We simply cannot make any more cuts to adult social care in 2020
PUBLISHED: 10:42 03 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:42 03 January 2020
Adult social care in Norfolk is in crisis and disabled people aged 18 to 65 are bearing the brunt, say disability campaigners Judith and Nick Taylor, from Buxton, who have a son with Down's syndrome
Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, wrote to Boris Johnson on December 13 saying that NCC's ambition is to work with the prime minister to deliver a better future for all. He goes on to say that he believes NCC can be a leading council delivering the government's objectives and tackling complex issues including sustainable funding for adult social care to benefit the most vulnerable.
And about time too!
He also invited the prime minister to Norfolk to see "all the good things we are doing and our ideas for the future". At a meeting held by the Disability Network Norfolk Group (DNNG) in September with Conservative councillors, Cllr Proctor committed to campaign with us for more funding for adult social care. We very much hope that Cllr Proctor will include us in any meeting with Boris Johnson if he comes to visit Norfolk. We are also very keen to meet with our newly elected MPs. Many of the MPs from the last government have shown reluctance to meet.
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When DNNG lobbied parliament in October and met the minister for care only Clive Lewis and Sir Henry Bellingham of all Norfolk's invited MPs turned up.
A total of £1bn was given at the chancellor's Autumn Statement for local government for adult social care, but when we asked if cllr Proctor would reverse or halt the devastating cuts that NCC inflicted on our disabled people, with more to come in April 2020, he said that it was only one off money so the programme of cuts would have to continue. These cuts are already having a hugely detrimental and devastating impact on the lives of people with disabilities and their families who will be even worse off if next year's cuts go ahead.
Carers have had to give up their jobs because their loved ones can no longer access their day services. This completely contravenes the Carer's Charter that NCC signed up to in November last year. Young disabled people are sitting at home with ageing parents because they cannot afford to go out. They are not part of the community in which they should be playing a part. From experience we know that disabled people have a great deal to give and are often an inspiration. Children with, for example, learning disabilities are encouraged to be part of 'inclusive' mainstream schools yet it now seems that when they leave education this 'inclusivity' all comes to a shuddering halt. How can negative opinions about disability be changed if people who have one are rarely seen or given the chance to live a decent life like the rest of us?
During his election campaign, Boris Johnson promised £1bn a year for five years for local government for adult social care.
So cllr Proctor cannot use the same argument that it is 'one off money'. So what will be the excuse this time or will the Conservative-led NCC give us the best Christmas present possible and halt the next rounds of cuts planned for April and reverse this year's?
NCC's budget is decided in February so we are hoping if the government has not come up with anything concrete by then that Mr Proctor's faith in the new administration goes far enough to allow him to decide not to make more cuts ahead of a possible increase in funding.