Support for blind people is falling
- 10 Sep
The Royal National Institute of Blind People have said there has been a 43% drop in the number of blind and partially sighted people receiving support from councils.
As well as figures falling from 55,875 people to 31,740 since 2005, the charity fears that in ten years' time, not a single blind or partially sighted person will receive any support from their council if things carry on the way they are.
As well as a drop in care, the RNIB research also found that a growing number of local authorities have restricted access to rehabilitation or only offer six week courses. The RNIB believe that longer is needed for blind people to gain the new skills that are needed for them to remain independent.
The data collected included people of all ages as much of the attention of the issue is usually associated with struggles facing elderly people.
Chief executive Lesley-Anne Alexander said: "Not only does sight loss have a massive emotional impact, but it also means having to re-learn almost every aspect of your life.
"Being left alone to cope with sight loss is wholly unacceptable. No matter how tight the budgets of government are, this is essential support which must be provided. The government needs to act now."
The BBC reports that a spokesman for the Local Government Association says that "Councils would love to be able to provide the same level of support they did in 2005 but a 43% cut to local government funding means that simply is not possible.
"Councils are having to take incredibly difficult decisions on how they prioritise their budgets and unfortunately a tightening of eligibility criteria has been unavoidable across all care services, including those for the visually impaired.
"Councils continue to provide on-going support to the people who would have the toughest time coping without help."
Whilst care and support for all adults has declined by 30% for all adults with a physical disability since 2008, people with sight loss have been worse affected.
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/907271
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