12:24 Sunday 12 January 2014

Cuts to disability services near Uttoxeter looming large

Written byRICHARD CASTLE

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DISABLED villagers in the Derbyshire Dales will see services slashed after more Government funding cuts.

Derbyshire County Council has seen Westminster cut its budget consistently since the Coalition came to power.

It has now been forced to find savings totalling £157 million from its budget by 2018.

And the disabled look set to suffer most in a raft of proposals to save the cash.

As-yet unspecified changes to transport policy for sixth form and pre-school children with special educational needs - as well as 19-to-25-year-olds with a learning disability assessment - are among the council’s plans.

A flat-rate charge may also be introduced for transporting adults needing social care.

A council spokesman said: “The new policy would mean changes to the way transport is provided or arranged by the county council to day care services and other activities such as lunch clubs.”

Cuts to housing support services, which help vulnerable people manage their finances, stay safe and get out into their community, are also being proposed.

Bosses are also planning to change who qualifies for funding for adult care services and the financial contribution people make towards their support.

The authority has pointed out how the reduction in Government grants, along with inflation and greater demands on social care budgets, will hit services hard.

As the council strives to save £36.7 million during 2014/15, it is launching a public consultation on where residents think cuts need to be made.

After a cabinet meeting last night, bosses will start the process of canvassing people’s views about proposals to change existing services.

Anne Western, leader of Derbyshire County Council, said: “We’re facing massive financial pressures like never before and that means we’ve got some difficult decisions to make. We’re calling it The Derbyshire Challenge.

“We don’t want to cut any services but we have no choice.

“Some services will remain, some will be run differently but some will have to stop.

“Initial plans for saving money have been drawn-up and now we want to know what you think of them.

“We’re making it as easy as possible for people to get involved so please take part in our consultations launching throughout the year.”

Residents are also invited to have their say about changes to the county council’s mobile library service.

Anyone wishing to take part can fill in a questionnaire online at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/mobilelibraries

Information about the council, including the minutes of yesterday’s meeting, will be available online at www.derbyshire.gov.uk.

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