“We run your life, so you don’t have to” courtesy Gordon’s Good Idea
Save DLA and AA: time to have your say (Benefits and Work)
Latest update from Steve Donnison
25 August 2009
This week we’re asking you to take the argument to the government by posting your opinions on their official green paper website. By doing this you will be contributing to the consultation process and your views – according to the government – will be taken into account when they begin work on drawing up the white paper due out next year.
We think it’s vital that you do contribute because, otherwise, you’ll be leaving it to others to speak on your behalf and they may not say quite what you want to say or with quite the passion that you might want to say it.
We also think it’s important that the green paper website reflects what sick and disabled claimants actually do think, rather than what anyone else would like to claim you think.
There are lots of places on the Big Care Debate website where you can have your say. All comments are moderated, so if you say anything especially rude or potentially defamatory it’s unlikely to be published
We suggest you either use the Executive Summary page here:
or the Having Your say page here:
You are asked to give your name and email address. Your name will be published on the site but your email address won’t. If you want more details about the confidentiality policy for this consultation you can find them on the Having your say page, under the sub-heading ‘Confidentiality of information’.
As usual, we’re not going to tell people what to write. There are lots of contributions from claimants on the green paper website already, so you can see what others have written. You may also be able to copy and paste things you’ve written to your MP or disability organisations into the feedback box, if appropriate.
The issue we’ve been campaigning about is the proposal to hand disability benefits over to local authorities. But there are lots of other issues in the green paper you may also wish to comment on. For example, there is the fact that the government have ruled out using taxes to pay for care (Option 5 of the funding options) before the ‘Big debate’ has even begun. Lots of people think general taxation is the right way to pay for care and that it’s wrong to take this option off the table before people have even been consulted.
THE CAMPAIGN SO FAR
A huge amount has been achieved in an astonishingly short space of time.
Information about the threat to disability benefits has been published on many hundreds of websites, forums and blogs.
Over 21,000 people have signed up to the campaign.
All the major disability charities, and the vast majority of the smaller ones are now very aware of this issue. This, for example, comes from the Arthritis Care website:
“A large number of people with arthritis have expressed concern to us about Government proposals to remove Attendance Allowance (AA) benefits, as part of a wider review of social care services.
Both AA and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) offer nationally-set, non-means tested benefits which are often vitally important to help keep people with arthritis active, independent and in work wherever possible.
Arthritis Care is opposed to any attempts to remove or subsume such benefits into mainstream social care services.”
The full statement is available here:
There’s also unlikely to be an MP in the UK who hasn’t heard from constituents about this issue. Replies have begun trickling in from them already. For example, labour MP David Drew has emailed a constituent to say:
“Like you I have serious misgivings about interfering with DLA and Attendance
Allowance and particularly the introduction of means testing.”
Remember, if you’re not a member of Benefits and Work and so can’t post on our forum, you can post replies from MP or anyone else at the newly established welfare watch website at:
So . . . disability organisations informed . . . MPs quizzed . . . if we can now get a thousand or more responses on the green paper website, then all the major avenues for consultation will have been covered.
There are other things happening too.
In Cornwall today, for example, there’s a public petition signing going on at Lemon Quay in Truro from 12.00 – 3.30pm. The event is being covered by Radio Cornwall. More details of this and other possible petition signing days from:
We’ve also no doubt that someone will get a petition put on the No 10 website as soon as it opens for business on 7 September.
And we’ve heard from people who came across the campaign from letters and articles in their local paper, so there’s no doubt that it’s worth the effort of contacting your local media. Well done to everyone who’s managed to get coverage so far, do keep it up.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
For the present, we won’t be sending out any more emails asking you to do things simply because you’ve achieved in a few weeks more than we expected to achieve in months. But we do think it’s vital that disability charities actually seek members views and actively campaign on this issue. So keep the pressure up and let us know if you think they’re not being proactive enough.
We’ll do our best to keep you informed by email of any developments between now and November 13th, when the consultation ends. We’ll then delete this mailing list – we won’t hold on to your details. But you’ll still be very welcome to sign up to our free monthly newsletter if you haven’t already, so that you can keep yourself informed about what’s happening.
Meanwhile, please do visit the green paper website and let them hear, loud and clear, what you think.
Please feel free to forward or publish this email.
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(c) 2009 Steve Donnison. All rights reserved.