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Saturday, July 09, 2011

It's going up by HOW much?

When the horror stories start coming, and they don't stop, you know it's time to worry. The latest I have heard about is of a woman in Dumfries who previously paid £21 towards her care at home, per week. She has now found out that her charges are being increased to £1,464 a week. That is not a typo. She now has to pay more per week than she previously paid per year.

This increase of 6,870% was reported in the Dumfries and Galloway Standard and Women's Views on News, and Linda Murray, the woman involved, has been told that she is already £17,000 in arrears.

Ms Murray told the Standard, “I just don’t understand how they expect me to pay this. It’s enormous. It’s over a thousand pounds every single week. That money was to last me the rest of my life. It won’t even last me the rest of the summer.”

Council Leader Ivor Hyslop said,
"We took the decision to change the charging policy to ensure that we continued to provide the services we have been delivering.

"The way we have approached this also ensures that those who cannot afford to pay are still protected.

"We have people checking that a mistake has not been made [in this case].

"When the decision was taken, it was reported to us that rises would be up to four or five times. It is my understanding that one in five people receiving services will see their bills rise."
But an increase of four or five times the amount previously paid is bad enough. Linda Murray's has been increased by around 70 times!

To clarify, she used to pay £1,134 per YEAR, she is now being asked to pay £1,464 per WEEK.

My own council is looking into more charges for social care, which will affect me. The above story does not inspire me with the confidence that the council materials I've received on the subject are trying to suggest I should have.

(Cross-posted at Where's the Benefit?)