A LEADING politician has defended controversial plans to cut community care – saying people won’t accept public money being badly spent.

Philip Gretton, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, also insisted he would not force disabled people into care against their will.

The Advertiser revealed last week that the authority wants to save £500,000 by offering cheaper alternatives to 24-hour at-home care.

From now on, disabled people who apply to remain at home will get their costs compared to the bill for them being placed in residential care.

The move has prompted anger among campaigners, with Worcestershire Coalition for Independent Living saying “it’s difficult to see how it will not force people into care”.

Coun Gretton said social care bosses will be striving to give people more options than a care home.

These may include giving them their own personal budgets so they can pay for their own private arrangements, after being means-tested, or by asking family members to contribute towards the bill.

About 2,000 people get at-home care, which includes 24-hour help with tasks like washing, dressing and feeding.

But it can cost taxpayers £3,000 a week, while stays in residential care homes can be 70 per cent cheaper.

Coun Gretton said: “This is about supporting people to live the lives they want to live – which is often in their own homes, more cost effectively.

“We are fully committed to supporting people to live independent lives for as long as is safe for them to do so, but we have to look more and more at doing this in the most cost effective way.”

Some people may still be able to get 24-hour care if they qualify for an “exceptional causes” clause, such as where it affects a family member’s employment.