THE Foreign Secretary, David Milliband, turned up in Hammersmith to attack the record of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, but he appeared to have been given a dodgy dossier beforehand.

He said the 'people who bear the brunt' of our policies 'are the people who pay £12.40 an hour for elderly home care'.

In fact, this charge is £10.50 an hour currently, and is proposed to increase to £10.70 an hour in 2010/11. The average charge for London is £13.50.

Only one council in London, and four in the country, do not charge for home care. Out of 78,000 households, about 1,750 to 1,800 people receive home care and only 340 people have been invoiced for home care. Only those who can afford to do so are asked to make this contribution to the cost of their care.

These are not easy decisions for councils to make. Should a home care user on a high income have the service free or subsidised at the expense of a council tax payer on a low income?

I hope Mr Milliband is better briefed on Iraq and Afghanistan. What of Mr Milliband's own council? He is the Labour MP for South Shields, which comes under Labour-run South Tyneside Council. It is increasing its council tax by 2.71 per cent and has increased home care charges to £10.80 an hour.


Conservative Hammersmith Town Hall