Proposals could see key transport cut for elderly

Centre 81

Centre 81 - Credit: Submitted

Concerns have been raised about plans to remove the entire adult social services transport budget as part of a raft of cost-cutting measures.

Norfolk County Council's 'Re-imagining Norfolk' programme is currently under consultation giving people the chance to voice their feelings into possible cost-saving measures which could save the authority up to £123m.

The 19-point plan includes cuts to transport for the elderly, home support, fire service, museums, care packages and road maintenance.

As part of the consultation, representatives from organisations, councils and charities across the borough attended Great Yarmouth Older Person Network's (GYOPN) AGM meeting on Tuesday.

It gave people the chance to express their worries about the proposals to Paul Jackson, the consultation and community relations manager for Norfolk County Council.

At the meeting, borough councillor Penny Linden voiced concerns over plans to remove the adult social services transport budget by 2019 in a move which would save the county council £4.78m.

She said: 'My worry is if we get high tides and flooding in the area how are people who use these services going to avoid flooding?'

Most Read

Valerie Pettit, who chaired the GYOPN meeting, added: 'If this goes through then it will impact the elder generation as they will have no means of transport to get to hospital appointments, to go to club meetings and it would take away a lot from them.

'A lot of areas in the borough require heavily on public transport, and the thought that bus services could be taken away disappoints me.'

Centre 81, runs a door to door transport service for many disabled people across the Great Yarmouth borough.

Chief executive Diana Staines, said: 'These transport services make people feel like an integral part of their local community.

'There is only so many hours they can sit in their house, you take this transport away from them then they will feel down in the dumps and useless because they will struggle to get to places.'

If this proposal went ahead Norfolk County Council say they would signpost people to information and advise about transport options so they can arrange their own transport.

Another measure which sparked concern at the meeting is plans to reduce funding in housing related support services by 40pc.

A county council spokesman, said: 'We recognise the value of these services in helping people to remain independent but are reluctantly having to consider reducing the funding we put into them.

'This is so we can prioritise funding for services that the law clearly says we do have to provide like adult social services care.'

The £5.1m savings include removing funding for support living and visiting support for people with learning disabilities and mental health needs, reduce adult social care funded housing support for young people aged 16 to 24 and reducing support for people who are homeless or at risk of losing their accommodation.

The online public consultation can be found at www.norfolk.gov.uk/reimagining.

You can also email haveyoursay@norfolk.gov.uk, write a message on Twitter using #norfolkbudget, by phone on 0344 800 8020 or by writing in post to Freepost Plus RTCL-XSTT-JZSK, Norfolk County Council, ground floor - south wing, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich, NR1 2DH.