Tag Archives: disabled people

“I can’t have her starving to death” – Carer Clare describes energy bill terror

We’ve mentioned several times before on this site about the impact of rising fuel bills on disabled people. It’s not just that if you are less mobile you need more heating, it’s about charging up wheelchairs, and running life sustaining equipment like feeding pumps.

Clare Steel* is a Labour Councillor in West Dunbartonshire. She cares for her 15 year old daughter Katie, who has complex medical conditions which mean she can’t walk, talk or swallow.

Katie depends on nine separate pieces of electrical equipment to keep her alive and make sure she can get washed and go up and down the stairs and move around and communicate- the very basic things required for human dignity.

Yesterday Clare spoke to Radio Scotland about her absolute terror about how she is going to pay the bills after 1st October. Right now I want to bundle up every single Conservative MP and put them in a room and make them listen to her. And I also want every person in the country to hear it so that they can understand the reality carers and disabled people are facing. You can listen here from about 20 minutes in.

Clare talked about the sort of equipment Katie has:

“Katie requires 24 hours care. That involves lots of medical equipment. Because Katie can’t eat, she has a pump which pumps high calorie milk into her bowel for 16 hours a day.”

She also has an 18 stone electric wheelchair which has a massive energy gobbling battery pack to get around as she can’t walk, a chairlift to get her up the stairs to her bed, an electric bath chair so that she can get in and out of the bath safely, a special bed and aids which enable her to communicate.

Every piece of equipment in Katie’s life allows Katie to be alive and function daily. I don’t have a choice about having these on charge constantly.

Clare was in tears when she asked:

How am I going to be able to keep Katie alive day in day out and not worry about how I am going to pay my energy bills. It’s just the reality. My worry is paying my electricity bill to have Katie’s machines. That’s not even including the cost of heat.

We don’t have options. There is no options. I was looking at a bath chair online which I could blow up so I might not have to use the bath chair, but that is only one thing. Katie’s wheelchair is 18 stone with a massive battery pack. Do I tell her she can’t have independence?

She needs her suction machine. I can’t have her choking to death. She needs her feeding pump, I can’t have her starving to death.

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Post shielding face masks for extremely disabled passengers

I have been shielding for months due to a medical condition listed as extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 but keeping in touch with work. Over the last few months, I’ve been updated with changing company policy and watching the Government updates closely.

Workplace pay was revised in line with the Government’s change of advice for those who no longer need to be shielded. If my condition had been less severe, I’d be back to work now instead of staying safe at home.

Around the same time, TfL emailed me to say that from the 15th June face masks will be mandatory on public transport. They ought to be already based on video and photos I’ve seen. Buses will not take the usual number of passengers to allow for social distancing aboard so spaces will be limited, and people might have to wait for the next bus. Not all bus stops have seats, many disabled people can’t remain standing for long, and drivers can’t recognise hidden disabilities. Many buses are still using middle or rear doors too for driver safety.

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Recent stats on caring

I’ve been delving into the Department of Work and Pensions Family Resources Survey 2016/17 published recently. It contains statistics in five broad categories: Income and State Support; Tenure; Disability; Care; and Pensions.

It is the Care statistics which I’d like to highlight today. I’ve written previously on this site about carers, highlighting the prevalence of women doing the majority of care-work around the world.

These recent Family Resources Survey stats show that the largest portion of informal care is for ageing parents. 33% of this care is for parents not living in …

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“Utterly damning report” on PIP and ESA Assessments

Yesterday, the government published the latest Work and Pensions Select Committee report on PIP and ESA Assessments.

The benefits system is clearly failing – asking a claimant how they caught Down’s Syndrome is appalling. One lady was put down as able to walk her dog, even though she did not own a dog and could hardly walk.

The most vulnerable in our society are not being properly …

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Liberal Democrats launch Manifesto for Disabled People

Manifesto for Disabled PeopleNick Clegg launches the party’s Manifesto for Disabled People today. In the foreword, he writes:

Liberal Democrats believe that no matter who you are, where you come from and what your circumstances, you should not be denied the opportunity to fulfil your potential.

It is essential to break down the unfair divisions in our society, yet disabled people in Britain today still face significant barriers to getting on and living happy, independent lives.

Providing opportunity for everyone is the test of a liberal society.

In Coalition Government, I am proud of the important progress Liberal Democrats have made in driving improvements.

From fighting to protect schools and teaching budgets, to investing £400m in carers’ breaks, or launching the No voice unheard, no right ignored programme to ensure people with disability, autism and mental health conditions get the best care possible.

But we can and must go further.

In Government again, we will ensure that disabled people get the support and help they need to find work, whether it is supporting those who want to work, or ensuring fairer assessment and support of those who can’t.

We will work to improve the benefits system for disabled people, ensuring assessments are truly fair, with quick access to financial help for those who cannot work.

We will move towards an integrated health service with more joined up care, more personal budgets so people have more control over the care they need, and delivering equality of care for mental health patients.

Only the Liberal Democrats will create opportunity for everyone by building a stronger economy and a fairer society. Labour will borrow too much, risking the economy. The Tories will cut too much, threatening public services and sacrificing the least well off.

We are determined to stick with the approach we set out in 2010
– a fair way of restoring the nation’s finance. The fruits of Britain’s recovery must be felt by all – providing disabled people with real opportunities to achieve their potential, and the support they need to live happier, more fulfilling lives.

The key measures are:

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Opinion: Conservative run Shropshire takes independence away from disabled and elderly

Shropshire LinkA month ago, we heard from Matt who wrote bravely about how he feels denigrated by Conservatives attacking welfare claimants. Today, Ian – a disabled bus user in Shropshire living in sheltered accommodation – writes about problems with transport as his Conservative council slashes bus services.  

I am writing this article because I am campaigning on behalf of registered users from Three Crosses, Clee Hill near Ludlow and other scheme managers, users and their carers in South Shropshire. We were users of Shropshire Link, a regular, bookable bus service that served all the rural areas.

We have lost our independence thanks to the Conservative Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, Claire Wilde, who abolished the Link service as of 8 October. It has been replaced with a community bus service.

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Opinion: What is the cumulative impact of cuts on disabled people?

With the Conservative ring-fencing of 40% plus of the welfare budget because it goes to a section of society which disproportionately votes Conservative (e.g. pensioners), it should come as no surprise to anyone that the forcing of all welfare cuts onto the remainder of recipients has hurt a lot of people.

Amongst those most badly effected are disabled people. Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (formerly known as incapacity benefit) has been time limited to one year. Disability Living Allowance is being replaced by Personal Independence Payments and will have been cut by 20% by 2015. Social care services are being cut …

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LibLink…Lynne Featherstone: The disabled people hidden from view

Liberal Democrat international development minister Lynne Featherstone has written an article in the Sunday Times about the plight of disabled people in developing countries, and how they often don’t receive much needed aid.

But for every medal-winning athlete, there are millions more in the developing world who are treated as sub-human, hidden from view and forgotten. Millions of women who are raped and beaten because they are discriminated against or physically incapable of escaping their attackers. Millions of children denied an education because they can’t see their textbooks, hear their teachers or get to school. And millions of people locked out

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