PEOPLE who cannot afford to pay for their own social care will benefit from new measures that will increase charges on about 1,700 people, Oxfordshire County Council has said.

The authority has said it will be able to raise another £1.8m and plough it back into its social care system.

Currently, the council provides social care to 6,800 disabled adults and the elderly across the county, helping people cook meals, get out and about or offering financial advice. About 4,800 people pay towards their care, while another 2,000 pay nothing.

Now, of the 4,800 who pay something, about 1,700 are set to see charges increase. The council anticipates the highest increase will be about £30 extra a week.

Another 1,300 people would save about £10 a week and would be better off, while 1,800 will not see any change.

None of the changes would impact people who have their social care paid for in full.

The expectation that people should contribute to the cost of their care comes after the 2014 Care Act.

People with savings over £23,250 who receive care in their own home and ask the county council to arrange it pay a one-off fee regardless of how long they receive care for.

The council is planning to introduce an annual fee. It said it would mean a ‘fairer approach’.

It would also be charged pro-rata, so that if a person stops receiving care they will only charged for the earlier period.

Last year when the proposals were announced, the Labour opposition said the plans amounted to a ‘postcode lottery’. It criticised the policy because some people living in one town in Oxfordshire might now be charged more than another.

The council said it was simply reflecting the costs of what care providers charge in different parts of Oxfordshire.

Herald Series: County council finance chief Lawrie Stratford.

Lawrie Stratford, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “We live in a postcode lottery. Some of our care workers live in Oxford, where they’re paying very expensive rents to do their jobs. We all live in a postcode lottery and that’s the way life is.

“We’re trying to make it more equitable. If someone living in a poorer area, why should someone there be paying more than they need to?”

The council said following a consultation it had ditched plans to charge for telecare and laundry services.

It will also adhere to new national legislation so the value of a person’s home will be taken into consideration for how much they should pay for their first stay in a care home.

Currently for the first 12 weeks a person enters a home, the value of their house is not considered when the council calculates how much they should pay. Soon that will only be offered to permanent residents in care homes or where there is an unexpected change in circumstances.

The measures are set to be passed by the council’s cabinet on May 22.