The one word that describes how I feel right now is pressure. Partly, pressure on me to deliver various types of work, both small pieces of work and more significant projects but, more significantly, the pressure of knowing how many are suffering and how little our Government and most of our politicians, across all parties, actually appear to care. And alongside pressure, my feeling about what is happening to our country is moving close to despair.
So I could barely bring myself to listen to David Cameron’s speech today. What I read about it on Twitter told me all I needed to know, anyway – a Prime Minister using personal, emotive anecdotes to give a totally hypocritical, even mendacious impression of his Government’s priorities. It feels wrong to criticise when he uses the example of the death of his disabled son Ivan, but this blogpost: http://sturdyblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/we-need-to-talk-about-ivan/ written in March makes the case much better, and probably more sensitively, than I can. Interestingly and concerningly, when I talk to my MP about the suffering being caused by Government policies I realise how powerless he is to make any difference to his own Government’s actions. Continue reading →
Jenny Morris reminds us that we do have rights to support, based on a few key statutes. However, in these times of austerity, it seems that local authorities are conveniently – and sometimes blatantly – ignoring such legislation, and disabled people do not have the advocacy or legal support to challenge them.
Following the reply we received from Derek Osbourne, which was encouraging but rather vague, we wrote to Simon Pearce, Executive Head of Adult Social Care, to ask for more precise, practical details on how the council would take account of people’s individual situations when assessing care charges. See below for our letter and Simon Pearce’s reply:
The Leader of Kingston Council, Councillor Derek Osbourne, has replied to the letter of 8 July 2011 from Baroness Jane Campbell, Ann Macfarlane OBE, Ali Kashmiri, Pat Page and Jane Young. In our letter to Derek Osbourne dated 8 July 2011 we highlighted the serious disadvantage that would be faced by severely disabled people who will be charged huge sums for their essential independent living support. We also asked for specific details of how service users can access the promised discretion that the needs of high users of services would be considered on an individual basis. Continue reading →
Five service users: Baroness Jane Campbell DBE, Ann Macfarlane OBE, Ali Kashmiri, Pat Page and Jane Young have written to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Derek Osbourne, using realistic scenarios to explain the serious effects of the new policy on adults of all ages with high value care packages.
It is with great regret that I have to report that we have been obliged to discontinue our application for judicial review of Kingston Council’s decision to increase contributions/charges for social care. This is because we would have been unable to prove that officers and councillors did not pay ‘due regard’ to their duty to promote disability equality or give proper consideration of the equality implications of the proposals before making their decision. Continue reading →
Our application for judicial review against Kingston Council’s decision to increase care charges has been reported in the Kingston Guardian this week. An early version of the report is available on the Kingston Guardian website
The media have recently reported that the Birmingham case has been won by the applicants, who applied for judicial review of the council’s decision to tighten eligibility criteria and to meet only critical needs. This case is significant for us as the legal basis of the decision is the same as the legal basis of our claim against Kingston – that the council did not meet its legal duty to promote disability equality and failed to pay due regard to the effects of its decision on disabled people.
Kingston has already said that it’s waiting for the Birmingham decision to be published before it responds to our solicitor’s letter before claim. So it will be interesting to see what Kingston decides to do!
‘Care charges row goes to High Court‘ reads the headline on the front page of the Kingston Informer this week, 13 May. It’s exciting to see that the Informer has seen fit to place an article about our legal action against Kingston on the front page of its Kingston edition this week. The article is reasonably accurate and I have scanned it here: Kingston Informer 13 May 2011
In the meantime, the legal application is now on hold as Kingston has asked for extra time, until 25 May, to submit their response to the Letter before claim.
A resident of New Malden who depends on Kingston social services for support with daily living is taking the council to the High Court over its decision to increase care charges, on the grounds that the Council failed to comply with its legal duty to promote equality for disabled people and women. Continue reading →