LETTER: Cuts will hit the disabled hard

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THE disabled are not statistics in a fiscal report. We are people, we have faces.

It is all very well to say no help will now be given with domestic help. Does anybody not in the situation of being housebound know what it is like to watch your house become a midden around you, because you cannot do the routine, simple tasks like vacuuming? Washing up? Laundry? 

How many of the other services you provide affect people so fundamentally in their own homes? 

The difference is between slight inconvenience, even moderate dissatisfaction, and being forced to live in squalor and degradation. What would your choices be if this applied to more visible parts of the population?

How is being clean in body any good when you cannot wash your clothes? How can we ever be part of the population when all help to get out of the house is taken away? This is shabby thinking, a shameful kicking of the most vulnerable people in the county and frankly the very reason politicians are often despised.

An organisation, a country or an individual are all judged on how they treat the weakest - not in times of plenty but in times of strife, hardship and confusion. I would ask all of you to put yourselves in the shoes of somebody who struggles day-to-day to get up, get dressed and possibly get out into the community. Even now we exist below the poverty level. 

While others who claim Income Support are acknowledged as being at the poverty line, we are means tested and on average lose between £25 and £35 a week towards our care.

Unlike other parts of the population for many of us we have no hope of employment or of a better tomorrow. 

All we have is the day-to-day scraping by, at the mercy of any bureaucratic whim. The cruelty of finally introducing a way for us to emerge from our homes via SDS, then almost immediately clawing it back and threatening to make our situation worse, is inhumane and a travesty of the Disability Discrimination Act, Human Rights Act and various other pieces of worthless legislation. 

Where is our protection from these things? We have none.

Support for those who can find employment is an excellent idea. Not new, but excellent. Many of our number used to do Supported Work, a chance to gain self respect and a few extra quid. This was discontinued. Those people are now unable to work at all. What progress is that exactly? What about support for those who cannot work? Support for those of us who try to do what we can for the community, volunteering, helping those worse off even than us?

Students demonstrate, some violently. Ohh, let us give concessions. We are largely unable to do the same. We are not visible, not counted, not heard. I fervently hope you all remain healthy in your lives, so you do not have to become a citizen of this twilight world. We are not, despite all attempts to make us so, lesser than others. We have ambitions, dreams, people who love us. Give some respect to those who have no choices to live decently and with self-respect. In the end what happens to us will reflect back onto you for many years to come.

Sick at heart and frightened, I leave you.

AMANDA HAWORTH

Chairman of the Lancashire Physical Disabilities Partnership

Disabled Woman and Student