Friday, 14 January 2011
Kaliya Franklin in the Guardian writes to draw attention to the proposed cut to the Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance for people living in care homes.
So, what if you are not disabled, you don't know anyone disabled, you will never be disabled, disability does not cross you path, your day, your life. The cuts are beginning to hit you so you think they should be fairly distributed to all, including the disabled; you think cuts to disability living allowance is only fair.
You are not alone. The Prime Minister thinks like you.
Yesterday in Parliament during PMQ - Prime Minister's Question Time - when he is questioned by other Parliamentarians - your MP and mine - on policy decisions or other things that go wrong - he made the telling comment on WHY the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance is going to be stopped YES STOPPED, REMOVED, DISALLOWED, to people living in care homes. He said (not verbatim) that as people in hospital don't get the mobility component of Disabled LIVING Allowance, it is right that people in care homes will be brought into line with that, and NO LONGER get the mobility component of Disability LIVING Allowance.
Beyond belief. That it has come to this.
It is such a huge infringement on human rights, that I can only think that all others who have NOT protested (be they MPs, or everyday workers, mums, brothers, friends, colleagues) must surely think, like the Prime Minister and all the civil servants who prepared his policy and his PMQ answers, that people in care homes are being looked after so why do they need the money.
Well, obviously it is not obvious to them, but it is to me, as I am disabled and my understanding is:
That people in hospital are patients, and are there because they are ill and, hopefully, being treated for that illness. Over simplification, not covering all circumstances, I know.
That people in care homes are there because they need daily care, beyond what can be provided safely or economically, in their own home. They do have a life beyond the care home. They are not inpatients, they are residents. In order to live that life, they need the mobility component of DLA - in order to get out and live their life as they wish to live it, within the restrictions inherent in their impairment, but NOT restricted, not dis-abled from social inclusion by lack of money to pay for the means of getting out ... the accessible taxi, the wheelchair accessible vehicle, whatever they need and need to pay for - with the mobility component of their DLA.
I have a tiny glimmer of hope - THE LAW - HUMAN RIGHTS - the legal right, the right in law, to a socially inclusive life.
Hopefully the legal eagles will swoop down on this. Other MPs will speak out. IMPORTANTLY - YOU will read this and do something to support the right of people in care homes to have a life outside of that circumstance of their daily living. You will click on this LINK and respond.
If this prejudiced ignorant change in policy is over-turned then the right to go for a 'walk' on the beach, in the rain, will still be possible - thanks to the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance !
Brian Rix, President of Mencap, House of Lords, writes in Saturday 15 January Guardian letters:
" I was shocked when it was announced that the disability living allowance mobility component is to be removed from those in residential care. ...
... My co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on learning disability, Tom Clarke MP, led the "impassioned debate in Westminster Hall before Christmas [in which] MPs from all parties spoke of constituents who were terrified of being robbed of their freedom".
Despite the overwhelming evidence of the general disquiet at this malign proposal, the prime minister - during this week's prime minister's questions - appeared totally ignorant of the true situation. Answering Tom Greatrex MP, he said: "Disability allowance is an important issue and our intention is very clear; there should be a similar approach for people who are in hospital and for people who are in residential care homes. This is what we intend to do, and I will make sure it happens."
But do they not recognise [writes Brian Rix] that when you are in hospital you are ill and extremely unlikely to be allowed out to go shopping, for example ? ... Even those with profound and multiple disabilities want to have their freedom, but they are not ill they are disabled. The government may argue that their health needs are a problem, but they are not confined to their beds in an NHS hospital. They are free souls who wish to live their lives like others. To those who claim "we are all in this together", I would suggest this is being economical with the actualite."