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Councillor wades back into disabled costs row

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: May 13, 2013

By Toby Meyjes

Collin Brewer was re-elected in the council elections earlier this month

Collin Brewer was re-elected in the council elections earlier this month

Comments (10)

Collin Brewer, the Cornwall councillor who was re-elected despite saying some disabled children "should be put down", has likened the decision to that faced by farmers with deformed lambs.

Mr Brewer, who hung on to his Wadebridge East seat by just four votes at the Cornwall council elections, in a recent interview with the Disability News Service (DNS) also compared the cost of keeping ten public toilets open with the amount required to look after one disabled person.

Disability Cornwall, the charity to which the 69-year-old made his original comments in 2011, called the recent revelation "frightening". It claimed it showed that his original apology was prompted "not by any genuine regret, but ... by his own self-serving political ambitions".

In the interview, Mr Brewer said he had been approached by a farmer in his ward about his original comments, who made it clear he "didn't see a lot wrong with what I said, because it is something they do every day".

He said: "If they have a misshapen lamb, they get rid of it. They get rid of it. Bang.

"He's certainly got a point. We are just animals. He's obviously got a point… You can't have lambs running around with five legs and two heads."

When asked if he believed there was not much difference between putting down a lamb and a disabled child he added: "I think the cost has got to be evaluated. It is not something I would like to do but there is only so much in the bucket."

Mr Brewer is currently on sick leave from the council and pulled out of a meeting with protesters at a demonstration against him in Truro last Thursday.

He also said in the interview with DNS that he tried to "keep as far away from health in the council" as possible because he believed there was a good argument for killing some disabled children with high support needs in order to save money.

But he also revealed in the interview that more facilities for disabled people need to be built to save on the expense of out-of-area placements and praised the move away from the use of "massive institutions" for people with mental health conditions.

A spokesperson for Disability Cornwall said it was sadly no surprise that Mr Brewer's views were echoed by others.

"It's particularly frightening these views may be held by those who have the positions and power to make life and death decisions.

"It is a sad indictment of our so-called 'civilised' society that disabled children are increasingly discussed within a context of affordability, as if they were goods on a shelf that can be picked up and discarded at will, dependent upon what's in the public purse."

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10 comments

  • Doitdreckley  |  May 15 2013, 8:16PM

    Complete rubbish. As health science improves costs should and could come down. Taxes need to be focused on the right not the wrong things. If people have paid their national insurance they are entitled to help. In a civilised society the disabled should be cared for. Cornwall should have the resources or get the resources to do what is right. Rather than apologising for Brewer he would be better off putting his energy into getting fair funding for Cornwall.

  • DoUntoOthers  |  May 15 2013, 10:34AM

    I love the fact my last comment got down voted so much. I only raised a theoretical question not express a controversial opinion. As our facilities and abilities develop allowing better mobility and quality of life for people who suffer from disabilities, the cost will rise, it is inevitable. Are you ready for more tax ? Because the money has to come from somewhere. Let me clarify the question with exaggeration. It costs 50 BILLION pounds a DAY to support an unfortunate sole who suffers from a disability. To all the down voters of my last and this comment, are you ready for another £1000 a year in TAX ? I guess the down voters can't or are unwilling to grapple with difficult questions.

  • Doitdreckley  |  May 13 2013, 7:49PM

    People do not necessarily know if they are going to have a disabled child. Whether they know or not disability is expensive to support and beyond the affordability of most people. Disability can also happen to people: people like Brewer and some of the posters here. Brewer only one 25% of the vote. Hardly deomcratic. The NAZIs killed the disabled. These attitudes are deeply unpatriotic and disrespectful of those who gave their lives and fought against the biggest evil this country ever faced. Ignorant, foolish and shameful comments.

    |   6
  • lurchersrock  |  May 13 2013, 4:47PM

    Maybe (heaven forbid) the parents should pay for their own child? The simple fact is that Mr Brewer resigned and was voted back in. This is called a democracy. If you don't like it, then move to another country.

    |   -13
  • nickthompson  |  May 13 2013, 4:35PM

    BradleyJJS; As you are so well informed, perhaps you might inform us what method of doing away with disabled children did Brewer have in mind?

    |   1
  • BradleyJJS  |  May 13 2013, 1:26PM

    Oh dear nickthompson. Millions of years of evolution seemed to have passed you by, bang your chest a few times and return back into the sea as such comments are a disservice to those offended but acting like adults contributing to a debate rather than seeking abuse. Shame on you.

    |   2
  • nickthompson  |  May 13 2013, 1:13PM

    "Mr Brewer, who hung on to his Wadebridge East seat by just four votes at the Cornwall council elections".--------------------------The great pity is that it wasn't by his neck!

    |   2
  • DoUntoOthers  |  May 13 2013, 12:35PM

    I'm not defending Mr Brewer here let me say that now. I expect his comments were flippant, unwise and now taken slightly out of context. Let me pose a question though; If the needs of a disabled person were to cost 10 Million pounds per year, would the money be found from the council purse? As ugly as the question is, there has to be a break point.

    |   -10
  • wringer  |  May 13 2013, 10:52AM

    The airport costs over £3,000,000 a year in subsidies. How many toilets could be kept open for this. How many disabled and elderly could get the care and support they need. ask yourselves - how many other local authority airports are there in the UK. They cannot run at a profit ever and are unsustainable. This is £3 million every year and dwarfs the top salaries. get rid of it and spend the money on essential services not on "nice to have's". if we want green tourism then why are we encouraging the most unsustainable and environmentally costly form of transport ever - aircrafts. on so many levels it is a bonkers decision but will the new councillors have the guts to over turn it and spend the money somewhere else more wisely.

    |   4
  • josdave  |  May 13 2013, 10:42AM

    If this council did not waste so much money on pet projects and consultants there would not even be talk of closing public toilets or libraries having to rely on volunteers. Essential services should not suffer because of the incompetence of the few at the top who do what they want regardless of what we, who pay their wages, want.

    |   13

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