Letchworth man’s bid to take council to The High Court over disabled service cuts

PUBLISHED: 17:37 10 March 2011 | UPDATED: 17:35 11 March 2011

Peter Farrington, of Letchworth GC, plans to take Hertfordshire County Council to The High Court

Peter Farrington, of Letchworth GC, plans to take Hertfordshire County Council to The High Court

Daniel Wilson

A DISABLED man has called for an urgent judicial review of increased charges and cuts to disabled services and will find out on Monday if his case against Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) will be heard in The High Court.

"For me £20 is the choice between eating or heating"

Peter Farrington

Peter Farrington, of Quills, Letchworth GC, lodged the application last week in a bid to halt HCC changing the way the disabled pay for care and cutting funding to disabled services.

The 58-year-old argues that the consultation on the recommended proposals, which are due to come into effect on April 1, failed to meet the standards required and did not have due regard of the Government’s announcements over additional funding to offset austerity measures affecting the disabled. Mr Farrington, who was born with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and had to give up work in 1990 due to the condition, said: “The council say they are asking those who can afford to pay more to do so, but those who are worse off will have to pay more.

“For me £20 is the choice between eating or heating and there will be some people that will be losing a third of their total income.

“All of this has happened with very little public knowledge - but for my actions this would have appeared as another ‘efficiency saving’. I think my case is just and my legal arguments are sound and it’s now in the hands of The High Court.”

"It is our belief that if we are unable to make up these funds within the next 12 months it will be necessary to shut down"

Annabelle Waterfield, Hertfordshire Action on Disability

Mr Farrington’s case is being backed by Hertfordshire Action on Disability (HAD), who help to meet the needs of disabled people in the county but are set to lose 100 per cent of their funding in the next two years.

In a letter to the Royal Courts of Justice, Annabelle Waterfield, chief executive of HAD, said: “When told of the cuts we, along with other organisations, were told not to discuss it. We were ‘told off’ for putting it on our website and using the word ‘slashing’ to describe the cut. It is our belief that if we are unable to make up these funds within the next 12 months it will be necessary to shut down.”

A HCC spokesman said: “We are aware there’s been an application for a judicial review. We can’t comment any further at this stage.”

In a similar case last month, The High Court ruled that London councils did not address the equality issues at a sufficiently detailed level and ordered the councils to undertake a lawful consultation before any funding cuts take place.

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