Mansfield Labour candidate launches petition against disability benefit cuts

Conservative-led Nottinghamshire County Council decided last month to take more of the disability benefits from 862 disabled people, to pay for the care they receive.

Labour parliamentary candidates standing in Nottinghamshire have now launched a campaign to end the drastic cuts, which the County Council say have been introduced to help address its £54m budget gap.

Hundreds of residents and carers were shocked to receive letters from the County Council recently, informing them that their support for adult care from the County Council was to be reduced.

The letters were received in many cases just days before the cuts took place, giving those affected just a few days’ notice and leaving families distressed.

Sonya Ward, the Labour candidate for Mansfield, Jerry Hague for Sherwood, Cheryl Pidgeon for Rushcliffe and Greg Marshall for Broxtowe have all been contacted by worried residents asking for help.

The candidates are also launching a petition to build support for an end to the cuts.

READ MORE: Cost of Kirkby man's care rises after Nottinghamshire County Council cuts support
Sonya Ward said “I have been contacted by several people about these appalling cuts in the Mansfield area and we need to act quickly to reverse the changes before those affected suffer real harm.

"These reductions in care support have a real impact on the ability of the most vulnerable in Mansfield to manage their day to day lives.”

Jerry Hague added “I was made aware of these cruel letters by a not for profit organisation in Rainworth that provides help for people with a learning disability many of whom are affected by the cuts.

READ MORE: Blind former nurse treated like ‘filth’ after Notts County Council cut benefits for 862 disabled people
"They are in a state of despair over how they will cope.

"We call upon the County Council to recognise the damage the cuts are causing and reverse them immediately”

Councillor Stuart Wallace, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, said:“The Council is always looking to provide good quality services more efficiently which will help address its £54m budget gap.

“As part of this, we’ve reviewed the way we seek contributions for adult social care services as we currently fund more of people’s care costs compared to many other English councils.

“This hasn’t been an easy decision, but we’ve agreed to take into account a person’s higher disability benefit rates and higher rates of income when deciding how much a person has to contribute as recommended by the Department for Health.

“We have consulted services users and have kept them informed of potential changes since July.

"We will support people affected by the changes to ensure their needs continue to be met and they are receiving all of their entitled benefits and allowances.

“We will also continue to provide the additional disability related expenditure allowance of £20 a week and consider waiving charges for reasons of financial difficulty or hardship.

“This change has resulted in 58 per cent of service users making a contribution towards their care compared to the previous 46 per cent.”