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Disabled people paying vastly more for care in past two years

26 August 2021

Disabled people are being told by councils to pay vastly more for care, according to research from the BBC.

Some adults with learning disabilities are being forced to pay thousands of pounds more, with six councils doubling the amount of money they were previously requesting.

The BBC looked at charges in 83 areas (only 83 local authorities out of 151 responded), and half have reported cost rises by at least 10% in the past two years.

Councils are blaming years of central government funding cuts.

The BBC spoke to Saskia Granville who has a learning disability and lives in West Sussex. Her care charges have increased more than 400% - from £92 to £515 a month. The Council also took £1,500 out of her bank account for backdated payments, leaving her in debt and at risk of having no food and unable to pay basic bills without family intervention. Saskia is having difficulty affording the things that bring her pleasure, such as weekly footballing sessions. "It's very important because it's my favourite sport," she said. "I love going."

West Sussex County Council said its charging arrangements "follow national guidance".

In just one area which responded to the BBC, Hammersmith and Fulham, residents are charged nothing for their care.

DR UK’s Fazilet Hadi said: “It feels criminal that Disabled people with the least resources have to somehow magic up vast sums of money to pay for these punitive increases. It is inconceivable that the Government can speak of levelling up, and release a strategy on disability, and still ignore the basic fact that people are living in penury trying to meet the costs of their most basic needs which should, in a civilised society, be met by the State.

“94% of people with learning disabilities are not in work. Those receiving care from their local authorities have met very high thresholds to qualify, showing high levels of need, and low levels of income. That in itself is a sign that they cannot afford to pay more.

“Nobody should be in the position where they have to choose between eating and heating, and care. And that is where we are currently at.”