The Labour Group has appointed Cllr Kathy Bole as its Spokesperson for Disability in recognition of the particular, significant impact of government and council cuts to funding is having on the lives of disabled Suffolk residents.
Cllr Bole, is using her new role to highlight a number of issues in the County Councils budget proposals that will hit those who are disabled the hardest. The most obvious of these is the cuts to adult care purchasing, but cuts to Housing Related Support and the cuts to subsidised transport are going to impact on disabled people much more profoundly.
The County Council’s proposed budget will be discussed by the Scrutiny Committee on Thursday this week and it is increasingly apparent that this will become a double and in some cases a triple hit for disabled people.
Cllr Bole, will be seeking to highlight council decision and their impact on Disabled people. She said; “Suffolk County Council make numerous decisions that affect the lives of disabled people and have no idea about the impact they are having. My role in the Labour Group is to highlight the impact of those decisions and give a voice to disabled people in the Council.
“Over half the social care costs the country faces are for people under 65 and a great many of these are disabled people. The cuts the council are proposing will hit the most vulnerable the hardest and I aim to highlight those cuts.”
Looking specifically at the budget scrutiny papers to be discussed on the 23rd November Cllr Bole highlighted that Housing Related Support cut of £1m as the most punitive. This money helps people stay in their own homes through adaptations and improvements to their homes to ensure people do not have to go into care homes.
Cllr Bole said; “The nature of this outrageous cut means people will not have the preventative support they need in order to stay safe in their own homes. The County Councils budget report even states that ‘Any reduction in even low levels of support increases the risk of people’s needs escalating further’. The short-sightedness of this decision is staggering, it is worse than that, it is playing fast and loose with people’s lives and the Council knows it.
“This cut, coupled with the incredible difficulties people are facing around Universal Credit, will mean that disabled people are hit twice as hard as others when these cuts come into force. This is why the Labour Group felt that a spokesperson on disabilities was so important. My role is to provide a voice for disabled people in Suffolk. In the current climate and in light of the UN’s condemnation of the UK government over the treatment of disabled people, we need to make sure that we highlight the effect changes to Social care services and the other Council services will have on the disabled in our county.”
Notes for Editors
 Cllr Bole has been made the Labour Group Spokesperson for Disabilities with a mandate to support the Labour Group with understanding the wider implications of policy decision, both from the County Council and from Central Government.
 Cllr Bole has a wider and varied background in leading on disability issues and is the current chair of the Suffolk Coalition of Disabled People.
 Cllr Bole is available for interview about the role should editors require. If this is an opportunity you would like to take up, please contact
Russell Smith (Labour Group Political Research Assistant)
Tel: 01473 265117