Socialist Worker

Fife charges campaign shuts down council meeting

by Maureen Closs, Fife Campaign Against Charges
Issue No. 2108

Fife council was forced to abandon its full council meeting last week as disabled people from the Campaign Against Charges group chanted and displayed posters asking
“Why?”, “When?” and “How much?”.

The group has protested fiercely for many months now against the council’s introduction of charges for homecare, community alarms and shopping delivery services.

The council provost adjourned the meeting while security tried to silence the protesters. The council then called the police.

The police were unsuccessful in persuading the protesters – who had chained their wheelchairs together – to leave the public gallery.

As council members reconvened they made no attempt to communicate with the campaigners or answer their questions.

The protesters started up their chanting once more. The provost threw in the towel and abandoned the meeting.

Protester Anne Martin from Kinghorn explained, “We have been campaigning for many months against these charges but the council has bulldozed them through.

“I have multiple sclerosis so I have to rely on homecarers for my cleaning and sometimes for personal care. I need the community alarm so that when I fall they can send help for me. I want to know how much I’m going to be charged and when.”

Fellow protester Katie Nairn added, “This has been going on since October last year. It is a constant worry for myself and other people like me who need lots of input from homecare.

“I can’t plan anything for the future because I don’t know when the bills will come in.”

Recently retired disabled social worker Rudi Vogel said, “I’ve been working

with disabled and older people who receive these services for many years.

“It is little wonder that they still don’t know what will be happening to them, even after six months of these threats.

“What we do know is that hundreds of people have already given up their services and are now more vulnerable than ever.

“The social work department is in total disarray. They don’t have the respect of staff who are as appalled by the charges and by the threats as their clients.”

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Article information

Tue 1 Jul 2008, 18:49 BST
Issue No. 2108
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