Voluntary sector 'replacing state'

Indira Das-Gupta

The voluntary sector is bailing out the welfare state in the provision of equipment for disabled children, according to Sheila Brown, chief executive of BDF New Life.

The charity, which pays for such equipment, last week published a report exposing local authority under-funding as part of its Not Too Much To Ask campaign.

Local authorities and primary care trusts spent as little as £60 per disabled child in the past year. The charity says they should be spending £20,000.

"We started off by supporting the state, and now we are replacing it," said Brown. "The Government talks about a partnership with the voluntary sector, but it's not a partnership - it's a replacement.

Last year, I would have said the system was crumbling; now I would say it's broken. Three years ago we were paying out grants of £30,000. This year it will be about £750,000."

- See Newsmaker, page 13.

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