Cornwall Council loses court fight over man's care costs
Cornwall Council must pick up the care bill for an acutely disabled young man despite protests that he has never properly lived inside the county borders.
The issue of who should pay for the lifetime of care the 28-year-old will need was argued out before a High Court judge as lawyers for Cornwall challenged a Government ruling that it must bear financial responsibility.
Ranged alongside it were lawyers for Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire and Somerset councils, who have all had a hand in caring for the man – referred to in court only as P – over the years since his childhood.
P was described in court as a young man with "multiple complex disabilities – including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, and a significant visual impairment". He also has severe learning disabilities and no speech.
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He was accommodated by Wiltshire as a child, but then placed with foster parents in South Gloucestershire. But since his 18th birthday, he has been placed by Wiltshire Council at two residential homes in Somerset. Although still living in Somerset, the Department for Health decided that Cornwall should continue to fund his care because the county was his main "base".
His case reached court due to a lingering dispute between Cornwall and Wiltshire over which of them should continue to fund his care.
Although P has spent most of his life in accommodation arranged by Wiltshire, his parents and grandparents all live in Cornwall, and he has spent regular holidays and Christmases there over the years.
Dismissing Cornwall's challenge, Mr Justice Beatson concluded the Health Secretary's decision that "P had as his 'base' his parents' home at the date of his 18th birthday – and hence was ordinarily resident in Cornwall – was one that was properly open to him".