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  • "The attacks on the most vulnerable continue unabated. This vital service should not even be on the list for consideration. This is the true colours of the Tories, At county level and national level. Despite the recession and the Banking crisis, this country is not that broke. As someone who leans toward Labour I won't hold my breath that if elected they will reverse the cuts. The political parties in this country are run by Millionaires so what hope have we got?."
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East Lancs respite care units under threat

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

A PUBLIC consultation exercise is set to begin over controversial plans to axe a number of respite units in Lancashire.

Social service chiefs insist that several units are not equipped to deal with the most seriously disabled youngsters.

And as part of proposals to hack £3million from the respite care budget, county council officials plan to close between four and six sites.

Those under threat include Hargreaves House in Oswaldtwistle, Burnley’s Reedley Cottages and Long Copse at Chorley.

Newly-built units would take their place, if current proposals go ahead, with the favoured locations being either Accrington or Nelson, and Preston or Chorley, if only two units remain, and Morecambe, Lancaster, south Wyre and West Lancashire if four are required.

Campaigners in East Lancs have already voiced strong objections to any moves to close Hargreaves House.

County Hall bosses are already bracing themselves for at least some unease over the plans, which will be the subject of public debate over the next 12 weeks.

Helen Denton, the county council’s executive director for children’s services, said in a report: “Parents will of course express concern about potential increases to travel time for children and young people with complex needs resulting from reducing the number of units and this is clearly an important factor to take into account.”

Under the proposed scheme short breaks for children with disabilities would still take place, and trained carers will be provided for some overnight breaks.

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