Cuts to carers' grants called off as Derby City Council decides to hold new consultation
CUTS to grants for carers will no longer go ahead next month after Derby City Council decided to consult again on its plans.
The authority's cabinet decided that there had not been a full-enough understanding of the impact its proposals would have and it will now hold a second consultation.
Councillors decided in January to reduce funding for helping carers by £225,000 in 2013-14 and by £16,000 the following year in the face of reductions to the authority's grant from Government.
But carers said that, when they were first consulted, they did not have enough detail about the proposals.
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Campaign group Protect Derby Carers' Services led a protest outside the Council House and presented the authority with a mock cheque for £13 million.
This represented what the group said it would cost the council in residential care if 10% of the city's 500 carers put their loved ones into nursing homes.
Last night, the council approved more detailed proposals and agreed to hold a second consultation to be completed by September.
Carer Vita Snowden, from Protect Derby Carers' Services, said: "This is an important success story for carers and the people of Derby."
She said it was "obvious" that the council wanted to safeguard the service.
Councillor Fareed Hussain, cabinet member for adults and health, said that there would be no cuts to the service until the consultation was complete. He said plans still included cutting money available for one-off grants, used to pay for things like holidays and internet access if carers can prove it would help them in their roles.
But he said that all the cash currently available for this was not being used. He said the proposal was to "cap the sum" available at £125,000 – half the current amount.
Mr Hussain said: "The loss of £125,000 will stop the scheme from growing but it will mean we can manage current levels of demand."
He said that the new consultation would also ask about the proposal to stop council funding for three carers' services provided by voluntary groups.
But the council did decide that vulnerable people who currently get free use of Carelink – which allows people to press a button on an alarm pendant to get support in an emergency – should have to pay. Most of those already paying will have their charge increased.
Mr Hussain said that people who could not afford the service would be assessed to establish their level of risk. He said: "If they are at risk, they will be given money in their personal budgets that should cover the cost."