COUNCILLORS have been accused of snubbing disabled people and their carers.
Bruce Illingworth – whose wife Christine suffers from multiple sclerosis – invited 10 members of Kirklees Council to a meeting about proposed changes to social care.
But none turned up for the event – with only one councillor sending their apologies.
He said: “The Save Kirklees Homecare Group had a meeting at the Navigation Inn in Mirfield on October 11.
“Ten councillors were invited to attend so that our group, representing the general public and service users, could put our concerns about the impact the changes will have on our family members’ health.
“We sat there waiting, expecting at least a couple of councillors to come. Unfortunately not one councillor came and we have only had one reply since the meeting – an apology from Clr Vivien Lees-Hamilton who couldn’t attend due to family commitments.
“We were very disappointed at the lack of commitment and bad manners of the rest of the councillors who totally ignored our invitation.”
Mr Illingworth had called the meeting to discuss the council’s plan to privatise more social care.
Council carers currently provide intensive help to people with complex needs and a small proportion of routine care.
Kirklees wants to privatise its routine work – meaning the council’s share of the care sector would drop from 17.5% to 15%.
But Mr Illingworth is unhappy with the proposals, which would mean his wife could no longer be cared for by Kirklees staff.
He said: “I've spoken to every section of the caring community about this: carers, doctors, nurses, respite home staff, social workers, MS consultant nurse and managers. In all, about 50 people, all of whom say that the proposed changes are totally wrong.
“All these professionals cannot be wrong.”
Clr Martyn Bolt was one of the 10 councillors invited to the meeting at the Navigation Inn.
The Mirfield Conservative said: “On October 11 I had a full diary, particularly in the evening when I had meetings of Mirfield Education Charity and Mirfield Town Council.
“Mr Illingworth and I have had extensive email exchanges about this issue.”
Clr Bolt added: “The issues around social care have been extensively discussed in Kirklees – including at this week’s monthly council meeting.
“It’s clearly an emotive issue but the point is that the retention of the service is something that the council can’t do.
“For some time the majority of care has been provided outside the council anyway.”
On Wednesday councillors voted to re-examine the issue after more than 8,000 people signed a petition against the proposed changes.
Kirklees officers claim the privatisation would save £1.3m a year.