Council’s disability cuts criticised by local campaigners

Essex County Council’s cuts to disability funding have left some of the region’s most vulnerable people out of pocket.

That’s according to parents of severely disabled people who voiced their concerns at a meeting involving Mencap, the council, Essex Carers Network and up to 90 parents of people whose children’s’ disability-related expenditure (DRE) payments have been cut by up to £100 a week.

The council reduced DRE in 2017 as part of a move to save around £5m in 2017/18. The payments are designed to help individuals who are faced with additional costs related to a disability. This includes daily tasks and transport.

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One parent told a local newspaper that their disabled child will be down around £100 a week because of the cuts.

She said that parents are having to subsidise their children or they could be sitting at home unable to afford things outside of their personal budget.

A spokesperson for Essex County Council told the East London and Wessex Guardian: “The council charges for adult social care and the rules we follow are set out in the statutory care and support guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care.

“This includes the rules relating to disability related expenditure.

“This has been standard practice for many years and we have made no changes to our charging system since April 2017.

“We will always look again at an assessed charge if someone tells us they can’t afford to pay it, or they believe that it is incorrect.”

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Joe Peskett

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