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Harrow Taxicard cuts not desired outcome say campaigners
Cuts to subsidised travel for disabled people will go ahead - despite campaigners warning they will leave more people isolated.
Last night members of a Harrow Borough Council sub-committee which met after the decision was 'called in' decided plans for cuts to the taxicard scheme do not need to be re-examined by cabinet.
The decision made on July 18 was called in for review over concerns the action was not propitiate to the desired outcome.
Angela Dias, CEO of the Harrow Association for Disabled People (HAD) spoke at the meeting last night.
She said: “These cuts will have a massive effect on some people with the most complex needs who cannot use public transport without help.
“For some people the Taxicard means the difference between them socialising and being locked in their house.
“Some people will not be able to leave their homes and we do not think desired outcome of saving the council money justifies the cut.
“Transport of disabled people is really expensive and the Taxicard is their only means of getting out and you are really making people have no life and that is no exaggeration.”
Also speaking at the meeting was Avril Coombs, a taxi card user who pointed out how the cut to 40 journeys would actually mean only 20 round trips.
In answering questions from the group leader of the council Thaya Idaikkadar said he sympathised with those who rely on the scheme but the council had to come to the decision due to financial reasons.
He said: “It is not a decision I am comfortable making, but it is the right decision with the financial situation we are facing.
During the meeting councillor Idaikkadar said only a small amount of those on the taxicard scheme use more than 40 journeys a year.
It was also revealed that most of the journeys taken by those on the taxicard scheme were to health appointment, either to their GP or hospital.
As a result the committee called on the council cabinet not to implement the changes until travel services to medical appointments for disabled people using the scheme were looked at by the authority.
The scheme subsidises taxi travel for about 200 disabled people in the borough and under council plans the number of trips people will be able to take will be cut to 40 per year while saving the authority £200,000.
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