Campaign group gets debate on West Sussex cuts issue

CAMPAIGNERS against West Sussex County Council’s changes in adult social care funding claim to have forced a debate on the issue at the council’s monthly meeting on October 19.

The Don’t Cut Us Out group, led by professional social workers, carers and those in the medical profession, have collected more than 5,000 signatures for a petition protesting against the “deeply damaging cuts WSCC has imposed on disabled and elderly people across the county”.

Campaign chairman Margaret Guest said: “At the same time as cutting £31million from their adult services budget, WSCC has salted away a staggering £68 million into reserves, which now stand at a record £176 million – £30 million more than the council stated in April. This is way above the three per cent of spending that the Government recommends, and it is now clear there was no need for these cuts at all.”

The debate will also give vulnerable elderly and disabled people the opportunity to confront their councillors over the effect these cuts are having on their lives, during a protest outside County Hall on the same day, said campaign spokesman Barry Pickthall. “We are expecting a big turnout,” he said.

On October 3, the council’s health and adult social care select committee will discuss a report by the West Sussex Local Involvement Network reviewing the council’s decision to cease providing funded social care to adults with moderate care needs, and its effect on these people.

It will also assess whether the range of services put in place by the county council to support people no longer receiving funded social care meets local need.

Committee chairman Margaret Whitehead said: “Many concerns were raised when changes to the eligibility threshold for adult social care were introduced by the county council, so it is important for the committee to take stock and understand how people have been affected.”