Harrow Council: High Court rules services’ restriction is unlawful

Harrow Council will consider its legal duties to disabled people before deciding on plans to provide services to people with critical needs only, following a High Court ruling yesterday.

Judge David Mackie QC ruled that Harrow Council’s decision to introduce the policy was unlawful and had been taken without sufficiently considering the “seriousness and extent of the duties which it owed under the 2005 Disability Discrimination Act”.

The ruling comes as cash-strapped councils around the country are tightening eligbility criteria because of demands on services.

Chair of the Learning Disability Coalition Jo Williams said: “This whole case raises questions about the very existence of eligibility criteria and whether it is compatible with the areas of the Disability Discrimination Act that set out to safeguard the rights of people with a disability.”

Harrow Council said: “We accept the judge’s conclusions. Nothing will happen until we have given proper consideration to our legal duties to disabled people. This was not a decision that the council wanted to make but we were forced to take in response the need of balancing the budget in response to consistently low government grants.”

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