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Cap On Care Budgets 'Unlawful'


In  a breakthrough case, four people have succeeded in challenging Birmingham City Council's decision to limit funding to those with 'critical' needs. According to current guidance, Local Authorities assess people's needs as being 'low', 'moderate', 'substanitial' or 'critical'. Until recently, most Local Authorities funded care for people assessed as having 'critical' or 'substantial' needs. However in the wake of the national financial crisis, some have tried to restrict funding to those assessed as having 'critical' needs. Birmingham's decision would have affected around 4,000 people and saved the Council about £120M - around a third of their total savings targets.


Interestingly, the challenge arose from the Disability Discrimination Act; because the Council failed to consider the disproporionate impact of the changes on disabled people they were found to be 'unlawful'. The more fundamental question - whether it is legal to restrict care to people in 'critical' need - remains untested in the Courts.


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