Friday, May 13, 2011

Are West Sussex County Councillors deaf?

Hundreds demonstrated yesterday morning in Chichester in support of the Dont Cut Us Out campaign, defending the weakest in society from the cuts in Adult Social Care. A young demonstrator shouted out that they "must all need hearing aids because they do not listen", referring to Cllr Peter Catchpole, ( (Cabinet member for adults’ services) and the Tory councillors.

A petition signed by 20,000 people, with the backing of the local bishops, was presented to the Council . Don't Cut Us Out campaigners are angry at the county council's decision to stop providing care to adults with "moderate" needs. They are demanding a judicial review and an end to these cuts. Will the callous councillors listen? Probably not. After all, profits, bankers and fat cat salaries are more important than people! Shame on them.

At the County Council meeting on Friday, a  motion calling for a pause allowing a working party to review possible alternatives was thrown out by 45 votes to 22, with two abstentions.  Cllr Michael Brown, cabinet member for finance and resources, said there was an absolute necessity for the Government to reduce the nation’s enormous fiscal deficit and borrowing. In developing the budget, they took care to ensure those depending on support were prioritised so the most vulnerable were protected as far as possible.
Budget changes proposed by the petition would lead to cuts in the library service, fire and rescue and highway work. “We have to learn to manage with what we have got,” he warned.

Well sorry, none of this washes with us. Spending on bailing out bankers, funding Trident, allowing companies to evade tax, financing illegal wars and letting private rail franchise companies to get out of paying money back to the taxpayers that they owe us, is immoral. We do not accept the arguements for any cuts in public services . What  the bankers and the City have is what they have taken from the people and we won't pay for their crises.

Barry Pickthall, spokesperson for Don’t Cut Us Out, said: “The campaign has won unprecedented support from members of the public who see these callous cuts as not only being unfair, but cruel.

“The council is targeting the wrong people. These are not malingerers or the work shy. They are people with life-long disabilities and the elderly nearing the end of their lives.

“Some have a mental age as low as eight yet the council is expecting them to live without any support. How many councillors would let your eight-year-olds wander the streets unsupervised?”

“The elderly and those with learning disabilities are among the most vulnerable in society. They have a right to life, not just an existence.

“That is why we are seeking a judicial review to stop the cuts and force the council to reflect on the damage they are doing to so many vulnerable people.”

Go to the link below to see the video on the demo.


Don’t Cut Us Out reveals council ‘dossier of shame’

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to protect the vulnerable have released a “dossier of shame” highlighting where West Sussex County Council money is being spent.

The revelation from the Don’t Cut Us Out campaign is just part of its push to help protect a predicted 4,500 disabled and elderly people in the county who are set to have their funding cut.

Statistics show the county council is still planning on giving its annual grant of £160,000 to Chichester Harbour Conservancy, £80,000 to Chichester Festival Theatre, and is willing to pay Kieran Stigant, West Sussex County Council chief executive, more than the prime minister.

Research also show 21 staff within the county council earn in excess of £100,000 a year compared to 12 employees at East Sussex County Council.

And, at a time when the council is tightening its belt, it has paid a PR company £13,000 to help it better understand what residents want.

This produced the new motto, “With you, for you – making the most of West Sussex”.
According to the campaign, central government has awarded West Sussex an additional £51 million to lesson the impact of these cuts, but the council has decided to use just £15 million of this and put the remaining amount towards increasing reserves.

Campaign spokesman Barry Pickthall said: “West Sussex County Council says there is no alternative but to cut front-line benefits and care support to 4,500 disabled and elderly across the county.

“The council spends 40 per cent of its annual budget on adult services, and has used accountancy, rather than common sense, to determine how to divide up their £79m reduction.

“The Don’t Cut Us Out campaign has shown cutting benefits and care support to the disabled and elderly will not save money.

“Expert after expert say when you take away care support from those with ‘moderate’ disabilities, they quickly slip down to ‘substantial’ and even ‘critical’ levels and require much more financial support as a result – but not before enduring enormous distress and trauma.”

A spokesman from the county council said the “dossier of shame” would be discussed during the full county council meeting on Friday, May 13.

He added: “The scale of the financial challenge facing the county council is immense and no services are immune from playing a part in delivering savings.

“We have to make this change to the eligibility criteria, because of severe budget pressures and the need to ensure we target funding to those people with the greatest needs.

“We would stress again that support for those with substantial and critical needs will continue.”

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