Four severely disabled adults have begun a legal battle against Birmingham City Council in an attempt to overthrow a £53 million cuts package.

Families representing the four began a High Court application for judicial review, claiming that a decision to limit social services help to people whose needs are critical was unlawful and did not take proper account of equalities legislation.

Barrister Ian Wise, appearing for the families, said the council failed to consult properly about the impact of the cuts and a decision to go ahead contravened the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act.

About 11,000 adults in Birmingham will have the care they receive reviewed as a result of the cuts, and 4,000 are likely to be told they can no longer receive council-funded social services and must rely on the voluntary sector instead.

One of the four claimants is a 65-year-old woman with learning disabilities and mental health needs living in residential care who needs constant support with everyday needs, is aggressive and in danger of choking when eating, Mr Wise said.

The three others all live at home with their parents, but rely on the city council for day care.

All have severe learning disabilities and are unable to undertake simple tasks without constant supervision.

Mr Wise said the four had a mixture of needs assessed by social services to be critical and substantial. There were fears that if care packages currently offered to the four were cut back, responsibility for looking after them would fall on to the parents and family members who would not be able to cope.

He said a House of Lords judgment made it clear that councils must help vulnerable people whose needs have been assessed as meeting the criteria laid down.

“Once need is identified and falls into the eligibility band, the lack of resources is not a reason for not providing support,” he added.

Mr Wise said the council’s own social care transformation programme promised citizens “independence and dignity”.

The case is proceeding.