Cabinet approves increase in social care charges

Merton Council’s Cabinet has agreed to increase the amount it charges for residents who use home or day care in order to safeguard services for the future.
“The decision to raise charges for those who receive care at home or in day centres is absolutely necessary to protect and maintain these essential services. Whilst we accept that no one likes to pay more, after four years of no change, the existing pricing structure is not sustainable. This is despite the council spending an additional £5.5m on social care this year,” explains Councillor Margaret Brierly, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Services.
The updated charging system will put Merton Council in line with the Department of Health’s Fairer Charging Policy. The financial assessment process will become fairer, more consistent, and provide better guidelines of how a charge will be assessed and verified.
New service users will be assessed using the new criteria and those already receiving care will be reassessed. Service users who cannot afford to pay increased charges will not have to do so.
Simon Williams, Director of Community and Housing, said: ‘We have consulted those likely to be affected by these proposed changes. It is important to remember that the proposed changes are not out of line with those in many London boroughs.
“This council is committed to providing value for money for all of our residents and is always seeking to improve the many services we provide on their behalf.’
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Notes to editor:

See Cabinet 23 April 2007 for the Health and Community Care Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel report in full
http://www.merton.gov.uk/council/meetings.htm?lngRecords=1004