Independent Living for the Elderly – So Why Did They Cut Support?
The much delayed report and review of services and support to allow the elderly and most vulnerable to live independently in their own homes is very welcome and at least provides a system and process that will alleviate some of the damage inflicted on the most vulnerable by a coalition Government and Conservative controlled County Council over the past two years.
It is ironic that we now have Conservative Borough Council Councillors loudly proclaiming what they are doing for the elderly and most vulnerable when it was they themselves who cut the best part of £500,000 from the supporting people budget.
In fact it was the Leader of the Borough Council who was as a Cabinet member on the County Council directly responsible for the cuts.
The claim of course is that the cuts were necessary because of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition cuts to Local Authorities.
An argument that is now the fall back position of most Conservative Councils, but which just does not stack up.
There are and it has to be said mainly Labour run Councils who have not only maintained the Supporting People budget but actually increased it in recognition that it is the elderly and the vulnerable such as those with learning difficulties or families with caring responsibilities for disabled members of the family who are suffering most with the increase in inflation and cuts to essential front line services.
Even Eric Pickles MP Minister for Local Government is on record as saying that Local Authorities should not use the cuts in funding from Government as an excuse stating very clearly that “it is for Local Authorities to decide what services they provide with the money they have”.
The hypocrisy of looking for someone to blame for the decision they have and are taking is one that has now migrated with the Leader of the Borough Council from the Northamptonshire County Council to the Borough Council, and is quite simply a smokescreen to hide their lack of interest for the vulnerable and elderly.
What is even more disturbing to people or at least should be is the Governments complete abandonment of their promise to bring forward a Social Care Bill and instead only look at introducing a draft bill which Ed Miliband was quite right to highlight as another example of the Government being ‘Out of Touch’ with not only the needs of but the impact their failed economic policy is having on the most vulnerable.
The Social Care Bill is essential if local authorities are to be required to ensure that services fit the needs of the elderly and vulnerable rather than what we are seeing at present where Northampton residents are having to jump through hoops to try to fit their needs into the available services many of which are being cut by the Conservative Councils.
It is nothing short of a disgrace that elderly people and adults with disabilities are having the power to make decisions about the care and support they receive removed through the simple method of removing the services themselves.
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Westminster and across the country at Local Authority level will need to explain their lack of care and interest in what is becoming a sector of the community who are being increasingly marginalised.