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.
Two stories caught my eye on our website yesterday (12th March), both relating to the effects of austerity on the United Kingdom. The first highlighted in an excellent article by Bernadette Meaden was a reflection on the recent report about the psychological impact of austerity. The second an LSE study demonstrating that young people are highly unlikely to ever earn the salaries of their parents.
"This report directly links cuts to public services with mental health problems... Psychologists are often in a position to see the effects that social and economic changes have on people. We also occupy a relatively powerful position as professionals and therefore have an ethical responsibility to speak out about these effects."
For the last few months Ekklesia staff, associates and partners have been thinking and talking about our approach to the 2015 General Election and beyond. The resulting research paper and our special election website were launched on Friday 6th March, two months before polling day. The launch happened to coincide with my weekend away with fellow members of ‘Unite for Peace’, a small group of (mainly) Christian pacifists who meet twice a year, which provided an opportunity to discuss the paper in more depth.
Yesterday (24 February 2015) I attended the parliamentary launch of the Learning Disabilities Alliance England. The LDA is a recently formed pressure group that represents the interests of people with learning disabilities, their families, support workers and allies.