What do you want for disabled people from this Election ?
If you had 10 things to come out of this election, what would they be?
Simon Stevens, writing for "Disability United" asks a really interesting question of our politicians as electioneering gets under way in this snap 2017 election. It is as he suggests, a slightly unconventional list but an interesting one nevertheless. My feeling is that actually it's more a Starter-for-ten" than a finite list and being honest there are a couple of big ticket items to consider that will matter a lot to most disabled people and their families.
But it's hard to argue that we badly need a better focus on Personal Health Care budget reform, or that improving access to communication aids isn't important. Nor can you really debate that when often severely disabled individuals enter hospital and have PA's in place, it would be hugely advantageous to allow them more access to support the personal care of their employee when Ward staff are under so much pressure ? Funding for drop kerbs is something I have personally argued is an obvious enabler that stops the environment being the disabling factor in many people's lives. Plus yes we can do better to resource wheelchair services and also provide much needed funding for the Changing Places campaign.
All reasonable, all genuinely life changing and things that a decent caring fair society would surely find hard to argue against ?
However, this years election has to be about some critical attitudinal changes from Government. We are living through a time when disabled people are on the receiving end of huge funding cutbacks, Draconian application of policy sees Motability cars ripped from disabled people who we know are not cheats or criminals, and then we hear of examples like the individual losing their car, and to save their job, having to apply for "access to work" support and ending up with taxis to work, costing £50,000 a year instead of less than £10k pa support via Motability. But note, the person concerned just wanted to keep working, paying tax and NI and contributing to their local community. Political dogma apart it makes no sense, no sense at all, and an end to the PIP nightmare has to be the big ask for many disabled people right now.
Similarly, can't we bring some sanity to the whole bedroom tax debacle and simply set about ending what feels like a policy of sound byte communications that feed right wing media and create hatred and hostility towards disabled people who for the most part work hard, pay taxes and are an integral part of communities everywhere. Is it too much to ask to explain that people on a benefit were not responsible for the crash of 2008 and disabled people receiving any form of LA or a Government support are not scroungers ?
It's an interesting read this piece on Disability United. Give it a read and tell me what you think.
About the author
Trustee at WDP and Social Media Kead, views my own
9th May 2017
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