Controversial plans to raise the cost of respite care have been shelved due to uncertainty over new legislation.
A radical shake up of “lifeline” community care services was due to be launched by Perth and Kinross Council, which hoped it could save £300,000 in less than a year.
Most of those affected would be facing an increase of around £70 per week in care costs, but at least one household would have been hit by a 900% hike.
Councillors unanimously agreed to look at the plans again in April, when it is hoped new laws will be in place.
The changes were first agreed in 2016 to bring charges in line with Cosla recommendations and were due to be implemented in October.
An ongoing legal challenge by one family, saying the changes will breach human rights and the Equalities Act, also contributed to the delay.
It is hoped Frank’s Law, a national policy named after the Courier-backed campaign by footballer Frank Kopel’s widow Amanda, which aims to offer free personal care to everyone, will be in place next year.
More clarity over the new Carer’s (Scotland) Act, which requires the council to waive charges for clients, is also expected.
Gillian Edwards, manager of the Centre for Inclusive Living Perth and Kinross, welcomed the news.
“This is a great relief for everybody,” she said.
“Most people were looking at being charged £70 per week more which is a huge amount of money.
“Hopefully we can consult with the council and see how they can move forward while letting disabled people be involved in the decision.”
Throughout the summer, council officers have visited and called around 350 households which face a rise in charges.
Crieff pensioner John Deacons, who cares for his epileptic son at home, has paid Perth and Kinross Council £400 a year for regular respite but was told this would rocket to £4,000.
He said he will be keeping a “careful eye” on the council over the coming months.
“There have been so many cuts to services over the years that respite care is all we have left,” he said.
“We don’t use it a lot but it’s important for things like family funerals or when we need a break because looking after my disabled son is a 24/7 job.
“It’s a lifeline service for a lot of people.”
Members of the strategic policy and resources executive sub-committee agreed to defer all changes and take up to £400,000 from council reserve funds to cover the expected savings.
Council leader and committee convener Murray Lyle said: “I’m sure it will be comfort to lots of people throughout Perth and Kinross that we have made this decision. We will re-visit it in future.”