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Did the ‘axe and tax’ budget surprise you?

It didn’t me. The axe was gonna fall and taxes rise whoever was in government – the only issue was how ‘fairly’ the pain would be spread. And doesn’t everyone have a different view about that … it’s been interesting reading!

I find that, whilst accepting the need for a lot of the measures outlined, I continue to be dismayed by the rhetoric applied to those of us with disabilities as this government gleefully wields its’ blunt axe enthusiastically to both the availability and the level of financial assistance that we rely on to cover our basic health needs.

I fear there is more of the same to come when the review of public spending is published later this year. What will happen to the finance, social care and equipment services that so many cannot survive without? Where will their respect and dignity be? Perhaps those who feel they ‘got off lightly’ in this budget might like to ponder on this question or perhaps they really just don’t care!

Already, the obnoxious rhetoric of this government is alienating the public from us by somehow suggesting people with disabilities are ‘undeserving’ or fall into a ‘wealthy’ bracket when including disability allowances as income.

Let me see, undeserving … OK, I absolutely agree that it is fair to ensure disability claimants are genuine. Although, given my own experience, I am astounded at the level of fraudulent disability claimants people suggest there may be. The current system for DLA (the only allowance I get) includes huge amounts of form filling in and testament, in triplicate, from GP, consultant and other therapists as to the truth therein. How do fraudulent claimants get responsible medical personnel to collude in their fraud? Surely if such fraud exists, it is the monitors of the existing system who are at fault not those using it? But, by all means check – each and every one of us if you wish. That’s kinda fair even if a bit pointless when applied to those of us with permanent disabilities but, hey...

What is not fair is suggesting those with disabilities – even those with earned incomes - are ‘wealthy’ because they receive financial support towards essential costs. An allowance like DLA is not ‘income’ in the sense those without disabilities would understand it. It is disingenuous to the point of being a lie to say that it is and that is what this coalition government is doing … repeatedly! Not FAIR, not fair at all.

DLA is an allowance to offset the unavoidable costs of seriously disabled people – like care, equipment and mobility costs. If you do not have a disability, you do not have these costs or any like it … end of! It’s that simple. And these costs are potentially huge!

At the highest rate, DLA is c.£485 per four week period – for people who cannot move, wash, dress, cook, clean themselves independently, 24/7. Are the members of our government unable to imagine how difficult it is to hold down a full time job and pay for all the needs of any individual in this position on top of all the normal overheads that every taxpayer has? Is it not ludicrously UNFAIR that such an income earner holds down a job, pays the same tax as a non-disabled person AND finances all these disability related costs as well, with no tax relief, no allowance? Whatever their level of income, is this FAIR let alone do-able? Doesn’t removing such an allowance make it more difficult for those with disabilities, and their partners, to work … duh!?

I am shocked that frightening and excluding those in genuine need from essential financial support to meet some arbitrary government set financial target is where the axe of this austerity government should be first applied. It is not FAIR and I will be appalled if this government continues to undermine disability related financing so fraudently.

What will I do? Some lobbying, I guess. Join petitions, contact MP’s and ministers. Tricky though, isn’t it? Like a lot of us, I can’t get out without help … and EaZyD works, you know … and my carers spend all their time doing the cleaning, cooking, washing, personal stuff ... If you have any other ideas about things I can do, do let me know. Meanwhile, I burn in indignation ... like that helps! Life is unfair.

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