Disability charity says proposed changes to social care costs at Kent County Council will affect more than 15,000 people

KCC County Hall

By Local Democracy Reporter Simon Finlay

The financial stability for more than 15,000 people with disabilities is under threat because of proposed changes to social care costs, according to a leading charity.

Kent County Council is considering changes to its policy on calculating contributions towards care costs.

Disability Assist says incorporating higher or enhanced Attendance Allowance (AA), Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) into income calculations for care expenses could affect the vulnerable.

The charity says that nearly 16,000 people could be affected by the cash-strapped council’s scheme, if it goes ahead.

KCC faces a financial shortfall of tens of millions of pounds next year and is seeking ways of saving money.

Adult social care represents a massive chunk out of the council’s annual budget with costs rising each year.

Disability Assist CEO Sophie Fournel (pictured) said: “These proposed changes could have devastating consequences for disabled individuals and their families in our community.

“We have written an open letter to Kent County Council, expressing our concerns that these policy changes will negatively affect the well-being of those who rely on crucial adult social care services to live their lives, and disabled people in particular.

“It is imperative that local residents join us in this fight to ensure our voices are heard.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of local residents participating in the consultation process.

“Their feedback will play a crucial role in shaping policies that directly affect the lives of all who rely on adult social care. We need to work together to ensure that KCC implements fair and equitable social care policies that truly support the community.”

KCC says residents can have their say on proposals to factor in higher, or enhanced, rates of disability benefits in financial assessments, and introduce a one-off fee for new self-funders, in two recently-launched consultations launched.

Both consultations are available to read, download and respond to on KCC’s Let’s Talk Kent website at www.kent.gov.uk/adultsocialcarecharging

KCC Cabinet Member for Public Health and Adult Social Care, Dan Watkins, said: “We’re facing ever-increasing demands for complex care services, rising costs of care and a lack of adequate funding from central government.

“It means that, along with many other councils in England, we’re having to make tough decisions and find ways to ensure our services are sustainable for the future.

“The 2014 Care Act gave local authorities the power to change their charging policies to take in account higher, or enhanced, rates of disability benefits when assessing the contribution some people should make towards their care – subject to consulting and carrying out an Equality Impact Assessment. A number of councils have subsequently since done so.

“Our set-up fee for self-funding care arrangements is also among the lowest local authority fees in the country and has not been reviewed since it was introduced in 2017.

“It’s important we hear from people who draw on social care and support, and organisations working on the frontline, to help us make informed decisions; and I urge residents, carers, care providers and organisations representing disabled and older people to have their say.”

KCC was able to present a costed, balanced budget for 2024-25 earlier this month – as it must by law – but will face the same pressures to find efficiencies next year.

18 Comments

  1. Is this tory stewardship of government over the last 15 years been the most scandalous? They have created a Britain which is in regression bordering becoming third world with the various different types of poverty they have created and the level of standard of living which has drooped so far. Out all tories at the next election, government works for us, meant to be looking after the nation it’s people’s welfare and security is the first order, they have done the complete reverse.

    • How do you get to the 15 years figure? Labour lost the General Election on 6th May 2010. I make that less than 14 years ago.
      No need to let facts get in the way of a rant. I guess.

  2. yes i agree it is scandulous ! but then we all know where obscene amounts of our money is going everyday , and nothing is said , in fact people openly support it

  3. Tories speak of extremists in this country, this has grown under there incompetent stewardship, and few are more extreme than many of the Tories, they have tried and failed with the populist prime minister the complete goon prime minister the sensible prime minister the Asian prime minister a lady prime minister so where is left for them to go now, oblivion please

    • Exactly. Sunak’s speech last evening rendered me speechless with rage. He bangs on about extremists and threats to democracy etc yet says and does nothing about the extremists and nut-jobs in his own party. I had hoped that he was going to announce a GE. Fat chance. These charlatans will cling on to power for as long as possible

      • To be replaced by labours extremist s and nut jobs, who in turn will do whatever they can to cling onto power. Both are as bad as each other and neither has the ability or will to turn things around.

  4. Owen Jones’ book “The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It” is essential reading for anyone who wonders where all the money has gone, given that we are suffering the highest tax burden for a generation.
    And yet, come the next GE, there will still be people voting Tory.

  5. Your correct Andrew, blind lemmings, people that have always voted tory will do so again irrelevant of the fact it makes them complicit in allowing these chinless wonders to Continue bringing the country to its knees. They should open there eyes and see what the precious tories are doing in there name.

  6. Yet Turner Contemporary still gets unlimited funding.

    I’ll vote for ANY party that scraps the arts council in favour of funding essential services.

  7. Many of those that are disabled have parents still alive sitting on huge fortunes; I know two. Shouldn’t all rich parents support them in some way? I feel it’s the responsibility of every parent to support ailing children if they have savings amassed. Get your wallets out you geriatric fools!

    • Human nature means that people won’t pay for something if they can get someone else to. A difficult comparison but someone effectively disabled by old age and informity has to effectively hand all they’ve ever earnt to the state for their care, parents surely have a responsibility for their offspring. The social care system as a whole will eventually bankrupt the nation, the demise hastened when the current legions of those with mental health issues eventually form relationships and have children they will be ill equipped to raise. Pretty much guaranteeing the issues are passed on to another generation.
      Rather than address the problem, we just keep signing people onto benefits for mental health issues and import ever more people intothe country to fill the gaps in employment, bit too often these are low paid roles that need tax credits etc to support the incomers, forever adding to the costs to the nation. Add on the costs to the health service of a nation seemingly intent of gorging itself into ill health ( thanet has about the highest number of obese mothers in its maternity care , which hugely complicates pregnancy and birth, to the extent that its difficult to attract midwives to work int he area) and expects the state to pick up the pieces.
      Until the electorate exercises a degree of personal responsibility we’ll just continue the spiral of decline.

  8. What’s the endgame for a spiral of decline? I hate to imagine.

    I mean, if you have money, are in reasonable good health, avoid putting yourself at risk, what could go wrong?

    Presumably those who couldn’t care much about their lives and wouldn’t cross paths with you would be in for a curtailed lifespan?

    Oddly, there hasn’t been any conflicting opinions to your answer.

    Perhaps those that would normally reply but stayed indifferent are those that fall into the obese/apathetic/alcohol-or-fags dependent cohort?

    Insightful answer though.

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