Care charges push onto elderly

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to make more of Suffolk's elderly and vulnerable people pay for care have been pushed through despite a last-ditch attempt to halt the idea, it was revealed today.

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to make more of Suffolk's elderly and vulnerable people pay for care have been pushed through despite a last-ditch attempt to halt the idea, it was revealed today.

Currently, up to 90per cent of people in the county requiring care at home get it for free - but bosses at Suffolk County Council estimate more charging for services could generate upwards of £1.5million a year for council coffers.

They claim it is vital to trim the cost of the service because of budget pressures.

Under the council's home care programme, people deemed suitable are given help with things like getting up and dressed, getting washed, eating and taking medication.


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Opponents argue council funds have just been boosted by a government grant that was £7m more than expected, rendering the changes no longer a necessity.

The shake-up, coming in from April next year, will mean only around 45pc of the current 4,000 people requiring care at home will continue getting it for free.

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Labour councillors at Suffolk County Council attempted to get the new policy reviewed but the Tory administration was able to push the changes through following a vote.

Graham Newman, Suffolk County councillor responsible for adult and community services said: "It is very frustrating that the Labour group is playing politics once again with this issue.

"The simple fact is that virtually every council in the country operates a charging scheme similar to the one we are proposing, including all others in the east of England.

“Not only this, the government openly expects us to charge for these services and has moderated our funding accordingly.”

Cllr Kevan Lim, deputy leader of the Labour group, said: “This policy will take a slice from the incomes of thousands of Suffolk's most old and vulnerable, including those on income support and disability allowance, and force over 2,500 people to pay charges for the first time.

“The Labour group would use some of Suffolk's higher than expected government grant to avoid this unnecessary and unfair policy."

Cllr Kathy Pollard Lib Dem group leader said: “Even if this extra money isn't enough to do everything they would like to, it must surely make them question a policy as controversial and targeted at the vulnerable as this?”

n How will you be affected by these changes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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