Transcript very kindly provided by DisabilityXpert.
Dear Prime Minister
Whilst I’m not a natural Conservative voter, when you became Prime Minister, as a disabled person, I was reassured by the personal knowledge and experience you have of disability that you would fight our corner and that you would protect us. Perhaps I was naive to believe you because after yesterdays Comprehensive Spending Review I feel more betrayed and saddened by your actions than I ever did by the cuts that a Labour government that I voted for, made to benefits and disabled people.
I’ve yet to look into the impact of the changes to Housing Benefit and Employment Support Allowance to see how they’ll affect me as an individual, at the moment, there are far more pressing matters. The removal of High Rate Mobility Allowance from those adults resident in care homes is a decision so callous and so shocking in its disregard for the importance and expense of independence to peoples’ lives that it leaves me lost for words, it’s also left me without sleep as I pondered how, how could Ivan’s father do this? I know you know. I know you know how hard it is, I know you know how great it can be, I know you know how much equipment costs and I know that you could afford it, and I also know that you know that most people can’t.
Living in a care home as an adult is a particular vulnerable and difficult position to be put in. We know that there is a shortage of social housing in this country, and we know that it’s a particular problem for adults with severe disabilities: there may not be appropriate properties in their area and therefore the local authorities may have no choice but to place them as residents in a care home to provide the kind of support packages that they need to live. To take away the small amount of independence that those adults have is astonishing. Adults living in care homes already only keep £20 a week of their benefits, their High Rate Care Allowance, and their Income Support or Incapacity Benefit is all handed over to pay for the cost of their care.
The High Rate Mobility Allowance however, is used in a variety of ways. People might use it to contribute towards the cost of power wheelchairs, which are far too expensive for the NHS to cover. They might use it to fund a wheelchair accessible vehicle; they might even travel to and from work in that. Or perhaps in some cases it will go to fund accessible taxis, or some homes will pool the money and use it to fund transport for days out, things that perhaps don’t seem important on paper, but when you’re an adult looking at four walls, all day every day, with no respite from that, such things are vital.
I believed you Mr Cameron. I believed you when you stood there and promised that you would always protect the most vulnerable in our society, and perhaps that’s why, nearly 24 hours on from the announcement, I’m still shocked, saddened and betrayed.
I won’t be affected by these changes, but I believe that the most important thing is to stand up for those who are more vulnerable than ourselves, I though you believed that too.
Your Big Society is a fantastic concept which builds upon those visions; visions for a Britain that’s different from today where people are more involved and engaged; a Britain that would not turn its back on adults for the price of £135million a year; a Britain that would not allow companies, such as Vodafone, to owe £6billion in unpaid taxes.
The most vulnerable are paying for this Mr Cameron, and I’m ashamed of you for it
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