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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2011): Services for the disabled - UK

Cameron bears brunt of anger at funding cuts for care of disabled

J. Taylor, L. Sheridan and N. Morris

The Independent, Jan 21st 2011, p. 12

The article reports on criticism directed at David Cameron, following council budget cuts. Riven Vincent, the mother of a severely disabled girl has used an online forum to express her anger at the cuts. Mrs Vincent argues that these mean that she has had to consider placing her daughter into care. Mrs Vincent's anger is compounded by the fact that the PM, whom she had met during the election campaign, had promised he would not do anything that would harm disabled children if he was elected prime minister. The debate centres around funding available for respite, which allows carers to get some relief from caring for their loved ones whilst care is provided by local councils. Although the Government has allotted 800m over the next four years for care packages, the money is not ring-fenced, meaning that local authorities could divert funds to other purposes, should they need to. Other mothers of disabled children have expressed their worry and anger. The article also reports on the Government's intention to do away with the mobility provision within the Disability Living Allowance for people in residential care. Charities say that this will adversely affect those in residential care, making them even more dependent on institutions to be able to live independent lives. Another proposal which has angered many is to make people who claim for disability benefits reapply to verify if they are actually entitled to them.

(See also Times, Jan. 12th 2011, p. 7)

Choice: what, when and why? Exploring the importance of choice to disabled people

P. Rabiee and C. Glendinning

Disability and Society, vol.25, 2010, p. 827-839

Extending choice and control over public services is central to current policies in England. Such policies have immense potential for promoting independence and well-being. However, it is not clear how disabled people conceptualise choices, what choices are important, for which groups of people, in what areas of life and why. This paper presents the results of the first phase of a longitudinal qualitative study of choice and control over the life course. The choices disabled people thought were important to them and the way they prioritised choices in different service domains varied according to age, the nature and severity of conditions, previous experiences of services, personal preferences, future expectations and family circumstances. Participants felt that exercising choice was only meaningful if choices were 'real', i.e. they included options that met individual preferences and that people had access to information to make 'informed' choices. Most participants thought their desired options were still either not available or limited. Many felt that they did not have access to information that could enable them to make informed choices.

I was told to take her home and deal with it. I couldn't cope. It made me feel suicidal

A. Gentleman

The Guardian, Jan 21st 2011, p. 18

In the wake of Celyn Vincent case (the severely disabled child whose mother was told by social services that they were unable to increase the number of hours of professional care her daughter receives), Amelia Gentleman talks to parents struggling to get support for their children.

If this benefit is withdrawn it will take away my son's only enjoyment in life

A. Gentleman

The Guardian, Jan. 13th 2011, p. 15

In the final part of her investigation into how the cuts are changing Britain, Amelia Gentleman reports on a proposal which charities say could trap some disabled people inside their care homes for the rest of their lives. A brief line on page 69 of the Comprehensive Spending Review of 20 October announced that the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) would be removed from people living in residential care, 60,000 to 80,000 people. The cut was not announced in chancellor's speech in Parliament and has therefore attracted little attention amid the myriad changes announced on the day, but disability charities have been lobbying hard to educate ministers that, for the disabled people who receive it, the allowance represents the difference between being institutionalised, trapped inside their care homes for the rest of their lives, and being able to participate in society.

Living with dying and disabilism: death and disabled children

K. Runswick-Cole

Disability and Society, vol. 25, 2010, p. 813-826

This paper focuses on interviews with three mothers of children with life-limiting and life-threatening impairments and positions their experiences within the current policy context for disabled children in England. These families continue to face systemic, attitudinal and economic disadvantage. They face isolation in the home, from families and friends, while at the same time receiving unsatisfactory support from service providers.

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