- Friday, 13 January 2012
One of our members is living in sheltered housing accommodation in Somerset and she has a problem, which I am sure affects thousands up and down the country and I would certainly like to hear from anyone in the same situation.
The lady in question moved to her dwelling at the beginning of 2004. She received literature detailing all the services of the resident warden on site who worked 20 hours over the week (e.g. minor shopping if temporarily ill).
In accordance with this she signed the Tenancy Agreement for the rent and support charge, the latter then being £13.18 p wk. This included the Emergency Call System.
In 2005 the warden’s home was sold and she was replaced by a rota of mobile support workers, now designated Housing Officers. These work mornings Mon-Fri after which the Emergency Call system takes over. Their duties include 4 ‘phone calls and one visit per week (visits have been reduced).
The charges have now increased to £15.76 per wk inclusive of £3.93 for the LifeLine. Our member is therefore paying £11.83 for support. However tenants were allowed to opt out of the charges though still required to pay!
She has to pay in full for help when necessary on top of the £11.83 which is in effect for nothing. The lady in question feels this is too much, being on a low income.
In total over nearly 5 years the sum taken is £3,000 approx which to her represents a year’s income. In some areas tenants only pay for what they use so this appears to be a postcode lottery.
I would like to hear from anyone in the country, who finds themselves in this situation, so that we can fight this on a National basis. Our member is quite happy to pay for the emergency lifeline in full, but has withdrawn a portion of the £11.83 support. She is willing to pay something but not the full amount as the letter does nothing for her as stated above.
C J Stephens-Chairman
Taunton & Wellington Pensioners Forum
affiliated to the National Pensioners Convention