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Grandmother shocked as money for her carers is suddenly stopped

A grandmother who needs carers to help her with the simplest tasks was stunned after her carer benefits were slashed.

RELIANT... Mary needs carers for the simplest tasks
RELIANT... Mary needs carers for the simplest tasks

A grandmother who needs carers to help her with the simplest tasks was stunned after her carer benefits were slashed.

Mary Barker, 73, from Plantation Street, Accrington, received no warning that her eight-hours-a week social care package – which helps her with her shopping, cleaning and social life – would be removed.

Her son, Dr John Barker, is appalled and has written to David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

Mary, who needs a wheelchair, said: "With the carer I could live a normal life and I could give back by doing volunteer work. It made me feel like I was part of the world again, that I was of some use again.

"Now I’m worried about the future and how I’m going to pay for this care. It’s a horrible situation to be in. It’s made worse because a few years ago I was back out in the world and had it all – now it's all being taken away." Mary needs carers to help her get out of bed and shower, among other things.

But after a recent accident, a social worker told her that her care package would be removed with almost immediate effect. Mary was told that the money would have to come out of her DLA payments, but she says that these payments hardly cover the bills. Since the news, her health has further deteriorated, which her family believe is due to the stress of the situation.

Her son, Dr Barker, 48, from Avenue Parade, Accrington, said: "We all appreciate the need for cuts due to the state of the economy but this is one step too far.

"It feels like they are taking from vulnerable people because they won't fight back."

Dr Barker and his sister Anne have contacted charity Disability Equality North West, which is preparing a legal challenge on behalf of its members against Lancashire County Council on the way the consultation has been carried out.

Barbara Lewis, the council’s service manager for east Lancashire, said: "We are working closely with Mrs Barker and her family to agree a revised support plan to ensure that we continue to meet her needs.

"The plan is still under review and our assessment of Mrs Barker is not yet complete.

"We always look carefully at the overall support provided for each person.

"However, we are facing very significant budget pressures and must target our resources on providing personal care.

"This means we can provide domestic support only in the most exceptional circumstances."

 
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