A petition protesting at charges for old folk who use a “lifeline” personal alarm scheme has been launched.
North Lanarkshire Council is bringing in a weekly £5 fee for the service which until now has been free. It blames budget cuts for the move. More than 200 people have signed the change.org petition, demanding a re-think.
One of the organisers said: “The community alarm service is a lifeline for the most vulnerable people within our communities. This system gives our elderly residents and others who need additional support the confidence to lead as independent a life as possible within their own home.
“There is a risk that many vulnerable people will not be able to afford this charge and they will have the service withdrawn.”
The alarm service was introduced in 1999 and numbers using it have risen from 2000 a year to more than 10,000.
The council’s new integrated joint board set up to run health and social care services says North Lanarkshire is one of a small number of Scottish authorities who haven’t yet charged for personal alarms.
It insists a charge is needed so it can continue to provide a “high standard of service”, telling users: “Demand for this service will only become greater due to an ageing population.”
The council’s SNP group branded the charge “heartless” and said Labour could have dipped into the council continingency fund to keep the service free.