Thursday, April 23, 2009

"I warn you not to grow old" - Part II

After suggesting to local residents that they might like to pay £584 extra a year for a privatised frozen meals on wheels service, Cllr Sue Anderson now thinks that those elderly people who contribute towards the cost of their council care homes should also pay a little more.

People with physical disabilities UP 26% to £600 per week from £475
People with learning disabilities UP 30% to £800 per week from £617
People with mental health needs UP 12% to £550 per week from £492
Older people with no special needs UP 7% to £525 per week from £490

And if you are an adult that happens to have more than £24,000 in savings, don't even think about short-stay residential care - that will set you back £525, up an eyewatering 350% from the current £146 per week.

These are massive increases in costs and will hit about 2000 people - over half of the residents in the council's care. Far more will be hit by the thumping increases in prices of meals or snacks in the day care centres, which have rocketed by 15%-40% as they aim to set prices comparable with eating in a restaurant or hotel.

And Cllr Anderson thinks this is fair and reasonable.

In almost the same breath, she has told the private sector providers who offer care facilities where the council foots the bill that they can expect to receive a whopping 1% increase in their payments this year - just 49p a day more for a single room. Unsurprisingly, many of them are reconsidering their relationship with the council.

We've seen charges rise across the City - wherever the Tory/Liberal Regressive Partnership can milk the service user, they've been happy to slap on these stealth taxes. The cost of dying in Birmingham is the highest in the West Midlands, as cemetary charges have been quietly hiked over the past few years.

Yet, you wonder if these increases are actually a plan to drive business away from the council and into the private sector. We know that owing to an unfortunate collapse in the property market, the planned construction of new elderly people's villages in Birmingham has been scrapped, even though existing homes are still earmarked for closure. Perhaps the plan is to encourage those users who do currently contribute towards their care to move outside the council system, so reducing the need for the council to provide care for them.

Everyone's a winner.

Apart from the elderly residents.

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