Fringe Box



Letter: County Council Care Should Not Be For Profit

Published on: 8 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 8 Oct, 2020

This guide is written in conjunction with Surrey Council Adult Social Care

From: Name and address supplied

The Conservative Coronavirus Act allowing councils to downgrade care for the disabled bodes a grim future for those in my condition. It is an appalling abdication of morality and a wicked, right-wing-driven travesty of justice. I have little doubt, born of first-hand experience, that this Tory-dominated Surrey County Council will take full advantage of this.

I am an 80-year-old widower, living alone and disabled to a degree that leaves me largely housebound and using walkers. Although I do have good support from friends and neighbours and an Attendance Allowance, I can manage a bit of cooking but I have to pay for shopping, gardening, window-cleaning, home cleaning, laundry and ironing, podiatry, home barber and now, after a second stroke this summer (luckily a relatively minor one), assisted showers with private carers. Thereby hangs the tale.

But all that means I have to dig into my State pension to fund the excess. Luckily, my late wife and I paid into the State Second Pension so I am not on the breadline, although I do resent paying £1,000 income tax, being penalised, as I see it, for being prudent and working from the age of 15 till I was 73.

After the second stroke, for a few weeks, I had free NHS care but that ran out and the county council supplied a list of care agencies. I decided on one for two assisted showers at under £40 a week because I can wash myself, with difficulty, on other days. The price was on top of all my other living costs so the county council requested copies of three months of my bank statements. I decided that by squeezing here and there and giving up a couple of small luxuries I wouldn’t need to be a burden on other council taxpayers.

That’s when the county council told me I’d have to pay them an extra £295 “arrangement fee”, plus £5 more a week for “administration”. That is how helpful our county council is to disabled residents who need help. I felt that extortionate, cut off communication and went private.

More than a couple of years ago, I clashed with the council over care costs. I’d had a bad fall, broken my neck and suffered other damage that required hospital care. After release, I needed 30 minutes of care a day, seven days a week. At one stage, the council tried to charge me £122 a week although the care company was billing them for only £97.15. The council refuse to explain the discrepancy.

That fight took five months and I wound up paying only £73 a week. That was my Attendance Allowance.

How do you think people in my position feel when we see Surrey County Council throwing nearly £250,000 of our council tax cash at consultants in an abortive, ill-timed effort to control the welfare of all 1.2 million Surrey residents, a failed power-grab later revealed to be a Conservative Party political attempt to dominate our national grassroots and threaten democratic rule?

The tentacles are certainly stretching wide from Downing Street, only the suckers are down here, called the people, the ones paying the price of being exploited.

Roll on next May’s elections.

Share This Post

Responses to Letter: County Council Care Should Not Be For Profit

  1. Pearl Catlin Reply

    October 8, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    What a thorough disgrace that this person should continue to suffer in this way, to add to his already unpleasant disabilities.

    I hope Angela Richardson [Guildford’s MP] takes the time to read his letter.

    I know Anne Milton would have.

  2. Sue Hackman Reply

    October 9, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    The writer gives us a salutary warning about the diminished services that await us when we reach retirement with disabilities. He belongs to the generation that gave generously into the National Insurance pot during his working life so that older people could have a comfortable old age, but now that he himself is old, he finds that benefits, services and compassion have run rather short. If he were a retired woman today, he would also find his promised pension curtailed by several years.

    Under the Tories, 400,000 pensioners have been dragged into poverty, and disability has been treated as a kind of skive. I won’t list Labour’s policies to recover the lost level of support (you can find them online), but I will point out the underlying attitude that prevails towards the elderly and disabled: we are the new burden on society, the expendables when the government seek ‘herd immunity’, and an unwelcome drain on the social services we paid for in our turn during our working lives.

    Conservative thinking sees us as the weak and expendable. Liberal thinking sees us deserving casework. Vote Labour in your old age to be treated like a citizen with rights.

    Sue Hackman is a member of the Guildford Labour Party.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *