Two councils are among the latest authorities to issue proposals to raise charges for adult care users, as a wave of belt-tightening measures sweep authorities across England.
Last week experts warned that a wave of councils would look to increase their income from care charges, leaving some elderly and disabled people without services. A number have already issued proposals to increase charges, including Warwickshire, Hertfordshire, Poole and Derbyshire.
Lincolnshire Council’s executive is due to consider plans next month to raise charges by up to £1.8m a year, affecting a third of service users in the county.
Options include charging for day care, ending subsidies for home care and removing weekly limits on charges for users.
Widespread opposition to raising charges was revealed by a council consultation last year.
These changes could affect people who receive home care, day care, meals on wheels, Linkline and those who choose to have a direct payment and could also be applied when calculating a personal budget.
They could mean either abolishing maximum weekly charges or setting a maximum charge of £395 a week.
Barry Earnshaw, chief executive at Age UK Lincoln, warned that increasing charges could lead some people to do without services although he said some older people would prefer to pay for services than have them removed.
Lincolnshire Council defended its plans, saying people who could not afford to pay would not be penalised.
Graham Marsh, executive councillor for adult social care at the council, said: “This is about providing a fairer, more equitable system where people who can afford to pay something will pay and those who can’t won’t. It will be more transparent and simpler for people to understand. We will still be looking to maximise people’s incomes and benefit entitlements.”
Supporting documents on the Lewisham Council website said the council’s charges did not reflect the full cost of its services and most of its charges were currently set lower than those set by other councils.
What do you think? Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails