Swinson condemns Council over home help charges fiasco

Jo Swinson MP has condemned East Dunbartonshire Council over the introduction of charges for home help services and the way the scheme has been implemented.

Jo Swinson paid a visit to the residents of Keir Hardie Court in Bishopbriggs this week, who are protesting against the charges which the Council has introduced for support services which they used to receive for free. Residents are angry that they were not consulted over the charges, and say the letters they have received from the Council do not make it clear how much each resident will be asked to pay. Residents also say the Council has been unhelpful in explaining the complex means-testing system it is using, and has refused to give them a breakdown of the charges.

On top of a weekly flat fee of £12.10, help with shopping and laundry will be charged at up to £14 an hour, and it looks likely that many residents of Keir Hardie Court could be liable for more than £40 a week in charges. The letters have caused much anxiety among residents, some of whom are considering cancelling their support services altogether, despite needing them in their day to day lives.

Commenting, Jo Swinson said:

“I am deeply disappointed that the Council has decided to introduce charges for the services it provides to vulnerable people, many of whom are living on modest incomes and do not have families who are able to look after their needs.

“This is only made worse by the way in which the change has been handled, with no consultation and very little notice given before the new charges kicked in on 6th July. It is not clear why the Council is refusing to give a breakdown to each resident to explain how their charges have been calculated.

“The residents of Keir Hardie Court and other Sheltered Housing complexes around East Dunbartonshire, as well as people living in their own homes who receive support services from the Council, are being treated with little respect. I am disappointed that Labour and Conservative councillors voted for these charges and I hope that the decision will be reviewed at the first available opportunity.”

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