Help to cost much more

A HUGE hike in charges for home helps and care services has moved a step closer.

Councillors have agreed the move, which will raise up to 500,000 extra each year, is essential to keep the service operating.

Well over 2,000 elderly and vulnerable people will be affected with some having to pay at least 100 a week extra, although 70 per cent of users will continue to be exempt from all fees.

Calderdale Council Cabinet was told charges were last reviewed eight years ago.

"I don't think anyone wants to see an increase but we are facing massive budget and demand pressures," said health and social care spokesman Bob Metcalfe (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden).

He said even after the increase, charges in Calderdale would be still be lower than those imposed by neighbouring councils.

The cabinet recommended the council confirm the new changes on February 16.

It will mean increasing the maximum charge from 108 to 150 a week from April and 200 a week from April next year.

People with savings of more than 23,250 will face a significant rise as they will pay the full unsubsidised cost of home care.

Those on larger packages of care will tend to pay the biggest increase but will often have them covered by a rise in disability benefits, the cabinet heard.

There will also be a 10 per cent hike in charges for meals on wheels – up 29p to 3.14 per meal – and use of the emergency careline – up 38p to 4.14 a week.

* Do you think the rise in home care is fair? Email yoursay@hali