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‘They stand to lose anything special’: County Hall agrees controversial care charge changes

PUBLISHED: 13:15 14 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:38 14 January 2019

Families opposing controversial changes to social care charges outside County Hall. Picture: Archant

Families opposing controversial changes to social care charges outside County Hall. Picture: Archant

Archant

Many of the county’s most vulnerable people are facing lives of isolation and social poverty, families have claimed, after councillors slashed their financial support.

Families opposing controversial changes to social care charges during the meeting at which they were decided. Picture: ArchantFamilies opposing controversial changes to social care charges during the meeting at which they were decided. Picture: Archant

Changes to the way Norfolk County Council charges for adult social care were approved by councillors on Monday morning, in a move to save £4m.

However, some of the families affected by these changes have said vulnerable people will unnecessarily suffer as a result.

Morag Butcher, who lives near Holt and whose two adopted daughters have Down’s Syndrome, said her children now stood to lose things others took for granted.

She said: “I am a single mother of two and at pension age so do not have a lot of money as it is - so taking this away is devastating for my girls.

“It will mean they stand to lose anything special other people take for granted - things like trips with About with Friends and visits to the cinema .”

Her daughters Biddy, 23, and 19-year-old Lucy attended the meeting with her.

The proposals will see the ‘minimum income guarantee’ used by the council to assess how much people aged 18 to 64 pay for changes, meaning thousands of people will have to pay more.

Marilyn Hoxley’s 31-year-old daughter Eloise lives in supported accommodation in Trowse and her mother will be significantly impacted by the decision.

She said: “She probably won’t risk losing her home but what she will lose is her quality of life. Some parents can offer help and support but a larger number can not.

”What she will be losing is the self esteem, self respect and self worth that comes with being able to have a social life and do things.”

Brenda Jones, a Labour councillor who sits on the committee, described the reduction as “callous”, and voted against it.

She said: “Reducing the amount of money 18-24-year-olds have by 30pc and 25-64-year-olds by 20pc is callous and will cause even more pressure to be placed on the shoulders of unpaid carers and family members.”

Bill Borrett, chairman of the committee, said the decision was necessary to bring the council into line with neighbouring local authorities and government guidelines.

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