‘Our army of carers should not be disrespected by cut’

Carer, Pam Kingston-Smith, from Middle Claydon has had the annual holiday payment for her autistic son, Chris, stopped. PNL-160614-120424009
Carer, Pam Kingston-Smith, from Middle Claydon has had the annual holiday payment for her autistic son, Chris, stopped. PNL-160614-120424009

A loving mum who devotes her life to caring for her disabled son says that she and other carers are being ‘disrespected’ by a cut to their allowances.

Pam Kingston-Smith gave up her job to care for her 25-year-old son who has autism.

The pair, who live together in Middle Claydon, rarely spend time apart, and were looking forward to taking a much-needed break to the Isle of Wight using Bucks County Council’s Flexible Breaks for Carers scheme, which provides a small amount of money to help facilitate care needs on a trip.

But when Pam went to apply for the money, she was told that the scheme has been cancelled to cut costs.

She said: “When you are a carer you don’t have a life. I have not been out socially on my own for 14 years, and to have a break away, even if it’s just for a few days, means absolutely everything.

“This will not only affect us and I wanted to speak out because I think this is wrong.”

And Pam says that by making this cut, the council is taking for granted all of the carers who look after their loved ones across Buckinghamshire.

She said: “We do this because we love our children or our relatives, but if everyone who is a carer said to the council that they couldn’t do it any more the council has a duty of care and would have to pay.

“That would be a lot more money than this. They are being disrespectful to the army of carers who are their best resource, and are saving them a lot of money.”

A spokesman for Bucks County Council and the Bucks CCG, which provded the scheme, said: “The council and Buckinghamshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups are having to make some difficult decisions regarding the continuation of non-statutory services due to unprecedented financial pressures.

“Flexible Breaks for Carers were agreed jointly with the county council and health colleagues on an annual basis and were piloted from 2012. Last year the pilot was funded through the health and social care Better Care Fund.”

They added: “The availability of the grants and eligibility criteria were determined on an annual basis.”