Campaigners are urging County Hall to not cut the funding given to disabled people as it looks to find millions of pounds of savings. 

Norfolk County Council's £46.2m budget gap for the coming year has widened, after the council was told it would get less than expected from the government to pay for services.

The council, which had identified £26.5m of potential cuts and savings so far, has still to reveal by how much the gap has widened - or how it will be plugged.

But, with major pressures on the budgets for adult social care and children's services, there are fears disabled people could be in the firing line.

In 2019, Conservative-controlled council decided to make disabled people pay more towards their care, when it changed its Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) policies.

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk County Council's County Hall headquartersNorfolk County Council's County Hall headquarters (Image: Mike Page)

But a High Court ruling found that move had been discriminatory and the council was forced to apologise and pay money back to more than 3,000 people.

Eastern Daily Press: Disabled people had protested at County Hall over previous changes - which a judicial review found were discriminatory.Disabled people had protested at County Hall over previous changes - which a judicial review found were discriminatory. (Image: Philip Williams)

However, there are concerns that the council could look at the issue again, given the financial challenges.

At a meeting of the council's cabinet this week, Judith Taylor, from the Disability Norfolk Network Group, asked: "Is it reasonable to consider making savings for Norfolk County Council by targeting the most vulnerable and worst off people in Norfolk?"

Eastern Daily Press: Andrew Jamieson, deputy leader of Norfolk County CouncilAndrew Jamieson, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council (Image: Norfolk County Council)

Andrew Jamieson, the council's deputy leader, said: "Local government faces some very difficult funding constraints, and we are still considering the impact of the settlement from government on our need to provide services to all Norfolk people and balance our budget as legally required."

He said he could not yet say where savings would be made but that the council was "attentive" to the needs of the most vulnerable.

But Mrs Taylor, from Buxton, near Aylsham, whose son Charlie has Down's syndrome, said: "There will be many who simply will not be able to manage if the MIG is cut and care charges go up.

"We have met various councillors over the past year or two and genuinely believed they had begun to understand more about what it is like to live with a disability.

"I very much hope they have listened and can make their decision fully aware of the implications to disabled people."