Cymru Older Peoples Alliance have today (9 May 2024) responded to the Welsh Government consultation which proposes a £20 a week increase in fees paid by some older and disabled people for the personal care they receive at home. A summary of our response is below. The full response is here.

“The proposal to increase the weekly Domiciliary Charge in Wales by £20 a week is the wrong policy at the wrong time, and it should not be introduced. It is not justified sufficiently and unfairly picks out a specific category of older /disabled person – those who do not get Council support but cannot afford privately provided care. The proposal makes unrealistic assumptions about their ability to pay and will result in significant adverse impacts on other aspects of their lives. It will mean up to an additional £1000 a year in fees to pay – which will be unaffordable for many and produce a number of detrimental effects that cannot be easily mitigated. A full cost/benefit analysis should be produced before the Senedd is asked to consider this proposal. As it stands, this is a stealth tax on people on low incomes. It undermines Welsh Government policies on Unpaid Carers and Fairer Charging.

COPA understands the pressures on Council budgets. We would agree that Councils need to be properly funded to provide Social Care that is of a high quality and meets statutory requirements. Sufficient funding should be provided by the Welsh Government that does not create more unmet or under met need and does not raise eligibility criteria or create long waiting lists for assessments or services. However, this unfair and imbalanced proposal on home care fees will do nothing to achieve those aims nor the published ambitions of the Welsh Government to ensure free care at the point of need. In fact, it takes matters in the opposite direction. It will also increase pressure on unpaid carers.

There are other relevant reforms to be made to the charging arrangements before any increase can be justified, including making the rules more transparent and with far less complexity. There needs to be much more consistency in the way Councils administer the Fairer Charging arrangements. The protections for people on low incomes need to be uprated and changed to take more vulnerable people out of charging, especially in relation to the costs of disability.  

Rather than attempt these harmful changes to the current charging arrangements, Cymru Older Peoples Alliance wants serious and long-overdue reform of paying for care in Wales. There has already been a 23-year delay of successive governments “kicking this can down the road” as it is seen as too difficult and expensive. We want a clear and transparent timetable for integrated reform of both social care and the paying for care arrangements, with commitment to additional resources and action from the earliest possible date to be agreed on an all-party basis and developed co-productively with older and disabled people.”

Cymru Older Peoples Alliance

April 2024

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