Pembrokeshire day care centre charges plan is rejected

PLANS to charge people attending day care centres in Pembrokeshire have been rejected by councillors.

The county council’s overview and scrutiny committee did not agree with a proposal to charge £23.70 per day for day care activities when it met on Thursday, March 27.

Currently there is no charge levied on people using day care centres, but due to severe budget cuts, the local authority had put forward the proposed charge in a bid to generate an additional £350,000 a year.

Members of the committee voiced concerns about the impact the fee could have on vulnerable people and their families.

Councillor Viv Stoddart said: “The consultation responses showed that the majority of people attended centres twice a week. For those deemed eligible to pay, this would be nearly £50 a week out their modest incomes-hitting those people who had been frugal and saved for their retirement."

She added that the consultation responses showed that a third of users were unsure that if a charge was introduced, they would continue to attend centres, and a quarter said they would no longer use the service.

Councillor Kilmister said that increasing social care charges for non-residential services could lead to a lower take up of services and a consequent loss of income to the council, exactly the opposite of what was intended.

Councillor Tessa Hodgson stated her concerns about the unpaid army of carers who would be affected by the increased bills.

The committee did agree with proposals to raise charges for home care services to £14.60 an hour, and meals on wheels in social day centres to £4.34 per meal.

A report on charges for non-residential social services will be discussed by Cabinet on Monday, April 7.

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