It’s shameful that a Labour council is ready to make vulnerable people pay more for care rather than pressure the government
23 March, 2017
• DISABLED women are contacting us, desperately worried about council bills for home care and support, and the daily help they need but can’t afford to pay for out of their benefits.
Those with more severe disabilities who need more hours are charged more; discriminatory in itself. We are having to fight government cuts to our benefits: disabled and ill people found fit for work or cut off for “failure to attend” exams as the New Journal has reported; £30 weekly cut to employment and support allowance from April; denial of personal independence payment, mobility money; and benefit sanctions, which are causing destitution and death.
Camden is now “consulting” to increase care charges from September 2017, clawing more money from benefits: £27.20 a week from care benefits, and £10 a day for transport to and from a day centre. This targets older women who are the majority reliant on care services, and unwaged carers, already exhausted but expected to fill the gap where services are missing.
Couples, assessed more harshly as individuals, will be short of money, increasing women’s financial and physical dependence and the risk of domestic violence and abuse. Higher charges will accelerate the numbers of vulnerable people giving up support, and further undermine vital centres like Netherwood which Camden is deliberately running down to sell off.
Since April 2015 Hammersmith & Fulham Council, spurred by disabled and older people in H&F Coalition Against Cuts, scrapped charging for home care. They ring-fenced the money they received when the Independent Living Fund was abolished and funded free home care by cutting back on PR. Why can’t Camden do the same?
How much money will they get from the chancellor’s £2billion for social care, which the Local Government Association called “a significant step towards protecting services”?
Charging is class-biased. Well-off people have always been able to pay someone else to care. But working class people, including most families of colour, whose jobs pay less no matter how valuable, and therefore have lower incomes, cannot afford care agencies.
It is shameful that a Labour council is ready to make vulnerable people pay more rather than put pressure on central government or follow examples such as H&F. That’s why so many people voted for Jeremy Corbyn to lead the Labour Party, to end Labour enforcing Tory policies and imposing a few Tory policies of their own.
Disabled people, including women pensioners who have worked hard their whole lives, often caring for others as well as supporting them financially by doing without, are entitled to free home care, day centres and other services.
Contact WinVisible to oppose the charges and campaign together: 020 7482 2496, firstname.lastname@example.org
ARIANE SACCO & CLAIRE GLASMAN
Women’s Centre, NW5