MP accuses councillors of failing to consult on cuts

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A HULL MP has accused Lib Dem councillors of not consulting properly over closing day centres in Hull.

The number of centres will drop from 10 to seven if plans, aimed at saving £1.7m, are agreed when Hull Council sets its budget later this month.

Relatives are concerned that the remaining centres will be overcrowded and some users will be reassessed as no longer eligible for the service.

Hull North Labour MP Diana Johnson had written to Lib Dem portfolio holder Steven Baker accusing the council of inadequate consultation over plans to close the George Ashton Day Centre on Hull’s Orchard Park estate.

Although council leader Carl Minns met around 25 relatives and carers earlier this week, service users want Coun Baker to pay a visit and deal with their concerns face to face.

Ms Johnson said: “Hull’s recent experience shows that plans to shut day centres used by elderly residents, including many who are frail and vulnerable, need to be handled with great care. We need genuine consultation with service users, and those who care for them, and a willingness to manage change at a gradual pace.

“The danger is that cutting day centres will only result in a larger bill for residential care as some day centre users will not cope living independently without access to their day centre.

“I understand that the council leader is saying that these are only proposals for consultation, but it appears that they are considering no alternative options and this so-called consultation ends on February 4. It is also a deception to pretend that this process is about improving services for the most vulnerable when it is clearly driven by coalition Government cuts.”

Lib Dem councillor John Robinson insisted no final decision had been taken, adding: “We are listening and talking to people who will be affected by this.”