DISABLED people will suffer if a council does not dip into its reserves to stop a care cost rise, a charity has argued.

Jon Abrams, a volunteer with One Place East, has urged Redbridge Council cabinet members to use 5 per cent of the £166million in reserve to avoid hiking maximum adult social care costs by £150.

Senior council figures say that they are in theory limited to drawing from £17m of the £166m if they are to draw from their reserves at all.

Adult social care users could face a maximum charge of £600 from April 1, 2018, up from £450.

The Labour-led council says it has no choice but to consider the increase because it needs to cut £14.1 million from the adult social care budget of £54.2 million by 2021/22.

Mr Abrams said: "The onus is on Redbridge Council as the consequences of the cuts and charges will be to push disabled people into deeper poverty.

“Disabled people and older people will be at increased risk of malnourishment especially if as a result of the cuts there’s no one to help them cook anymore or there will be more frail people left on the floor for hours after falling alone."

Mr Abrams voiced his concern for disabled people’s future quality of life at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, February 6.

He said: “Over the last few years, we have spoken to hundreds of disabled people who use our services. Life in Redbridge is increasingly unsure and going backwards if you are disabled. This will be exacerbated if the cuts in the budget are approved.”

Mark Santos, cabinet member for health and social care, said services had to change because of a lack of money and greater demand.

He said: “We have a huge challenge. We cannot continue doing services in the same way due to the budget challenge and increase in demand. We want to engage with people through the consultation.

“My understanding is the £166 million useable reserves is not the case and it’s closer to £17.9 million.”

A final decision on charges will be made at the next cabinet meeting on March 6.

Mr Abrams hopes that a large number of carers, disabled people and supporters of One Place East will attend the meeting.

One Place East is an Ilford-based charity advocating greater rights and better services for disabled people.