The Welsh assembly has countered accusations that fewer people are
receiving direct payments now than last year.
Latest figures from the assembly show that about 700 people overall
are receiving direct payments compared with fewer than 400 in 2003.
However, an investigation by Age Concern Cymru found that the
number of older people receiving direct payments had dropped from
69 in 2003 to 59 so far this year (news, page 13, 21 October).
An assembly spokesperson said direct payments were important but
work needed to raise the scheme’s profile. The assembly recently
gave councils £700,000 to develop the scheme and £100,000
to promote it.
From next week, councils must provide all disabled older people
with the option of direct payments. Existing voluntary arrangements
will be scrapped for older people from March 2005.