Campaign Press Release no. 4 – 9 January 2011

Huge public response to care charges campaign action day!

On Saturday 8 January disabled and older people and their supporters campaigned with banners and flyers in Kingston and New Malden town centres against Kingston Council’s proposals to impose massive increases in charges for social care services.

When shoppers and passers-by were told that the campaigners were protesting against the council’s plans to charge huge amounts for basic care and support for independent living, they queued at the tables to sign the petition. By the end of the day the campaigners had at least 1,000 signatures on the petition which will now be presented to a meeting of the full Council.

The campaign flyer explained that the Council planned to make huge increases to charges for basic care, to enable disabled and older people to wash, dress, eat, drink and use the toilet. The plans include charging people 100% of their disposable income for their care, with the removal of the cap on charges potentially leading to huge charges for people with high care needs. Those with savings above £23,250 would have to meet the full cost of their care. The campaigners pointed out that anyone can become disabled through illness or injury at any time, and old age affects most of us, so the increased charges could potentially affect everyone in the borough.

Seasoned campaigner Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, who joined the action in Kingston, said: ‘I enjoyed it immensely. I was so proud to be part of this brilliant local campaign, which takes me back to the old days of direct action – not quite as exciting as being arrested on Westminster Bridge for holding up the traffic – but not far off! We mustn’t let the Council get away with taking away our human rights to independent living, dignity and respect.’

Ann Macfarlane OBE, another experienced campaigner, reported: ‘I engaged with a group of young people in the Bentall Centre; they were a real treat to talk to.  They were saying that some of their grandparents needed or received support, so there was little need to explain the situation once they’d read the flyer.’

A full report with photos of the event, plus further information about the campaign, is available at the campaign website: www.janeyoung.me.uk

ENDS

Notes for editors

  1. Higher resolution photos of Saturday’s event, including of veteran campaigners Baroness Campbell and Ann Macfarlane OBE, can be provided on request. To view photos available, see the latest news on the campaign website at www.janeyoung.me.uk
  2. Full details of the proposals are available at http://janeyoungme.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/contribution_consultation_letter_december-2010.pdf (Kingston Council’s latest letter and information to users of social care services).
  3. For background information on the proposals and consultation see  http://www.kingston.gov.uk/new_contributions_policy.htm
  4. For full details of the campaign see www.janeyoung.me.uk
  5. Kingston Council’s consultation period initially lasted from 1 October until 31 December 2010 but the campaign secured an extension until 1 February 2011.
  6. The petition will be presented to a meeting of Full Council on 18 January 2011.
  7. The proposals go to Kingston Council’s Scrutiny Panel on 25 January 2011 and the decision will be made at the Council’s Executive on 8 February 2011.