Green Councillors joined service providers and adults with learning disabilities this week to launch a new campaign against cuts to public services.
The campaign, led by adults with learning disabilities who use services at Brighton & Hove-based charity Grace Eyre, makes an impassioned plea to the Council and Government to reverse cuts to vital services. The campaign features a powerful video message from a group of service users at Grace Eyre, highlighting the case of two local women who have lost funding to attend the centre.
One of the key messages of the campaign is the social isolation suffered by people with learning disabilities due to cuts in support, a situation which is only expected to get worse over the next few years. According to campaigners, they feel “ sad, angry, heart-broken, lost, confused, sick to the stomach and ill” as a result of cuts to services.
The campaign has been established by Grace Eyre, a Brighton & Hove based charity which supports people with learning disabilities in Sussex to gain independence, obtain housing, find employment & join social activities.
The campaign comes just weeks after Labour and Conservative councillors in Brighton & Hove City Council passed a budget which will see £20.5m cuts in Adult Social Care over four years and the privatisation of learning disability services to cut costs.
Convenor of the Green Group, Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty said:
“We welcome this extremely powerful and thought-provoking campaign by adults with learning disabilities which shines a light on the devastating impacts of cuts on vulnerable people. We are being told in no uncertain terms how austerity is ruining lives. The service users at Grace Eyre have told us how the cuts are hurting them and their friends and have rightly raised how unfair the situation is. Campaigners raised questions about how bankers could avoid tax while disabled people were hit by cuts – something that Greens have repeatedly raised too. We salute this visionary approach and wholeheartedly support the Grace Eyre campaign”.
“In the last year we have seen significant reductions in care packages for people with learning disabilities following the closure of the Independent Living Fund by Conservative central government last year, reducing care to a bare minimum. And this is just the beginning – under the local Labour Council we will see a further £20.5m of cuts to adult social care. We will see wholesale privatisation and significant deterioration of local services for adults with learning disabilities, which will lead to lower standards of care and massive reductions in social opportunities which will trap adults in their homes.
“On top of council service cuts, ongoing welfare reforms by national government will further compound poverty and deprivation for disabled people. The cumulative impacts of these policies will be devastating. Make no mistake, this is a despicable attack on people who are the least able to speak up for themselves.”