A DETERMINED former councillor afflicted with a cruel disease is still campaigning for people's rights from her hospital bed.

Valerie Binney, a former Lord Mayor of Bradford, is calling for the Council to re-think its decision to start charging for a free care service she describes as a "lifeline".

The authority is introducing a £3-a-week fee for an alarm service for the elderly, disabled or those who have just come out of hospital.

From tomorrow, users will have to start paying for the council's 'Safe and Sound' service, which, among other things, sends emergency help if people press a panic button on a pendant worn around their neck.

Mrs Binney, a former portfolio holder for adult services, uses the service as she suffers from Motor Neurone Disease, a degenerative muscle-wasting condition which has robbed her of her ability to speak and walk.

Mrs Binney is being in Bradford Royal Infirmary, as the disease has started to affect her lungs.

She said she had used her alarm twice, once when she suffered a fall and once when she had a medical emergency.

Speaking from her hospital bed, with the aid of an iPad, Mrs Binney said it was not right to ask vulnerable people to pay for something so essential.

She said while her family was able to pay, many others would not be so fortunate.

She said: "The money they will save is peanuts."

Councillor Jackie Whiteley, (Con, Wharfedale), the Conservative group spokesman for adult services, said she would be taking Mrs Binney's fight to City Hall.

She said: "While we know that Bradford Council has to spend its money wisely, the decision to charge £3 a week to an extremely vulnerable group of people has to be questioned."

Cllr Whiteley also praised Mrs Binney's determination to help others.

She said: "I am just amazed really that she is still doing this."

Bradford Council's strategic director for adult services, Janice Simpson, said the charge was being introduced "to help meet the significant funding reductions imposed upon the Council".

She said the proposal had formed part of the wider public consultation into the Council's budget.

She said: "If an individual is concerned about their ability to pay they can have their individual circumstances re-assessed by contacting the Council's Contact Centre on (01274) 431000."