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|05 May 2017|
Forth Valley Stronger Together
VULNERABLE people living with disability are struggling to pay the rising costs of care charges at the hands of many of Scotland’s Councils.
Now one group of people in Dumfries & Galloway are determined to fight back and have set up the Right to A Real Life campaign to force their Council to back down.
Earlier this year the Council agreed to lower the income allowance that people aged under 60 would be able to keep before being charged for care services from £177 to £132, while increasing the tax rate on income allowance from 55% to 65%.
For the Council, this means an extra £423,000 a year in income. For those who need care services, it means poverty, deprivation and a reduction in their quality of life as costs soar by as much as 600%.
Many people living with disability, and their families and carers, say they cannot afford to meet these costs and will struggle to survive if they have to go on paying them.
Andrew Doyle, Chair of the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, is one of the people affected by the increased care tax in Dumfries and Galloway and has helped form the Right to A Real Life campaign to force the Council to back down.
Andrew calls the increase an “unfair attack” on those with support needs with people paying between £25 and £35 a week more for their care package. The rising costs are seeing some having to pay up to £70 a week out of their small incomes.
Hi. My name is Andrew Doyle and I need your help to stop an unfair attack on the lives of disabled people, people with mental health conditions and other support needs in Dumfries and Galloway. The local council has started to ask people who need social care to pay between £25 and £35 more per week for their support. This is on top of any money people were paying last year so some people are now paying up to £70 per week for support out of nothing more than their ESA and disability benefits.
We are really worried that many people will stop their support because of the cost and end up being at risk of needing far more help in the future when they get into crisis. This will put more pressure on the NHS which is already stretched, affecting us all. It doesn’t make sense.
For other people, like myself and my wife, it will make life much harder. We already live on a tight budget and rarely go out. In the future, we will have to stay home all the time and have to cut back on food and heating.
The Council says it has been too generous in the past treating all disabled people the same. Now they want people under 60 to pay more. But it’s not true that our council has been the most generous. 19 out of 32 councils in Scotland charge less than Dumfries and Galloway.
I have got together with other disabled people in the area to campaign for the “Right To A Real Life”. We are asking the council to reverse its decision of February 2016 to cut the income allowance for disabled people under 60 and give us equality with people over 60.
I am writing to ask for your help in reversing an unfair decision by Dumfries & Galloway Council earlier this year. The effect of this are only coming to light now and causing great hardship to disabled people under the age of 65 throughout the area.
On 29th February the Council approved a report which changed the income allowance that people under 65 could keep before paying charges. The Income Allowance for people under 65 went down from £177 to £132 per week while the Income Allowance for people over 65 went up from £177 to £195 per week.
At the same time the tax rate that people paid on the extra income they had about the Income Allowance went up from 55% to 65%.
The increase for every disabled person under 65 in Dumfries and Galloway getting social care is between £25 and £40 per week. (65% of the £45 extra plus or minus a little more) This payment will be on top of any existing payments meaning that many people will now be asked to pay as much as £70-80 per week.
The trigger for this change was a payment of £184,000 from the Scottish Government to reduce the amount that disabled people should pay in care charges. In Dumfries & Galloway this became a proposal to increase the amount people would have to pay.
Andy Murray is the latest celebrity to throw his support behind the campaign to end Care Charges.
A great player and a great cause!
Our ambition is for sustained public investment in the development of a modern, nationwide infrastructure of social care support.
The social care support we envision will be an instrument of transformative social change.
It will protect, promote and ensure human rights and tackle inequalities for disabled people and carers. We believe that this infrastructure will also play a critical role in building and sustaining Scotland’s social and economic prosperity.
This infrastructure should facilitate the delivery of a statutory framework of common outcomes, underpinned by clear and consistent nationwide rights and entitlements. In order to reflect and adapt to the varied local contexts across Scotland, we believe the administration and delivery of this social care support should be a local matter, involving local government and other statutory and non-statutory agencies and organisations, disabled people and carers.