Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Care Charges Increase

NCC is to consult service users about increases to charges for care services.

Using my skill and judgment I predict that not many of them will be in favour. It's a skill I have, this prediction thing. I don't know where I get it.

The decision makes the valid point that increases will be mitigated by 'Fairer Charging' means testing. The only information I can find on how this works is this leaflet which is out of date but it explains the basis of how it is worked out (it says that more information is available on the website but in fact following the directions only really gets you here which in fact contains less info than the leaflet does but hey ho).

To me it looks like the biggest effect may be caused by the proposal to scrap the maximum weekly charge for home care. Means testing will indeed protect some but not everyone agrees to a financial assessment, presumably seeing the maximum charge as a reasonable price to pay for financial privacy. These people may well be hit hard and some may choose to reduce the level of care they receive as a result. People with savings higher than the qualifying limit for financial assistance may react in a similar way.

Other increases include fees for meals, day care centres and transport.

NCC estimates that it will raise an extra £182k pa from the measure to remove the maximum charge alone and that the changes will raise a total of an extra £485k pa.

Interestingly the decision talks about ensuring that charges do not exceed those imposed by the County Council for care charges. I'm so glad that Tories in the leafy county are indirectly affecting policy by our Labour council. If I was still working at welfare rights I'd be somewhat worried in case this example of shadowing Tory policies spreads any further.

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