Council unveils plan to scrap home care charges

Decision marks the end of eight year battle by disability campaigners to see so-called "tax on disability" scrapped in west London borough

The 'living wage' would benefit many home care staff. Photo: Photofusion/Rex Features

Home care charges for older and disabled people are due to be abolished in Hammersmith and Fulham, west London, as a result of planned budget cuts to other council departments.

The council, which returned to Labour control in May from the Conservatives, announced its intention to scrap the £12 per hour charge at a public meeting last week.

There are currently 1266 people in the borough who require home care services, 313 of which pay the hourly charge.

The abolition of charges will cost the local authority £324,000 a year in lost income, but this is being funded by £400,000 worth of cuts to public relations, council publications and lamp post banners. It would put the council in a small minority in England who do not charge for home care.

Council leader Stephen Cowan said: “I am pleased we have found the money from back office cuts and can today announce that this administration will abolish what has rightly become known as a tax on disability.”

The decision will also mark the end of a difficult battle for local disability campaigners, who have campaigned for eight years to see the so-called “tax on disability” abolished.

Kevin Caulfield, chair of the Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition against Cuts group, said: “Every other non-disabled resident would view it as an absolute violation of their human rights if they had to pay an invoice from the council before they could use the toilet, get washed and engage in day to day activities. We are over the moon to have a council that now understands that.”

The final decision will be made at the council’s annual budget review in February and if approved, the changes will take effect from April 2015.

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3 Responses to Council unveils plan to scrap home care charges

  1. Edna December 9, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    The rotten London Boroughs and we know which they, will never do this. They prefer fraud and to provide stepping stone jobs for those who would be unemployable in better places. It is the only way they can get any staff.

  2. Neil Clarke December 10, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    Few seem to be aware that the cost of collecting home care charges invariably exceeds income. The policy is essentially Political. Costs are arguably reduced as fewer people accept a service when there is a charge. This may be good or bad depending on your viewpoint.

  3. Stuart December 17, 2014 at 1:06 am #

    I don’t live in London but at £12/hour wouldn’t it be cheaper for people to bypass the council and directly hire a ukip voter to provide home care. Not that cheaper is better of course…