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Council agrees to scrap home care charges

09 December 2014

Following a several years long local campiagn, home care charges for disabled people and older people are due to be abolished by Hammersmith and Fulham council.

The council announced its intention to scrap the £12 per hour charge at a public meeting last week.

Speaking at a packed public meeting organised to celebrate the United Nation’s International Day of Disabled People in Hammersmith Town Hall Council leader, Councillor Stephen Cowan, said:

“I am pleased we have found the money from back office cuts, such as from the council’s PR and admin budgets, and today announce that this administration will abolish what has rightly become known as a "tax on disability".”

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 will put the council in a small minority in England who do not charge for home care.

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 Community Coalition against Cuts (HAFCAC) 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.

Further information about the Hammersmith and Fulham council's plans is available @ http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/Directory/News/Tax_on_disability_to_be_abolished.asp

Further information about the HAFCAC campaign against home care charge is available @ http://www.hafcac.org.uk/