Opinion: Norfolk County Council is putting the needs of the rich before the needs of the poor and disabled
09:35 15 January 2014
Mark Harrison, CEO of the Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People Trading as Equal Lives, has spoken out over the cuts being proposed by Norfolk County Council to adult social care, claiming they will devastate the lives of disabled people, their families and carers.
You can’t take £189m over the next three years on top of the £140m already cut and it not have a serious impact to the quality of life for thousands of Norfolk residents. The community services overview and scrutiny committee discussed the proposed £27m cuts to adult social care and the results of the (misnamed) Norfolk Putting People First consultation.
The council and our local MPs, by imposing these cuts, are putting the needs of the bankers and the rich, who have had tax cuts, before the needs of poor and disabled people in Norfolk.
Our elected councillors are obeying the policies of the coalition government which has no electoral mandate to cut and privatise public services. Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberal Democrats had these policies in their manifestos.
Therefore, nobody voted for this misery. These cuts come on top of a barrage of so-called welfare reforms that have deliberately targeted disabled people in the most unfair way.
Two thirds of the people affected by the bedroom tax are disabled people. Work capability assessments, benefit cuts, council tax payments, scrapping disability living allowance (DLA) are just some of the other policies which are discriminating against us.
The councillors have rejected raising the council tax by 2pc even though the majority of people who responded to the consultation indicated they would support this if the money was ring-fenced to support vulnerable people. A 2pc rise would mitigate a significant proportion of the proposed cuts to Adult Social Care.
In the last round of cuts children’s services bore the brunt and now three years later they are having to invest because these services are failing. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this level of cuts will have the same effect on adult services.
These cuts will also be a false economy as they will shunt the costs on to the NHS as disabled people will be unable to sustain themselves in the community and will end up in hospital for want of adequate social care.
The councillors at the recent meeting received a letter from all the NHS bosses across Norfolk outlining their concerns in this area. When are any of our elected representatives going to stand up and truly put Norfolk people first?
Mark Harrison, CEO, Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People Trading as Equal Lives, Manor Farm Barns, Fox Road, Framingham Pigot.