Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Council's care cut plans 'all over place'

The Isle of Wight Council has been accused in the High Court of being "all over the place" in its plans to cut adult social care.

The families of two autistic men claim the council failed to make clear the impact of changes brought in February.

In a Judicial Review hearing, their lawyer said the council had made simultaneous proposals to shut the Westminster House Respite Centre.

The authority said the cuts were in response to reduced government funding.

It is attempting to save £1.6m by restricting council-funded care to the most pressing cases.

The Judicial Review has been brought by two men known only by their initials. "JM" is described in court as being aged 32, with severe autism and a brain injury dating back to his birth.

He lives with his retired parents who are his full-time carers.

"NT", the second claimant, is 31 years old and has autism and a learning difficulty. He spends the week in residential accommodation, returning to his mother at the weekends.

The report into the impact of the changes "gave no information at all for councillors on the impact of what they were about to do", according to David Wolfe, representing the two men.

He told the hearing: "Council promises to mitigate the impact of the cuts in eligibility for help amounted to nothing more than a promise of 'we'll do what we can'."

Councillors not told

Mr Wolfe said councillors had not been told how many people would be affected and who they were.

"The one thing they were told is how much money would be saved," he added.

Up to 2,000 vulnerable people on the Isle of Wight could be affected by the changes being introduced in April 2012.

Until recently the council followed a policy of meeting adult social care needs as long as they were "critical" or "substantial".

However, in February the council resolved to cover these needs only if they involved issues of personal safety and accommodation.

This means that in future only those vulnerable adults assessed as critical - or at risk of becoming critical - will continue to receive public funding.

The hearing continues.

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