Friday, 25 May 2012


The Liberal Democrat Group on Redcar and Cleveland Council have called on the ruling Labour Group to review cuts to services for elderly and vulnerable people.

The withdrawal of the ‘Homecall’ contract, currently worth £680,000 to social housing provider Coast and Country, will see thousands of residents charged for the crucial pull-cord lifeline which allows them to live independently.  Liberal Democrats fear that removing the subsidy will endanger the freedom and security of the Borough’s most vulnerable and could bring an end to the service altogether.

Cllr Mary Ovens, Liberal Democrat Group Deputy Leader and Shadow Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, has today written to Council Leader George Dunning and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Sheelagh Clarke, imploring them to reconsider this potentially damaging decision.

In March this year Grant Shapps, Minister for Housing and Local Government, wrote to council leaders to inform them that although funding was no longer ring-fenced, the budget for Supporting People had not been significantly reduced and that councils were still expected to invest in housing-related support services.

Cllr Ovens commented:

“This decision by the Labour Group will leave vulnerable people isolated and alone; at risk of losing their independence.

“The policy could see thousands of vulnerable people abandoned by the Council they rely on for support.

“I urge the Council to think again on this.”

Ian Swales, MP for Redcar added:

“It seems counterproductive to remove a service that enables people to continue living independently in their own homes particularly in light of the Council’s long term social care policy.

“I hope the Council will reconsider this decision in light of the letter from Housing Minister Grant Shapps, which established the maintenance of budgets for this area."

Ian has set up a petition on line. Please take the time to have a look and sign the petition.  The more pressure we put on the council to protect this vital service for our community the more likely it is to succeed. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Labour run Redcar and Cleveland Council penalise blue badge holders

Redcar and Cleveland Labour Run Council have announced that they are considering charging all disabled blue badge holders to park in all council run off street car parks.

Of those 25 car parks, there are 79 bays that are specifically marked for disabled badge holders only.
All residents who hold blue badges were notified of this possible change by letter today (14th May 2012).

The council claim that this will help to resolve the financial mess they have found themselves in, but Ian Swales, local MP for Redcar says:

''This is yet another example of how this Labour-run council are choosing to penalise those who can afford it least. I am disturbed at the choices they are making, and they are choices.

''This is just one in a long list of politically motivated charges such as recycling bags, basic care needs, special educational transport and increasing council tax at a time when we are all feeling the pinch''

Liberal Democrat Group leader, Glyn Nightingale, said: '' The Government cuts only account for £8m of the £34m referred to in this letter. The remaining £26m of savings relate to Labour council bosses wish list rather than to what needs to be done over the next few years.

''It will only be when the council sort out their waste and mismanagement of their finances that we will feel assured that they are capable of running this council.''