Elderly and disabled face charges hike for council support services

IN a bid “to avoid cutting frontline services”, a council is proposing to squeeze an extra �2 million per year out of the elderly and disabled who pay for adult care services in Hertfordshire.

Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) has launched a consultation on proposed changes to its charging policy for non-residential services in adult care, including home care, day care, transport, and meals on wheels.

A questionnaire is being sent out to about 10,000 people across the county who use the services, to gauge their views.

The council claims the proposed changes will bring its charging policy more in line with other areas of the country, and anticipate the move will generate an additional �2 million per year.

Richard Smith, HCC’s executive member for adult care and health, said: “In light of financial pressures on the council, we are faced with some tough choices. We need to raise additional income if we are to avoid cutting frontline services.

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“We think the fairest way to do this is to ask those who can afford it to pay a little more for the services they receive. Every person eligible for a service will be financially assessed to establish their ability to pay, and no-one will be asked to pay more than they can afford.

“We will be sure to take on board the views of our service users before making any decisions.”

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Service users can give their views by emailing ACScharging@hertscc.gov.uk calling 0300 1234044, or writing to ACS Charging Consultation, Rm 239 County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DP.

The consultation runs until October 11, and a final decision will be made by Cabinet on November 29. Any changes will take effect from April 2011.

The proposed changes can be viewed at www.hertsdirect.org/acsconsultations

*Could these proposed changes affect you? Contact The Comet on 01438 866200, email editorial@thecomet.net or leave a comment below.

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