"Culture of fear" at Cornwall Council stops staff and public from raising concerns
A "culture of fear" is preventing both the public and staff at Cornwall Council from raising concerns over services for disabled people.
The Disability Cornwall group made the allegation in the wake of scandalous remarks made by councillors about disabled children.
Colin Brewer resigned from the council last Wednesday after it emerged he had said disabled children "should be put down".
Rumours emerged on the same day regarding similar comments by Neil Burden, the cabinet member for children's services. Cornwall Council initially denied all knowledge of Mr Burden's comments but on Friday it came clean with a statement apologising for comments including: "the problem is there are too many disabled chidren".
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Disability Cornwall said it had been inundated by comments from the public in response to the stories.
A spokesman for Disability Cornwall said: "The feedback we have received has unfortunately only confirmed our fears that pervasive and negative attitudes towards disabled adults, children and their families do not exist in isolation and are part of a culture that perceives disabled children and adults as a burden on Council budgets."
Both Disability Cornwall and the Parent Carer Council – which represents parents of disabled children – said negative attitudes could be "endemic" throughout the council.
Disability Cornwall said: "It has become increasingly clear that a culture of fear is preventing individuals from speaking up as they believe this could impact on them personally when it comes to accessing services.
"Representative organisations are also fearful of speaking up as so many are currently re-negotiating contracts for council funding and there are Council officers and members who are fearful for their own positions if they raise their heads above the parapet."