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Manchester Learning Disabled Man’s Benefits Cut Over The Phone

October 6, 2013

The family of a man with severe learning disabilities say the funding for his care was  cut by more than £400 a week without him even being seen by assessors.

Ruth Holland, 54, from Burnage, has been told the weekly allowance she receives from Manchester council for her son Paul, 33, is being cut from more than £500 to just £79.

Paul has a rare genetic disorder called Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, which has left him unable to speak or dress himself and needing 24-hour care.

She says the cuts mean he will no longer be able to go to the Heathfields day centre in Newton Heath, which he attends five days a week. Other parents have spoken about their fears for the future of their adult children if their funding is cut. They said agencies have been carrying out some assessments without even seeing the disabled person whose needs are being assessed.

Mrs Holland says she was asked by an assessor if they could speak to her son on the phone.

She said: “I’m so angry. It’s like he is a bag of trash to them that can just be thrown out. If he can’t go to the centre, he won’t be Paul any more. It will stop him from having even any quality of life.

“He will have nothing. They are doing it to all of them and it’s not fair. Paul cannot speak, but he has got a voice and they are people at the end of the day. At the moment, I am my son’s voice and I don’t intend to stop until I get somewhere.”

Mrs Holland has launched an appeal against the proposed changes to her son’s funding.

Volunteers at the Talbot House parents’ support group in Newton Heath say at least 30 parents have contacted them with concerns about reassessments in recent days.

Bernie Wood, general manager of Talbot House parents’ support group, said: “The cuts are absolutely brutal. We’re  very concerned about the health and welfare of elderly parents especially.  We need to ask, is this a cutting society or a caring society.”

Manchester council has slashed £40m from adult services over the last two years.

Coun Paul Andrews, executive member for families, health and well-being, said: “Manchester has had severe funding cuts and it’s impossible to lose that magnitude of money without changing services.”

He added: “Our priority of protecting the most vulnerable remains the same – and always will.”

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