Saturday, October 9, 2010

In UK, disability advocates protest government cuts to services

From The Birmingham Post in the UK:

Learning disability campaigners from Birmingham held a protest outside the Council House on Tuesday to urge the Government to protect frontline services from cuts.

Organised by the Learning Disability Coalition (LDC), the protest in Victoria Square was organised to coincide with the Conservative Party conference.

It was part of the coalition's Protect The Frontline campaign, which is calling on central Government and local authorities to recognise that despite the tough financial climate, funding for learning disability services must be protected against any cuts.

The campaigners from Birmingham, many of whom use social care support, held up "Cuts Incident" boards displaying the frontline services which they fear will be affected by the Government's Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review and subsequent cuts that will be made by local councils.

LDC said that without social care support, many people with a learning disability would not be able to meet their most basic needs such as eating, personal hygiene, dressing, keeping safe and having somewhere to live.

One of the protesters, Andrew Comer, co-chair of Birmingham Learning Disability Partnership Board, said: "The way that the Government is working is that they are saying things but are not keeping their promises.

"There shouldn't be any spending cuts. Closing down services is a big issue for people with a learning disability in health, independence and employment."

Anthea Cox, director for the LDC, said: "The social care support system cannot withstand further cuts as it is already in crisis.

"Any more reductions in social care spending will be a direct cut to the lives of people with a learning disability and a betrayal of the promises made by the Government to some of the most at-risk people in our society."

The coalition said it would be making sure every MP and social services councillor received a copy of its publication Stories From The Frontline, featuring the diaries of seven families who use social care services.

LDC was set up more than three years ago and represents 15 learning disability organisations. It campaigns for better funding for services for people with learning disabilities.