A girl in a wheelchair could end up lonely because of proposed new day centre charges, her grandad claims

The human cost of plans to charge people up to £70-a-week to attend a Swansea day centre has been spelled out.

Furious families fear it will mean wheelchair users will be less likely to be able to afford to go along to Swansea Vale Resource Centre.

And that will stop them meeting new people, which they say can make a big difference to their lives.

The idea to roll out new charges to bring Swansea Council in line with the majority of Welsh councils is now subject to a six-week consultation, which ends on January 26.

A council spokesman said the consultation was prompted by a demand for services at a time of continued austerity implemented by the UK government.

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He said there would be a £70-a-week cap for charges and they would be means-tested so many would pay less.

But the grandfather of one woman who relies upon the service, who did not want to be named, voiced his concerns, saying: “My granddaughter goes to the centre. Up until age 19 disabled people get quite a bit of help but after that age it stops.

“She has come on so much, if she stopped going there she will have no contact with other wheelchair users.”

It follows anger among elderly people in Swansea who face having to pay £40 per day to go to council-run day centres.

The proposed new or increased charges proposed by Swansea Council as they need to save £22 million next financial year and faces growing demand for social care.

Council chiefs have previously said no decisions had been taken.

A raft of charging proposals have been drawn up for the 2018-19 financial year, which gets underway on April 1, as the council looks to save £22 million on its budget.

They also include a rise in domiciliary care costs range from £10.20 to £15 per hour and rising to £17 and £19 per hour the following two years, and a rise in respite care at home costs from £10.20 to £15 per hour, rising to £17 and £19 per hour the following two years.

In a letter to users, the local authority said: “For many years Swansea Council has provided social services day services for free whereas the vast majority of Welsh councils have been charging for them.

“Swansea Council is now proposing to introduce a new charge for day services to adults. This proposal – which is set out in the budget consultation survey – will bring us more into line with the rest of Wales.

Many find the activities on offer at Swansea Vale Resource Centre make a difference and are worried by the proposed fees
“If the proposal is approved, the most anyone will pay is £70 a week and, as a means-tested charge, many will pay less. (This £70 limit is set by Welsh Government and may change in future.)”

A Swansea Council spokesman added: “We are consulting on proposed changes to the charging structure for adult social services. This is against a background of rising demand for services and years of UK government austerity which has seen our budgets cut by millions of pounds, putting severe pressure on much-needed services.

“For many years we have provided social services’ day services for free whereas the vast majority of Welsh councils have been charging for them. This proposal will bring us into line with some of them but the charges are below those set by others.

“If the proposals are approved, the most anyone will pay for any assessed for non-residential Social Care Services they receive is capped at £70 a week and, as a means-tested charge, many will pay less or nothing at all. Swansea Council’s aim is to put services on a sound financial footing to ensure their quality is maintained and the provision is sustainable in to the future.

“No decisions have been made and none will be until the views of service users, their carers, our staff and other organisations have been taken into account.”

Anyone who wishes to have their say on the consultation should go to www.swansea.gov.uk/socialservicescharging

Source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/girl-wheelchair-could-end-up-14133036

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