In a race to the bottom Tory Cllrs have changed the single rate charging policy to be in line with the Government’s rates. Until now the council used one rate for the minimum income guarantee (MIG), this was £189 a week. The Government said there should be different rates for different age groups. The following rates will be applied:
16-24 year olds = £132.45 a week - 30% of their guaranteed income.
25-64 year olds = £151.45 a week - 20% of their guaranteed income.
65+ = £189.00 a week
The council will also take into account the enhanced rate of the daily living component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) into account. These reductions will take £1m out of the 2019-20 budget and £3m out of the 2020-21 budget - that is £3m taken from disabled people every year to bail out this failing council’s budget!
As always getting people into employment is the answer to everything - they suggest they will use the MATCH service to support employment and training across Norfolk, this seems hard to believe as the MATCH team is to become “more strategic” and will stop working directly with service users. Employers MAY develop support services themselves.
The consultation document was not done in accordance with Section 3(2) of the Local Government Act ‘There is also a common law duty of fairness which requires consultation should take place at a formative stage; should be based on sufficient information to allow those consulted to give intelligent consideration of options, should give adequate time for consideration and responses and that consultation responses should be conscientiously taken into account in the final decision.’ This document was not co-produced despite the existence of Making it Real and Independence Matters, there were complaints that the document was too hard to understand and that guardians and family members were unaware this consultation was taking place. The evidence that the document was too hard to understand is that there were 246 requests for help to understand the document and 454 people responded within the given time frame.
We attempted to get the Conservative's decision reversed by submitting a motion to the Budget Full Council meeting however the Tories voted against it.
What now? We will continue to work with families to try and get these cruel cuts reversed. We are already hearing of care packages being tuned down out of fear of the cost this is not acceptable.