Elderly care to come under spotlight

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to make the elderly and vulnerable pay for care are set to be challenged at a meeting being held tomorrow.Currently around 80 per 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 up to £2million a year for council coffers.

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to make the elderly and vulnerable pay for care are set to be challenged at a meeting being held tomorrow.

Currently around 80 per 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 up to £2million a year for council coffers.

Kevan Lim, deputy leader of the Labour group at Suffolk County Council, is urging a re-think claiming the proposed shake-up has not been properly thought through and will have an adverse impact on the old and vulnerable.

He said: “We introduced the existing policy four years ago when the government advised all local authorities to review their charging structure.

“That was done by all-party agreement following a four-month review.

“There are currently 5,000 people in the county getting care for free and the Conservatives supported that.

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“The proposed changes mean the majority of people will pay - most of those people are the poorest in Suffolk.

“It is fundamentally wrong and, once you take into account the cost of collecting the money, is not going to produce that much income.”

Graham Newman, portfolio holder for adult and community services, told The Evening Star the additional charges are necessary to balance the books and would be means tested.

He said: “Nobody would want to do this but we are being forced down this route.

“We have to find more efficiency savings.

“It is true that some people will have to pay a bit more but people with complex care requirements or with not very much money at all will pay very little extra if anything at all.”

He added that the cost of the nine staff necessary to implement the policy would cost £250,000, meaning an expected £1.75million would be generated to support services.

The issue will be discussed at a full meeting of Suffolk County Council tomorrow.

n> Are you concerned by the prospect of having to pay for care? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

For too long the older generation has been overlooked as people suffer care homes closing, dwindling pensions, hospital wards closing, and not enough carers in the community.

The Evening Star has launched its Golden Years series with the aim of making sure that the older years really are Golden Years.

We will:

Listen to our older generation.

Fight for dignity in old age.

Make sure older people get the voice they need to raise the topics that matter to them.

Crusade on issues affecting pensioners.

Inform older people about the help and assistance available for them.

Dig out those inspirational stories that show old age need not be the barrier to a fulfilled and active life.

N Champion achievement

If you have a story for Golden Years, call James Marston on 01473 324731, e-mail james.marston@eveningstar.co.uk or write to him at The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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