A message from David Griffiths:
It was a real pleasure to meet up with Pat and Rosemary and I am very grateful to them for coming to see me. Time flew and we could have talked all day! Times are already difficult and I am very concerned that the changes to Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independent Payment, and the introduction of Universal Credit, for example, will make the future even more difficult for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
In Scotland the situation is complicated by the fact that key areas (health, social care, transport and education as examples) are devolved and the policies are in some cases different from those at Westminster. For example, the Scottish Parliament now has to decide what to do about the large number of “passported” benefits – things like free school meals and blue badges that can be dependent on the receipt of certain benefits. When the rules on the benefits change who will be able to access the passported benefits?
It is tempting to see this all as a problem for politicians and perhaps professional campaigners. Although they must play their part, it is also essential that they hear the views and voices of the individuals who will be affected and who are genuinely worried and concerned about what is happening. Not just the individuals directly affected, but their carers, friends and families as well.
This is why Pat’s work is so important and why I was so pleased to meet her and discuss their ideas. Her enthusiasm and determination are tremendous, she also knows an enormous amount and she will, I feel sure, keep working on this important issue, which she knows from personal experience, is so important.
Good luck, Pat – and for everyone else – please help Pat here.