Disabled people using community care services in Hammersmith & Fulham are taking the council to court over its introduction of charging.
Having withdrawn services from nearly 550 people in July 2007, the council recently agreed to introduce charges for hundreds of older and disabled residents for care services. This was despite a Conservative promise not to introduce charges for essential home care services when the Tories were elected in 2006. The council voted in June 2008 to introduce a charging policy in breach of its earlier commitment.
Solicitors have advised that the decision to introduce charges appears to have been unlawful. A claim for judicial review has been lodged at the High Court arguing that the decision was unlawful because the council was not legally entitled to ignore its promise not to introduce charging and because it should have considered the impact on disabled people before it took the decision.
Under the new policy, due to be implemented on 1st January 2009, older and disabled people will be charged for these essential services at the rate of £10 per hour, with no maximum limit, plus the option to increase the rate to £12.40 per hour. The savings that the council will make through charges are a very small part of the overall budget.
Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition against Community Care Cuts (HAFCAC) represents a growing number of disabled and older residents, supported by many non-disabled residents and local organisations. They aim to challenge cuts in services and jobs, which will negatively impact on the quality of life of many local residents.
For more information contact:
Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition against Community Care Cuts
PO Box 57168, London, SW6 7UW