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Enhanced Sheltered Housing - Lib Dems call on Kent County Council not to cut funding

January 24, 2016 2:16 PM
enhanced care photo

County Cllr Martin Vye (Lib Dem), Councillor Michael Dixey (Westgate, Lib Dem), Ida Linfield, James Flanagan (Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman, Canterbury and Whitstable)

Dear Sir,

Kent County Council's decision to cut funding for Enhanced Sheltered Housing schemes is simply wrong.

Enhanced Sheltered Housing covers four schemes in the Canterbury District - at Cranmer House, Whitgift Court, Lang Court and Collard House. It offers elderly tenants support through 24/7 staff presence, social events, medication management and laundry services. It is a much valued service by those who use it - yet KCC is withdrawing its funding in March this year.

The Council has explained this decision was taken by KCC back in 2011. This raises a number of questions.

Firstly, why were new tenants at the schemes, arriving after 2011, not told about the possibility of cuts to existing support? Tenants first heard about the plans last autumn when, at short notice, they were asked to attend a meeting with relatives. Before then they were still handed a tenancy handbook - 'Canterbury City Council's Enhanced Care' - which detailed all the support available. This type of support is why tenants decided to move to one of the schemes. It is why 73% of respondents in last October's consultation said they preferred Enhanced Care to remain.

Secondly, will KCC actually save any money by cutting this funding? The City Council has identified 32 tenants who would need more support should Enhanced Care be withdrawn. If all 32 were to move to residential homes and require financial support from KCC, then at £500 per week this would cost the Council over £800,000 per year. This may be an extreme case, but even if half of the 32 moved into residential care, and only required 50% financial support, that is over £200,000 per year - close to the figure the Council is seeking to save.

How can KCC hope to save money when it will almost certainly be landed with a large bill for the care of those who need it when Enhanced Care goes?

Plans to cut this support are wrong, both financially and morally. We should be proud as a District to offer this type of support to elderly residents, and we should be doing everything we can to protect it. It's time for Kent County Council to think again.

County Cllr Martin Vye (Lib Dem), Councillor Michael Dixey (Westgate, Lib Dem), Ida Linfield, James Flanagan (Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman, Canterbury and Whitstable)