Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 17:10 UK

Council will not raise legion fee

Crosfield House
Crosfield House is home to more than 50 residents

A council has voted not to increase the amount it pays for residents at a Royal British Legion (RBL) home in Powys which is under threat of closure.

The legion said last month that Powys council needed to pay 30% more for people at Crosfield House in Rhayader.

But at a meeting on Tuesday the council's governing board said it could not meet the demand, but would hold talks with the RBL next week.

Up to 40 campaigners showed their support for the home beforehand.

Crosfield House is the RBL's only home in Wales, but a forecast 500,000 deficit could force its closure.

Last month, the legion appealed to the council to increase its fee levels.

Save Crosfield House poster
A petition has been started in an attempt to save the home

But on Tuesday the council's board rejected the request.

However, the council's chief executive Mark Kerr, who served as a Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy, and chair of the board Michael Jones will meet the RBL's trustees next week.

Meanwhile, Brecon and Radnorshire AM Kirsty Williams has written to Wales' Commissioner for Older People, Ruth Marks, calling on her to back the fight to save Crosfield House.

Ms Williams also attended Tuesday's demonstration in Llandrindod Wells.

Ms Williams said: "I have written to the commissioner asking her to make representations to the Royal British Legion in London to reconsider their proposals.

"I have also invited her to come to Rhayader and meet with local campaigners to discuss their concerns."

Unions claim closing the home, which is home to 50 ex-service people and other residents, would also lead to the loss of 80 jobs.

The legion said the deficit was due to increased maintenance costs, under-occupancy, the low rates paid by the council and a higher number of local authority-funded residents.

But the council said it had been in discussions with the RBL but they had been disappointing.

It said: "In essence, this centres on the fact that the RBL, in order to secure the future of the home, are requesting fee levels which are substantially in excess of what the council currently pays."

'Special dispensation'

But the RBL said certain parts of Crosfield House fell short of the standards "required under the Care Standards Act 2000", such as the lavatories and washing facilities.

A spokeswoman added: "We have to adhere to the legislative standards which have now been set for some years.

"Up till now we have been given special dispensation, but we now have to invest to meet the standards set by the government."

A 30-day consultation period has also started where both parties have been asked to put forward suggestions for saving the home.

Their ideas will be passed on to the home's board of trustees who will discuss the findings at a meeting on 26 June.

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