If you haven’t heard of the spartacus report by now, and you use social media, you would be a very odd person indeed.
The report was initiated and created by a group of disabled activists who decided to do something about the plans that were being put through by our Government to reduce support to disabled people, including reducing Disability Living Allowance.
The Spartacus Report was researched, funded and compiled by disabled people, by using the privilege that is freedom of information. For anyone who wants to oppose the changes, sign the petition online at HM Government to stop and review the benefits and services of disabled people and their families.
At the moment, with the planned review to services and benefits, as well as the swathing cuts to services of disabled and vunerable groups, it is leaving families uncertain and scared for what the future holds for them.
Have you ever been faced with the decision of buying food or heat for your children. I haven’t but I know a family who has. By necessity, the food must win, but how comforting is that if your children spend winter in freezing homes. And how about that choice if one or more in your family has a disability? How much harder is that to cope with on top of everything else.
Read this from Diary of a Benefits Scrounger if you want to see how much of a fight they have put up so far. This has been a big enough fight to make their disabilities even worse than they were before they started on their quest to show us the true picture.
DLA is not the out of work benefit that people who are signed off work, or out of work receive. It is the benefit that helps disabled people live a more normal life like the rest of us. Many are working and need help to work, or keep up outside activities. The extra cost to get to work could mean help from a carer, or not being able to use public transport alone.
Parents often use it to allow their children to use specialist clubs (if they can get a space) as the prices of those tend to be very much higher than schemes for parents of children who are not disabled.
The Government are considering slashing 20% from the DLA when they introduce the new PIP scheme. This is madness in itself to replace a benefit that gives access to real things that improve life for our most vulnerable in society.
The DLA allows for ease of understanding what someone is entitled to. If they receive higher rate mobility, then they are automatically entitled to things such as help with a car, a railcard, bus pass and many more to help get around.
Having DLA automatically lets other authorities, charities and more to know that someone has been assessed as needing additional support and more care.
The Government wants to get 20% of people OFF DLA to make savings. There is no-where that says those of us whose family members who receive any level of DLA don’t welcome a review of the system if it is done fairly and sensibly.
The problem with the new PIP method is that when it changes, it will be tantamount to leaving some of the most vulnerable people in our society without the added support they need to live even a basic satisfactory life. Haven’t we moved on from the “poor houses” of years gone by.
DLA is the least defrauded benefit that there is due to the difficulty in getting it already. Don’t mix this with employment support benefits. DLA is not means tested and the people who go to such elaborate lengths as to get this benefit fraudulently have to convince several teams of specialists as it is. Those who are willing to go to those lengths to get it in todays DLA market are going to go that extra mile to get it with PIP.
The only people who are going to lose out are the people who NEED it.
Yes, there are family members who use the blue badge system for family members fraudulently, and it irritates me to the bone, but I am sensible enough to see that those people are in the minority.
The new scheme seems to be vague, and seems to intimate that if things can “theoretically” be done, that they are ok. My son can “theoretically” cross the road on his own so he wouldn’t tick the box for it, but the fact that he can’t be trusted beside a road alone or he would get himself run down may not be counted. Perhaps I have misunderstood that and I am willing to be corrected, but it fills me with horror for disabled and mentally ill people if that is indeed the route that the assessments are going to go down.
How many will not be able to go to work without their motability schemes with their higher maintenance costs and modification needs to allow people with missing limbs and serious physical impairments to be able to use them to work? Some use their allowance to buy powerchairs. What will they do – sit unmoving in a push chair if their arms are not powerful enough to self propel their wheels?
The 20% of people whose benefit will be replaced won’t suddenly go away. Their needs will still be there and they will have no way to prove their disabilities to any organisations or charity that might be able to help them.
I have one child who used to be on higher rate DLA who was sadly moved to middle rate, and another child on lower rate. I fought for the lower rate for one child as it means that I have the power to negotiate some help at school, and from doctors as it has been proved by consultants and specialists that he has a real disability. If the lower rate is completely slashed, he has no document to prove that he has significantly higher needs than other people his own age.
Moving on to a tried and tested benefit would be more acceptable.
A benefit that had been trialled and found to be accurate and meets the needs of the most vulnerable we could cope with.
The problem is that the Government has seemed to lie about the figures and the percentages and the needs. They were found out due to the people behind the spartacus report and their movement gained legs and arms and wings in support. The defeat in the House of Lords was a crushing blow, but at least people have listened in the short-term, although how much they care is debatable.
Our people are already suffering enough. The disabled have taken large cuts in benefits at local level which are completely ignored. In my own local council in Aberdeen for education, the cuts to the special needs children’s support was done upfront to save the sensibilites and the outrage of the majority of parents who are in mainstream education.
The council closed a special nursery which we were told would not happen until they were ready to build a new school on the land. Raeden is closed and there seems to be no prospect on the horizon for the new school to be built as yet. Many disabled children are struggling in mainstream schools, or sitting at home, excluded due to a lack of suitable places in special schools.
Down at that level, we accepted that cuts were necessary, but that they needed to be in proportion and at the same timeframe levels as the mainstream population, but they weren’t. The special needs children’s education cuts for the 5 years were done upfront.
We were steam rollered over by ignorant council members then, and the Government are doing the same now. They leave the carers desperately trying to pick up the slack. Some manage, some don’t. Some disabled people have no back up to pick up the slack, they have nobody to help them fill in their forms.
Did nothing get learned from Castlebeck? Reduce the support, reduce the ability to have trained staff – and abuse begins.
The disabled are easy pickings. Cutting disabled services is popular with the wealthy sectors of society who think they are a drain on society and don’t think they should have to pay for them, or that attending a fancy ball a couple of times a year for high profile charities is enough to massage their do good egos.
Funnily enough, the country always has enough money to give to bankers and spend millions on wars, but never enough to spend on our own vulnerable sectors of society.
And as for Ed Milliband – I have no words. Where is the support from there nowadays?
The Pips won’t affect us until our children are 16 I am told (although I will not actually believe that until it happens). It doesn’t stop me seeing that for 20% of disabled people, this is going to be disasterous.
But then, nobody cares about the disabled in high society do they? Our people are seen as leeches on society.
I support the #spartacusreport
Iain Duncan Smith talking to Nick Robinson who asked about the people suffering already due to cuts to disability benefits and cuts replied ”But they’re not suffering.” IDS. Looking at the way he responded, it smacks of his lack of knowledge about exactly what level of cuts have been implemented across the country and what individual benefits actually do.
Kaliya from Benefit Scrounging Scum summed it all up beautifully when she said she thought that David Cameron’s Britain would not be one that turned its back on vulnerable adults for £135 million when it allows huge companies to owe £6 billion in unpaid taxes. I join Kaliya in being ashamed of my Government.