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Disabled people and their families issue warnings over impact of care cuts on Norfolk's most vulnerable

PUBLISHED: 09:39 21 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:03 21 July 2019

Disabled people, their parents and carers gathered at a public meeting at County Hall. Pic: Philip Williams.

Disabled people, their parents and carers gathered at a public meeting at County Hall. Pic: Philip Williams.

Philip Williams

More than a hundred people attended a public meeting where disabled people, along with their angry parents and carers blasted controversial changes which mean they are having to pay more for their social care.

Disabled people, their parents and carers gathered at a public meeting at County Hall. Pic: Philip Williams.Disabled people, their parents and carers gathered at a public meeting at County Hall. Pic: Philip Williams.

There were warnings that the changes, which come into effect this month, will increase isolation for disabled people, while causing added anxiety for carers.

Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council is saving £4m by changing how much disabled people aged 18 to 64 receive for social care, saying it brought that in line with national levels.

The council had used a rate of £189 a week for everyone, but voted to change to £132.45 a week for those aged 18 to 24 and £151.45 a week for those aged 25 to 64.

The changes have been phased, with the first drop in payments starting this month.

Disabled people, their parents and carers gathered at a public meeting at County Hall. Pic: Philip Williams.Disabled people, their parents and carers gathered at a public meeting at County Hall. Pic: Philip Williams.

Saturday's meeting ay County Hall was organised by Labour's Brenda Jones, with cross-party support from the Liberal Democrats and independents, who all had councillors in attendance.

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The Conservatives were invited, but did not attend. Two Tory councillors sent their apologies.

The meeting heard concerns from disabled people and their parents. One disabled man said, when he was born, the health service had done everything possible to help him survive - at considerable expense - but he now felt the care system was not doing likewise.

Disabled people, their parents and carers gathered at a public meeting at County Hall. Pic: Philip Williams.Disabled people, their parents and carers gathered at a public meeting at County Hall. Pic: Philip Williams.

And the mother of a severely disabled young man, whose main form of communication is pressing yes and no on a tablet, said: "He needs someone to be with him every single hour of every single day.

"The personal budget has been cut, education has been cut and health services have been cut.

"And they now want him to pay back part of his benefit money they use to pay for care."

Judith Taylor, from Buxton, whose son Charlie has Down's Syndrome, has set up a Facebook group called Disability Network Norfolk Group for parents to join forces against the changes.

Bill Borrett, the county council's cabinet member for adult social care, public health and prevention, previously said: "We have a duty to the council taxpayer to ensure that we offer the best service we can for the money that we have.

"Although people may not always get what they want, we seek to ensure they get what they need."

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