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Councillors row over disabled provision in Warrington
5:00pm Friday 25th October 2013 in News
A ROW over help for disabled people in the borough has broken out between councillors.
Labours Clr Hitesh Patel and Clr Maureen McLaughlin put forward a motion which said the Coalition Government had a negative effect on disabled people in Warrington while also praising Warrington’s own work with people with disability.
But Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors objected to the part of the motion which criticised the Government and their attempts to amend the motion to remove them were dismissed.
And opposition councillors also took comments from Clr McLaughlin about a Lib Dem leaflet which did not mention disabled people as a jibe at them.
Conservative leader Clr Paul Kennedy (CON - Hatton, Walton and Stretton) said: “All administrations, members both past and present and our officers have always worked hard to do the best that we can for those not as fortunate as ourselves, and I felt that the original motion proposed by Clr Patel and seconded by Clr McLaughlin indulged in national party politics and the matter under discussion is far too important for such politicisation.
“I think that everybody knows that I have a great disdain for such politicisation, as indeed do our residents who rightly expect and deserve better of us. Our amendment took the politics out of the original motion and could and should have been supported across the whole chamber.”
Clr Maureen McLaughlin (LAB - Latchford West) said: "Disabled people are relying on politicians of all persuasions to speak up for them.
"I looked on the local leaflet I mentioned for any message which could be of help or support to disabled people. There was none. Unless politicians, regardless of political persuasion, speak up about what is happening then these cuts will go by relatively unnoticed by the general population - until they need help themselves.
"In the meantime, those who are struggling with the impact of these cuts will feel that they are out of sight and out of mind.”
Warrington’s Lib Dems accused the Labour councillors of using the disabled to score cheap political points against them.
Warrington Lib Dem leader Clr Ian Marks (LD - Lymm) added: “Several of my colleagues were disgusted at the suggestion by one of the Labour speakers that we did not care about disabled people. The accusations were a disgrace.”
But Clr HItesh Patel (LAB - Great Sankey South) stood by the original motion.
He said: "When residents start crying at my councillor surgeries because of the bedroom tax and other government policies you know something is really wrong.
"This motion was a rallying call for local councillors of all political persuasions to stand together for the sake of Warrington residents and send a message to Coalition MPs in Westminster that enough is enough. Instead the Tories and their Lib Dem bedfellows chose to bury their head in the sand and abstain."
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