Carmarthenshire OAP’s fury at care charges

AN Ammanford pensioner has spoken out against Carmarthenshire county council’s plans to introduce charges for non-residential social services for adults which are currently free.

Ann Jones, whose elder sister, Elizabeth Morris, attends the Manor Road adult learning centre, said she was just one of a number of relatives of people with learning difficulties concerned about the move.

“Elizabeth attends Manor Road three days a week,” she said. “It’s a routine for her, she loves the place and the staff are marvellous.

“It’s not that I object to paying charges – it’s the principle of the thing that bothers me. People like Elizabeth are obviously vulnerable and cannot speak up for themselves.

“I know the council has to make cutbacks, but they seem to be able to find money for far less important things than this.”

A county council spokeswoman said that if the proposals were adopted any newcharges would not come into force until July.

And she said that there was still time for people to make their voices heard as the 12-week period of consultation did not end until February 10.

“Current legislation introduced by the Welsh Government allows individual local authorities the discretion to decide what services to charge for – and how much to charge,” she said.

“Under this legislation, anyone who receives a non-residential social care service is offered a financial assessment to determine howmuch they can contribute towards the cost of such care.

“The maximum anyone pays for these services is currently £50 per week, with many paying much less, or having no charge at all.”

Bruce McLernon, director of social care, health and housing, said: “Income from charges forms an important source of funding, which is used to help fund existing social care services and to develop new and innovative services to meet the needs of service users.

“The £50-per-week cap ensures that people with the highest needs receive services that they need irrespective of their income.”