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Parents of children with disabilities in final emotional plea to councillors over care cost changes

Families have made a final appeal to councillors not to go ahead with changes to social care charges.  Picture: Archant

Families have made a final appeal to councillors not to go ahead with changes to social care charges. Picture: Archant

Archant

A final, emotional, plea for a rethink has been made by parents of children with disabilities who would lose out because of care cost changes.

As part of Norfolk County Council’s budget-setting process, changes to the authority’s social care charging policy are proposed which would save the council £4m - and the final decision will be made on Monday.

The proposal will change the ‘minimum income guarantee’ used by the council to assess how much people aged 18 to 64 pay towards their care.

At the moment, the council uses a rate of £189 a week for that assessment, but wants to change that to £123.45 for those aged 18 to 24 and £151.45 a week for those aged 25 to 64.

Other plans would see a benefit – the enhanced element of personal independence payments (PIP) – taken into account when assessing care.

The combined effects could lead to about 1,000 people having to pay more for care and 1,400 people paying for care for the first time and parents are pleading with councillors to halt the proposals.

John Hannaway, who lives in Watton, is concerned about the impact on his son, who is autistic with severe learning disabilities and lives in sheltered housing. He said his son will have to pay more than £80 per week for his care under the changes.

He said: “Carers and vulnerable disabled people are hoping and praying that the Conservative councillors come to realise the consequences of their actions if the proposal goes ahead.

“Carers and disabled people say this would put them into poverty, making them more housebound and will further deteriorate their physical and mental condition.”

The opposition Labour group is proposing a budget amendment which would defer changes for a year, in the hope the long-delayed social care funding green paper could provide a solution.

Labour would take £1m from the council’s risk reserve to delay the change, while the Lib Dems are preparing a similar amendment.

Brenda Jones, Labour’s adult care lead member, said: “We have called this cut cruel and callous. It’s all the more so because it can be put off for at least a year at no extra cost.”

Conservative Bill Borrett, chair of the adult social care committee, previously said the changes will bring what the council charges in line with government policy and other counties.

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