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The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland has discovered new evidence that charges for social care are still rising at five times the rate of inflation. New figures published by the Scottish Government earlier this week show that councils now generate almost £50 million from people living on state benefits to subsidise their statutory duties.
While the amount collected in charges has reduced in homecare, this has been more than compensated by the rise in Direct Payments and reflects a more general move of people from getting homecare organised by the council to arranging for themselves directly.
This 10% increase over the last financial year shows an accelerating increase in the amount councils take from people with disabilities from a 4% increase in 2011 and a 7% increase in 2012.
|All Scotland - Income from charging Social Work Clients - all figures £000s|
|Year ending||2010||2011||2012||2013||Increase over
the last year
|TOTAL INCOME FROM CHARGES TO SERVICE USERS||40322||42571||46153||51610||10.6%|
At a time when disabled people are being hit by cuts in services and changes to welfare benefits, its is hard to see how councils justify this. We think this will continue to drive more and more people out of the care system who can arrange care for themselves at cheaper rates.
Forth Valley Stronger Together group was really worried earlier this year when they found out that Stirling Council was planning more increases in its charging for social care services. Councillors were being told that they should raise the Care Tax rate from 75% to 100%. Already the tax rate in the area was one of the highest in the country but the new proposals would leave people in poverty.
The group talked about the matter and then wrote to the council saying this was in an increase of over 30% of the level of charges that people would have while their income would only go up by 2%. It simply wasn't fair.
The councillors listened and Stirling Council rejected plans to raise the charges by this level. Overall charges may still be going up in Scotland but at least we have had a bit of sense from Stirling.
Keith Lynch from People First Scotland will be the star of a short radio announcement about Hate Crime in Scotland that will play across the country in early March.
Radio Clyde, Radio Forth, North Sound and ten other radio stations will regularly play the short piece from the 3rd of March for a week. Keith will be talking about his and his wife's experience with Hate Crime on an Edinburgh housing estate. He will urge everyone to take this seriously and to report such crimes to the police. There should be no excuses for making people's lives a misery.
The announcement will also feature contributions from Police Scotland and Stonewall, the campaigning Charity for gays and lesbians.
A PATIENT who died days after he was denied hospital care because he had a learning disability has sparked a major review of NHS services in Lothian.
The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland said the man was the victim of discrimination after a Royal Infirmary consultant declined to carry out an in-depth medical investigation because he assumed it would have caused the patient distress or led to a “deterioration of his behaviour”.
The investigation, the results of which have been sent to NHS boards across Scotland and are being examined by the Scottish Government, also found that poor communication between health professionals had meant vital warning signs that could have pointed doctors to diagnose the fatal condition were missed.
Dr Donald Lyons, chief executive of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, said the conduct of the consultant who sent the patient home from hospital had struck a nerve with him personally.
Recently the LDAS coordinator delivered a short presentation to the service users and carers group in South Lanarkshire on issues that need to be considered in the development of Self Directed Support by local authorities.
What the Scottish Government says
It has passed the Self Directed Support Act 2013 which
- Sets out 4 options for the provision of support which the council has a duty to offer
- Duty to offer the choices and act on the person’s choice (adults, carers and children)
- Duty to explain nature and effect of options & to signpost people to information & support
- Power to offer support to carers
New regulations will be published soon
- Specifying categories of people ineligible for Direct Payments
- Allowing easier employment of close relatives
- Stopping any of all charges for carers for any services provided through SDS.
The Act sets out some general principles. It is up to each local council to decide on details