The lives of the “poorest in our society” will be restricted by changes to adult social care service fees across Surrey, according to the chief executive of a disabled rights group.

Surrey County Council provide adult social care services for people in need of practical support due to illness, disability, old age or low income. The council charges for services including help with personal tasks such as shopping and bathing, attendance at day services and respite care in residential accommodation.

Under new charges being implemented by the council from October 3, people wanting to arrange individualised care in their own homes will have to pay £295, on top of an annual charge of £75.

Disabled people will also be charged for home care services including housing support, supported living, transport and respite care. The council will not charge for equipment to help with daily living, property adaptions under £1,000 and providing information and advice.

The council will also raise the percentage of income it will consider when determining how much to charge people, based on their ability to pay, from 90 per cent to 100 per cent. For couples, 50 per cent of jointly owned capital will be taken into account.

The council said increasing the cost of charges would be necessary in order to maintain the services it provides, as it expected to be spending an extra £20million on adult social care a year by 2020.

Speaking to the Epsom Guardian in May, Carol Pearson, Chief Executive at Surrey Coalition of Disabled People said: “We know the council is in a very, very difficult financial position, but to save so much money from so few people seems really difficult.

“It is difficult to understand the individual impact, but we do know that disabled people are among the poorest in our society, and losing money every week will seriously impact on what they can do.”

Surrey County Council launched a consultation in April on its charging policy for the services in which it outlined four potential changes.

The council had proposed to remove a £20 disregard when calculating the allowance of people who require respite care, but decided to keep this at a Cabinet meeting in July.

A spokesman from Surrey County Council said: “Surrey’s population is both rising and ageing. It is estimated that older people will make up 20 per cent of the population by 2021, increasing the demand on health and social care services.

“Income from charging is an essential contribution to adult social care’s budget to support the delivery of adult social care services to help people live and age well.

“The council has faced a significant reduction of core central government funding for 2016/17, alongside the increasing demographic demand for services.

“The proposed changes to the charging policy are a more equitable approach, as they are based on each person’s ability to pay towards their care, subject to their personal circumstances.”

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