Sefton Central MP and Labour Action Team celebrate after plans t

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson with Sefton Consultation Group chairman Colin Hughes.

 

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson is celebrating after plans to axe the borough's only blind person's support officer were halted.

The Labour MP met with the leader of Sefton Consultation Group, which looks after the concerns of blind and visually impaired people in the borough, after it was announced that the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer for Sefton had fallen victim to Lib Dem-Tory cuts.

Bill immediately contacted Sefton Council calling for the decision to be reversed.

The council has now confirmed that the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer will remain, provided by blind and partially sighted people's support group Bradbury Fields.

Sefton Consultation Group chairman, Colin Hughes said he was absolutely delighted that the post had been safeguarded.

Colin said: "We are just over the moon by this fantastic news. This came completely by surprise.

"Before we contacted Bill Esterson and the team about this, the decision had been signed and sealed. Even last week we had a meeting in which we were talking about what provision there would be once the officer had gone.

"We were not consulted about this at any stage and only discovered that the Eye Clinic Liaison officer was to go after the decision had been made. So we simply didn't expect there to be any hope of a u-turn.

"But thanks to the help of Bill Esterson and the Labour Action Team the pressure was put on which meant that they did have to think again.

"Everyone on Sefton Consultation Group is just delighted."

The Eye Clinic Liaison Officer is the first point of contact for people who are diagnosed as visually impaired. The officer gives advice and also works with the rehabilitation officers.

Bill Esterson said he was delighted that the officer post had received a reprieve from the Lib Dem-Tory axe.

Bill said: "Sefton Consultation Group has been a constant source of support and expertise on the issue of blindness and visual impairment in the borough for over 20 years. Considering that Sefton Consultation Group works with Sefton Council, it baffles me why the first Colin and his colleagues heard of this cut was after the announcement had been made.

"But the group's argument clearly prevailed and the Lib Dems and Tories have been halted in their tracks. They are far too eager to carry out their parties' bidding by targeting the most vulnerable without considering the implications.

"I am delighted that common sense prevailed and the arguments were listened too and the post has been secured for at least another year."

Colin said this was a victory for people power.

He added: "This decision had been decided, but because we worked with Bill Esterson and the team to put pressure on they realised they had made a mistake.

"It just proves that things can be done if you stand up, have your say and make your case - you can make an impact."