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Care charges could go up, warns Kent County Council

By Paul Francis

Kent County Council is considering charging more for some care services for the elderly and vulnerable as part of longer-term cost-cutting measures.

The council recently unveiled budget plans that include an above inflation 5% council tax rise, saying its hand has been forced because of shrinking government grants and rising demand for services, particularly social care.

The option of charging more for some care services would prove controversial.

A caring hand may cost more
A caring hand may cost more

Close to 21,000 people over the age of 64 receive some kind of support from social services in the county.

Nearly 13,000 who qualify for care are aged between 18 and 64.

About £390m is spent supporting vulnerable adults each year and the authority is seeing demand rising as are other councils.

The council’s ruling Conservative administration says it would consult fully before implementing changes, which are referred to in documents of the authority’s medium term plan.

The policy could save as much as £520,000.

Dementia care could cost more. Picture: Alexander Raths/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Dementia care could cost more. Picture: Alexander Raths/Getty Images/iStockphoto

A spokesman for Kent County Council said: “The proposal relating to adult social care charging will look at the options available to us to ensure that any changes are equitable and minimise the impact on service users.

“The £520,000 set out in the Medium Term Financial Plan is for planning purposes. The detail of any options and their timings will be subject to a full public consultation before any final decisions are made by cabinet.”

Any increase in charges is likely to be contentious, particularly in the light of council tax rises that, last year, included a 2% additional charge to raise more income for adult care.

That will be repeated this year.

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