Mid Wales

Powys elderly day care centre charges doubled

An elderly woman's hand on a stick
Image caption Meals-on-wheels charges will rise from £3 per meal to £4.50.

Plans to double charges for elderly people at seven Powys day centres has been backed by the council cabinet.

A 50% hike in meals-on-wheels charges was also supported.

The council is trying to transfer the centres to community groups and end the meals service to plug a £40m budget gap by 2017.

It called the charges "proportionate". but Age Cymru said it was concerned older people's services were not disproportionately affected by cuts.

'Increasing charges'

The council has been reviewing the way services are provided after stepping back from a proposal to save £250,000 by closing centres for the elderly at its budget meeting in March.

Councillors decided to stop running the meals service and save £80,250 as part of its aim to save £20m by April 2015.

And a move to increase charges for people attending day centres to £35 per day was rejected.

But the council cabinet has now decided to increase the day centre attendance charge from £5 a day to £10.

It also agreed to increase meals-on-wheels charges from £3 per meal to £4.50.

The council wants to transfer management of three of its seven day centres for the elderly by next April.

It aims to get rid of the other four by April 2017.

Powys council cabinet member for social care, Darren Mayor, said: "Increasing charges is never an easy decision but the council has to balance the cost of service provision and availability against the customers' ability to contribute towards the cost of their own care.

"We believe the proposed increases are proportionate and fair but accept that they will not be popular."

An Age Cymru spokesman said: "We are living in a difficult and challenging economic climate and our main concern at this time is that older people and older people's services are not disproportionately affected by budget cuts."

The new charges will be introduced from June.

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