Posts Tagged ‘carers’

Pat goes to Carers Parliament – Scotland this time

Monday, September 9th, 2013

The first Carers Parliament took place at Holyrood in October last year.

Carers Parliament 1

Places were limited for those wishing to be included so a ballot was held. Carers from each of the constituencies were invited to put their names forward and then were drawn by the steering group. I was unfortunate in that ballot, but, undeterred, I tried again this year.

A phone call from Rhonda Fitzpatrick, Carers Scotland, told me I had been successful. I was delighted!

This years theme is to be ‘Carers Rights’. After presentations and Q&A in the Scottish parliament during the morning, there will be workshops. Delegates will come from all over Scotland with their views, stories and ideas.

In these times of financial hardship and cutting back to the bare bones for any social care, the role of carers is becoming ever harder.

At Pat’s Petition, our message has always been for a cumulative impact assessment of the changes on all disabled people, their carers and families. This is something I look forward to raising at this years Carers’ Parliament.


Report from Maz’s blog after she attended last years event


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

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

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 the difference. That doesn’t mean we’ve given up the fight to show our abilities. We just want recognition that it’s ok to expect that society will support those members that need support – and that could be any of us at some point. We expect the right to safe state support.


Freud and Purnell and Iain Duncan Smith have out played us by redefining what a disabled person is – just having a serious diagnosis doesn’t cut the mustard any more – not if you can pick up a piece of paper from the floor.

They have eliminated the concept of disabled people which was a perfectly well understood concept. If we, or ours, get sick we go round to the doctor and ask for a diagnosis, not whether they can pick up a piece of paper. This concept has now disappeared in favour of images of cheats, Stephen Hawkins, Paralympians, and disabled people going off to work. This totally ignores the challenges of finding employers who can be flexible to the needs of disabled people, or that regular employment may itself cause relapses, or that people are unable to pick up that piece of paper from the floor.

Our mission at Pat’s Petition is just the same – we need to get the message out about what they are doing to disabled people and carers – past the image of the cheating football referee or the capable Paralympians.

wow-splash So keep fighting with us for disabled people – sign WOW  petition.

Send us your suggestions for getting this message across to the public.


You can read about Pat’s Petition at



This is an unacceptable abuse of power

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

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.

They haven’t predicted or measured the damage that they are inflicting on disabled people and carers. It is one big unquantified social experiment on vulnerable people who have nowhere else to turn. So we have no choice. We have to carry on fighting and asking the government to measure what it is doing.

The WOW petition is following on from Pat’s Petition and after that – we will do whatever it takes.


The government cannot carry on

taking from people

who have so little,

Government are refusing to take responsibility

and record what they are doing.

This is an unacceptable abuse of power



Nightmare on Care Street

Monday, June 10th, 2013

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 £7000 a year?

Have you saved more than £16,000 for retirement?

Sorry – you won’t qualify for ESA any more.

And the Disability Living Allowance you might have received to help you meet the costs of disability, including a taxi to work or equipment to help you access the internet, has changed to Personal Independence Payment. But PIP has been tightened up and he might not qualify for that any more. Without that you won’t get Carers Allowance.

So you start to worry about what life will be like after a year in the WRAG group. He has no disability benefits. You don’t receive carers allowance. You both start to feel depressed and anxious about what lies ahead. Can you carry on working when you can’t concentrate with the worry? What if his support needs start to increase and he needs more care?

Is this really the sort of welfare system you paid in to? Is this what you expected to happen when you needed it?

safety netLife is uncertain. But we used to be able to trust the government to help us at these times of crisis. Not any more. So remember if the time ever comes when you step up and say you are prepared to be a carer – you may be on your own. Iain Duncan Smith has taken away your parachute and your life jacket.

The safety net you thought would be there has been stripped away.


Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union Welfare Statement

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

The ideology of cuts affecting the most vulnerable people in our society is totally out of character for a nation that traditionally prides itself on bringing support to those in crisis. Over the years, the UK has led the way in terms of people and organisations who have gone way beyond the call of duty in terms of supporting others and treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve. This is a country that after years of struggle, made health, education and general wellbeing a basic human right.

