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These poor folk have only walls to stare at... CARE HOMES: Desperate wife calls for TV licence rules to be eased.

Byline: By Marc Meneaud

A PENSIONER says she is "flogging a dead horse" in her battle to get TV sets put back in short-stay rooms in Warwickshire's council-run care homes.

Carer Margaret Horley, aged 74, has spent the last 12 months writing letters demanding the council lift its ban.

Her husband Derek, aged 79, who is disabled after a stroke, has refused to spend two days each week in day care at Park View residential home in Warwick since the ban came into force last June.

The TV Licensing authority ruled all televisions in care homes must be covered by a licence.

So staff were ordered to remove all TVs from up to 70 short-stay rooms in the county council's homes or risk fines totalling up to pounds 70,000.

Now, Mrs Horley, of Foxes Way, Warwick, says all the elderly people have to do is "stare at four walls".

She said: "These people are just stuck there. I have pleaded and pleaded about this to social services. I want to see televisions put back in.

"Everyone has sympathy with Derek's situation but they say there is not a lot they can do - I feel I have been flogging a dead horse for the past 12 months."

Currently, permanent residents with sets in their rooms are entitled to a pounds 5 concessionary licence, while people over 75 are exempt. But under the new rules the council must buy a pounds 130 licence for each respite room.

Short-term residents can alternatively apply for a pounds 7.50 concessionary licence, but that will be granted only on a "case-by-case basis".

A county council spokesman said: "We have challenged this position, but as yet, with little success. Care home managers have had to remove all the TV sets from short-stay rooms because they would incur a fine of up to pounds 1,000 for each one used illegally."

Whitnash councillor Bernard Kirton said: "I am absolutely gobsmacked. A lot of people going into these rooms are elderly and have already paid for, or have a free TV licence of their own; they shouldn't have to pay for another one."


A TV Licensing spokesman said: "As of April this year, retired people aged 60 and over, and disabled people, who go into short-term respite care in nursing and residential homes, are now able to benefit from the Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC) concessionary scheme, provided the care home meets the qualifying criteria.

"This concession was previously available only to full-time residents.

"There are clear rules on eligibility of care homes for the scheme and each ARC application is considered on a case-by-case basis."

For more information call TV Licensing on 0870 240 1291.


LET US VIEW... Margaret and Derek Horley - Mr Horley has refused to go to day care since the television sets were removed from short-care rooms.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 4, 2007
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