There is “widespread serious concern” among carers and people with disabilities over “bogus” council plans to overhaul short break services amid major budget cuts.

Over the past six months numerous consultations have been held on changes to the short breaks strategy, as cash-strapped Bucks County Council (BCC) attempts to slash around £500,000 from the budget.

However, chair of trustees at Buckinghamshire Disability Service (BuDS), Andrew Clark, says the council’s new draft short breaks strategy may be “illegal” as it “neglects the legitimate needs of unpaid carers”.

He also criticised the strategy for suggesting people with disabilities may be able to take a break without help from the council by using public facilities, such as leisure centres, cafes and cinemas.

He pointed out that some public places “are not accessible or welcoming to these disabled people” and called for BCC to investigate how mainstream leisure facilities can be made more accessible to people with disabilities.

Short breaks allow children and adults with disabilities to spend time away from home and develop independence either for the day or overnight, which in turn allows their primary carers to have a break from caring responsibilities.

Mr Clark said: “We completely recognise that cuts to central government funding mean that BCC has to look again at how it supports disabled people and carers.

“But it has to do so honestly, openly and in a way that respects its legal obligations.

“Most people would think it would be a shabby trick to play on seriously disabled people and their carers to offer them a break at places that the council know are not really open to them.”

Further concerns were raised over BCC’s failure to outline how severely disabled people will be able to get to short break facilities, as the cost of accessible transport is not provided.

Mr Clark added: “We feel it is wrong to offer seriously disabled people and their carers activities and breaks which they cannot even get to.

“BuDS calls on the council to do the obvious thing and include the cost of accessible, appropriate, transport within the financial package of support offered to help disabled people and carers access short breaks and activities in the community.”

Leader of the learning disability project at BuDS, Ann Hedges, added: “BuDS has been talking to carers, disabled people and organisations that support them, and we know that there is widespread serious concern about the council’s proposals.

“We fully recognise the financial pressure facing the council, but it cannot solve this by wishing away problems or proposing bogus ideas.”

Cabinet member for health and wellbeing at BCC, Lin Hazell, assured the charity that no decisions have been made on proposals, and all consultation responses will be considered before the final policy is decided.

She said: “No decision about the future of residential short breaks has yet been made. Draft proposals have been put forward for consideration and we will fully review all responses to the consultation before agreeing the final policy.”