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

Asset building for children with disabilities

S. Middleton and S. Gruescu

Respublica, 2011

Living with a disability increases the risk of poverty and financial exclusion. The vast majority of disabled people are asset-poor due to a lack of income and disincentives to saving arising from benefits eligibility rules. This report calls for a reconfiguration of the welfare system to encourage saving combined with tailored financial capability programmes to enable disabled people to accumulate assets. The habit of saving to build assets needs to begin in childhood, and the report suggests creating a distinctive new ABC-D savings account for disabled children.

In defence of dissent: R (McDonald) v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

R.H. George

Family Law, Oct. 2011, p. 1097-1103

The McDonald case concerned whether the local authority acted lawfully in its assessment of the home care needs of the appellant, Ms McDonald, who suffered a stroke in 1999 which left her with a number of disabilities. On appeal, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the local authority by a majority with Lady Hale, an expert in social welfare law, dissenting. Lady Hale's judgment was then strongly criticised by three of the majority judges. This article offers a defence of Lady Hale's judgment, suggesting that the criticisms do not stand up to scrutiny.

Mind the gap: disabled travellers lament lack of access

B. Quinn

The Guardian, Nov. 18th 2011, p. 19

As the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics approach, and amid claims that they will be the most accessible ever, disability activists say the city is losing sight of that goal as austerity-driven cuts bite. Rather than leaving a legacy that could transform the lives of tens of thousands of people with disabilities across the city, campaigners say that 2012 could be an embarrassment. 'Ironically, it seems as if the apartheid in the transport system is getting worse rather than better in the runup to the Paralympics,' said Jonathan Bartley, a Green party candidate for the London Assembly who, as the father of a boy with spina bifida, tackled David Cameron on the 2010 election trail over the alleged segregation of disabled children in the education system. Nearly 80% of tube stations are still not accessible, including some serving Olympic venues, according to the campaign group Transport for All, while the everyday experience of wheelchair users attempting to navigate the city is one of being unable to board buses and being ignored by taxis, the group said.

Report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on complaints about disability issues

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

London: TSO, 2011 (House of Commons papers, session 2010/12; HC 1512)

This report contains summaries of five recently completed Ombudsman investigations: three are complaints about the NHS and two are about government agencies. They all involved poor service to people with disabilities. The case summaries demonstrate the difficulties faced by disabled people in accessing public services; the lack of awareness in some public bodies of their statutory obligations, leading to poor services and unfair treatment; and the role that the Ombudsman can play both in righting individual wrongs and driving improvements in public services.

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