Portsmouth council’s cuts ‘hitting city’s most vulnerable’ disabled woman says

Romaine Hill is angry at the city council's move to axe free foot care for residents
Romaine Hill is angry at the city council's move to axe free foot care for residents
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COUNCIL cuts are hitting the most vulnerable people in Portsmouth.

That’s the claim made by a disabled woman from Cosham who says she’s been hit by the latest wave of cutbacks.

Cuts like these are hitting the most vulnerable,

Romaine Hill, 53, of Cosham

Romaine Hill, who has been partially sighted all her life, has hit out over the council’s move to axe its free footcare service.

The 53-year-old relies on the scheme to help maintain mobility in her feet, which have been a constant problem since she survived a severe bout of rubella as a child.

But she was left devastated when a letter came through from the council’s assistant director of adult services, Justin Wallace-Cook, informing her the provision had been dropped.

‘Cuts like these are hitting the most vulnerable,’ said Ms Hill, of Halstead Road. ‘I felt really bad and upset about it.

‘This is isolating some people in the city – people who don’t have a computer or are disabled and can’t use a computer.’

In the letter, sent out earlier this month, Mr Wallace-Cook said the service was due to be ditched in 2015.

But a boost in funding allowed the authority to extend the support for an additional year.

He added support would still be available from GPs, or by contacting Age UK.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member of health and social care, added the authority had been forced to make tough decisions.

He stressed the council was not trying to pick on the city’s most vulnerable.

‘As a city council we have been under tremendous pressure across adult social care and have already had to save millions this year,’ said Cllr Stubbs. ‘It has meant some really difficult choices.

‘It’s been a real challenge to come up with a budget that works. The city council will continue to protect core services and is mindful that some saving can result in greater costs down the line.

‘However,the foot care service is just something that we can not afford to support.’

The news comes in a week when the Local Goverment Association has warned of a ‘care crisis’. It says councils are finding they cannot afford services for the elderly and vulnerable, despite many imposing tax rises at the maximum two per cent.