Campaigning carers urged to attend rally ahead of £60million cuts meeting

County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.

Protesters will stage a rally over controversial cost-cutting plans which look set to have a major impact on care for the elderly and vulnerable.

Carers are being urged to attend the demonstration at Derbyshire County Council’s (DCC) headquarters in Matlock next Tuesday.

The event is being organised by the Disabled People Against Cuts campaign group.

After the protest, DCC councillors are expected to approve three controversial proposals which have been subject to a six-month consultation.

The plans involve:

• Changing who qualifies for council care and support at home by raising the eligibility threshold from a ‘higher moderate’ level of need to a ‘substantial’ level of need

This would affect up to 1,240 people. Fifty three per cent of residents told the consultation they strongly disagreed or disagreed with the proposals, arguing they would have a “major impact” on those who currently receive care and support from DCC. A report to go before cabinet acknowledges the plan will affect the quality of life of people who will no longer receive the services.

• A 75 per cent increase in how much money people pay for their care and support

• A £5 charge per day for transport to get to and from a day service

The contentious proposals would save DCC up to £60million.

The cash-strapped Labour-led authority is bidding to save £157m by 2018 as a result of “devastating” Government cuts.

Councillor Clare Neill, DCC cabinet member for adult social care, said: “The county council is facing massive budget pressures like never before and we have to acknowledge that this will have a big impact on our services.

“Since launching the consultation in January we have done all we can to try to find ways of reducing the impact and mitigating against any cuts we do have to make. But, the cuts to the budget are so huge that it is impossible to maintain all our services as they are.

“If the cuts put forward in the report are agreed I will continue to talk to individuals, families and organisations about how the council could save money and how we can reduce the duplication with the health service. If I can find ways to save money in these areas it will reduce the scale of the cuts to frontline services in the future.

“I would like to thank all the people who have taken the time to give their views during the consultation and realise this is an anxious time for many as they wait to hear about the future of their services.”

The rally will take place at County Hall between 9.30am and 10.30am