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Nottinghamshire County Council could delay social care changes

Adult social care users who face paying more for their care have been told the increases could be delayed until February.

More than 60 people attended a meeting of Nottinghamshire County Council learning disability and autism partnership board, held in Newark, where they were told of the possible delay.

Many were angry and upset about recent changes made by the council to the way it calculates the contributions that adult social care service users make towards the cost of their care and support.

The changes were agreed in October and implemented early in November with little warning to people affected.

The changes mean some people having to contribute to the cost of their care from their benefits for the first time, and others facing an increase.

For many, it means they will no longer be able to afford everyday activities such as going swimming or to a concert, or having holidays with others like them.

County councillor Stuart Wallace told the meeting that the council had to make budget cuts to balance its books, and adult social care was one of the areas where changes were considered.

He said that he had received many letters from people unhappy about the speed with which the changes were introduced.

He told the meeting that the council now proposed to delay implementing the changes until February.

But the council’s service director for adult social care and health, Paul Johnson, said later that the decision to delay had yet to be taken.

Some users have already had money deducted from their benefits.

One is Ben Fisk of Collingham, who has Downs Syndrome. His mother, Alyson Fisk, was at the meeting and spoke on his behalf.

“I am speaking as my son’s advocate,” she said. “I have known and lived with him for 35 years.

“He cannot speak in sentences and he understands at a one-word level. This is what I think he would say if he had a voice.

“My Mum has told me that I cannot go on holiday with my friends ever again. I do not understand. Is it my fault?

“She says that I may not be able to go to concerts as I used to. I like going to see tribute bands and sometimes the real thing. Is it my fault?

“My mum says she will do her very best to let me do all the same things that I have been doing so that I can have a life. But she said that she cannot make a promise to be able to do that.”

Another service user, Eddie Moorcroft of Lowdham, said he would no longer be able to go swimming or visit the gym, which helped keep him healthy, because he would not be able to afford to pay anyone to take him.

The meeting was extended to let everyone write down their thoughts and questions, which were taken back to county hall to be answered.

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