Fears elderly will pay a heavy price
Fears have been raised an elderly person will be found dead lying behind a door - after the introduction of charges for community alarms.
Councillor Sam Love gave the stark warning when he backed a campaign to scrap the £5 per week charges for the alarms.
He was speaking during this nonth’s Coltness Community Council meeting held in the Carrick Hall.
The community council agreed to launch a campaign to scrap charges for the alarms. They have joned forces with Wishaw Central Community Council in the campaign.
Now the community councils have begun a petition against the £21.66 monthly charge to the elderly and vulnerable.
Dur ing the meeting, community councillors were told that an elderly person is going to pay the ultimate price because they can’t afford the charge.
Coucillor Love said OAPs on a minimum £65 per week state pension can’t afford to pay nearly £25 per month.
He hit out: “People on £65 per state pension can’t afford it and will send the alarms back. There is going to be lives lost because of this.
“We are stepping back in time. Someone on a basic pension can’t afford it. It is as simple as that.
Indpendent councillors John Taggart, and Robert McKendrick who attended the meeting also backed the community council’s move.
Mr Love said: “North Lanarkshire was one of the few councils that did not charge for this service.
“So that is something we should be proud of. We shouldn’t be doing the same as everyone else by bringing in charges.”
Councillor Love, a former convenor of social work and housing, said there was no public consultation over the decision to introduce the charge.
“When I was in charge of the budget there was no charge,” he added.
“So we transferred £160m to social to the JIB (Joint Integration Board, Labour councillors were on the JIB board and they nodded that through. “It should be means-tested.”
Last year the council launched a huge public consultation over services that had to be cut.
Earlier this year, the social work budget was transferred from the council to the Joint Integration Board ( JIB) who agreed the charges.
Councillor Love added: “The consulation proposals by council was that there would be no charge.
“What happens now there is a £5 per week charge. This is the JIB’s decision. I think they have got to look at it. They are only messengers to the public.
“We need to get as many signatures as we can for the petition. The council made a decision when setting the budget after public consulation and I there was no charge. JIB took the social work’s budget and then overturned the decision.
“It was all costed by the council and we can provide that service.”
Councillor John Taggart said: “They handed children’s social work to them on a plate. No reason for it. They should have kept it.”
A spokesman for JIB said: “All public agencies are facing unprecedented pressure on their finances while demand is increasing due, in part, to an ageing population.
“We must be in a position to meet demand while protecting these important high- quality services.
“In the case of community alarms, that means a charge of just 71p per day.”
This is the JIB’s decision. They have got to look at it. They are only messengers . . .