'Vulnerable' families in Portsmouth call on council to drop 'cruel' adult care costs

'VULNERABLE' families in Portsmouth are calling on the council to drop a 'cruel' adult care cost system that has drained their savings.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 4:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 5:03 pm
Keith McKnight and his son Joe. Picture: Keith McKnight

Since September 2018 any adults in need of learning disability care services have been expected to cover their 'maximum assessed charge' of up to £500 a week themselves.

This replaced a previous scheme that saw costs capped at £60 a week.

Although for some families it made no difference, others have been 'unfairly' hit as their savings meant they are paying out more each week.

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Wymering dad Keith McKnight, 64, said he has had to continually help his son Joe with cash since the cap was dropped. Joe, 31, is mute and has severe autism. He lives in supported living that provides 24-hour care.

Keith said: 'It's an unfair tax on the disabled.

'There are people who are going into debt which they can't deal with. They haven't got the means or the understanding to deal with it.

'I don't know the exact change in cost because it is Joe's money but before we didn't have to give him money very often. Now it's a given.

'If I am not on this planet in 10 years time what will happen? The money I saved was meant to be there to provide for him.'

Councillors will be asked to consider debating the system at a full council meeting next Tuesday.

A motion on reintroducing the cap has been proposed by Tory Cllr Terry Norton.

He said: 'It is a cruel scheme that penalises the most diligent of our vulnerable families in the city. A lot of these families have done the right thing and put money aside for a time when they are no longer able to care for their children.

'The reality is the cost is a drop in the ocean to the council but for them it's a life changing amount of money.'

His seconder, Cllr Luke Stubbs, had been speaking to a family who were left with a bill of almost £500 a week.

Cllr Stubbs added: 'They have put aside a lot of money for their disabled children and now they're losing out.'

The services no longer capped include day care, community support and health and independence.