Councils want to subsidise home helps for frail elderly

Over 150 local councils have asked ministers to approve plans allowing them to subsidise household help for the frail elderly, broadcaster Nos said on Friday.

The amount the councils want to contribute varies between €7.50 and €12.50 an hour. The cost of a home help is around €22 an hour.

Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher and junior health minister Martin van Rijn think the subsidy plan will allow hundreds of elderly people pay for extra help to enable them to remain at home. This, in turn, will save some 14,000 part-time jobs in the home help industry.

The ministers have set aside €190m to fund the subsidy schemes over the next two years.

Responsibility for home helps is being transferred from national to local government and budgets are being reduced sharply. The government hopes family, friends and neighbours will become more involved and pick up the slack.

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