Yet Another Service We Now Have To Pay For!

All about money
In the bungalow where we live, there is a Pull Cord 24/7 Response system installed into ours and the other 7 bungalows in our plot. Currently, this is paid for by our local County Council by way of a grant paid to our local council who run the service.

Sadly, the County Council are no longer able to fund this service via grants and so all tenants of the bungalows are having to pay for the services personally as from 1st October 2014. The charges are as follows.....

Pull Cord 24/7 Response plus....
An annual Visit - £5.29 per week
Monthly Visit - £5.82 per week
Fortnightly Visit - £6.62 per week
Weekly Visit - £7.95 per week
Daily Visit - £17.46 per week

The Visits are by a warden who comes to test the pull cord services is working OK and to check if everything is OK with the tenants, whether they require any help with anything, etc.

Since it was (is currently) free, we opted for the monthly visit since it's nice to see a friendly face once a month and have someone to check on us in case of problems in the future. But from the 1st October, we will be charged £5.82 per week, or £23.28 per 4-week month together with the rent-shortfall we now have to pay, thanks to David-Blasted-Cameron. (And of course the Council Tax Shortfall and the Bedroom Tax!! Grrrr!!!) As if we weren't hit enough recently, we're now being asked to pay for the Pull Cord Services!!

The Monthly Visit services amount to £302.64 per year! OK, we could drop it to the Yearly Visit for £275.08, saving £27.56 per year but it's still a fair chunk out of our benefits we could do without. And before you ask, no, we cannot ask NOT to have the service. The minimum we can have is the Yearly Service, £5.29 per week, like it or not.

So what to do? Should we challenge this? Or is there somewhere else we could try and apply for help with this service? What do you think to this farce?
A yearly visit costs nearly £300?!?!?! That's ridiculous! How long does the visit last?

Melly1
They seem ridiculously high prices. We had the telephone response system for dad and that was £45 paid quarterly.

My understanding is that you can ask council to do a financial assessment to see if prices can be reduced. Depends on how much detail you want to give them but by sounds of it they already know most of yours. Might be worth making enquiries

If all 8 bungalows pay the same, that is £186.24 per month. Opting for high end agency rates of £20 per hour that would give you all one hour per week, with a little left over. Plus you would be getting something actually done for you.

As regards seeing a friendly face, have you made enquiries if any befriending service in your area?

Apologies in advance if above suggestions not suitable but handing money over to council like this for next to nothing seems a complete rip off

x x
Maybe I am mis understanding the system but isn't the chord a lifeline to use in emergencies and the visit just to make sure it is functioning ok? I've paid over £1000.00 for Dad's since 2009 and he used it for the first time this year. I have to pay for it myself because he refuses to pay and hospital wouldn't let him home without it!!! What a mug I am
Ours is free. Frankly I wouldn't pay for it anyway , I doubt it is that effective.
Dad is in sheltered housing and the helpcall is part of that scheme. It is paid for along with warden services and rent to the council. This year as well as part housing benefit dad was eligible for a discretionary housing allowance to help cover the extra increase. Not sure if this is a scottish thing or is it nationwide. It was a very well kept secret, i only found out because somebody in the audit department looked into dad`s case and put forward the suggestion as he was really struggling to pay the fees.

Found out yesterday that if you are on the landline talking to somebody and take ill the helpcall button does not work as it is reliant on the landline to work.! Pointless.xx