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Mum in plea for rethink over cuts to vital care allowances
5:18pm Sunday 24th February 2013 in News
SHE has dedicated her life to caring for her severely disabled daughter.
Jennie Hall, 34, has such profound disabilities she cannot be left alone for a minute.
Her mum and full-time carer Lynette only gets a break when Jennie goes to a day centre for a few hours a week.
Now Lynette has challenged Southampton’s adult services boss to meet her face to face so she can tell him why cutting an allowance paid to some of the city’s most vulnerable residents is wrong. And Councillor Matt Stevens has agreed to the meeting.
Lynette, 58, from Sholing, wants to show him exactly how tough it is for the families targeted by the worst cuts in the history of the council.
The pair will get together as part of a review into whether the council should continue with plans to save more than £500,000 by scrapping rent allowance payments to 91 families who care at home for adults who are severely disabled and have learning difficulties.
They also plan to hike charges paid for day care at home, currently used by 2,300 elderly and vulnerable residents.
Council chiefs had originally set aside just one week to look at concerns, but have now extended the consultation deadline to April.
Cllr Stevens, who is Cabinet member for adult services, said: “As a result of listening to the concerns of our clients, I have taken on board their comments and extended the consultation period. The deadline for written representation will be April 2 and any representation can be made right up to the point of the deferred Cabinet meeting.
“This will occur in April on a date to be announced. There has been an extensive consultation up until now, which I understand meets all the legal requirements, but I have listened to the views of the people who have raised concerns and in response to those views I have asked for an extension of the consultation process. The consultation will follow the existing format but will also include speaking directly with those people who have raised concerns.”
He vowed that any information received from the extended consultation would be fed back into the decision-making process.
Lynette had written to Cllr Stevens over the cuts and was left disgusted at the lack of compassion in his reply, which failed to answer any of her questions.
She hopes a face-to-face meeting will force him to address her concerns and show him the human impact of the savage cuts and hikes in fees.
Lynette’s daughter Jennie is set to lose the £40 a week rent allowance and will see 20 per cent of her income paid to the council for day care services – around £43 a week instead of the current £1.85.
Mrs Hall said: “I am concerned that people don’t realise just how difficult life is for us. Most people work but they have evenings and weekends off, but I have just a few hours a week while Jennie is at the day centre because she cannot be left alone.
“It seems that those in charge do not understand the situation we are in, and I am disgusted at the lack of compassion shown so far by Cllr Stevens, especially as he is on the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board.
“I have a long list of questions to ask him, starting with the consultation process which I believed was flawed as many of us were not aware of it until it was too late.
“He said in his letter that this affects a small number of people. If that is the case, they should have gone round and spoken to each one individually.”