Protests planned against West Sussex cuts to adult services

VULNERABLE adults in West Sussex are set to protest against council cuts which would severely affect services provided for them.

A demonstration has been organised in response to West Sussex County Council’s plans to remove support from some people with learning difficulties or physical and sensory impairments.

The cuts would see funding retained only for ‘severe’ categories and support for ‘moderate’ categories removed as part of its £72m savings proposals.

Care centres across West Sussex are calling for a judicial review to stop the council from pushing through the plans.

Don’t Cut Us Out – West Sussex, a new voice speaking out for the disabled, said the mandatory consultation organised by the council to allow those directly affected by the proposed cuts to voice their concerns, has been badly mismanaged and is legally flawed.

“This consultation has been a complete farce,” said spokesman Barry Pickthall.

“The questionnaire was worded on the basis of one option – to cut all benefits and support for anyone with moderate learning disabilities – anyone with the ability to wash, dress and feed themselves.

“The survey did not offer any alternatives and there was nowhere for anyone to propose any.”

More than 1,000 disabled people from across West Sussex are expected to gather outside County Hall, West Street, Chichester, on Tuesday, March 1 at 9.30am.

They will protest and present a petition asking councillors to think again.

The proposals will go to the council’s adults’ services select committee which will meet on the same day at 10.30am.

Committee chairman Irene Richards said: “Our job as a scrutiny committee will be to assess the consultation process for the proposals to satisfy ourselves that they have been sound and appropriate, and to ensure that feedback from both consultations has been adequately addressed.”

The meeting will be webcast via the council’s website at www.westsussex.gov.uk. The final decision will be taken by the cabinet member for adults’ service, Peter Catchpole, later this month.