Wakefield: Plans to charge for some care services

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Care services for vulnerable children, disabled people and pensioners in Wakefield could be subject to price hikes.

Council chiefs in Wakefield are considering reducing some allowances and charging for some previously free help from the authority’s adults and children’s services from next year.

The changes are planned as the local authority battles to save £69m over the next four years due to Government funding cuts.

A report to a meeting of the council’s cabinet committee next Tuesday recommends a consultation is held to gather both service users and the public’s views on the proposals.

The council does not currently charge for respite breaks for carers.

The report states: “In order to enable the council to sustain such services, it is now proposed to charge for all services irrespective of whether it is to meet the needs of the carer or service user.”

And the council is proposing to reduce the amount of Disability Related Expenditure payments to people for non-residential services from £20 to £16 per week.

At present, the council doesn’t charge vulnerable families when a child is voluntarily placed in to care, but a weekly charge of £72.90 is now being proposed.

Coun Pat Garbutt, cabinet member for adults and health, said: “We have no choice but to reduce spending and consider charging for services that may have been previously free.

“We have to look at how we can continue running these essential services for the vulnerable and those most in need, in these tough economical times. I urge everyone to look at the proposed changes and have your say on the consultation, we need your views to help us make these difficult decisions.”

The consultation will run for 12 weeks, from November 26 to February 18, and will be carried out in the form of a postal questionnaire to current non-residential service users. It will also be available online for the public to have their say on the suggested changes.

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