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BRECKLAND FULL COUNCIL – 22 February 2023

The budget proposed for Disabled Facilities Grants is evidently not sufficient with a significant backlog remaining.
Terry Land Breckland

Amendment 2 – Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)

Proposed by Terry Land

Seconded by David Wickerson

Amendment

The budget proposed for Disabled Facilities Grants is evidently not sufficient with a significant backlog remaining. The proposal is to allocate a further £200,000 in the 2023/24 to ensure that all applicants that have been assessed and costed get implemented in the next financial year.

This additional funding will be taken from the New Homes Bonus allocation for 2023-24 which would otherwise be contributed into the Inclusive Growth

Speech

Council, I won’t rehash the same argument about disabled facilities grants – I thought we had a good debate at the previous full council meeting. There’s clearly broad support for DFG, I’d go as far as saying likely unanimous support. Who wouldn’t support frankly people being able to live in their own homes, independently. Who wouldn’t support people leading more fulfilling lives and I am sure we all support improving the quality of life for some of our most vulnerable residents. And not just older residents as many assume with DFG, all ages – including children. I was grateful for the words of support both before and after the debate last time from all members, including conservative members, but the previous motion to add £100k to the DFG budget in this current financial year was defeated. Despite some additional funding, we are still in an unacceptable position.

As it stands, I cannot possibly vote for this budget. And I am forced to table this amendment. At this moment in time there are 96 applications that have been approved and costed and a further 60 that are waiting plans and costings. That’s 156 people, who have likely been waiting for quite a while, been assessed as needing and confirmed as needing support and fitting the criteria for DFGs. The only thing standing in their way at the moment is money. The estimated cost to implement these assessments is £1.5million. In the budget papers before you the Council is only allocating £1.3million. We’re starting off this new financial year not even allocating sufficient money to complete the cases that have been assessed. We’re not even thinking about the more than 300, yes, more than 300 cases where assessments are still waiting to happen.

So, my amendment is very simple, we add £200,000 to the DFG budget in the 2023/24 financial to ensure EVERY person that has been assessed as needing adaptations gets them in the next financial year. That additional money will be taken from the New Homes Bonus allocation for next year which would otherwise be contributed to the Inclusive Growth Reserve. Yes, the budget before you adds to a reserve that at this point we do not need to, rather than helping people who have been assessed as in need. Think on that for a moment.

I move the amendment.

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