Budget ruling – Birmingham City Council responds

Birmingham City Council HouseBirmingham city council has responded to today’s High Court ruling that parts of their budget are unlawful.

A judicial review found in favour of families representing four severely disabled adults and overturned the council’s decision to limit the care their grown-up children receive. Counsel for the families claimed that there had been a failure to consult properly about the impact the cuts would have and that making them contravened the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act.

A spokesperson for the council said that they will be looking at the judgment in detail prior to making a decision about whether to lodge an appeal.

They also emphasised that the judgment is about the process the council went through with regard to the Disability Discrimination Act, not the actual decision about where savings should be made, and stressed the council’s commitment to push funding towards prevention and rehabilitation.

Mr Justice Walker found that the council contravened the Act in deciding to stop care packages for disabled adults whose needs are regarded as being ‘substantial’. The cuts would have affected some 4,000 people and the council cannot continue assessing individual cases until Mr Justice Walker delivers his full judgment, which is not expected until next month.

The ruling is a blow to the council, who had hoped to make savings of £17.5 million by restricting social care to those whose needs were deemed to be ‘critical’.  Two weeks ago the council lost a similar case when the High Court ruled that it had ignored equality legislation over funding cuts to voluntary bodies.