City council recently passed a regulation that requires disabled people at two different occupational centres to pay for their meals, at a price higher than what city council members themselves pay for their lunches and dinners.
Bjarkarás and Lækjarás are two occupational centres for disabled people – they arrive in the morning, have assigned work to do, and return home at the end of the day. Most receive a modest salary for the work they do. DV now reports that these workers will have to pay 610 ISK for each meal they eat at these centres, costing about 12,000 ISK per month, whereas before they ate for free. The new fees take effect this fall.
Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, chairperson of the city’s welfare committee, said that the disabled should pay for their meals like everyone else, saying that the decision is in keeping with the “equal treatment” concept of United Nations law with regards to disabled people.
But the treatment appears to be anything but equal. Sóley Tómasdóttir, a city coucilperson for the Leftist-Greens, pointed out that she and her colleagues pay only 400 ISK per meal at the city hall canteen. Furthermore, meals at community centres for the elderly are 550 ISK.
Sóley said that the Best Party/Social Democrat majority in city hall has to answer for the logic behind these rates.