Chief “worried” over reform

Thurrock’s top councillor for adult social care says he is getting “increasingly worried” about the impact of the government’s welfare reforms.

Cllr Tony Fish, cabinet portfolio holder for adult social care, said this week: “I was at the Disability Partnership Board meeting last week where I met a group of disabled people to discuss the impact of the Government’s welfare reforms on disabled people in Thurrock.

“It became clear that many people with incurable degenerative conditions are having their entitlement to — for example incapacity benefit — reassessed and are subsequently having the benefit withdrawn.”

He added: “There are also plans to tighten the criteria for entitlement to Disability Living Allowance which is likely to cause further hardship.”

Cllr Fish said: “What made a particular impact on me was their frustration that the general public is not aware of this and does not understand their plight despite a protest march in London earlier this year where 5,000 people, many who had made heroic efforts to take part, went largely unnoticed by the media.”

Cllr Fish said he would be working with council officers and other adult social care portfolio holders across the region to try to ”mitigate the effect of the reforms on some of the borough’s most vulnerable people”.

He said: “I am getting increasingly worried about this. The more I hear from the people affected and the less I see in the media, the more I fear this will slip under the radar and some of the most vulnerable people in our community will suffer out of all proportion.”

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