16/10/2013 12:03 BST | Updated 16/10/2013 12:34 BST

Down's Syndrome Man To Lobby Cameron After Budget Cuts Mean He Is Set For Eviction

David Cameron is set to be confronted by a family of a young disabled man set to be evicted from his home this December because of budget cuts that will end his 24-hour care.

James Sleight, 25, who has Down's Syndrome, has been happy and comfortable in a house, living for more than a year with a flatmate his own age and round-the-clock support.

Now Sleight has been served with an eviction notice, saying the council can no longer provide him with the care he needs.

james sleight

James Sleight, who has Down's Syndrome, is facing eviction

Sleight and the rest of his family are set to meet Cameron, his constituency MP, on Friday to raise his case.

His sister Alana Inness has set up a petition on calling on the council to reconsider, which has almost 55,000 signatures.

Inness told HuffPostUK that her brother "struggles to deal with change" and that the council's offer of giving him an emergency alarm to ring if he needs help, rather than have a support worker available 24/7, would put him in danger.


"James could learn how to use the call button if he was calm and happy. But in an emergency he would be likely to panic, and forget everything he'd been taught to do. If there was a fire or an accident James would not know how to cope. He needs the 24-hour support."

"We are concerned that in other housing found for James, he would be unhappy. He now has a flatmate his own age, and a friendship circle. He could be moved to live with people much older than him. We want to give him as normal a life as possible, and 25-year-olds don't normally live with 60-year-olds."

Cameron's office said in a statement that the Prime Minister was "grateful to Mr and Mrs Sleight for taking the time to get in touch with me.

"I am due to meet the family this week and following this I will be able to look more closely into James’ case and the issues raised.”

Inness said the family had tried to shield her brother from what was happening. "He understands something is wrong, but he doesn't know what. We have to introduce any change to him very carefully, we can't tell him that he will lose his home and we don't know where he will be going."

Inness said the family is overwhelmed ahead of meeting Cameron, but wants the Prime Minister to address the issue "as any constituency MP would".

"But I want to stress to him [Cameron], that James has a caring, devoted family and a great team of support workers at the council who are working hard to try and help him. But they don't make the budget decisions.

"We have to fight for the disabled people who do not have this support, who might have elderly parents who can't help them, and who could end up in accommodation totally unsuitable to their needs because of budget cuts," Inness said.

Oxfordshire County Council must make £61m of budget cuts over the next four years, having already made £127m in cuts since 2010

Inness' petition, addressed to John Jackson, director for Social and Community Services and Joanna Simons, chief executive of the council, reads: "We are not making progress for those people who in past generations would have been placed in institutions; their plight is still just as hidden as councils brush these changes under the carpet under the guise of “saving money while at the same time creating better outcomes for service users”.

"My brother is not a "service user"; he is a person who has a home that he loves and wants to stay in.

"James has not had a choice and has not been in control as to what happens to him."

A spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council said they could not comment on individual cases.

"The council liaises closely with clients, their families, care providers and landlords to agree placements for people with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire," he told HuffPost UK.

"Many people have personal budgets which are agreed with clients following assessments of need.

"These assessments are undertaken on a regular basis to ensure that people's needs are being met.

"When events occur due to circumstances outside the council's control then we seek to again work closely with all parties to achieve a positive outcome."