Don’t Cut Us Out reveals council ‘dossier of shame’

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to protect the vulnerable have released a “dossier of shame” highlighting where West Sussex County Council money is being spent.

The revelation from the Don’t Cut Us Out campaign is just part of its push to help protect a predicted 4,500 disabled and elderly people in the county who are set to have their funding cut.

Statistics show the county council is still planning on giving its annual grant of £160,000 to Chichester Harbour Conservancy, £80,000 to Chichester Festival Theatre, and is willing to pay Kieran Stigant, West Sussex County Council chief executive, more than the prime minister.

Research also show 21 staff within the county council earn in excess of £100,000 a year compared to 12 employees at East Sussex County Council.

And, at a time when the council is tightening its belt, it has paid a PR company £13,000 to help it better understand what residents want.

This produced the new motto, “With you, for you – making the most of West Sussex”.

According to the campaign, central government has awarded West Sussex an additional £51 million to lesson the impact of these cuts, but the council has decided to use just £15 million of this and put the remaining amount towards increasing reserves.

Campaign spokesman Barry Pickthall said: “West Sussex County Council says there is no alternative but to cut front-line benefits and care support to 4,500 disabled and elderly across the county.

“The council spends 40 per cent of its annual budget on adult services, and has used accountancy, rather than common sense, to determine how to divide up their £79m reduction.

“The Don’t Cut Us Out campaign has shown cutting benefits and care support to the disabled and elderly will not save money.

“Expert after expert say when you take away care support from those with ‘moderate’ disabilities, they quickly slip down to ‘substantial’ and even ‘critical’ levels and require much more financial support as a result – but not before enduring enormous distress and trauma.”

A spokesman from the county council said the “dossier of shame” would be discussed during the full county council meeting on Friday, May 13.

He added: “The scale of the financial challenge facing the county council is immense and no services are immune from playing a part in delivering savings.

“We have to make this change to the eligibility criteria, because of severe budget pressures and the need to ensure we target funding to those people with the greatest needs.

“We would stress again that support for those with substantial and critical needs will continue.”