Wyre Forest Labour today reacted angrily to the news that the County Council is once again threatening the future of Kidderminster’s Ludlow Road Respite Unit.
A Cabinet Report has been released looking at its closure following yet another proposed consultation process with a decision due at council this week.
Ludlow Road looks after some of the most disabled children in the area, offering respite to their parents to recover. The value of this service to the children and their families cannot be underestimated. It has a value way beyond the numbers on a council spreadsheet. Unfortunately, the number crunchers at County Hall have no empathy, and do not care, nor understand the service.
Speaking on behalf of Wyre Forest Labour, Press Officer, Stephen Brown said “When closure of the unit was first proposed around Christmas time in 2017, and let’s be clear it wasn’t the first time it had faced the axe, the community rallied round to defend it, as they always do. Local people really care about protecting this service and were brilliant in their support to keep Ludlow Road open. We fought a hard campaign alongside the parents to keep it open, making national headline news and gathering the support of 8,500 residents. It shook the council to the core by challenging their destructive austerity agenda. Any consultation will have the same outcome. What the council are doing is despicable.”
Stephen continued “The public widely rejected austerity signalling they wanted a change of policy direction in just last months local elections. Any consultation the council do will have exactly the same outcome as last time, to keep Ludlow Road open, that much is already clear. They are treating the public with contempt. The public told them last time they had to secure its long-term future. Instead it seems, they deliberately kicked the can down the road in order to take the sting out of opposition to the closure just to bring forward a different closure plan. It’s an affront to democracy. However, their plan is now clear, it’s to slowly wind it down pressuring parents to go elsewhere, reducing provision, and so making it look ‘inefficient’. It’s the oldest Tory trick in the book. It’s how they destroy services to prepare for closure or privatisation. It’s in the Tory Party DNA. We risk losing another local NHS service, albeit a council provided one in partnership and all because of Tory dogma. It’s not on. The fight will go on until the number crunchers at County Hall start serving the public and not themselves. I’d urge residents to write, email, or call their local County Councillor to object and be pretty vocal about it. Don’t hold back. It’s the only language these arrogant Tory councillors understand. What the council are doing to the children and their parents and families is outrageous.”
Parent, Amanda Danby, whose son Mason attends the unit said “This whole process has been a shambles. We have no trust in the county council or the so called consultation. I feel this whole process has been steered to close Ludlow Road. We as parents have been asking ‘how much does Ludlow Road actually cost to run’? The figures we got last year just didn’t add up, so after some investigation we found they’d dumped figures from other services onto ludlow Road to make it seem like it costs a lot more than it actually does. Even today when asked on H&W radio, that question was one that the council Officer Sarah Wilkins could not answer. If they cant answer a simple costing question how can we as parents really believe anything they say?! We are exhausted by this whole process, as if we haven’t got enough to cope with! We still haven’t had figures on the actual numbers of children who need this service now, or will need it in the future against a backdrop of rising demand. We also do not trust that our children will have a comparable level of night’s care somewhere else and which the council has been keen to push. The county council keep moving the goalposts to suit themselves, how can we really trust them?”