On Friday, when David Cameron stood outside Downing Street to address the nation, he struck a less strident note then he has for some time. He talked about giving the poorest a chance for 'training, a job, and hope for the future'. He seemed in his speech to be reclaiming the mantle of the compassionate Conservative he appeared to be back in 2009/10. I wish I could believe him.
People with disabilities or a long-term illness, having borne the brunt of welfare cuts in this Parliament, fear what will happen after the General Election. With the Conservatives promising a further £12 billion cuts without specifying where the axe would fall, they fear the worst.
The reason many people give for not voting is "they’re all the same" and "it won’t make any difference". Fortunately for our democracy, as the election campaign progresses this seems increasingly untrue, particularly, this weekend, in the area of taxation.
On 2 April the Learning Disability Alliance is holding a citizen’s jury, where its members – people with learning disabilities and their supporters – will be quizzing members of political parties about their policies.
As George Osborne did the rounds of media interviews about the Budget this morning, I read about a 59 year old man, previously a ‘hardworking taxpayer’, unable to walk or talk properly after a stroke, who had been forced to sell his home because the Department for Work and Pensions had removed his Disability Living Allowance.
For a few weeks I’ve been trying to write a general critique of welfare reform, addressing each policy point by point, looking at the assumptions on which it was based, what it aimed to achieve, and the effect it has had in practise. It’s been a disturbing and depressing experience.