Vulnerable and elderly to pay for pendant alarms after funding slashed

More than 600 elderly and vulnerable people in Staffordshire will have to pay for pendant alarms in their homes after council bosses slashed funding, it has emerged.

Around 2,000 residents currently get the alarms for free - but Staffordshire County Council is withdrawing funding in a bid to save £214,000 from its budget.

Cannock Chase Council agreed to step in and fund a scaled-down version but said users will have to meet certain criteria if they don't want to pay for the alarms.

Now it has emerged that the authority has £117,000 to spend on the service which will provide alarms for 1,350 residents, meaning hundreds more will have to pay up to £86 a year to get one.

Cannock's full council will meet this evening to approve shelling out the money from April next year to keep the service going for some residents.

In the meantime the authority is also paying £107,000 for the alarms up until April next year.

Council leader George Adamson said: "We cannot afford to pick up the whole tab so this is the only option.

"We can only pay a proportion of the current cost. The county council has cut funding and this is the situation we are in."

The criteria to qualify for free usage includes being over the age of 70 or in receipt of a disability-related benefit. Staffordshire County Council is slashing £6 million from is Supporting People Grant, despite huge criticism. The fund , created in 2003, is used to provide housing-based support to groups, including those with mental health problems and the elderly.

Bosses at Cannock Chase Council called the decision ‘disgusting’.

The County Council is having to make £102m cuts from its budget over the next five years.

As part of the cuts, 24 of the 43 libraries across the county would be taken over by volunteers to save £1.3 million over the next three years. Youth clubs also face the axe.

Councillor Alan White, the county council’s cabinet member for care, said the move did not mean the authority was no longer supporting its residents.

He said: “It is important that we invest what resources we have in the most co-ordinated, targeted and effective way to help more people lead independent lives and crucially protect the most vulnerable."

Comments for: "Vulnerable and elderly to pay for pendant alarms after funding slashed"

markie

I find this confusing. Does this mean that currently any person over 70 years old gets the service for free?

Surely it would be better to target the free service to those elderly people in receipt of means tested benefits and make the savings in that way.

Those under 70 in receipt of disability benefits should not need the free service as the disability benefits cover these sorts of costs.

There is so much of this doubling up of benefits.

There is so far to go on the benefit reforms still, but the system was in decline since 1966 until IDS started the reforms.

charlie.bear.5836

Agree with markie, it's another complete mess of a system which, like the rest of the public benefit industry, seems to confer more favour on those in its employ than in receipt.

Reform is long overdue and has a long way to go but at least someone's made a start.

The obvious option is to cease lavishing free board and lodgings, and financial reward for breeding, on any overseas travellers that happen to pitch up here, and divert the money to the well-being of our own elderly instead. The benefits are so clear it has next to no chance of ever happening.

Boinggobaggies

And so it goes on libraries, youth clubs the elderly when are they going to take anything off the freeloaders from eastern Europe ?

Codsallman

I think that instead of depriving these old people of essential equipment the council cabinet members and indeed ALL councillors should take a pay cut to cover these costs.

Years ago local councils were run a lot better than they are today and the elected councillors did the job fee of charge.

Put this suggestion to your electorate and I'll bet you don't get any objections....

CAN I JUST REMIND YOU ALL, YOU VOTED THESE PEOPLE IN AND THEY WORK FOR YOU. SO GET OFF YOUR BACKSIDES AND GO AND TELL THEM...

but you won't will you and they know it.....

Glenda

I pay £54.86 a quarter for moms alarm from the wonderful socialist utopia called "Sandwell Council" if on benefits or not you still pay.

This is where our international jet setting useless MP Watson promises help with the public then hides.

A Labour council will always treat people like dirt while it looks after its high paid managers

oh_dearie_me

Most local authorities around the country - no matter what their political makeup - charge for Community Alarm services. It's technology based, and the centres that takes calls have to be staffed 24/7. There also have to be installers to fit and repair the equipment.

I don't particularly agree that people on low incomes should be charged, but equally I don't agree that no-one should be charged. Providing these services DOES come at a cost. The days when costs would be absorbed are gone, and they're not coming back - no matter who is in Government.

oh_dearie_me

Regarding Glenda's point, I do agree that it's amazing that these socialist councils who claim to look after the less fortunate in society are often the worst when it comes to providing such services, including charging for them.

I wouldn't trust a Tory Council these days. But neither would I trust any other political group either. And anyone who thinks Labour would be any different is living in cloud cuckoo land. Milliband has a mountain to climb.