Fears el­derly will pay a heavy price

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE - Gary Fan­ning

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 . . .

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.