Oxfordshire day centre charges to rise 'by up to 200%'

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Plans to increase day centre charges across Oxfordshire by up to 200% have angered some users.

Oxfordshire County Council plans to raise prices at eight centres in the county, including Elms Day Centre in Witney, by 2015.

Friends of the Elms Day Centre said the increases would stop people from using centres and lead to "social isolation".

The authority cited budget cuts and feedback from service users as reasons for the changes.

The council said there would be a maximum £3 per hour total charge for the centres - which currently cost £4.18 per day and are expected to rise to £15.

It said the increases, which will be "phased in" from September, would not affect those eligible for social care and added it would work with others who felt they would be unable to pay the increased fees.

'Valuable service'

Joyce Pimm, an Elms Day Centre user, lives alone and described the centre as "a lifeline".

"I think I would have gone mad just sitting at home," she said.

She said she expected the prices to rise but added "it's all gone up so quick".

Laura Price, from Friends of the Elms Day Centre, said she hoped the price increases were not part of a "cynical plan" to phase out centres.

Councillor Arash Fatemian said the centres provided a "valuable service".

"The commitment to day centres is and will always remain," he said.

The other centres affected are: Wallingford Resource Centre, Bicester Resource Centre, Oxford Options Resource Centre, Wantage Resource Centre, Didcot Resource Centre, Banbury Resource Centre and Abingdon Resource and Wellbeing Centre.

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