Saturday, August 22, 2009

'Save Our DLA' Campaign - Some New Ideas and Thoughts...

One of my fellow DANners posted the following idea online, with another campaign action suggestion. (He's given me permission to copy his post and spread the idea around.) I love this idea, and I'm going to do as he suggests.

I have something of an idea for immediate protest, for those of us who are fortunate enough to receive DLA Mobility Component and have a Motability car, on finance or lease.

In recent days, I've taken the liberty of writing to Motability and the Minister for/of Disabled People (Jonathan Shaw) suggesting, that if my DLA care Component is ever given over to my Local Authority to 'supposedly' provide a care package for me. That, "as I seldom have enough money for care and also food and other necessities, I will be applying to cancel my Motability lease, as soon as, or, if the Government decide to divert or remove my DLA Care Component. In order that I'll have enough money to live on."

I'd maybe like to see others do the same, or similar? I think the threat alone to Motability and Government 'face', would be enough to see a complete backdown of this 'hair brained scheme' of the Government's?

Motability is seemingly worth in the region of £16 billion pounds a year to the British economy and motor industry, to say nothing of the revenue the Gov't takes in, in fuels and oil consumption from recipients! There's also maintenance and upkeep to be threaded into theses costs and the cost in human terms if some 250,000 cars were suddenly disposed of and flooded back onto the second hand market!

Worth a thought and some possibly, some action?

- wheelzuk

I would add to this suggestion of writing to the minister and/or to Motability generally, that we could CC our letters both to the chief executive of Motability and perhaps also the Transport minister. If the government doesn't care that taking away our DLA care component will have a knock-on effect on our whole lives, maybe they need to start realising that it will also have a knock-on effect on the whole economy. There are, after all, a lot of us out there...


A lot of people have been pointing me towards CPAG's published 'assurances' that DLA will not be affected. (Interestingly, they have taken down their earlier press release about this.) "It's only Attendance Allowance, so that's all right," I'm now hearing from fellow campaigners. A reminder of three things here:

1. If the government sets the precedent of taking away cash benefits and handing them over to local authorities, do we really believe they're going to stop at AA? Once a precedent is set, it's far, far easier for the government to say "It worked with AA" and remove our DLA - without having to write a new Green Paper on the issue.

2. Do we *really* trust the government on this? We've heard similar assurances on the new Employement Support Allowance that have failed to materialise. Once the government's broad phrase 'disability benefits' in that Green Paper is passed as *law*, do you really think they won't use that as a perceived mandate to get rid of DLA too?

3. If it really is 'only' Attendance Allowance that's going to be scrapped, are we actually going to sit back and do nothing because it doesn't affect (most of) us directly? The principle of independent living should apply to ALL disabled people, not just the disabled people who are under 60. An ageing population means the majority of disabled people are 60+. They need our support just as much as younger disabled people do. Maybe more, because they're being herded into care homes en masse. (I know - my father owns a nursing home. His is a very nice one, but I still wouldn't want to be *forced* to live there when I wanted at least the choice to remain living independently at home.)

ADD YOUR CAMPAIGN IDEAS in the comments! I'd love to hear what people have been doing. Me, I've been promoting the idea on every social networking medium I can find, getting my friends, family and PAs to sign up for the campaign, trying to help spread other people's ideas, and writing the odd e-mail. It's not much. (I've had swine ful - talk about 'viral campaigning', haha. I am, ergo, utterly spoonless right now). But I continue to believe that armchair campaigning and 'viral' networking like this CAN make a difference. Just look at how many thousands of people have signed up to contribute something to this one campaign. Last I heard, it was over 20,000. Now that's not bad.


Lisa said...

It's currently the case that if you received DLA under the age of 65, you continue to receive it over the age of 65. There's nothing to stop the government deciding "at 65 we'll transfer people off DLA onto AA. Ooops, AA doesn't exist anymore. Well, that's their tough luck, they're not getting DLA once they turn 65 any longer."

Naomi J. said...

Lisa: Absolutely. Once precedents are set, the government can do almost anything they like to 'save money'. I can definitely seem them arbitrarily changing the rules on receiving DLA after 65, because "we now have different care arrangements for over-65-year-olds." Like hell they do. Council-run, very poorly-funded, enormous and overcrowded care homes. While they take our homes or savings away to pay for that 'care'.

Naomi J. said...

'seem them' should read 'see them'...

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I will give up if they take my DLA away. It took me over a year to get it and it has been an absolute Godsend. I have worked hard all my life, I did not ask to have a spinal injury as nobody asks to be disabled. It is bad enough having to watch everyone else leaping around and not to be able to do that anymore without being poverty stricken on top of it. At least with this money coming in I can watch DVDs and buy books cheap over the internet to keep my brain going. I am aghast that they are even considering this. By the time the government sorted out care to everyone who needed it I am sure they would exclude many groups and decide that only 1 or 2 people per million need help.

La Coja said...

Your Blog is excellent....I am an Irish/Mexican American living in Mexico.

It is always good to see how other people with disabilities live and deal with their governance