VULNERABLE people across Flintshire are set to get cheaper care that could land the council half a million pounds in debt.

Elderly and disabled people could see their care fees capped and transport charges scrapped if proposed changes by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) are approved by local councils.

The changes, in a green paper ‘Paying for Care,’ suggest that people who need home care should not pay more than £50 a week.

Over 400 people in Flintshire would benefit from this but it would leave the council £500k out of pocket, a report by director of community services revealed.

WAG also recommended that the cost to vulnerable people of transporting them to health appointments is scrapped.

The proposed changes received a lukewarm response at a meeting of the council’s social and health scrutiny committee.

“We’re getting an older society and the working population is diminishing,” said Chairman Hilary McGuill.

“The need for care is increasing rapidly but no proper consultation can take place until we know who is picking up the tab.

“The worst case scenario is that Flintshire will be £500k down. This is a loss from our pocket and we have no reassurance that WAG are going to reimburse us.”

Members complained they did not have enough information by WAG to make an informed decision on the changes.

Cllr Attridge suggested that care fees for the elderly be scrapped altogether. “Elderly people have worked hard all their lives for the savings they have in their bank accounts,” he said.

“They have paid their taxes so care should be free. We shouldn’t have to pay for care.”

The green paper by WAG said that the need for care and support services is likely to increase over the coming decades, so a higher quality service must be provided.

“Anyone of us may need care and support at some point in our lives and the need for care and support services is likely to increase significantly over the coming decades,” it reads.

“Our attitudes and expectations are also changing as we increasingly demand services of a higher quality and that enable us to live more independent and fulfilled lives.”

The committee decided to report to WAG that there was not enough information on which to base a decision on the green paper.

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