Deceased WW2 veteran Robbie Clark’s family chased for £31k

Robert Clark, 98, needed round-the-clock care (Pic credit: Jan Nevill)

Robert Clark, 98, needed round-the-clock care (Pic credit: Jan Nevill) - Credit: Archant

Brent Council has been slammed for chasing money from a veteran war hero who died last year.

Robert Clark in 1940

Robert Clark in 1940 - Credit: Archant

The council is threatening court action against the late Robbie Clark’s family for an outstanding debt of £10,000 his son claims he has already promised to pay.

The 98-year-old, who spent three years in a prisoner of war camp during the Second World War, and his son Mike Clark fought a fierce battle with the council to allow the pensioner to live out his remaining days in his own home.

More than 180,000 people signed Mr Clarke’s petition to stop his father being forced into a home when the council refused to pay the full cost of his carer in 2015.

Donations totalling more than £21,000 flooded in from charities and members of the public to help pay for the shortfall which meant he could spend his last days at home, where he died peacefully last June.

But in a letter sent in January seen by the Brent & Kilburn Times, the council’s senior solicitor Warren Shackleton said the family must pay £31,329.23, excluding court costs, towards Robbie’s care costs funded by the council.

The letter says: “Unless we receive payment of the full outstanding debt within 14 days we will start to move towards the issue of proceedings.”

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It adds: “Any additional costs incurred by the late Mr Clark are as a direct result of him refusing to accept a residential care placement where all his needs could have been met in a manner which both addressed all his care needs and met the council’s budget constraints.

“The money that is due belongs to the public purse and we will not negotiate it.”

Mr Clarke, who has been paying back in stages, says he has already given the council £20,000 and has promised to pay back the final sum from his father’s estate.

He said: “Why is the council taking me to court when they know the final £10,000 payment will be made when we sell my father’s house?”

He added: “I stood up to the council on behalf of my father while he was alive. Nothing can be done for my late father but it’s highlighting how the council treats people with a debt.”

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Brent cabinet member for community wellbeing, said: “Robbie’s heirs are being treated the same as any other heir where there are social care debts. Social care is not free at the point of use and we are not in a position to pick and choose who we charge for care based on their personal background.”