Disabled people face threat to independent living
Local people needing care services, including physically disabled people, people with learning disabilities and older people, claim that Kingston Council’s proposals to massively increase charges for essential care constitute a serious threat to their independence, quality of life, their health and even, in some cases, their lives.
In the past, local disabled people have campaigned hard to achieve pro-active legislation based on the right to citizenship, independent living, choice and control, and the right to live in the community like non-disabled people. This has enabled disabled people to take their rightful place within family life and relationships, to volunteer and to gain and keep employment.
These achievements are now threatened by Kingston’s proposals to charge so much for social care that some disabled and older people will find essential care services unaffordable. Even people on low incomes, dependent on means-tested benefits, face a 100% increase in their care charges if these proposals are adopted.
Ali Kashmiri, who uses social care services, said ‘The proposed policy on charging for care services is immoral, discriminatory, and will ultimately result in increased cost to the council. It is fundamentally wrong to means test people for services that, if not provided, would lead to illness, an inhumane existence and/or death. The proposals will lead to health breakdowns and use of more expensive services in the long term.’
Ann Macfarlane OBE, who also uses social care services, said ‘Those who have managed to get to consultation events have been shocked by the negative presentation and disempowering information. We are determined to ensure that all we have gained, not just for ourselves but for the whole community, should not be eroded by a proposal that will ultimately force us out of the workplace, out of voluntary sector inclusion, make us dependent on ageing family members and force us back into institutions. ’
Ali Kashmiri went on to say: ‘The proposals constitute an aggressive regime that will further impoverish those in most need, create despondency, despair, illness and conceivably premature death. It is policies of this nature, not impairment, which force older and disabled people to fear a life with no prospects, independence or freedom, and to consider assisted suicide to avoid what will be a prison sentence. ’
To support the campaign against Kingston’s proposals, sign the online petition at http://epetition.kingston.public-i.tv/epetition_core/community/petition/1319
You can find out more and give your views at http://www.janeyoung.me.uk
If you don’t have access to the internet, call Kingston Centre for Independent Living on 020 8481 1444.