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Severely disabled man ‘fears losing carers’ after appeal defeat on council cuts

Luke Davey had tried to overturn Oxfordshire County Council’s decision to reduce his weekly personal budget by more than by 40%.

A severely disabled man fears losing long-term carers after the Court of Appeal upheld cuts to his care funding, say his lawyers.

Luke Davey, 41, had attempted to overturn Oxfordshire County Council’s decision to reduce by 42% his weekly personal budget which funded a round-the-clock care package including the wages of personal assistants with him for nearly 20 years.

The local authority imposed the reductions after assessing it would be good for Mr Davey to spend more time alone and that he should reduce payments to his personal assistants to minimum wage levels.

Severely disabled man Luke Davey and his mother Jasmine outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London ( John Aston/PA)

High Court judge Mr Justice Morris ruled the council had acted within its powers and on Friday three appeal judges unanimously agreed.

The appeal court expressed “great respect” for the manner in which Mr Davey, his family and his team of personal assistants had coped with his difficult situation, but declared the council had not acted unlawfully.

Mr Davey, who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, is among many disabled people who say they are being seriously affected by the Government’s decision in June 2015 to axe the independent living fund (ILF), which helped them live independent lives in the community.

The Royal Courts of Justice (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Critics of the Government say the case of Mr Davey, who is registered blind, illustrates how a failure to ring-fence sufficient money for the disabled under the Care Act 2014 has led to significant reductions in adult care packages, which are now totally the responsibility of cash-strapped local authorities.

Lord Justice McFarlane, Lord Justice Bean and Lady Justice Thirlwall have given Mr Davey and his lawyers until September 18 to consider making a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Davey case is believed to be the first to analyse key issues on care planning under the Care Act.

Yogi Amin, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is acting for Mr Davey, said: “Luke and his family are disappointed that the council has cut his care package and is insisting that his long-standing carers should have their wages reduced to minimum wage, which he fears will force them to leave from the job they were doing to support him.

“They are now very concerned about the possible detrimental impact on his future care.”

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