This morning the Court of Appeal quashed the decision of the High Court that the Government acted lawfully in deciding to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF), which provides funding for independent living for around 19,000 disabled people with the highest support needs. This has some significance for me because in the first article I ever wrote for the Guardian I explained how adequate, self-directed social care support, provided by local authorities and/or the ILF, can enable disabled people to live active and fulfilling lives, engaging in paid work and participating fully in our communities, and how this is at risk due to cuts to social care funding and the proposed closure of the ILF. Continue reading
Following the reply we received from Derek Osbourne, which was encouraging but rather vague, we wrote to Simon Pearce, Executive Head of Adult Social Care, to ask for more precise, practical details on how the council would take account of people’s individual situations when assessing care charges. See below for our letter and Simon Pearce’s reply:
The Leader of Kingston Council, Councillor Derek Osbourne, has replied to the letter of 8 July 2011 from Baroness Jane Campbell, Ann Macfarlane OBE, Ali Kashmiri, Pat Page and Jane Young. In our letter to Derek Osbourne dated 8 July 2011 we highlighted the serious disadvantage that would be faced by severely disabled people who will be charged huge sums for their essential independent living support. We also asked for specific details of how service users can access the promised discretion that the needs of high users of services would be considered on an individual basis. Continue reading
Five service users: Baroness Jane Campbell DBE, Ann Macfarlane OBE, Ali Kashmiri, Pat Page and Jane Young have written to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Derek Osbourne, using realistic scenarios to explain the serious effects of the new policy on adults of all ages with high value care packages.
It is with great regret that I have to report that we have been obliged to discontinue our application for judicial review of Kingston Council’s decision to increase contributions/charges for social care. This is because we would have been unable to prove that officers and councillors did not pay ‘due regard’ to their duty to promote disability equality or give proper consideration of the equality implications of the proposals before making their decision. Continue reading
Our application for judicial review against Kingston Council’s decision to increase care charges has been reported in the Kingston Guardian this week. An early version of the report is available on the Kingston Guardian website
‘Care charges row goes to High Court‘ reads the headline on the front page of the Kingston Informer this week, 13 May. It’s exciting to see that the Informer has seen fit to place an article about our legal action against Kingston on the front page of its Kingston edition this week. The article is reasonably accurate and I have scanned it here: Kingston Informer 13 May 2011
In the meantime, the legal application is now on hold as Kingston has asked for extra time, until 25 May, to submit their response to the Letter before claim.
A resident of New Malden who depends on Kingston social services for support with daily living is taking the council to the High Court over its decision to increase care charges, on the grounds that the Council failed to comply with its legal duty to promote equality for disabled people and women. Continue reading
On Tuesday 8th February the council’s Executive Committee decided to implement the proposals to increase charges for social care in Kingston, with one concession – to charge 75% of people’s available income rather than 100% as they originally proposed. This is a welcome concession but will not help those who have saved to give themselves some financial security. Continue reading
On Tuesday 25th January members of the campaign group attended Scrutiny Panel as witnesses. The Chair of the Panel, Leader of the Opposition Councillor Howard Jones, gave us a very fair opportunity to present our views and explain the issues.
Jane Young, Ali Kashmiri, Baroness Campbell, Ann Macfarlane and Pat Page all spoke to the panel, explaining the reality of life as a disabled person and how the council’s proposals would damage the human rights, life chances and opportunities for disabled people in the borough.
Ali presented a video diary of his daily life to illustrate the importance of independence living support whereby his personal assistants literally act as his arms and legs to enable him to live a full life. He also explained how expensive it is to live as a disabled person, including some examples of the cost of essential equipment which is not provided by the NHS.