The disabled, elderly and vulnerable will be out in force tomorrow morning (February 14), to lobby their county councillors in a last ditch effort to stop a vote ‘to inflict a further £100m in cuts to social care and services across West Sussex’, state campaigners.
“If these cuts go through, it will be a Valentine’s Day massacre for the vulnerable” said Margaret Guest, who leads the Don’t Cut Us Out Campaign, established to ‘speak out for the vulnerable across West Sussex’.
However, the campaign’s rhetoric has been lambasted by the County Council which has branded it ‘scare-mongering of the worst type’ which ‘serves only to frighten people with an apocalyptic vision’.
A spokesperson said: “The budget proposition is simply to ensure West Sussex County Council delivers its services as efficiently as possible. It will not slash services to the elderly and disabled, as claimed by Don’t Cut Us Out.
“It will involve reviewing some services, but that will be to ensure that people are receiving best value and to ensure that the services and buildings are up-to-date.”
However, the campaign group stated: “If these cuts go through, it is clear that a large number of vital services will take some massive hits.
“Children and Family Centres are in the council’s sights, as are day centres for disabled people, and personal social care budgets.
“Councillors are kidding themselves if they think that these cuts are just about ‘making efficiencies’, and they should have the decency to tell the public the truth.”
A county council spokesperson said: “During the next two years, adult services will reduce spending by £32 million. However, we anticipate this will be offset with £16.5 million in funds from the NHS to join up health and social care services together.”
Don’t Cut Us Out is calling on all those likely to be affected by the budget decisions to make their voices heard outside County Hall, Chichester at 9:30am tomorrow (February 14) and to listen to the debate starting at 10:30am.
See today’s Mid Sussex Times (Thursday February 13, 2014) for more on what council leader Louise Goldsmith (Con, Chichester) is expected to say in her budget speech, as well as reaction from Mid Sussex District Council’s leader to UKIP and the Liberal democrat’s motion to establish a unitary authority in West Sussex.
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