The Lib Dems in Wokingham Borough are concerned about the plight of hundreds of elderly people living on low incomes who may be marooned at home after the Conservative council withdrew Travel Tokens last year.
Lib Dem councillors have uncovered the fact that hundreds – and possibly thousands of elderly people on means tested benefits have lost out after the Conservatives axed the Travel Token budget.
Councillor Stephen Conway said “The travel tokens were a lifeline for people who can’t afford to run a car or are no longer able to drive. The Conservatives say pensioners can have bus passes so there is no problem. What are people supposed to do if they don’t live near a bus route?”
“Some of these people are on very low incomes; when travel tokens were available, they received £80-worth, double the standard issue. Now they get nothing. It can’t be right to make life more difficult for some of the least well-off and vulnerable members of our community.”
“We warned the Conservatives what impact their decision would have and now these elderly residents are suffering because the Conservatives did not listen.”
The Lib Dems are fighting to ensure that the interests of the people living at Fosters Residential Care Home come first when Wokingham Borough Council makes a decision on the future of the building.
The council says Fosters is in a poor state and is consulting on whether to make repairs or close the care home.
Wokingham Borough Council Liberal Democrat group leader Prue Bray said “The interests of the residents should be paramount in any decision on the future of Fosters. The views expressed by them and their relatives should decide what happens.
“Given the importance of the issue to those involved it is rather unfortunate that there has been a muddle over the consultation dates and also that Fosters appears on a list of sites the council is considering selling. The Lib Dems have called for both issues to be sorted out.
“The Conservatives have been criticised in the past for consulting where the outcome has already been decided. We are determined not to let them do it again.”
Woodley and Whitegates Lib Dems will be proposing changes in the annual grants given to local groups at Tuesday’s (24th January) Community Services Committee Meeting.
Beth Rowland, Lib Dem Leader of Woodley Town Council said “In these difficult financial times we all have to make difficult decisions on the best use of our money. Woodley Lib Dems feel that the council should fully support groups that provide a direct service to residents coping with problems and are therefore proposing to award the full grant requested to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and ARC.” Beth added “In order to keep increases in the precept to a minimum we are proposing to fund these awards and other increases in community grants, for instance Readibus, by ceasing our funding for the Mobility and Information Centre van (MICE) operated by Earley Crescent Resource Centre that comes to Woodley Town Centre on Mondays. MICE will continue to be funded until the end of March”
Phil Challis Lib Dem Deputy Leader of Woodley Town Council said “MICE provide a whole range of information from their van. However Woodley Lib Dems feel that residents have alternative means of obtaining the most important information that they need through the library, Woodley Town Council offices and of course the internet all of which are available most of the time and that the funding the town council has provided to MICE in the past can be better targeted.”
Phil added “MICE has provided a good service in the town centre on Mondays in the past and of course will be missed, but we do have to be very careful to get the maximum value for tax payers money and at this time we feel that more value can be obtained through funding other groups”.