Cash-strapped council to raise fees for vulnerable

Carers
Carers

Social work clients will have to stump up extra payments for services worth a total of £464,000 next year.

New rates applying to a raft of residential and non-residential services provided by Scottish Borders Council come into force on April 1.

The extra income generated will exceed the council’s £400,000 target as it bids to cut total revenue spending by £27million over the next five years.

Part of the new income will pay for the extra staffing required to collect the cash and assess the financial means of users.

Flat-rate rises include Bordercare Alarm (up from £2.50 to £3 a week) and day care (up from £2 a day to £3). Day transport will be charged at £2 per journey, instead of £1. There will be a £10 flat charge, plus an annual maintenance charge of £25, for the installation of specialist equipment in the homes of clients. Night support, currently free for the first 42 days after hospital discharge, will be charged at £10 a week.

The proportion of a client’s residual income which can be used to contribute to the cost of their care rises from 43.5 per cent to 55 per cent.

Chief social worker Elaine Torrance said the charges needed to go up to ensure services remain affordable and sustainable. She said there had been an extensive review and added: “From the feedback received, it was clear that service users and carers valued the services provided and understood the need for charging to protect services.”