This coalition government has taken the decision to fly in the face of these hard fought traditions and has instead, become hell bent on passing the responsibility and burden of the national debt onto those who can least afford it. As a result of this policy, we now see people struggling to make ends meet, forced into the ever-willing arms of  payday loan companies who, on the face of it appear to be offering help and financial security. The reality is that they push people into further poverty and desperation.

The introduction of the benefit freeze and the accompanying diatribes spewed by government ministers was designed to (more…)

St Helens Mental Health Forum supporting statement

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

To all at Pat’s Petition

Several years ago, our groups took our concerns over welfare reform to our Local Implementation Team meeting. Our main worry was that the move to support in primary care implied that we would no longer receive support for claims for disability benefits through letters from psychiatrists and care coordinators. At the time, this felt disastrous, and we anticipated a local solution. We were told to take up our worries directly with the DWP.

Since then, we have become increasingly alarmed by the redesign of the NHS, welfare reform, slashes to local authority budgets, loss of legal aid, and other changes, all at the same time as unprecedented economic austerity which has had an impact on local voluntary sector services. This is all too much at the same time, and is surely a disaster waiting to happen.

We have (more…)

Supporting statement from CarersTrust

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013


Moira Fraser, Director of Policy at Carers Trust:

“Carers Trust is gravely concerned about the impact welfare benefit cuts will have on carers and their families. Despite assurances, disabled people and carers have not been protected from the Government cuts and instead are taking more than a fair share. Carers are seeing their cost of living rise alongside, for some carers, a cap on benefits and cuts to family income arising from changes to Disability Living Allowance. Together, these changes will have a disastrous impact on carers across the UK. 

The Government needs to publish a full analysis the impact and legacy of these cuts will have on carers and disabled people.”

Frankly Lord Freud, your Party don’t give a damn

Friday, January 18th, 2013


Yesterday was a busy day for most campaigners. Here at PP it was no different.

From WCA debates, evidence sessions relating to Draft Care and Support Bill, release of 2 reports, one from an alliance of groups, and one from The Centre for Welfare Reform. see notes below

dont give a damn

However, in this post we would like to share details of another debate that took place in the House of Lords, a motion presented by Baroness Hollis about the impact on families of changes to tax and benefits . You can see transcript here and also Impact on families  PDF here.

This was a quiet debate but contributors spoke with such feeling and passion as they stressed how cuts were disproportionately hitting poor families, working families, children, disabled people, and also carers.

One exchange with Lord Freud needs special reference though.  (We have highlighted it below but please read his full response on the Hansard link above)

Lord Freud

The noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, raised a question about cumulative impacts, and I was fascinated by her sums on this. However, I need to point out that this Government publish impacts of benefit and tax changes alongside each Budget and Autumn Statement. That is something that previous Governments did not do.


Baroness Hollis of Heigham:


Is the Minister acknowledging that the Government have not published a cumulative analysis of the cuts, benefits and tax changes since 2010? If he is so doing, which I think is what he has said, it is still done slice by slice. Can we hope that he will do so-will he give a commitment to do so in future?


Lord Freud: My Lords, it is bluntly impossible to do a total cumulative assessment. I have looked at doing it, and you do not know what to put in and what to leave out. No one has done it in the past; it is not possible. Doing it year by year, as we do, is the best we can do-and it gives a fair view of what happens in a particular year.


In her closing speech Baroness Hollis replied –


The noble Lord, Lord Freud, referred to cumulative assessment. With the help of Citizens Advice and Landman Economics, we were able to work out pretty precisely-to within 10p or so-the total cumulative effect, since 2010, of the benefit cuts and tax changes. I did it for one family type-the security guard with a wife and two children. If we can do it over a weekend with wet towels and half a bottle of gin, I am quite sure that the Government can do it with the numbers of staff that they have in the Treasury. The answer is that the Government are not choosing to do it. They do not want to be shamed by us and others as to the effect of what they have done over time. There cannot be any other reason why the noble Lord, of all people, who has the utmost respect from the House for his integrity on these issues, and the Government continue to duck the consequences of their action by giving us the cumulative statistics today.


