Vulnerable people to lose out

Vulnerable people receiving care will lose out under new plans from Cambridgeshire County Council.

Liberal Democrats on the County Council have expressed concern at the decision to charge people more for the care they receive if they are already receiving Carers Allowances, Disability Allowance or Personal Independence Payments.

“The Council will be taking money away some of the most vulnerable people in society,” said Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, Leader of the Lib Dem group on the County Council.

The proposals were discussed at the Adults Committee on 9th November and voted through by Conservative Councillors.

The paper entitled “Changes to the fairer contributions policy” and which can be found here:  

raises the option of the council including Carers Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments when assessing the amount individuals need to pay towards the cost of their own care.

“I am deeply concerned at the idea that the council would include these allowances when assessing income,” said Lib Dem Leader Lucy Nethsingha.

“The carers allowance is always paid in recognition of the income a family member or other individual looses as a result of their caring responsibilities. Carers are some of the hardest working and least well rewarded members of society, the hours they give caring for relatives save councils like Cambridgeshire millions every year.  That the council should be even considering taking this money away is horrifying.

“We would be taking £27.45 a week from some of the most vulnerable individuals.  This from a Conservative run council which is not willing to ask the wider population pay 50p a week.  We are asking the most in need to pay more, and not sharing the burden of care fairly across society.”

The relevant paragraphs from the paper are below.

  • The existing policy could be amended to allow for additional income to be included within the financial assessment.
  • There are currently 1,306 service users who have been financially assessed who have the high rate of Attendance Allowance (AA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) but are assessed as if they only have the low or middle rate. Of these service users between 500 – 800 are assessed to make a contribution. If the higher rate of these benefits were included in the financial assessment, you could expect a relevant service user’s contribution to increase by £27.45 per week. Therefore, the additional income of between £713,700 and £1,141,920 could be achieved.
  • For the purpose of this calculation, we have only included the service users who are currently assessed to make a contribution. However, it is possible that by changing the policy, some nil charge customers may be asked to make a contribution and therefore further additional income may be obtained.
  • Consideration should be given to the impact that this would have on the service users whose contribution would increase by £27.45 per week and who are using this money for additional care and support over and above that provided by the Council. This may also have an impact on debt, if service users feel unable to manage to pay the increase in contributions. 

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