Black country

Protest over cuts to Wolverhampton adult care services

People signing petition in Wolverhampton
Image caption Campaigners are gathering signatures for their petition against the changes

Campaigners who say adult care service cuts have badly hit elderly residents and people with learning disabilities have protested in Wolverhampton.

The city council introduced charges of up to £16 a week for use of its day centres and raised the cost of hot meals by £2.

Campaigners say the facilities are now too expensive for many people to use.

The council said it was still subsidising day care services and people would be assessed individually.

The changes included scrapping weekly allowances for care users and gradually increasing the cost of hot meals in day centres and those delivered to homes from £2.40 to £4.40.

The council, which is run by a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition, said the changes were approved in January after a three-month consultation and were necessary because of financial pressures.

'Can't afford meal'

However the changes have angered service users who gathered signatures for their petition in the city centre.

John Knight, 55, said he doubted whether he could keep going to Oxley Day Centre.

"I've got different friends now since I've been there but I don't think I can afford the £16 for three days and I don't think I can afford the cost of a meal," he said.

Labour councillor Steven Evans, who backed the protesters, said the problem was their pockets had been "hit with a triple whammy".

Wolverhampton City Council said most other councils in the region already asked day service users to contribute towards the cost and also charged more for hot meals.

A spokesman added the charges were subject to individual assessments and many day service users would not have to pay.

"For the majority of service users in Wolverhampton, the contribution they are expected to make is among the lowest in the region, no matter how many needs they have or how many different services they depend on," he said.

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