Call for free care for under 65s who need it is backed by council

The Franks Law initiative is named in memory of the late footballer Frank Kopel
The Franks Law initiative is named in memory of the late footballer Frank Kopel

Councillors agreed to back a campaign to have free personal care extended to under 65s – but only after an angry exchange between the two main parties.

Labour Councillor Dennis Goldie moved Falkirk Council support the initiative known as ‘Frank’s Law’ named in memory of Falkirk-born footballer Frank Kopel.

He said the national appeal was launched by Frank’s wife, Amanda, after he died from vascular dementia in 2014, six years after being diagnosed at the age of 59, and explained the former Manchester United and Dundee United star had not qualified for that vital level of help simply because he was not old enough.

The Kopel family are lobbying to have that changed.

Mr Goldie’s call for the chief executive to write to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asking her to consider the introduction of ‘Frank’s Law’ so that all those under 65 with serious conditions including dementia, Parkinson’s and other degenerative brain disease are entitled to it was passed by four votes.

An SNP amendment supported the “principles of Frank’s Law” and said there should be a “partnership approach” involving the council and Scottish and UK government’s to fund it, but its call for the council to “declare that given the choice of quality healthcare or weapons of mass destruction this council urges the cancellation of the £200 billion renewal of the Trident weapons system” sparked a row.

Councillor Goldie said: “We’re talking about families who can’t afford this care and being told about nuclear weapons. It’s appalling.”

His colleague Councillor Linda Gow hit out: “I’m astonished to see a reference to Trident on an amendment to the subject of free personal care.”

Tory councillor Malcolm Nicol said: “This issue should be above party politics. I’m horrified this motion has been challenged by such an entirely inappropriate response.”

The SNP later dropped the paragraph, but stood by claims the SNP has provided “real health benefits” to mitigate the impact of Tory austerity.

It also boasted policies such as free prescriptions, abolition of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and the protection of NHS budgets have all contributed to the promotion of the care of vulnerable groups of people - and its commitment to “transform” the NHS with nearly £2 billion of extra investment.