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Ceredigion council to remove means testing for small and medium disabled facilities grants

CEREDIGION is the latest local authority to remove means testing for smaller disabled adaptations in private homes as part of Welsh Government legislation.

Discretionary grants available to fund small and medium disabled adaptations in private homes will no longer require means testing and will be separate from the large disabled facilities grants, which are mandatory, under the amendments backed by scrutiny this week.

Other amendments are to be made to the private sector housing grants and loans financial policy for Ceredigion, with the final decision to be taken by cabinet on Tuesday (February 1).

During a special meeting on the healthier communities overview and scrutiny committee on Monday, January 31 councillors discussed the amendments and raised concerns about the potential increase in applications and the financial implications.

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Dafydd Edwards said the changes will “make it easier” for those needing adjustments in their homes and due to the time the process takes, with occupational health assessments needed for a priority based system, many who can afford it will pay for their own improvements.

Emergency repair assistance will increase to a maximum of £5,000 and the ‘Houses into Homes’ and home improvement loan maximum value will be increased from £25,000 to £35,000 with conditions.

Some grants and loans are awarded on the condition that they must be repaid if the property is sold or not occupied as agreed, with local land charges registered for a ten year period, and around £49,000 had been repaid to the council in recent years.

Donna Pritchard, corporate lead officer for Porth Ceredigion, said that the impact of the changes to legislation were not fully understood as of yet and removing the need for means testing was something “to keep an eye on” and there was lobbying to Welsh Government for increasing support for the scheme.

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