Today the Tory Cabinet at Somerset County Council failed to take the opportunity to rethink its decision to transfer Learning Disabilities services to Dimensions UK Ltd.
The Liberal Democrats, through the scrutiny process, had referred the issue back to the Cabinet, asking them to delay the transfer until after the election on May 4th, in order to consult with staff about the recent worrying information that has come to light.
1200 members of staff are being transferred out of the Council's employment and their current terms and conditions will be torn up, Day Centres are also likely to close within the coming year.
Jane Lock, Leader of the Opposition, said:
"Lots of staff, service users and their carers demonstrated outside County Hall this morning and many of them asked questions or told their personal stories at the meeting. It was heartbreaking to hear how these ill thought out changes will impact on people's lives."
"Many of the staff are among the lowest paid in the County and then to have their pay slashed to be only 15p above the Minimum Wage is an insult. They are caring for some of the most vulnerable in our communities, with compassion and skill, to treat them this way is a total betrayal."
The Tories ignored their concerns and of course missed the most important point; staff are desperately concerned about service users and know that the cuts will inevitably put people at risk. As usual the Tories know the cost of everything and the value of nothing."
Liberal Democrats believe Day Services now must be saved for all who need them as a safe place to go, to socialise and receive the support they need to make the most of their lives.