Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Bradford elderly care threshold campaign ‘is censored’
A campaign group fighting cuts to care for the elderly and disabled claims its petition is being “censored” by Bradford Council.
In October, Bradford Council’s executive approved a cost-cutting plan to raise the threshold for when vulnerable people are entitled to care.
Soon, only people with substantial or critical needs will be eligible for help with tasks such as washing, eating and dressing in their own homes.
The changes, to be phased in from April, are expected to affect about 2,000 people and will save about £1.57 million a year.
But campaigners fighting for a re-think say they are being prevented from going to City Hall and arguing their case because of a technicality in the Council’s constitution.
Last night, any claim of censorship was rejected by the Council, which says a three-month consultation took place before the executive decision.
Usually, if a petition is handed to the Council with more than 1,500 signatures, it means the matter must be debated by a full meeting.
The Bradford Cares group gathered more than 1,700 names but has now been told a petition cannot trigger a debate when the executive has already made its decision.
Emmerson Walgrove, deputy chairman of Bradford and District Disabled People’s Forum, said: “Unfortunately lots of disabled people in Bradford don’t have a copy of the Council’s constitution. People from all backgrounds helped to pull this petition together, but because we want a debate about something the executive has decided on, but not the rest of the councillors, we cannot have our say. This feels unfair.”
Mr Walgrove said the decision “felt like censorship.”
Bradford East MP David Ward (Lib Dem), one of those spearheading the campaign, said it was wrong for the Council to argue the matter had already been decided because the cost-cutting plan formed part of the Council’s budget, which won’t be finalised until February.
He said: “Bradford Council is turning its back on over 2,000 vulnerable people.”
Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “Disabled people should be allowed their say. I was shocked to find they are being stopped from speaking.”
But Janice Simpson, Bradford Council’s strategic director for adult and community services, said: “There is no question of censorship .
“There was a three-month process where a wide range of organisations and partnerships were consulted.
“There was the opportunity to speak at the executive meeting and there was a 4.5-hour scrutiny session where individuals had opportunity to express their views.”
She said it was not the case that 2,000 people would definitely lose services as their needs would be re-assessed.
Comments are closed on this article.