Cost cap on adult learning disabilities in Portsmouth could be reinstated

A 'CRUCIAL' cost cap on adult learning disability services in Portsmouth could be reinstated after some families were hit with bills of up to £500 a week.

Friday, 14th February 2020, 11:00 am
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 12:35 pm
Portsmouth council could reintroduce a cost cap on adult disability day care services.

Following backlash from residents and opposition politicians the city council's Lib Dem administration announced it would consider imposing a £250-a-week cap on what individuals pay for their day care.

The original £60-a-week cap was scrapped in September 2018 leaving families struggling to meet costs in full.

Speaking at Portsmouth City Council's budget meeting this week leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'We think we can find funding from portfolio reserves to reintroduce a cap for all adults receiving day care of £250-a-week, therefore halving the cost for the families mentioned at our last meeting.

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'This will cost £16,000 a year.'

The council's health and wellbeing boss, Cllr Matthew Winnington, added: 'We are having to make the most of the resources we have and make them sustainable.

'In an ideal world we would not want to charge anyone at all, we would want it to be kept free.

'We've been waiting on a green paper from government about this for years, it would completely change how day care is paid for - it could mean a national cap is imposed.'

However, some were concerned the cap would still be too much of a 'drain' on families.

Wymering resident Keith McKnight, 64, whose autistic son Joe used to use day services feared for the effect on other families. He said: ‘My biggest problem is that nothing else has gone up in cost so much.

'For most people unless they get help from their families or have savings they won't be able to afford it, and it doesn't take long for someone's savings to be eaten away.

'It causes problems for families as disabled people need to access these services and it means they can't function as a family in the normal sense. The council will be hit even harder when the families start to break down and they need to access social services.’

A decision on the cap will be made at a health and wellbeing meeting in March.