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Concerns over care cutbacks

13th January 2006

A number of local councils are planning to withdrawal care services for the elderly and disabled in an attempt to keep council tax rates down.

Concerns have been raised over the proposals, which include increasing charges for home care services such as cleaning and meal provision.

The changes are in response to pressure put on council officials to keep council tax increases below five per cent, to avoid being capped by the government.

Many authorities are planning to withdrawal services from those they consider are least dependent on them.

"People entitled to services last year will not get the care this year," Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the Local Government Association told The Times.

"The picture emerging is a mixture of raising eligibility criteria for social care, charging more and making cuts. Services are being rationed."

Charges for home care services are means tested and vary widely throughout the UK, with the average hourly rate currently standing at nine pounds.