Services should be safeguarded

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I am appalled at the ongoing failure of our councillors and MPs.

They failed to get involved and engage before the Rotherham council cabinet’s flawed decision to close down all the learning disability facilities. Like the past closure of Remploy factories, it is a cruel decision.

They have failed to connect, listen and represent service users, families, communities and the electorates on this matter, ignoring more than 60,000 people who have signed the petition.

We are all aware that the Tory government has continued with its swingeing cuts regime.

It has been said that austerity is a political choice, but the council have willingly kowtowed to the commissioners and Tory government to ensure they have complied.

However, Rotherham council is responsible for prioritising its budget and determining the cuts.

Children and adult services should be both safeguarded.

It is unacceptable after the way our young people were treated during and after the CSE grooming and the cover-up that now it’s the turn of our adult services and the most vulnerable people in our society being treated abysmally. That’s not the Labour values in action.

It’s not a fit-for-purpose decision to close but the vulnerable will be the victims yet again, so I guess that will be OK for some who purport to be representatives?

Ironically, the magical £3 million savings in shutting down the learning disability facilities will then offset the council PFI folly for Riverside House each year.

They alone signed up for ill-judged PFI deals against all advice.

Personal direct payments will not be a solution. You cannot save £3 million and then spend £3 million for providing this vital service.

Vulnerable people and loved ones will be thrown into more uncertainty on top of the turmoil that they are under now.

Where are the providers all going to come from? The private sector?

How are service users going to afford a like-for-like service for the same cost?

How are service users going to keep their cherished social group and friendships?

One of the highly paid spin doctor officers alleges that a third of people with learning disabilities do not use the facilities.

In my book that shows two thirds of them do.

How is the transport and costs going to be provided?

The decision to close the learning disability facilities is against the public interest and their electorate. It’s cruel towards our vulnerable.

Councillors are the only ones who appear to want the places to close. Are these people then going to utilise the Town Hall, PFI Riverside and the MPs’ offices to take the learning disability families?

Are councillors going to use their own homes for respite care? The cabinet decision must be rescinded or at worst called in.

It’s time to stop defending the indefensible. Enough is enough.

I am appalled as a Labour member that local MPs and most councillors are supporting these measures and are not being accountable and representing the communities and electorate.

It is wrong politically, socially, emotionally and morally.

I respectfully urge those decent Rotherham councillors who privately are uncomfortable with the flawed decision to stand up with the people and be counted. Please consider your actions carefully.

Ged Dempsey

Wath, Rotherham, S63