DAY care charges have been put on hold following a public outcry.
East Dunbartonshire Council was due to bring in means-tested charges for day care centres this week – a service that is currently free.
This would have meant many service users – and their friends and family – being forced to shell out up to £43.80 a day or find alternative arrangements.
The move would save the council an estimated £5,000 per year.
But following concerns from residents, the council said the implementation of the charges has been “stopped” until the matter is debated at next week’s full council meeting.
Head of social work at East Dunbartonshire Council, Tony Keogh, said: “A number of customers have approached the council about particular issues associated with the new day care charges.
“As a result, the implementation of the charges has been stopped. A report, which will highlight in detail the particular issues raised by customers, will be presented to the council on March 15.
“The council will consider the difficulties associated with introducing these new charges.”
He added: “All day care customers have been informed of this development and further information will be sent to them after the report is debated at council.”
Independent Alliance councillors Charles Kennedy and Jack Young had tabled a motion to the council meeting asking for the charges to be stopped and that the contingency fund, of around £3million, be used to cover the costs.
Councillor Kennedy said: “I have been greatly moved by the number of letters, phone calls and representations made to me at my surgery by, and on behalf of, elderly residents who fear that means-testing the day care services would result in them being unable to afford these very valuable facilities.”
He added: “A husband has advised me of his wife being in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease who has day care three days a week.
“Although at the age of 80, he is her main carer with the help of a family member. Day care and home care has been able to keep her at home as he always wanted.
“The day care was introduced as respite for him and without these few days break, the stress of caring for someone with such a dreadful disease would be extremely difficult.”
* Have you got a story, picture or comment? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Or alternatively you can call the newsdesk 0141 775 0040.