Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor, Peter Black has criticised the consultation process around proposals to introduce charges for day care in Swansea and called on the ruling Labour Group on the council to abandon their plans to penalise older people and younger adults in this way.
The proposal, which is tucked away at the centre of the council’s on-line budget consultation, is to charge older persons £40 a day up to a maximum of £70 a week and younger adults, £50 a day up to a maximum of £70 a week to attend the authority’s day centres. The consultation was posted over the busy Christmas period, which means that respondents will have less than the six week period to give their views and can only be responded to on-line, despite the fact that many of the elderly people using day centres will not have access to a computer.
Councillor Peter Black, who chairs the Council’s Adult Social Services Scrutiny Performance Panel, has arranged for that committee to scrutinise the proposals at their 16th January meeting. He believes that many people who rely on these day centres for companionship and care will be put off by the charges, leading to a number of the centres closing.
“It was only a few years ago that proposals were being mooted to close some of these day centres,” he said. “this charge could put enough people off attending them so as to bring about that outcome by default. I am concerned that those older people and younger adults who rely on these centres for care, support and companionship and whose attendance can give much needed respite to their carers, will no longer be able to afford to attend.
“The consultation talks about means-testing but gives no detail as to how that will be carried out or what criteria will be applied. Means-testing can be intrusive and expensive to implement, off-setting any revenue the council may get from these charges. I am also concerned that the consultation is being carried out over the Christmas period and that those responding to it need to do so on-line. Many of the people who will be affected by these charges will not have access to a computer to give their views.
“In my view the council should abandon these proposals. They are unjust and are targeted at a vulnerable group of people who may lose services they depend on as a result.”
Note to Editor: Swansea Council are proposing to introduce new charges for:
Day Services for younger adults:
- Fforestfach (Toronto Place, Gorseinon Project and Ty Lafant)
- CREST, Cwmbwrla
- West Cross
Day Services for older people::
- Rose Cross
- Norton Lodge
- St Johns
- Ty Waunarlwydd
- Llys y Werin
- Ty Conway
Their online budget consultation can be found here: http://www.swansea.gov.uk/budgetsurvey.