Council proposes cuts to Leicester panic alarms

Alarm button The alarms cost about £2 a week for each tenant

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Funding for an alarm service that allows 800 elderly and vulnerable tenants in Leicester to call for help could be cut by the city council.

The cuts would save the council £133,000 a year, but have been opposed by housing association tenants.

Tenant Rosie Williamson said the service was a lifeline as she does not have any close relatives to look after her.

A council consultation on the cuts will run until 20 November.

'Dwindling' budget

Ms Williamson said: "I can't see the point because if it is removed and I end up in hospital for two or three weeks then Leicester City Council would have to pick up that expense."

The council said if the proposal was accepted, people would still continue to access their alarm service from their landlords, but the council would no longer pay.

The cost of the service is estimated at about £2 a week for each tenant.

Councillor Rita Patel said: "This is one of our non-statutory services and we are having to look right across the board, so this only one of a long line of things we are having to look at.

"Adult social care is faced with increasing numbers of people who desperately need our services and the council budget is dwindling."

She promised the council, which faces total cuts of £90m over the next three years, would "look at every individual case".

Tenant Ruth Fraser said elderly people find the alarms "a major source of comfort in case of emergency" and taking away the funding was "completely wrong".

"It is one of those very small but very essential supports that the frail and elderly people rely on to make their life reasonable in their old age."

If approved, the cuts would be implemented in April.

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