Having a serious diagnosis doesn’t cut the mustard any more

Taken from the Guardian “At almost any other moment in the past 60 years, announcements of spending cuts of this scale would have created a storm,” says Institute for Fiscal Studies director, Paul Johnson . “The scale of cuts would have caused social unrest in any other era.” So why this eerie silence from the public? But social unrest doesn’t just consist of demonstrations and days of action. The millions of people affected by austerity know what’s happening: they have television and the internet. They know that this country hasn’t got any money and they are each busy fighting for their own security. Times are very, very hard as the Spending Review  made clear. Every one is struggling – whether it is housing costs or lack of jobs or the rising cost of living. And we are all in this together. Or are we? Somehow rich and wealthy people aren’t quite in this with every one else. And there is another group of people who are not in this together. People who are ill and disabled live in the community and are facing exactly the same difficulties as every one else. But when it comes to changing and adapting and fighting through these hard times disabled people are not in the same position. They have less options. We know that disabled people can be strong, courageous and fearless – it goes with battling for services, and experience at negotiating life every day with less options. But a lot of ill and disabled people do need support. Those of us who were born fit and became unwell or disabled know...

This is an unacceptable abuse of power

  The government are accused of taking money and services from disabled people and carers, without any attempt to measure the cumulative impact of what they are doing. They do not deny that this. Apparently they think their duty of care does not extend to knowing what they are doing to disabled people. Last night in the House of Lords there was a Motion of Regret moved by Lord Alton of Liverpool, with much discussion  following. That this House regrets that the Social Security (Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, laid before the House on 4 March, will result in the loss of Motability provision for many disabled people; and that this House considers that transitional arrangements should be put in place urgently. (SI 2013/389 In his closing remarks Lord Alton stated – House of Lords : 24 Jun 2013 : Hansard Column 599   I repeat what I said in our deliberations earlier this year. It is our duty to understand the impact of the decisions we make. The Minister has just said that we cannot reliably estimate the impact; we do not know. That is not a good position for us to be in. Decisions will affect the mobility and independence of people with disabilities. The noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, put it very well when she said that you turn a person from being independent to being dependent when you take such decisions The economic crisis shows no sign of coming to an end. The Government and the Opposition remain determined to carry on with Welfare Reform and cut the Welfare Budget....

Nightmare on Care Street

The theme for this week’s Carers Week – Prepared to Care? –  has made us think about the preparations that people take to care. Most people don’t think about it – we don’t think it will happen to us. Even armed with information and advice, sometimes we’re not as prepared to care as we think we are. We all know life is uncertain – but are we really ready for what life throws at us? Imagine you and your partner have been together a long time. You have made a home together, maybe brought up a couple of children. Now you are thinking towards retirement and putting some money aside for your old age. And then – wham bang – out of a clear blue sky – one of you gets a serious illness or injury. You aren’t high earners, but you have both worked all your lives and paid all those National Insurance Contributions. You have lost one income overnight. You are now learning you are a carer. This is your time to get support from the state. Right? No. Wrong. Your partner may be ill or disabled, but the government have tightened up the system. Your partner is put on Employment Support Allowance in the Work Related Activity Group and you think it will be OK. You are pleased to hear that he’ll be given support to find work that will fit with his disability. But then you both realise that if he doesn’t find work within a year, there will be no more money. ESA has changed from universal to means tested. Do you earn more than...

Edinburgh 5th June – Welfare conference

Scotland is devolved from the rest of the UK in all but 3  government departments. Welfare is one of those 3 so I was keen to attend this conference. Much has been written and discussed about the welfare cuts coming out of Westminster and very little is spoken in favour of any of them. I was apprehensive that this conference was going to be one of – well this is it – nothing we can do – so we all roll over in acceptance. How wrong I was. Far from accepting it there was a definite air of anger in that room. This was a conference about how welfare reforms were going to affect the people of Scotland and what we intended to do. The format for the day was 4 sessions with speakers from across Scotland, all experts in their own field, talking for around 10 minutes with questions from the 50 attending. With my escort Sue firmly attached to me , we all settled down for a long day. We opened with words from Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare. She was joined by David O’Neill, the President of Cosla (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) and Michael McMahon  MSP ( Chair  Welfare Reform Committee).  They spoke powerfully about the cuts in general which probably explains why i didn’t get a sensible answer to my question on ESA and disabled people. Must remember to tell my friend Mo Stewart that Unum was mentioned as being behind the Westminster plans. The speakers on disabled people and those with long term ill health followed after lunch.. Much was spoken...

Holyroods Welfare Reform Conference June 5th 2013

I shall be off to this conference, in Edinburgh tomorrow, with my many hats tucked into my handbag. They will make an appearance in no particular order – just depending on who is speaking on which topic. I am concerned however that the words by Margaret Burgess MSP could be an indication of how the day will run. The acceptance by the Scottish Government that these Welfare cuts, sorry reforms, are done and dusted, and we have to make the best of a bad job. For example Employment Support Allowance was designed on the back of an envelope by an ignorant man who knew nothing about welfare. Why do we have to accept this when a few simple changes could make it safe and supportive. There is a word in common use which has no place in my life. ‘Can’t.’ You can’t do this or that because …and there follows a whole stream of excuses. I’ll count them and let you know. Pat x http://welfarereform.holyrood.com/#.UawN4oSXwHY.email   In the meantime some of the actions you can take….. Sign WOW petition here Join discussion forum to cover the issues with Welfare Reform  ...