Cherie Booth backs Wiltshire couple

The prime minister’s wife has stepped into the row over cuts to adults’ services in Wiltshire after a plea from the husband of a woman with multiple sclerosis.

James McGee wrote to Cherie Booth after Wiltshire Council suggested his wife, Mary, could go into residential care or he could receive a direct payment to arrange her care.

James has cared for Mary for the past 20 years of their 41-year marriage, and she also receives home visits from agency care workers.

The council is looking to restructure provision in the county to tackle a £6m-plus funding shortfall.

In a handwritten reply, Booth said she had passed details of the case to the Disability Rights Commission because she believed the couple had a legitimate case under the Human Rights Act 1998.

The commission has since referred the case to Leigh Day & Co, a law firm with expertise in judicial reviews against public bodies, because it does not come under its own jurisdiction.

Wiltshire said it had reviewed Mary McGee’s care package and it was clear there were cheaper alternatives. The current package costs the council £45,000 a year, but a permanent nursing home placement would cost only £19,000.

It said it had also offered the McGees a continuing care assessment but they had refused.

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