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JUDGE BACKS COUNCIL IN CARE PACKAGE CHALLENGE

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Stressed mum seeks more care for son...
Stressed mum seeks more care for son

A mother who says the decision to cut down on care given to her badly disabled son is leaving her at her wits end failed in a High Court challenge against Lincolnshire CC.

The mother, who like her son cannot be named for legal reasons but is from the Lincoln area, was left furious when the local authority cut the amount of hours carers spend with her son from 12 and a half hours per week to eight hours per week.

Yesterday her barrister, Nicholas Armstrong told Judge Andrew Nichol QC that the extra hours were vital to give the mother some respite and allow her to have a life outside tending to her teenage son, who needs round-the-clock attention.

In a written witness statement submitted to the court, the mother said that she has already lost one marriage because of the pressures of caring for her child, and is fearful her current one could also end.

She added that the strain has been so great in recent months that she had to book her son, who is severely mentally and physically disabled and will never get better, into a children's home for a few days.

Coupled with that, she also fears that she may be suffering breast cancer, and said the whole situation is putting an 'enormous strain' on her.

Mr Armstrong alleged that the council's decision was 'an error of law' and 'irrational'.

But Judge Nichol backed the decision of Lincolnshire CC, made last year, and dismissed a judicial review challenge brought on behalf of the boy.

Despite agreeing that the situation was 'terribly difficult', the judge said the council was entitled to come to the conclusion that eight and a half hours was sufficient.

'The package of care which has been put into place is an elaborate one. I can understand the additional strain by the reduction in support, however I'm not persuaded there is an arguable case,' said Judge Nichol.

Earlier barrister, Jonathan Swift, for the local authority, had argued that the assessment of 12 and a half hours had been made when the mother was also looking after her other son, who has now left the family home.

'There was no arguable error of law, what we have here is a careful assessment that has been carefully undertaken and should not be second guessed,' concluded Mr Swift.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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