Taxpayer spending on providing home care for older people has increased by millions in the North-east during the last nine years, new figures show.
The Scottish Government has published statistics revealing Aberdeen City Council spent £21.5 million on such services in 2015/16 compared with £13.3m in 2006/7.
In the same period, the figure rose from £10m to £19.8m at Aberdeenshire Council and from £5.2m to £10.3m at Moray Council.
There was a drop from £7m to £4.7m at Angus Council.
According to the report, the reasons for the combined £23.1m increase in expenditure at three of the four North-east local authorities could be positive.
This is, the Scottish Government report said, because people are living longer and due to the fact there has been “a move away from long-term care provided in hospitals and care homes towards care being provided in people’s own homes for as long as possible”.
Home care has been provided for free in Scotland since 2002 and the onus is on local councils – and the newer health and social care partnerships – to pay for it using Scottish Government funds.
Holyrood said it is providing extra financial support to partnerships and will continue to do so, in an attempt to ensure other budgets within councils and health boards are not compromised.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “We want older and vulnerable people to be able to stay at home or in a homely setting within their own communities for as long as possible.
“Free personal and nursing care is ensuring we can offer them the support they need to make that a reality.”
Highlighting what the Scottish Government has done to support local authorities and health and social care partnerships, she added: “We have invested £500m additional funding over three years directly to partnerships (across Scotland) to support new ways of working.
“On top of this funding, our last budget set out plans to invest £250m per year through partnerships to protect and grow social care services, and a further £107m for social care is being provided from this year.”