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Hepburn demands Home Care price increase answers

Written by Scott Campbell.
 
 
 
 
 
Published at 00:00 GMT on Sunday, August 14th, 2011.

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CUMBERNAULD and Kilsyth's SNP MSP, Jamie Hepburn has quizzed North Lanarkshire Council over claims that bills for some peoples' home care have risen by almost 50%.
 
Jamie's questions come after a local constituent contacted him suggesting that his wife's North Lanarkshire Council home care service bill rocketed by almost 50%.
 
North Lanarkshire Council have said that home care prices are means tested "to ensure the most vulnerable and needy people in our communities receive these essential services."
 
A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council told us: “North Lanarkshire Council provides £30m home support for its residents each year. Our services are means tested to ensure the most vulnerable and needy people in our communities receive these essential services.
 
“We carry out an affordability assessment and as part of this we maximise the individual’s income before considering applying charges. Where the weekly income (after deducting rent, mortgage, council tax and water charges), is £160 per week or less for a single person, or £244 per week for a couple, we will not make a charge for the service. As a result of this 75% of 5,200 people receiving home support don’t pay anything for the service.
 
“Where the weekly income is above the thresholds, any charge will be limited to 38% of the excess income above the threshold, compared to a Scottish average of 50%.
 
“To put charging into context the money the council receives in terms of home support charges is around £1.2m compared to the £30m spent on providing the service.”

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Commenting, Jamie said: “This recent hike in homecare charges is an obvious cause for concern for service-users across Cumbernauld and Kilsyth—concern which I obviously share. It is alarming that the cost for some has increased by as much as 50%.
 
“Considering North Lanarkshire Council is operating on a surplus of £16.8 million from the last financial year, there can be no justification for this excessive increase in home care costs—a cost which is to be absorbed by those most in need.
 
“I will continue to press the Council on this matter to ensure that the voices of care service users across Cumbernauld and Kilsyth are heard”
 
Mr Hepburn has written to North Lanarkshire Council regarding the issue.

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