Council makes top ten

A COUNCIL has been ranked among the best performing local authorities when it comes to reducing the impact of budget cuts on disabled people.

Hartlepool Borough Council was ranked eighth out of 152 councils in England that responded to a new study by think tank Demos.

The aim of the national study, which was funded by disability charity Scope, was to see what impact budget cuts were having on people with disabilities.

Hartlepool was ranked alongside Peterborough, Rochdale and Islington in the top 10 councils that have had the least impact on front line services.

Last year Hartlepool Borough Council slashed about £5.6m from its budget and over the next three years the overall budget will be slashed by a third.

The research ranks local authorities on the impact budget cuts has had on disabled residents and how the council is coping.

Campaigners say those authorities that have performed well have reduced the impact by involving people in the decision-making process and promoted community based support.

Nationally, Demos and Scope are calling on councils to take every step they can to protect disabled people.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope, said: “We know that every council has to make cuts and there is no simple way to protect front line services.

“However it’s clear that some councils are taking creative steps to attempt to reduce the negative impact of budget cuts on disabled constituents and its right to commend those councils for taking the initiative to do so.”

Claudia Wood, author of the report Coping with the Cuts, said: “Some local authorities are really innovating in an effort to protect disability services – even improve them – with a lot less money.”

An interactive map displaying the Coping with Cuts index across England and Wales has been launched.

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