Council rethinks plans to halt cash for disability equipment

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A council in England has said it will rethink plans to withdraw funding for the maintenance of disability equipment it installs in people’s homes.

The plans would have meant disabled residents in Staffordshire would have had to pay for their own repairs to stairlifts and wheelchair lifts installed by Staffordshire County Council.

Stafford Disabled Access Group feared that disabled and elderly people would struggle to afford their own insurance cover, which could cost between £40 and £200 a year, according to The Staffordshire Newsletter.

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A councillor speculated that the plans could have forced some people who relied on mobility equipment into a care setting.

The Staffordshire Newsletter reported councillor Charlotte Atkins as saying: “Residents living with disabilities have received what was described to me by one of my constituents, a very abrupt letter, saying the recipient would be responsible for the servicing and maintenance of fixed equipment from April. But no suggestions of the cost have been identified to him, and he said he was worried to death by the letter, as he and his wife live on a basic pension.

“What happens if that vital equipment breaks down? Would the person with disability have to move into supported housing, or into a care setting? How much would that cost the county council?”

The initial plans were announced as part of a move to save money that could then be used on adult social care services.

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