THE House of Commons cross-party Select Committee for Communities and Local Government, chaired by Clive Betts MP, called for more funding to enable Councils to provide handyman services for older people to carry out basic repairs and spot hazards (BBC News, February 9).

This would help the elderly remain in their homes rather than go into residential care (expensive) or sheltered housing (unregulated, Radio 4, File on 4, 13 Jan. 2018).

Surely Wirral Council would find it cheaper in the long term to make its Home Improvement Agency/Handyman scheme available to all elderly residents who live alone.

Vulnerable unsupported pensioners are alarmed by media reports of scams, intimidation and overcharging and would willingly pay for a service that is vetted, accountable and hassle-free.

General consumer advice is not always practicable especially for those with health problems.

'Recommendations from friends and neighbours' may not be available.

'Three written quotations' may be unobtainable if traders will give only (non-binding) estimates.

Try to 'get everything in writing and ask the trader to sign it' and see the trader rapidly disappear. 

The Trading Standards list of recommended traders has long since been handed over to an independent organisation and even trade associations cannot always be relied on.

A Council-run handyman service would provide employment opportunities for experienced traders and enable younger workers to gain skills.

So, Wirral Council, please heed the Select Committee's recommendations and try to secure the necessary funding.

'Concerned', by email