare Services Campaign called on the Edinburgh Council:
- stop blocking Direct Payments to social care service users
- guarantee funding at a reasonable level that allows service users choice
- stop the selling off of vital services to low cost private companies through its tendering processes.
The protest, which started at 4.30pm, was noisy, colourfull and empowering. The police stood at the entrance to the City Chambers but otherwise did not seem to intervene. Signatures were collected for a petition and leaflets handed out to passers-by. The protesters shouted "No more lies", "Direct Payments Now!" and similar.