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More than 76k people sign petition to stop Brent Council ‘forcing’ war veteran into a care home

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 April 2015 | UPDATED: 11:48 02 April 2015

Robert Clark is a ex-prisoner of war (Pic credit: Jan Nevill)

Robert Clark is a ex-prisoner of war (Pic credit: Jan Nevill)

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Thousands of people have pledged their support for a 96-year-old war veteran who faces being forced into a care home because of a funding row with Brent Council.

In February, the Times highlighted the plight of Robert Clark, one of the country’s oldest prisoner of war survivors, who is battling to stay in his home of 50 years after the town hall refused to increase the funding he needs for a live-in carer.

The council claimed they were unable to do so because of current legislation and the levels of government funding and support.

For the last two years, Mr Clarke, who is registered blind, deaf in one ear and has severe mobility problems leaving him dependent on a wheelchair, has used his £50,000 life-savings to pay towards a £960-a week live-in carer.

Brent Council provide £350 a week and Mr Clark has made up the shortfall but his savings have dwindled away and with the local authority refusing to increase their contribution he could be forced out of his home.

Last month, campaign group 38 degrees launched a petition calling for Brent Council to do a u-turn which 76,000 people have signed to date.

Mike Clarke has been battling with the council to make a provision for his father.

He told the Times: “We have 76,000 people who are calling for the council to look at my father’s case as an individual and they are refusing point blank.

“My father fought for democracy and this is the one thing which Brent is failing to provide. We have thousands of people calling for them to treat my father as a special case and they refuse to sit down and discuss the matter with me.

“This is causing my father to be very anxious and he is unable to sleep.

“We have enough money to pay for around three more months of care but we have no idea what is going to happen after.

“We are not looking for a lot of money just for the council to do the right thing.

“More than 76,000 people can’t be wrong; the council should take a lead and provide the funding.”

Phil Porter, Brent Council’s strategic director of adult social care, said: “Mr Clark owns his home, so there is absolutely no question of Brent Council evicting him despite what has been suggested in this petition.

“We recognise Mr Clark’s contribution to this country and sincerely empathise with the situation that he and other older people like him across the UK are in. However, the problem arises as the care package that Mr Clark is choosing is not affordable to council taxpayers given the constraints of local government funding and the need to be consistent for the 2,900 people we support.

“The council had assessed Mr Clark’s social care needs, and believe they can be met for £451 per week or £23,000 a year. National legislation means that anyone eligible for social care is subject to a financial assessment, which is designed to ensure that people who cannot afford to pay, do not pay.

“Both of these assessments are subject to review as an individual’s social care needs and financial position change.

“We have been working very closely with Mr Clark and his family for a number of years now, and will continue to do so. We want to find a solution which meets his eligible social care needs, provides value for money for the taxpayer, but also reflects the choices he has made and the additional cost this creates. For example, we have offered support and advice to help him to buy the additional care and support he wants at a competitive price, we are supporting an application for health funding to meet his health needs, and we have offered a deferred payment which means he doesn’t need to sell his house to pay for his care.

“There is a safety net for Mr Clark, and other people in similar situations, but if anyone chooses care over and above what we are able to offer, then they need to contribute towards that additional cost from their own resources.

“The reality is that councils need to act within the constraints of national funding which requires us to meet people’s social care needs in a way that also offers value for money for the taxpayer.”

To sign the petition visit here.

Supporters have set up a crowd fundraising page to help Mr Clark for more information visit gofundme.com/l7vuio.

Related link: Brent Council accused of trying to force war hero into a care home


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