DPOs Write Open Letter to Bristol City Council Over Outrageous Social Care Policy

Mon,15 April 2024
News Equality & Rights Health & Social Care
Disability Rights UK, alongside Inclusion London, WinVisible and Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, have written letters to the Mayor of Bristol and the Leader of Bristol’s Green Group demanding they immediately withdraw social care policies that threaten Disabled people's right to independent living.

In the letter, DPOs slammed the proposed policy, expressing deep frustrations at the Council's decision to continue to push through social care policies which threaten Disabled people's rights to independent living and family life. It follows on from a similar letter in November of 2023, where our organisations demanded the scrappage of the proposed ''Fair and Affordable Care" policy which would place Disabled people in care homes if their at-home care costs were more expensive.

Following on from Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living's pressure, the "Fair and Affordable Care" policy was withdrawn. However, the current budget is arguably worse, an insult to Disabled campaigners and residents of Bristol. The council proposes to review the care packages of at least 190 people with the support they deem ‘not cost-effective’, which is completely incompatible with their duty to safeguard Disabled people's right to respect for private and family life and home, Care Act 2014 principles and the UNCRPD right. The under-resourcing of advocacy services in Bristol will mean that the Disabled people targeted for review who will need an independent advocate won't be able to access the support necessary to understand or exercise their rights.

The letter states that "pursuing a course of evaluating care packages for "cost-effectiveness" is likely to disproportionately affect those of us from communities of colour, including because those of us from communities of colour more often can't afford to pay privately for carers, so rely more on council services. We believe that your policies and budget for 2024-5 still categorically fail to uphold the rights of Disabled people in Bristol to receive the care and support they need based on personal choice. 

Bristol City Council has consistently shown they are happy to place affordability and cost-cutting measures above the rights, independence and quality of life of the Bristol Disabled community, especially Disabled women and people of colour in the city.

'It would also disproportionately affect Disabled women in particular Disabled mothers with high physical supports need fear having children taken if they are forced to go into a care home. Cuts in homecare add to dependence on partners, relationship pressures and the risk of domestic violence. Whilst women who drop out of homecare due to unaffordable charges, are often exploited, including by violent men, who they are forced to rely on for help. Any policy exacerbating such long-standing inequalities across communities cannot be introduced.'' 

The letter ends:

'We see no way that your current trajectory is workable and would ask that you cease to pursue an approach of reviewing care packages to cut support. The proposed cuts in this budget are inhumane and unacceptable.  The Council should focus on working to provide care and support to Bristol residents further based on their personal preferences and needs, nothing else. 

In solidarity with the Disabled people of Bristol.