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Matthew Elliot, chief executive of The Taxpayers’ Alliance said it was “deeply worrying” that public money had been spent on the services of prostitutes, lapdancing clubs and to pay for holidays.He said: “Many taxpayers will be appalled and offended that money intended for social care has been used in this way.One local authority is using its budget to pay for the services of a prostitute in Amsterdam, while others have said visits to lap dancing clubs are permissible under new policies which transfer funds directly to those who receive care from social services.The £520 million scheme promised to give elderly people and those with disabilities more control over the care they received, by passing on cash so individuals could choose the services they needed, such as home help, or mobility aids.Several councils contacted by this newspaper said they did not know if they had ever funded visits by disabled people to sex workers.Stockton-on-Tees borough council said it did not think it had funded sex workers for clients.Belinda Schwer, a legal consultant who advises councils, said many local authorities agreed support plans for clients which did not specify how funds would be used, once they passed out of their hands."From what I have seen, at least one quarter of local authorities are doing support plans which only state what outcome should be achieved – not which services are being employed." In the case of someone given funds to go to a sex worker, such documents might set out an intended emotional outcome, rather than the means by which it was achieved, she suggested.
Given that councils have been drawing the most basic support from those who need it, I do not think this is the biggest concern of people with disabilities." Liz Sayce, chief executive of disability network Radar, said the desire for sexual relations was a matter of human rights, meaning cases involving payments should be carefully examined on a "case by case" basis.
What's more, it’s deeply worrying that this scheme has been so vulnerable to these abuses.
It’s essential that where public funds are involved, there are the sort of checks and balances in place that prevent money being wasted in this way”.
Another care worker said staff at her council had been told that trips to lap dancing clubs could be funded, if it could be argued that it would help the "mental and physical well being" of their client.
In response to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, four local authorities describe themselves as "condoning" the payment of sex workers by disabled clients, using money transferred from their budgets.