Parents' plea towards Norfolk County Council image
Credit: Norwich Evening News / Archant

Parents of disabled children in Norfolk are making a final plea for Norfolk County Council to rethink its proposed budget changes in fear of the negative impact it will have on their children.

As part of the Council’s budget-setting process, it has proposed changes to its social care charging policy, which is expected to save the Council £4 million. The final decisions on the proposals are being made on Monday 11th of February 2019.

The proposal would change the ‘minimum income guarantee’ used by the Council to assess how much people aged 18 to 64 pay towards their care. Currently the Council uses a rate of £189 a week for the assessment, but wants to change that to £123.45 for those aged 18 to 24 and £151.45 a week for those aged 25 to 64.

Other plans would see the enhanced element of personal independence payments (PIP) taken into account when assessing care.

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These changes could supposedly lead to around 1,000 people having to pay more for care and 1,400 people paying for care for the first time.

John Hannaway, who lives in the Norfolk area, is worried about how these changes will impact his son, who is autistic with severe learning disabilities and lives in sheltered housing. He said his son will have to pay more than £80 per week for his care under the changes.

He told the Norwich Evening News: “Carers and vulnerable disabled people are hoping and praying that the Conservative councillors come to realise the consequences of their actions if the proposal goes ahead.

“Carers and disabled people say this would put them into poverty, making them more housebound and will further deteriorate their physical and mental condition.”

Conservative Bill Borrett, Chair of the Adult Social Care Committee, previously stated the changes will bring what the Council charges in line with Government policy and other counties.

However, the Labour group is proposing a budget amendment which would defer changes for a year with hopes that the social care funding green paper could provide a solution. Labour would take £1 million from the Council’s risk reserve to delay the change.

Brenda Jones, Labour’s adult care lead member, said: “We have called this cut cruel and callous. It’s all the more so because it can be put off for at least a year at no extra cost.”

According to the local newspaper, the Lib Dems are also preparing a similar amendment.

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