Hertfordshire County Council eyes care service charges for people on benefits

PUBLISHED: 15:39 04 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:46 04 October 2017

Hertfordshire County Council

Hertfordshire County Council

Archant

Hertfordshire County Council has announced it could potentially charge people on benefits more money to access care services.

The Conservative-run local authority said it will consult residents on a “fair charging process” for benefit recipients in relation to their home care, day care and transport services.

It could affect up to 8,000 people county-wide who receive Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (Care Component) and Personal Independence Payment.

They currently get the services for a reduced price, which under the proposals would rise.

Colette Wyatt-Lowe, executive member for adult care and health, said: “In light of financial pressures on the council, we are faced with some tough choices and want to protect the services we offer.

Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe from Herts County Council.Councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe from Herts County Council.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that we are helping those people who need our support the most, so 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.”

The county council’s consultation will run between October 3 and December 31, before a final decision is made by Cabinet on February 19 next year.

Several focus groups will also be held to discuss the proposed changes, including one at Welwyn Garden City Library in The Campus on November 8, between 6pm and 7.30pm.

Cllr Wyatt-Lowe added: “We understand that changes can be unsettling, but would like to reassure service users, families and carers that any approach adopted will continue to provide local, high-quality services to all those people who need our support.

“We will be sure to take on board the views of our service users during this consultation process and before making any decisions, so if you are sent a feedback form please fill it in and send it back to us.”

Residents can also provide feedback online at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/chargingconsultation.

*Email your thoughts to letters@whtimes.co.uk

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