We are encouraging all family carers and people with care needs to have their say on the Cambridgeshire County Council Fairer Contributions Consultation which closes on 23rd February 2018.
What you can do
You can have your say by completing the online survey at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/adults-&-older-people/care-and-support/paying-for-care/fairer-contributions-policy-consultation/.
Call the Council on 0330 355 1285.
Write to the Council at:
Fairer Contributions Policy Consultation
Cambridgeshire County Council
Box No: SH1217
What we have done
We have written to all Cambridgeshire County Council Councillors on behalf of family carers (see the letter).
We believe the proposed changes will affect those who are already facing financial pressures in the following ways:
Change One: Treating the enhanced Personal Independence Payment (PIP) as income.
PIP is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance and it has not yet been rolled out to everyone. Our concern is that this is discriminating against those where PIP has been rolled out. If this proposal is implemented, we urge the council to wait until PIP has been rolled out to everyone in order for it to be implemented fairly (which is the objective of the Fairer Contributions Policy).
Change Two: Changing the non-residential charging rules to residential charging rules.
This proposed change would be unfair for unpaid family carers who are often desperate for a break and the resultant increased costs prohibit this. It is vital for carers to have a break from their caring role in order to maintain their health and wellbeing. Carole Cochrane from The Princess Royal Trust for Carers highlighted the absolute importance of respite care, saying “Without these vital breaks, carers can often reach breaking point where they can no longer continue, and their own physical and mental health deteriorates as a result” (article by HomeTouch founder and dementia physician, Dr Jamie Wilson).
It is particularly unfair for carers where the person with care needs lives with the carer and the assumption of reduced utility costs is taken into account from the person going into respite; yet in reality there are no reduced costs as the family still reside in the property (i.e. the house is not empty as a result of the person with care needs not being in the family home during this period).
Change Three: The Council charging for the Appointee service for vulnerable adults unable to manage their own money and who have £1000 or more in their bank account.
This non-statutory service is vital for those individuals struggling due to vulnerable circumstances. The cut off amount of £1000 is extremely low. Most people will need much more than that for their daily living expenses. If a charge has to be made, we recommend the cut-off amount is raised significantly.
Change Four: To make Direct Debit the default method of making payments to the Council.
We do not object to this proposal on the basis it is not compulsory, and would financially benefit the Council through a reduction in back office costs, provided this means less cuts elsewhere as a result.
What others are doing
Healthwatch Cambridgeshire are also actively campaigning on behalf of local residents on how the proposed changes may affect them.