The SNP and Scottish Labour have set out their policies to improve care for the elderly, ahead of the Scottish Parliament election.
Nicola Sturgeon’s party has pledged to abolish charges for non-residential social care, while Labour says care workers need a pay rise similar to the one received by NHS staff.
The First Minister said the move to make social care free would be part of the National Care Service, which the SNP aims to implement early in the next Parliament.
During a visit to a pharmacy on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon will say: “Fundamentally, if for someone’s care they require the care services of things like meals on wheels, community wardens, lunch clubs, supported living assistance or community alarms and laundry – then they should not be charged for them.
“Reforms that were already important before the pandemic have become absolutely essential.
“For the staff delivering social care services, we’ll never be able to thank them enough for their work during the pandemic.
“We’re delivering them a £500 thank-you bonus – but we want to go further.”
Labour leader Anas Sarwar said care workers are being offered a pay rise of 20p, something he branded “shameful”.
He said Labour MSPs will fight for an immediate rise to £12 per hour and a commitment to work to increase this further to £15 per hour.
“Social care staff have put themselves at risk to support our most vulnerable throughout the pandemic,” Mr Sarwar said.
“The SNP’s disregard of their heroic efforts is shameful, and we cannot continue to neglect this dedicated workforce.
“They are worth so much more than the 20p increase offered by the SNP.
“By electing Labour MSPs we can ensure this is put back on the agenda and we can fight for fair pay for care workers.”