For more than 25 years the free Borough Care Service provided North Warwickshire residents over the age of 65 and their families with peace of mind
The service remained free until 2016 when the Conservative Council introduced a charge of over £218 per year.
At the time, Labour opposed the plans to charge, arguing that it would result in some of the poorest pensioners cancelling the service and put new customers off signing up altogether. Despite efforts to market the service latest council figures show that the number of homes signed up to the service has fallen by 43%.
Labour’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Dr Jacky Chambers said;
“The decision to charge everyone for the Council’s 24-hour alarm and visiting service – even if they can’t afford it – has been disastrous.
“Charging has meant that hundreds of vulnerable people are no longer able to get emergency help quickly if they have a fall, sudden illness or other crisis in their homes.
“70% of users live alone which means that they now have to call an ambulance – whereas before they could call on their family, friends and neighbours to help out. This has meant even more pressure on our local A and E department at the George Eliot hospital at a time when the NHS is already stretched and under funded.
“Money is tight and charging £4.20 per week [including VAT] is just too much for households on a limited budget.
“The numbers speak for themselves – it was just what we predicted. It’s really sad that this has happened.
“A Labour Council will be committed to ending the blanket charge for Borough Care and will take the most vulnerable and poorest pensioners out of paying for the service altogether.”