The much-publicised Don’t Cut Us Out Campaign Crisis in Care debate at County Hall last Friday produced more questions than answers.
The last-minute ban by the council on the use of visual aids to support disabled speaker Peter Adams not only robbed the debate of embarrassing evidence showing the devastating effects that cuts in care are having now, but how WSCC has taken away essential (Big Society) funding from care charities struggling to provide the council’s so-called ‘alternative services’.
Had that hard evidence been allowed, the debate might well have had a very different outcome.
The banned video showed the desperate plight of seven cases spread across West Sussex as examples of the devastating effects these cuts are having not just on the vulnerable but those with severe needs.
DCUO has championed all these cases when WSCC failed to offer them independent advocacy support and can testify to the distressing delays experienced in council responses to their questions and appeals, and that these cases are the tip of the iceberg.
Two weeks ago WSCC dismissed as ‘unrepresentative’ the findings from LINk, the West Sussex consumer voice in health and social care, regarding the impact of cuts.
It ignored the voices of individual witnesses and its own customer and carer group.
By also banning the video it shows it does not want to hear or to know about how much disabled people are suffering as a result of the cuts – let them come and spend a day with me – a comment made by Peter Adams
And what about the money?
In her letter to this newspaper last week, Louise Goldsmith said the council ‘is not awash with money’.
During her address, she added that all but £18m of the £176m in reserves was already allocated to capital projects, and that they were ‘between a rock and a hard place.’
Any organisation that sees its bank balance increase by 63 per cent over the past two years can hardly be described as between a ‘rock and a hard place.’ Ms Goldsmith needs to be much more circumspect.
This nonsense simply adds to the frustration and anger felt by many disabled and elderly people who believe councillors are out of touch with the lives they lead.
This council has corrupted the phrase ‘Big Society by cutting’ by increasing funds for community projects at the expense of care charities – the very organisations we expect to step in to support the vulnerable during austere times.
The message Peter Adams had for councillors was: ‘It is time to get your priorities right’.
To view the video, go to www.dontcutusout.org.uk/?p=2794
Don’t Cut Us Out