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Councils pay for disabled to visit prostitutes and lap-dancing clubs from £520m taxpayer fund

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Councils pay for disabled to visit prostitutes and lap-dancing clubs from £520m taxpayer fund

Post by sharonl on 20.08.10 23:55

Red light district: A man with learning disabilities will use taxpayers money to visit an Amsterdam prostitute
A 'man of 21 with learning disabilities has been granted taxpayers' money to fly to Amsterdam and have sex with a prostitute.

His social worker says sex is a 'human right' for the unnamed individual - described as a frustrated virgin.

His trip to a brothel in the Dutch capital's red light district next month is being funded through a £520million scheme introduced by the last government to empower those with disabilities.
They are given a personal budget and can choose what services this is spent on.

The man's social worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said his client was an 'angry, frustrated and anxious young man' who had a need for sex.

'He's planning to do more than just have his end away - he's having a holiday,' he said.

'He has been to two sexual health and sexual awareness courses and basically wants to try it.

'The girls in Amsterdam are far more protected than those on UK streets. Let him have some fun - I'd want to.

'Wouldn't you prefer that we can control this, guide him, educate him, support him to understand the process and ultimately end up satisfying his needs in a secure, licensed place where his happiness and growth as a person is the most important thing?
'Refusing to offer him this service would be a violation of his human rights.'

Paying for sex is not illegal but soliciting sexual services, kerb crawling and paying for sex with women who have been coerced into prostitution is.

The social worker added: 'Who says he can't do what he wants? We can't place restrictions on a young man who wants to experience the world.'
The trip emerged in data from Freedom of Information requests which revealed that many councils are using the money from the government's Putting People First scheme to pay for prostitutes, visits to lap dancing clubs and exotic holidays.

Sex holiday: The unnamed 21-year-old will enjoy a holiday in Amsterdam as well as visiting a prostitute
Another man who has a brain injury has even had sex work built into his council care package.

This is designed to teach him to become sexually 'self-reliant' after his wife left him and took all their money.

It has increased his confidence and restored his faith in women, care workers said.

Critics yesterday said the use of taxpayers' money to fund sex trips abroad as 'deeply worrying'.

In Greater Manchester and Norfolk, social care clients have used their payments for internet dating subscriptions.

In one year, a man from Norwich who suffers mental health problems received a holiday to Tunisia, a subscription to an internet dating site, driving lessons and expensive art materials.

This was on top of state benefits. He claimed he needed 'some time out, some rest and a change of scenery' after a mental breakdown.
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He also argued that a break in Tunisia with a friend was cheaper than a week in institutional care.

A survey by The Outsiders and TLC Trusts - groups which campaign for the sexual rights of people with disabilities - found most local authorities said they did not 'condone' transfer of their funds to pay for sex.

But of 121 councils who responded, 97 per cent said they had no offical policy on the topic.

Instead, they left decisions to the discretion of their social workers and junior managers.

Nevertheless, 53 per cent of the councils were said to have a strategy that 'explicitly empowered' disabled people to pursue their sexual aspirations.

Neil Coyle, director of policy at Disability Alliance, said most people with disabilities did not want or expect the state to pay for sexual services.

'Public bodies don't exist to find people sexual partners,' he said.

'When people go to councils for help, they are looking for essential services to maintain some level of dignified existence - help to dress and wash.'

Matthew Elliot, chief executive of The Taxpayers' Alliance, said: 'Many taxpayers will be appalled and offended that money intended for social care has been used in this way.

'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.'

But Liz Sayce, chief executive of disability network Radar, agreed with the social worker the desire for sexual relations was a matter of human rights.

Cases involving payments should be carefully examined on a 'case by case' basis, she added.

A Department of Health spokesman said: 'Money allocated through Putting People First should be be used by councils to help people to live independently.'

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"WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER" - Rebekah Brooks to David Cameron

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