Direct payments cut by Wiltshire Council

Disabled people in Wiltshire are outraged by the county council’s decision to withdraw direct payments for leisure opportunities.

At the end of June they received a letter from the council’s lead member for adult services saying funding would stop on 1 August.

The council is cutting some adult services funding as it tackles a £7 million deficit across the authority and cost shunting from the NHS.

Adult and community services director Ray Jones left his post after he agreed he was not the right person to make the cuts.

News of the end to leisure funding also came as Wiltshire announced that Jones’s successor as director will receive a higher salary.

Clare Evans, chair of the Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living, said Jones had been a champion for service users and direct payments and the decision to withdraw funding was “very much a reverse from that tradition”.

Wiltshire said it was stopping the leisure payments because of “severe financial pressures” and that the move would save £250,000.

Head of service Jeanette Longhurst said: “Obviously we do not like taking these opportunities away but we are facing a serious financial situation and we have to review all our services to make sure we have sufficient money to pay for services for those people who really are most in need.

“Care packages throughout the county are now under review using the new stricter criteria with services being concentrated now on people who would face critical and substantial risk if those services were not there for them.”

Jones’s salary was in the £93,822-£103,428 range when he left but the new director will receive £113,000 to £124,000 when they are appointed.

Evans said the extra money could have been spent on frontline services, but the council said the higher salary reflected the “enormity of the challenge” facing the new director, particularly in tackling the budget deficit.

Are you affected by cuts to services in Wiltshire? If so, contact




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