Brent family set to have their support for their disabled child removed by the Government

A Brent family are set to lose support for their disabled child after receiving a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions stating that their daughter no longer meets the criteria for Disability Living Allowance.

rnoh statement

A letter from their Specialist NHS Consultant confirms that the child has a neuromuscular problem which leaves her unable to open her hands from a closed position. Her condition has not improved and will not get better in the future. To be told that she is no longer disabled enough for support is an absolute insult to the family who strive day in day out to support their daughter on top of their full time jobs.

The family, of Gujarat origin, have come to me for support and given me full permission to highlight their case and show how cold the Government’s policies are and how people who should be getting support are being crushed. They personally wanted it highlighted how this Government was treating disabled people and in particular with this circumstance, cutting support for their disabled child.

I am supporting them through tribunal now with Citizens Advice but if unsuccessful, their entitlement will be completely stopped at the end of this year. The way that we treat disabled people as a society needs to change completely. The policies of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats between 2010 and now has caused and is causing real hardship to families that deserve better treatment.

My 2013/14 Budget speech at Full Council

I didn’t really plan a speech but contributions from the Tories and Lib Dems got me inspired to stand up at the Budget setting meeting on Monday. Here is what I said;

“in 2013, the horizon is very different for disabled people.

Cllr Kansagra [Leader of the Brent Conservative Party] said in his speech that vulnerable people are protected in changes made by Government….. but that’s as true as a Lib Dem Focus leaflet I received a couple of weeks ago that said that David Clues was my ‘local’ Councillor when he’s living in Brighton.

What about Disability Living Allowance, where by the Government’s own admission, 200,000 will lose out on their disability benefits?

By the Government’s own admission, thousands will lose out on Carer’s Allowance because of the way that benefits interact with eachother.

This Budget supports carers with the introduction of a new Carer’s Hub. Mr Mayor, there are 23,000 Carers in Brent. People providing care to their loved ones in ways that we cannot even imagine. We will create a single access point for carers in Brent.

What about Employment Support Allowance? Disabled people who have worked all their lives and find themselves in adversity will have their benefits slashed if they have not found a job in 12 months

And what about the Bedroom Tax? Couples where one individual has to sleep in a hospital bed and the couple cannot share a room will be penalised for having an “extra” bedroom.

This Budget continues to offer hope and support to the Voluntary Sector – to the Brent CAB, who will often be the first point of call for Brent people affected by these changes.

Mr Mayor, Labour is the Party that offers hope to people in Brent at a time when examples are taken out of context and are out of the norm and are being used to soften the public mood for benefit changes that are damaging the lives of disabled people.

Mr Mayor, given the Lib Dem and Tory record in Government, I dread to think what they would do to services valued by the most vulnerable if god forbid the Lib Dems & Tories had control at this Town Hall again – and it’s with this I end my statement and support this Budget and it’s amendments.”

Government cuts support to Carers

One of the lesser emphasized changes with disability benefits is the issue of passporting and the way that benefits interact with each other.

I was gutted after seeing this document – LINK

CA PIP document

By the Government’s own estimations, they will cut financial support to thousands of carers across the country in the transition from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Ex-caregiver and striking wharfie joins striki...
Ex-caregiver and striking wharfie joins striking caregivers (Photo credit: Simon Oosterman)

In Brent, we have increased support to carers and work is underway to introduce a Carers Hub which will act as a single point of access for Carer support. The contract has been awarded to the Brent Carers Centre – LINK

In addition, at Monday night’s Executive, our Labour run Council decided to go against guidance issued by the Department of Health which permitted Councils to take Carer’s income into account when charging for care services.

Holes in the safety net: The impact of Universal Credit on disabled people and their families

Towards the latter end of 2012, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson launched an inquiry looking into the introduction of Universal Credit as part of the Government’s wider welfare reforms. The graph below shows the devastating impact that their reforms will have on families with disabled children.

Universal Credit impact on families with disabled children

The graph above relates to the Universal Credit proposals, which will cut the level of support in half of the disability element of child tax credit. At present, families with a disabled child in receipt of some level of Disability Living Allowance may be entitled to this support. The report highlights that under the Government’s own estimates, this change will affect around 100,000 disabled children.

You can read the full inquiry document here – LINK

At the same time, this Tory Liberal Government is cutting taxes for the wealthy. We are clearly not all in this together.

