Reinstate free swimming for disabled people in Redditch

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We the undersigned recognise the health benefits of swimming for disabled citizens and therefore call upon Redditch Borough Council to reverse its plans to introduce charges for disabled people, including injured veterans.

BACKGROUND

The Labour Party in Redditch voted in favour of a range of cuts and changes to the Reddicard scheme on 12th September 2017. These include the introduction of affordability-based charges for disabled users. It will be done by bringing in a new 'Active Redditch' card, scrapping the Reddicard scheme from January 2018.

The option the Labour Party voted for is known as 'Option 2' in the report from Council officers. Option 2 includes:

  • A provision that: "Disabled users of the service that currently access free of charge will be subject to an affordability based charge." (Page 12)
  • The above provision is concerning in regards to veterans who have left the Armed Forces and have acquired a disability following their service to our country. It is not clear if they will be subjected to the means testing described above
  • Removal of free swimming for some over-60s based on affordability. Those deemed able to pay will be charged £2.10. It is suggested some form of means testing may be carried out to understand which pensioners can afford to pay £2.10 or not.
  • Removal of the Reddicard scheme from January 2018, meaning those people who currently qualify for a Reddicard may have to pay for a new 'Active Redditch' card.

The Conservative Party in Redditch voted against these measures. Whilst the Conservative Party in Redditch recognises the need to balance the books it has never supported any proposal that would remove free swimming for disabled people. 

The report that provides full details is here:

http://moderngovwebpublic.redditchbc.gov.uk/documents/s29279/6a%20Leisure%20Cultural%20Services%20Concessions%20Policy%20-%20covering%20report%20amended%2012.09.17%20Executive%20vers.pdf

The provision relating to disabled users is buried on Page 12. It says:

"Disabled users of the service that currently access free of charge will be subject to an affordability based charge."

Coverage in the local press has focussed only on the over-60s element. The press (present at the meeting) has not reported on the provisions related to disabled people. 

 



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