Age Concern and Help the Aged have slammed the government’s decision to raise the personal expenses allowance for care home residents by just 75p.
Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, described the “paltry” increase as an “insult” to thousands of care home residents struggling to pay for essentials such as toiletries and transport.
Mervyn Kohler, special adviser for Help the Aged, said a personal allowance of just over £20 was “degrading”.
Lishman urged the government to reconsider its decision to increase the allowance from £21.15 to £21.90, in line with the average increase in earnings, which comes into effect in April 2009.
Expenses “not a priority”
However, care services minister Phil Hope ruled out a consultation on the issue. In a written ministerial statement, Hope said his priorities were to transform the adult social care system, to improve the availability and quality of services, and protect service users from abuse.
“The estimated cost of raising the allowance to £40 a week, as some organisations are calling for, is £250 million pounds a year,” he said. Raising the allowances by the amount demanded was not one of his prorities for the future of social care, he said.
The personal expenses allowance was introduced in 1948 to allow the purchase of small items such as stationery, toiletries, and presents for friends and relatives.