At last week’s Isle of Wight council Cabinet meeting, members voted to ignore the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendation and instead approved plans put forward by Cllr Clare Mosdell to change the care charging policy for vulnerable Islanders.
The changes will take all disability benefits income into account (including those paid at the higher rates in the mean testing undertaken by Adult Social Care) when determining if and how much someone needs to contribute to their non-residential care and support.
The majority of those who responded to the consultation were opposed to the changes, as well as the Scrutiny Committee who discussed it last week. At that Committee meeting , Cllr Mosdell claimed that she had almost resigned from her post over the plans, but didn’t because “after all the hard work and good that I am doing, actually that probably wouldn’t balance itself out”.
Being disabled incurs a cost
At the Cabinet meeting Cllr Mosdell explained that Adult Social Care (ASC) is expected to make 7.6% savings against its total budget in 2018/19 – over £4m and in 2018/19, ASC will account for 38% of the council’s budget.
She went on to acknowledge that disabled and ill people in receipt of these benefits receive them due to their care requirements, that being disabled incurs a cost such as care costs, additional heating, a special diet and more.
Other councils doing the same
During her presentation, Cllr Mosdell explained they have twice canvassed every other council in the country to see whether they are already acting on the issue.
Of those councils who responded (a total of 124), 29 of them are already doing what the IWC is proposing, 60 are doing it in part, and 35 doing as the council currently do.
Of the 29 councils who already do as IWC are planning, 11 are Labour-controlled councils, 11 are Conservative-controlled and others are those with no overall control by single political group.
Mosdell: “Difficult decision” made with a “heavy heart”
Cllr Mosdell finished by saying,
“My recommendation tonight is based on equity and having to make some very, very difficult decisions in adult social care in order to meet our legal duty to deliver a balanced budget and that is despite recommending the maximum council tax precept and the additional funds brought in by the Improve Better Care Fund.
“As stated the onset I make this recommendation with a very heavy heart, but with no other option available to me.”
The deputy leader, Cllr Stuart Hutchinson, explained the council had set up a Hardship Fund, as they recognised that some people “would be very badly hit by this decision”.
A nominal sum of £100,000 has been put aside for the purpose, but it’s uncapped, so that if people meet the requirements, the council will pay them all, even it it goes over budget.
All members voted in favour of the motion.
Cabinet ignore Scrutiny’s wishes and approve changes to care fees