Parents angry no u-turn over disabled care changes despite extra government cash

Judith and Nick Taylor from Buxton. Pic: Neil Didsbury.

Judith and Nick Taylor from Buxton. Pic: Neil Didsbury. - Credit: Archant

Parents of disabled people who are having to pay more for their care due to council changes have been told there will be no u-turn.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry - Credit: Archant

Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council last year agreed changes to the minimum income guarantee, which reduces a weekly allowance which disabled people get.

Another change meant a benefit, the enhanced element of personal independence payments, is now taken into account when assessing care.

Combined, it meant about 1,000 people are having to pay more for care and 1,400 are paying for care for the first time - to save the council £4m.

The government has made £1bn more available for councils to pay for social care, with parents hoping that could lead to the council reversing its decisions.

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But Andrew Proctor, leader of the council, which is preparing its budget, has written to them to say that will not happen.

He said: "For 2020-21, we will receive a £17.6m share of the government's additional £1bn national allocation for social care.

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"But this is intended for both children's and adults' social services - with the majority allocated to children's services to cover their particular budget pressures.

"Regrettably, it is insufficient to fully meet the needs of either

"Following the announcement this funding will continue for the next five years, we will have to make a judgement as we set future budgets, in the light of the latest pressures each year."

Mr Proctor said millions was being invested into social care, but there were extra costs and pressures.

He said: "All this means that we cannot, at this stage, revisit past spending decisions, without cutting other services - otherwise, we will not be able to set that balanced budget."

He said he had written to the prime minister asking for a long-term, fairer funding deal for social care and hoped parents of disabled people would help the council make that case.

But Nick Taylor, from Buxton, whose son Charlie has Down's Syndrome, said: "This is very disappointing, in view of the government's opinion that the extra money should stabilise the situation until a long term solution is in place.

"The council must prioritise the vulnerable."

The council's cabinet will discuss the budget on Monday.

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