Interesting Articles

I do tend to tweet a lot (follow @Krupesh4Brent!). Now and again, I retweet interesting articles I’ve read on the web. Here are the last 10 [politically relevant] articles I have linked;

  • Cuts will bleed Council reserves dry in 5 years says Senior Tory – LINK – Brent has traditionally had low levels of reserves. That it is why it is financially important that in an era of increased risks to Brent Council, we keep sufficient reserves to cover those risks.
  • Disability rights groups protest at DWP against Paralympics sponsor Atos – LINK – Atos is a French IT company that carry out Work Capability Assessments with disabled people. Unfortunately, the Labour Party is not innocent in all of this as we did as award the original contract to Atos, but pressure to attack benefits from the current Government has exacerbated things. The Coalition has gone even further by naming Atos as a main contractor for carrying assessments for disabled people’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP) entitlement. PIP is the benefit that will replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
  • Mark Ferguson on LabourList on a Lab / Lib Coalition being a non-starter – LINK
  • Save Central Middlesex Hospital’s A&E – LINK – The Brent Labour Party has provided campaign materials for people to join in on the campaign against the current proposal that will permanently close the A&E Department serving the most deprived part of the Borough.
  • Fleet Street Fox’s article on tax and cuts to disabled people – LINK
  • Lib Dem Peer says their Party should consider disposing Nick Clegg – LINK
  • Mark Steel on Atos – LINK
  • Retiring Andrew Strauss may bat for the Conservatives at the next election – LINK – after quitting cricket for good, the ex-England captain is being touted as a future Tory MP.
  • Welsh health survey: One in three take no exercise – LINK – This is an article related to Wales, but it is a trend I am very worried about. The positive effects of regular physical exercise are well documented.
  • Caught Yellow Handed – LINK – I was reminded last week about this document highlighting Lib Dem Hypocrisy through their actions in Parliament and their leaflets and campaign work in their constituencies. Brent Central Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather has a starring role.
ATOS PROTEST BY ECAP
ATOS PROTEST BY ECAP (Photo credit: Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty)

Looking Down Under

English: Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gil...
English: Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard at a Q & A Session in Rooty Hill, New South Wales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has sparked celebrations filled with jubilation and also tearful emotion among disabled people, their carers and charities that help disabled people.

The Australian Labour Government has championed this progressive move in care provision for disabled people. Two federal states have caved in to the Prime Minister’s demands to provide additional funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

In stark contrast, our Tory Liberal Government has stalled care reforms and is using “scrounger” rhetoric to justify cutting benefits to disabled people.

The national disability charity Scope have recently reported that almost half of disabled people feel that attitudes towards them have worsened in the last year.

“For Scope it’s impossible to ignore that the results comes as Government continues to focus the welfare debate on a few benefit scroungers in a bid to make the case for radical reform.”

Disabled people targeted by cuts

An article I want to bring to your attention highlighting how disabled people are being sidelined in society and literally being locked away due to budget cuts – LINK

This is the internationally recognized symbol ...
This is the internationally recognized symbol for accessibility (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cumulative effect of cuts to the Disability Living Allowance, Local Councils, Time-Limiting of Employment Support Allowance, Wheelchair voucher allocation, NHS Services and many more means that the most vulnerable in society are most affected by the Tory Liberal approach of cutting too far too fast.

Rhetoric pushed out by even Government Ministers on how benefits are for scroungers and the undeserving out of work has led to it being acceptable to push through cuts that affect people who genuinely have an impairment.

Not so funny picture irony

(Picture Source: ConservativeHome)
(Picture Source: ConservativeHome)

Front page of today’s Daily Telegraph. Pictured in the corner is Vincent Kompany, captain of Manchester City Football Club, celebrating after his club won the Premier League championship last night. At the same time, the Tory supporting Telegraph report on the Tory Liberal Government’s attack on the most vulnerable in society with 500,000 set to lose out on disability benefits.

Fraud for the Disability Living Allowance is estimated to be in the region of 0.5%. However, the Government will cut funding for the Personal Independence Payment (which is the new disability benefit replacing the Disabiliy Living Allowance) by 20%. This simply means that disabled people will have less support.

FullFact.org  highlights the lack of media understanding on disability benefits for the most vulnerable in our society.

Not a clue on their own Disability Living Allowance Cuts

Interesting responses from Government Ministers this week following the numerous hollow proposals that are being rolled out by this Con Dem Government.

In Particular, this number from Labour MP Kate Hoey, who interestingly asked 11 questions on the Disability Living Allowance Budget proposal that is supposed to save £1.4 billion. In return, she received no answers. Announcing proposals is all well, but it seems that the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Government haven’t a clue on how it’s going to work.

LINK TO QUESTION