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Disabled people feel 'persecuted just for existing', councillors are told

PUBLISHED: 16:27 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:27 23 September 2019

Judith and Nick Taylor, from Buxton, whose son Charlie has Down's Syndrome. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Judith and Nick Taylor, from Buxton, whose son Charlie has Down's Syndrome. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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Disabled people feel they are "being persecuted just for existing", councillors who voted to change their care costs to save £4m have been told.

Tim Adams, Liberal Democrat county councillor. Picture: Tim Adams.Tim Adams, Liberal Democrat county councillor. Picture: Tim Adams.

But Norfolk County Council voted not to back a call for the authority to carry out an urgent review of how it charges disabled people for their care.

Earlier this year, the Conservative-controlled council agreed changes to the minimum income guarantee, which reduces the weekly allowance disabled people get.

Disabled people met Conservative county councillors about the issue last week and, at today's full council meeting, the Liberal Democrats put forward a motion calling for an urgent review.

They highlighted how complaints the local government ombudsman had increased.

Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for adult social carel. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for adult social carel. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Lib Dem councillor Tim Adams said: "Disabled people feel they are being persecuted for their very existence."

Speaking to the Conservative councillors, he said: "You must recognise that being disabled costs more and your recent changes have exacerbated that."

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Bill Borrett, Conservative cabinet member for adult social care, said: "Nobody in this chamber is at all unaware of the issues faced by this council and nobody is keener than this administration to protect and look after the vulnerable."

He said spending on adult social care had been increased, but the changes had brought Norfolk in line with other councils.

He also said the number of complaints upheld by the ombudsman in Norfolk were not dissimilar to comparable authorities.

Council leader Andrew Proctor said, despite extra money from the government, that would not allow the care cost changes to be reversed - given it is just a one-year settlement.

But he said the council would continue to push for the "long overdue" solution to adult social care funding.

However, the Lib Dem motion was defeated by 37 votes to 23, with two abstentions.

Nick Taylor, whose 29-year-old son Charlie has Down's syndrome, said: "It seems as though the disabled are being targeted for cuts rather than cared about and it's getting to people.

"The disabled feel completely worthless and those who care are worried, stressed and becoming ill."

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