POSSIBLE cuts to social services in Redbridge have been condemned by a woman who fought for care for her disabled brother.

Helen Coughlan questioned why adult social services always bears the brunt of such cuts from local authorities.

Her criticism comes as Redbridge Council is looking at options to save more than £4 million this year, with more than £1 million potentially being saved in the adult social services and health portfolio.

Mrs Coughlan managed to get her severely disabled brother, Matthew Brook, moved to a specialist disability clinic last summer.

Mr Brook, formerly of Roding Lane North, Woodford Bridge, is deaf and almost totally blind with deformed feet and a life-threatening skin condition.

His elderly mother was unable to care for him and, after his care package was cut in 2008, his family were forced to abandon him, leaving him in Ilford's King George Hospital.

Last year Mrs Coughlan, with help from the Guardian, managed to find her brother a new home at The Chase specialist disability clinic in Forest Gate.

Mrs Coughlan, of Roding Lane North, Woodford Bridge, feels the council needs to put more money into adult social services, not less.

She said: "I can't see how Redbridge Council can make more cuts without putting people's lives at risk.

"Why is it always adult social services that is hit and not children? Often adults have less back up than children who may have the care of parents up until the age of 18."

Out of all the areas where the council is proposing to reduce spending, adult social services is likely to be the hardest hit.

Figures councillors have looked at show £209,000 could be saved this year in staff reductions, £119,000 could be saved in a reduction in mental health accommodation and day care services, £213,000 could be saved through a reduction in service levels and a huge £505,000 could be saved through a reduction in the supplies and services budget - which covers reducing items including stationery, computer supplies, printing and catering.

Steve McIntosh, policy and public affairs officers for Carers UK, urged local authorities to think long and hard before making severe cuts to social services.

He said: "We know that around three quarters of carers have reached breaking point already and our fear is that carers will fall into ill health and not be able to cope without support.

"We would call for long term decisions, mature decisions to ensure that services are sustained as a priority, otherwise health organisations and the NHS will suffer as a consequence."

Ian Bond, deputy leader of Redbridge Council, said a meeting last week with fellow Lib Dem members of the council was "positive and productive".

He said there were "no strong disagreements" over which of the savings options he and his colleagues preferred but it would be "wrong to say a final position was reached" as wider consultation will start next month.

Mr Bond said Conservative group members had discussed the savings options and he and council leader Keith Prince outlined the options to Labour group members earlier this week.

Keith Prince, leader of Redbridge Council, said the social services budget is the biggest unprotected budget the council has.

He said education is the largest budget within the authority but majority of the money "comes in the door and goes straight out again".

He said: "It was always going to be one of the areas we would have to look at but a 10 per cent saving in adult social services amounts to about half of the entire leisure disposable income.

"Although leisure is not obviously life saving you could argue that it is in the long run and lots of people use our libraries, swimming pool and theatre, it affects far more people's lives.

"However, we have an absolute commitment to our frail and elderly and we give a high standard when it comes to care in the borough and we will continue to support our carers and social workers."