Still have discretion

IT WAS right for your paper to highlight the steep increases in care charges, which were voted through at council.

IT WAS right for your paper to highlight the steep increases in care charges, which were voted through at council.

There had been consultation about the principles of the Government's 'Fairer Contributions' guidance, but there was neither consultation nor scrutiny of the actual charges proposed by our council.

The details appeared on the council website only on the day of the vote.

Local authorities still have discretion over levels of charging. North Somerset has decided to remove all subsidies associated with services such as home care, day care and supporting people.

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This will put us at or near the top of the league for charging.

As your article highlights, the most dramatic effect is on day care charges. However, as I acknowledged in the debate in council, those on low income and savings under �23,250 are largely protected from the increases. One sentence in your article was a misquote, which could cause alarm.

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A single person over 60 with an income of �200 per week might be charged the �32.70 for one day at the day centre, but for that person to be charged �100 for all their care, the weekly income would need to be around �300 (and over �350 for a couple). The sums can be complicated in individual cases.

Overall, this will affect around a thousand of our service users and the council expects to raise a total of �837,000 extra income from them.

Those with average incomes and above, those who have saved for their retirement and their family carers will be hit. This is distressing enough, but I was anxious that the figure you gave could give rise to panic reaction even in those who would not be affected.

The really sad thing is that either an extra 0.5 per cent rise in council tax (11p a week) or a temporary use of reserves for the Castlewood project would have allowed for much lower rises in care charges.


Congresbury ward

Verlands, Congresbury

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