Campaigners fail in bid for judicial review

Campaigners have failed to get a judicial review of Northamptonshire Council’s plans to cut 13 services for people with learning difficulties and other vulnerable groups.

The High Court today rejected claims that the proposed cuts were “unlawful” and concluded that the council had not made a final decision.

The ruling followed a legal challenge by campaigners representing around 1,500 older and disabled people who argued that they would be left “devastated” by the proposed cuts outlined in the council’s budget.

Earlier this month, residents obtained a High Court injunction stopping the council from setting its budget, which was lifted last week on the condition that no action would be taken on the proposed cuts until after the judicial review preliminary hearing.

During the two-day hearing that began yesterday, James Goudie QC, representing the council, argued the case was “misconceived” as no final decision on the cuts had been taken and said residents were still being consulted.

After the ruling, Hossack said she would be “very surprised” if the cuts were implemented following the consultation.

She added: “The council can’t rely on any decision it has already taken because it told the court it was not final. I just hope the council has learned from what has happened, and think much harder about the impact of cuts on individuals.”

Jim Harker, leader of the council, welcomed the ruling. “The judge concluded that the county council had plans in place to consult effectively with all those affected which we can now proceed to do,” he said.

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