RBK has a fine reputation as a progressive Council with concern for Social Care going back to 1988 when Roy Taylor and Jenny Webb pioneered one of the country’s first Independent Living Schemes. As a committee member of Mind in Kingston for 34 years I was well aware of their concern for the mentally ill in the Borough.
The new scheme as proposed seems manifestly unfair to disabled as opposed to non–disabled people. It has beeen drafted in a hurry to meet the needs of the Government who wish to intrduce the scheme by April 2011. There has been insufficient time for adequate discussion with the group most closely affected. The Government’s Spending Review has shown that cuts in services need to be made but surely not at the expense of the most vulnerable elderly and disabled.
Those of us who have saved carefully over the years from our earned incomes for a retirement on pension, with hopes to enjoy holidays and to leave something to our children, will find life very difficult if in the future we are to pay100% of the charges from the Council after we have had to pay the costs of a full-time carer, agency fees as well as the higher costs of feeding, heating and lighting and other added day to day expenses of an additional person in the house, costs not incurred in residential homes. Also, it should be considered that in these days of longer life expectancy the funds from savings are likely to be liquidated much more speedily.
It is surely necessary for the council to release financial forecasts and budgets to show where overall costs can be reduced to ensure that the elderly and disabled are not disadvantaged by by these arbitrary proposals.