Vulnerable folk suffer

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I would like to respond to the letter from Jennifer Butcher of Dronfield (February 23) about cuts to adult care services that Derbyshire County Council is making.

Derbyshire is not a Labour council. The Conservatives took over in June 2009 after 28 years of Labour control, in which Derbyshire had social services to be proud of.

The home help service was free and people who are old or disabled were not expected to hand over half of their attendance allowance and disability living allowance to pay for their care.

The Labour Group held the view that we don’t charge children to go to school, we don’t charge people to borrow books from the library so why should we charge vulnerable people for care services that they need to enable them to live safe and independent lives?

A decent society looks after people according to their needs. For the first 12 months of Derbyshire being Tory-run very little changed. They praised the quality of most of the services they inherited.

It was only in 2010, with the General Election out of the way, that we began to see their true colours. The first cuts they made were to the most vulnerable people, introducing charges for social services and reducing the number of people who will be able to have a service.

The Labour Group on Derbyshire County Council, together with disabled people’s groups and carers’ groups protested and fought against these cuts all the way.

Unfortunately we are, for now, in the minority.

I would urge anyone who is adversely affected by these changes or who cares for someone who is affected, to write to Coun Charles Jones, Cabinet Member for Adult Care at County Hall, Matlock.

You may say that cuts are inevitable and that if Labour was still in charge we would have had to do the same.

But our priority would have been to protect the people who most need support and that we had been putting money away for the rainy day that we knew was coming.

When we left office there was £64 million in council reserves. It has increased to £85m. We would have used some of this to protect the most vulnerable.

Anne Western, Leader of the Labour Group, Derbyshire County Council