Campaign Press Release No. 1 – 29 November 2010

Consultation on care charges increase is a ‘farce’

Disabled and older people and their organisations have condemned Kingston Council’s consultation, on its proposal to strip income and life-long savings from people by increasing charges for social care, as a complete shambles.

The consultation period runs from 1 October until 31 December but letters were not sent to those affected until mid-November and there has been limited publicity. The information provided has been confusing and inconsistent and people have been unable to understand how the proposed changes would affect them.

Spokesperson Jane Young said ‘the vast majority of disabled people are unaware of how much of their income and savings they stand to lose as Kingston seeks to charge huge sums for their basic care and support. Kingston Council needs to tell people straight

In a letter to Leader of the Council Derek Osbourne, Kingston’s Local Involvement Network is asking the Council on behalf of local residents and organisations to extend the consultation into 2011 and to produce much clearer information.

Mary Clark, who recently stepped down as a Conservative councillor, said: ‘The general public have absolutely no idea of the impact these proposed new charges will have on persons receiving care’.

Pat Page, a user of care services, told us: ‘The consultation process has been bordering on being a farce. I don’t believe everyone knows what it all means…. it was only because I am on email that I, like others, learnt of the proposal. At the consultation event the standard of presentation was poor; the information was not clear and concise.’

Those who have studied the proposals report that they will dramatically increase the amount people are charged for care at home. The proposals include an intention to take up to 100% of a person’s available income to pay for their care with no upper limit on the levy.

Ali Kashmiri, a user of care services, stated: ‘The intention to claw back 100% of people’s income to pay for vital care and support will discourage people from using the services they need. This will lead to health breakdowns and use of more expensive services in the long term. The policy would also be contrary to the council’s obligation to safeguard vulnerable adults.‘

To support the campaign against Kingston’s proposals, sign the online petition at http://epetition.kingston.public-i.tv/epetition_core/community/petition/1319

You can find out more and give your views at www.janeyoung.me.uk

ENDS