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Birmingham City Council Disabled Care Limits Ruled Unlawful

April 20, 2011

Judges have ruled that Birmingham City Council’s plans to limit social care for disabled people are unlawful.

The families of four severely disabled people took the case to the High Court sitting in Birmingham.

The test case is the first in a series of possible legal challenges to councils around the UK mounted by those facing cuts to social care.

Birmingham City Council is planning to reduce care packages to about 4,000 people over the next three years.

The authority, a Conservative-Liberal coalition, says it needs to make the cuts to help slash £118m from its budget.

It explained that only those whose needs had been assessed as “critical” would qualify for council-funded care.

But the judges ruled that the council business plan was unlawful because it failed to comply with Section 49a of the Disability Discrimination Act.

The four people, who cannot be named for legal reasons, include a 65-year-old woman with severe learning difficulties who receives 24-hour care in a home paid for by the council.

‘Hugely beneficial’

They also include a 25-year-old man with a rare genetic disorder and severe learning disabilities who receives overnight respite care, also funded by the council.

Both were set to lose their council-funded care.

The sister-in-law of the 65-year-old woman said: “I’m deeply concerned about what impact this will have and it’s important to take a stand here.

“She relies on the council’s support to assist her with daily living skills and to support and promote her independence, including assisting with personal care tasks, preparation of meals and safely accessing the community.

“The care is hugely beneficial and without it her quality of life would fall dramatically.”

The case was also brought on behalf of a 30-year-old deaf, autistic man with severe learning disabilities who is prone to self-harm. His specialist day care would also have gone under the plans.

The fourth person is a 36-year-old woman with severe learning difficulties whose day care centre will close and who is also set to lose respite care.

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