Worry over plan to cut alarm cash

Ron and Edith Entwistle
Ron and Edith Entwistle
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Thousands of people living in sheltered accommodation across Lancashire have been warned that funding for some key services could soon be cut by almost half.

Lancashire County Council (LCC) has issued a letter stating that because of £300m cuts, the budget for sheltered housing and community alarm services could drop from £4.5m to £2.5m a year.

Now residents are worried about the implications for the system that connects vulnerable people to a base unit operator for help and reassurance, and their cost contributions.

Ron Entwisle, who lives in sheltered accomodation in Sunningdale, Broughton, has been assured by Community Gateway Association that its service will not be affected, but has spoken out on behalf of worried elderly friends.

He said: “Cutting £2m out of the budget is quite a big chunk, and a lot of people feel in the dark about what it will mean. We would like some meaningful consultation. A lot of people will worry about these things, especially in old age, and we just want to know what’s going on.”

LCC currently gives different amounts to associations to run sheltered accomodation services, but under new proposals, the money would be divided equally according to the number of people who have financial help towards the cost of their services.

A spokesperson for LCC said: “We realise that some people in sheltered accommodation may have concerns about the proposals, but even if they go ahead, nothing will change until next April.

“In the meantime, we are working closely with sheltered housing providers and have asked them to consult with their tenants and give us their views by the end of this month.

“ We will not know the impact on individual tenants until that consultation is complete at which point we will make a final decision.”