We applaud Baroness Hollis for securing this debate, and pressing the need for a Cumulative Impact Assessment.  As for Lord Freud, we have a message for him.

Saying something is “bluntly impossible”  is –


For the health, wellbeing and safety of people in this country, it is vital a full cumulative impact assessment is carried out.

                        We ask as many people/groups join with us

and demand the Coalition government 

make a committment to this.


Many people/groups reading this have been with us from the beginning, others join in daily as awareness grows, of these callous policies from the Coalition government and the impact they will have on many families.

YOUR help is needed again.


Contact your MP, details here.

Write and ask them to press David Cameron for a full Cumulative Impact Assessment to be undertaken,  of how ALL these changes, at the same time, are wrong.

Contact Lord Freud – tell him how you are being affected by the changes to benefits and services.


and all at PP




Work Capability Assessment  –  Hansard transcript here

watch live here    frwd to 2 hrs 18 mins

The Centre for Welfare reform -         A Fair Society report

Draft care and Support Bill    Wednesday Jan 16th watch here

Thurs  Jan 17th   watch here

The Other Care Crisis –                    full report here


The Prime Minister understands disability for the rich – but not for the poor

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Mr Cameron in his conference speech claimed to understand disability from his own family experience. He cried at the point in his speech where he mentioned his disabled son Ivan who died. It was very moving. He also made a big point about his disabled father.

So the question is – does David Cameron understand about disability from his own family experience as he claims.?

And the answer is – he has experience of disability in the family as a rich person.

But he understands nothing about disability if you have nothing and are up against the state – as your only source of income.

Absolutely nothing.


Disability References In David Cameron’s #cpc12 Speech

Call Time on This Wretched Government and Its Assault on the Disabled – Andy Worthington

What 26k  Feb 2012

 George Osborne seals deal for £10bn welfare cuts


Please sign the petition here, check for activation email, and then share asking others to do the same.

The onslaught continues – sign Pat’s Petition

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Sign Pat’s petition here.  

Conservative conference is underway and by the hour we are hearing statements and interviews from government ministers regarding welfare reform and cuts. See links below

 It is even more vital now that we have all these issues debated in parliament.

Will Pat’s Petition achieve 100,000 by Nov 1st? We believe it will if we all push it forward as wide as possible.

The petition has reached over 50,000 signatures – quite incredible for this small group of unfunded friends with no large organisations behind them. But we need to reach 100,000 by the deadline at the end of the month.

As Pat says –  “That can sound quite daunting, but other petitions have done it. Anne Williams last year got 40,000 signatures on the very last day for her petition about her son Kevin who died at Hillsborough. Richard Branson had his support within a week. And the cuddly badgers achieved their target in weeks. If only people would support disabled people in the same way.”


link to Youtube video, click here –       Pat’s Petition


The group are asking people to be quick about taking actions:

Sign the petition at

Check junk boxes for activation emails.

Share the petition link by e-newsletters, facebook, twitter – get to places where people are already online

Add to blogs, write letters to media and your MP

If you are attending A Future that Works Oct 20th march ensure the petition details are shared with fellow marchers

Grassroots groups have been extremely supportive and we ask you to give this a final push.

Campaign teams from charities to come on board and raise awareness to your memberships. Time is running out so you need do this quickly.





1. David Cameron on Andrew Marr show

Q: Nick Clegg said there would be more austerity after 2015. Was he right?

Yes, says Cameron. The cuts will have to be decided before the election. The government will have to look at things like welfare

2. Iain Duncan Smith Guardian 19.26 pm

“This quote is from 19:26 Sunday –

“A delegate asks Duncan Smith if he could cut more from the welfare budget, saying that would be very popular with the public.

IDS says he’s cut more than any other secretary of state – £18bn – but these are “difficult” times.

Once he has reformed welfare, everyone will be able to recognise that those who are on benefits are genuine claimants, he says, and not scroungers.”

3. George Osborne plans to cut another £10bn from welfare budget