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Fares deemed unfair for users

SOLIHULL council’s proposals to introduce transport charges for day centre users and take away an allowance for disabled people have been slammed as ‘unfair’ and ‘mean-minded penny-pinching’.

SOLIHULL council’s proposals to introduce transport charges for day centre users and take away an allowance for disabled people have been slammed as ‘unfair’ and ‘mean-minded penny-pinching’.

Solihull Ratepayers Association (SRA) has hit out at the ongoing adult social care and support service review, which proposes to bring in fares of £6.30 each way.

It has also criticised the consultation document for being too complex and using leading questions.

Trevor Eames, secretary of SRA, said: “Service users will be left with the impression they simply face big increases in charges and are being asked to agree that this is fair.

“Transport will go from free to £12.60 a session for disabled and frail elderly people and many users attend several sessions a week.

“This is excessive and we fear this will lead to a reduction in service take-up, leave people trapped in their homes and threaten day care centres with closure.”

A 62-year-old Solihull wheelchair user who uses the day centre said: “I think it’s disgusting.

“All I get is my incapacity, mobility and a small works pension. If they got us to pay for a visit it would stop me going.

“I have friends there and it gets me out of the house.”

Councillor Sue Rose (Lib Dem, Shirley East) portfolio holder for Healthier Communities said: “We are not pursuing any cuts to social care in Solihull.

“The reason we are going out to consultation is because we have an opportunity to change day care facilites for the better.

“We are potentially subject to a legal challenge.

“I think the consultation document could have been clearer. I have asked managers responsible to respond to complaints from clients by talking to them.

“That (£6.30) is the cost for transport but no decision has been made on what it will cost users.”

With regards the payment to people with learning disabilities Coun Rose said: “They get a very minimal allowance for attending and we want to look at methods for supporting people.

“It’s an insult what they get at the moment. It is out dated and comes from the time people went to occupational therapy.”

Mr Eames added: “For two consecutive years Solihull has been rated only adequate in annual Care Quality Commission (CQC) assessments.”

The consultation ends on March 29.

 

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