Disabled people ‘invisible’ to council, says Merton disability support group

A Merton organisation for disabled people has said the council treats people with disabilities as though they are ‘invisible’.

In a letter sent to Merton households consulting on council tax and spending, council leader Stephen Alambritis spoke of an austerity cost of £1,375 per home per year.

But according to Merton Centre for Independent Living (CIL), this loss rises to £6,354 for a disabled person, a figure not included in the letter.

CIL CEO Lyla Adwan-Kamara said: “This is a very concerning development. Disabled people aren’t even mentioned in the leader’s letter, and this is part of an ongoing pattern of disabled people being invisible and our views not being heard in Merton.

“The leader’s letter to residents mentions that austerity is costing the average home £1,375; it fails to mention that disabled people are losing £6,354 per person.

“It is incredible that political correspondence is being sent out to residents which directly undermine the council’s own consultation process.”

Mr Alambritis said he was ‘strongly minded not to increase council tax’.

Healthwatch Merton have publicised their report ‘Adult social care consultation on cuts to services 2016-17’ during the council’s consultation, which reads: “For some people, the cuts proposed felt very much like the final straw.

“A number of people expressed extreme anxiety and helplessness about the cuts.

“For some, they felt that life would be so intolerable, that it would no longer be worth living, and they blamed Merton Council for that.”

A Merton Council spokesperson said: “Merton Council is currently conducting a council tax and council spending consultation which is available to complete online. It was also delivered to every household in the borough in September.

“Any other survey separate to that listed above is not part of the council’s official consultation on council tax.

“Any surveys sent to the council will be returned to the originator of the survey and will not be counted towards the council’s consultation results.”

The council consultation will be available online here until November 4.

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