Constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie, has called on West Dunbartonshire Council to rethink their budget changes to day care services as elderly and disabled residents are asked to pay a year’s worth of charges up front.
In April, West Dunbartonshire Council changed how residents paid to use their day care services introducing a £10 fixed rate which replaced the ancillary charges for transport, lunch and activities. Not only has this meant that service users have experienced an increase in cost but many service users are now paying for services, such as transport, that they may not need.
In addition, service users are now being issued with annual invoices for payment rather than being able to pay on the day. While there is an option to pay monthly, for many people this is a huge monthly cost, almost double what they would have been paying previously.
One constituent who contacted the MSP highlighted that as a carer for his 95 year old mother, he was previously paying £6 per week for her to attend a day care service on a Monday. He has now been advised that the charges have increased to £10 and that this must be paid by monthly direct debit rather than in cash at the centre.
The constituent, who works for the Council is concerned that he will not be able to cope with the increased costs as his wages have not risen in line with this increased charge.
“The SNP Council’s charges for day care service which they increased in this year’s budget mean that service users across West Dunbartonshire are being asked to pay almost double what they were previously paying. In addition, many will be paying for services that they don’t need.
“For many people, these increases will simply be a cost too far. The Council will be penalising the elderly and disabled as they did with the increase in charges for alarms and some people may need to withdraw from services because they can’t afford them.
“This is a backward step and I would urge the Council to think again as these services are for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”