Warwickshire Tory councillors' face backlash over 'disgusting' comments about special needs children

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Tory councillors have come under fire over their remarks concerning children with special needs

Tory councillors are facing backlash from parents over their "disgusting" comments about children with special educational needs. The discussion at Warwickshire County Council was about the rising cost of council support in the area.

They said the increase could be due to "something in the water" and suggested considering "going back" to a time when "they were in institutions". Parents also faced accusations they were "swapping tips" on how to get their kids' diagnosed with special needs.

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Councillor Brian Hammersley said: “We have some eyewatering figures here to do with people and money. Does anyone know why this is increasing so rapidly, these figures, is it something in the water? Why are there so many people jumping out with these needs? Where were they in the past, when I was at school? I’d never heard of SEND."

Warwickshire Tory councillors are facing backlash from parents over their "disgusting" comments about children with special educational needs. Warwickshire Tory councillors are facing backlash from parents over their "disgusting" comments about children with special educational needs.
Warwickshire Tory councillors are facing backlash from parents over their "disgusting" comments about children with special educational needs.

One councillor said: “You may have found that if you were in school in the 1960s or 1970s that many of those children weren’t in schools. They were in institutions of different types at that time." Councillor Clare Golby said: “I’ve seen sites where families are swapping tips on how to get their children diagnosed." She added: “What comes down to parenting and what comes down to actually SEND issues?"

Councillor Jeff Morgan said: “I don’t want to be too Daily Mail on this, but I am yeah. Not automatically accepting the plea of a mother, saying that Little Willy has got ADHD, when in actual fact, Little Willy is just really badly behaved and needs some sort of strict correction."

Councillor Hammersley responded: “They must have had better ways of dealing with them at that time - let’s go back to some of those ways.”

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He added: “I don’t know what the fix is. I just look back at years gone by, those people were dealt with by whatever means, it was right at the time. Although we are obligated to supply this cover for the needs of these people. It appears to be a bottomless pit and a hole that we are throwing lots of money into. To stop this spend, fix the problem at source.”

One grandmother, 54, whose two grandsons have additional needs said she was "disgusted" by the comments made at the meeting. The retired bank customer service worker said her daughter called her in tears when she watched a video of the meeting.

Her 12-year-old grandson has autism while his six-year-old brother is awaiting assessment for suspected ADHD. The gran said: "I knew nothing about any of this until it impacted my family. My daughter sent me the video and she was that upset she called me in tears.

"I thought 'that's disgusting'. These people need to be not brought to justice, because there is no justice, but just told that that is not on. You do not sit there and say that SEND people should be institutionalised. Yes you have naughty children, but some of them aren't naughty. It's infuriated me and I am not usually that sort of person."

The council has been approached for comment. The authority said it had received a number of complaints which were being considered by the council's monitoring officer.

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