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Crippen looks at providing Disability Equality Training to MPs / 8 December 2010

Do government ministers need disability equality training?

"Do government ministers need disability equality training?" That was the question asked by a member of the public at an all party parliamentary group on disability earlier this week. It's surely a sign of how disabled people's trust in the government agenda around this issue has broken down that someone even felt it appropriate to ask this question - even if it was slightly facetious!

Lord Freud, minister for state for welfare reform, was present to discuss the government's benefit reform agenda with MPs and members of the public. Apparently, according to people at the meeting Lord Freud didn't seem to appreciate that ESA was aimed almost solely at disabled people and that Contributory ESA is only open to disabled people when he insisted that disabled people would be protected against these changes. This apparently caused several people to ask if he fully understood the issues?!

Vern Pitt, equalities journalist commented: "There are elements of disability benefit reforms which are sensible and easy for disabled people and the sector to get behind. No one would argue the form for disability living allowance should remain huge and complex, or that there needs to be better employment support for disabled people.

"But the way the government has handled it, in a rather blunt manner (often pandering to the right wing press' depiction of those on benefits as scroungers), has made it untenable for most to get behind these aims."

Disability Alliance, the disability organisation which focuses on benefits, was quick to point out that the consultation on disability living allowance reform is only running for nine weeks, not the usual 12. It is measures like this that make disabled people rightly suspicious of the motives for change.

Vern added: "All the little things add up. The lack of information, the lack of consultation and the subsequent lack of clarity are making it hard to find a solution that both the government and service users can support. Worse still it's clearly beginning to make disabled people question if the government even know what disabled peoples lives are really like!"

Commenting to me by email, disabled activist Alan Wheatley told me: " As a lifelong disabled person, I have long suspected that those who give the order have no idea what my life (as a disabled person)is like."

You're not the only one Alan!

Keywords: benefit cuts,cuts to services,disability equality training,disabled peoples movement,disabled peoples protest,disabled vote,politics,social model

Comments

Susan Quick, Enabling Radio Drama

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1 January 2011

The Executive summary of the DLA reform Public consulation says: "Currently individuals on DLA with certain health condtions or impairments are automatically entitled to specific rates of the benefit without full assessment." Oh yeah? So how come when I was released from hospital, six months after nearly dying in a car wreck, and they had filled in the DLA application for me I got the medium level of care? I am "head injured" - a form of brain damage which affects both cognition and physical mobility. An impairment which is horribly common these days and often the result, like mine, of car accident.

Since it is so common you would image that yes the DLA level could be automatically assess wouldn't you? But a few years after leaving hospital, an "independent" doctor came to review me and declared that I should get off my arse and got to work. After a year of stress and being bedridden for much of the time, three people accompanied me to a Tribunal who took one look at me and gave me the highest rates for Care and Mobility. Why was the independet review higher than the hospital? Not to mention the review doctor? What does this say for the potemtial of "entitlement to specific rates without full assessment"?

Crippen

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9 December 2010

Yeh, sorry Rich. last week's blog went down but we've managed to reinstate it. You'll find all the info there. Let me know if you need more. :-)

rich

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9 December 2010

hi dave, i'm looking for an article you published recently that included some stuff from maria miller. Any idea where i mighit find it?

Crippen

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9 December 2010

Good point Bob ... come the revolution eh?!

Bob Williams-Findlay

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9 December 2010

Most MPs, Ministers and top Civil Servants have no idea what life is really like for disabled people, but neither do they care. This doesn't mean they have no awareness of the social model or Disability Equality - they understand it enough to see it as a threat to either the status quo or a given political agenda.

DWP stopped EqualAbility delivering training to its staff; Blair and Hodge refused to acknowledge me or BCODP when in office. The major political in the UK are not fascist, but they are seeking to protect and advance the interests of the capitalist classes who are currently panic mode, and to this end disabled people are regarded as burdens on society.

It isn't training these people need; having their own wealth, power and livelihood reoved from them would be a far better lesson to learn from.

Arty Farty

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8 December 2010

What happened to last week's blog ... the Tory's get to the web site producers?!