Monday, 28 March 2011

Graham Jones supports the Campaign for a Fair Society

The Campaign for a Fair Society took to the streets of London at the weekend to March for an alternative to this Government's cuts to vital public services.

Organisers estimated between 400,000 and 500,000 teachers, nurses, firefighters, council and NHS workers, other public sector employees, students, pensioners and campaign groups came to the capital to show their opposition to the cuts. And apart from a very small amount of people who came determined to cause trouble the protest was peaceful and succeeded in raising the importance of those being affected by the cuts.

The Campaign for a Fair Society

According to the campaign website more than £7 billion of the government's £27 billion cuts will be borne by less than 2% of the population - the most vulnerable.

The Campaign wants power and control to shift from government to citizens, families and communities. But says that it doesn't want the government's 'Big Society' if that means a loss of basic human rights and unfair cuts focused on the most vulnerable.

Unfair Cuts

It adds that bankers are not being asked to pay for the deficit caused by the banking crisis. Members of the Cabinet are also exempt. Those who will pay are disabled people and other vulnerable groups, who in a decent society, would have rights and entitlements to income and support that enable them to lead a good life.

The campaign says that government is protecting education and the NHS and plans to spend more on pensions. Savings have to be found somewhere and the target is vulnerable groups, perhaps because they are least able to protest or perhaps because arrangements that fund and provide support are so complex that the media is not interested.

These are just some of the cuts that will affect disabled people:

• Over the next four years there will be a cut of 28% to care services for disabled children, disabled adults and frail older people which means that at least 250,000 people will lose entitlement to support.

• There will be cuts of more than £2 billion to the incomes of disabled people on low incomes. Individuals who are typically on incomes of less than £10,000 per year will face cuts of £2,000 or more.

• The Independent Living Fund (ILF), which provides support to 21,000 of the most severely disabled people in the country, is to be closed down - reducing support to disabled people by an additional £200 million.

• Eligibility thresholds will be raised so that people in "significant need of care" will get nothing - even if people are being abused, cannot look after themselves or if their families are breaking down.

• Changes in government regulations have now made home ownership - including shared ownership - impossible for disabled people who use benefits despite the efficiency of home ownership.

I have given this campaign my full backing. Do take a look at the campaign here.