More room for rich foreigners as government cuts Disabled Students Allowance

140521DSA

Some readers may find the above headline a bit strong, but please be assured – this is what it means.

Vox Political became aware of this story in two contrasting ways, as follows.

Firstly, from The Guardian: “From September 2015 [the government] will only pay for support for students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, if their needs are ‘complex’, although the definition of this, and who decides it, remains unclear.

“It will no longer pay for standard computers for disabled students, or for much of the higher specification IT it now subsidises.

“And it will no longer fund non-specialist help, likely to include note-takers and learning mentors. The costs of specialist accommodation will be met only in exceptional circumstances.”

Paddy Turner, of the National Association of Disability Practitioners (NADP) is quoted: “This is going to have a disastrous effect on students with specific learning difficulties because it looks very clear that [universities minister David Willetts] is trying to remove them from the DSA. It looks like a knee-jerk reaction to recent reports that specific learning difficulties and dyslexia aren’t really disabilities at all.”

Secondly, please read the following, from Vox Political reader Karlie Marvel, who has a relative with MS: “They are axing the disabled student allowance. The amount of funding for DSA is relatively tiny.”

I’ve been completely staggered by what I have discovered to be going on… Surely, the benefit to the economy of helping disabled students towards being able to contribute fully to society, rather than being left on the sidelines because of penny-pinching, is greater than the cost of a short period of support whilst they train?

“But I can’t say I’m surprised really.

“No education…

“Struggle to find work…

“No benefits…

“Die.

“Coalition government 2014. I’m feeling very bleak, Mr Vox.”

Who can blame her? Yet again, our government of couldn’t-care-less millionaires is cutting support to the very people they should be working hardest to help – the vulnerable disabled who cannot make it on their own.

They have rigged benefit assessments to make claiming as stressful as possible for people who can be killed by anxiety.

They have closed most of the Remploy factories that employed disabled people.

They are closing down the Independent Living Fund (ILF), that delivers financial support to disabled people so they can choose to live in their communities rather than in residential care.

Now this.

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12 thoughts on “More room for rich foreigners as government cuts Disabled Students Allowance

  1. Stormkeeper

    “Yet again, our government of couldn’t-care-less millionaires is cutting support to the very people they should be working hardest to help”

    Actually, you could argue that they did a complete 180 on their commitments to the vulnerable in society. That said however, this isn’t a simple reversal… not only are they not going through with what they promised, they’re also destroying our support structure as well! Additionally, this feels like it’s yet more of an excuse to hound disabled benefits claimants, mainly because they cannot get a job (due to lack of qualifications), meaning they’ll be subjected to the whims of ‘Herr Schmidt’. At this point, it’s kind of blindingly obvious that this is a systematic cull of the disabled which is grotesque to say the least.

    I also can’t help but wonder if this sort of stuff was going on in Stephen Hawking’s day… I imagine that he would be likely no longer with us if the climate then was the same as now!

  2. Big Bill

    Predators. They pick off the weakest. We should remember though that what predators fear most is the collective anger of the herd.

  3. Sasson Hann

    There is no possible way that I would have been able to complete my degree and gain a good grade without the Disabled Students Grant.

    Firstly, due to extreme fatigue and pain I only ever managed to attend the first couple of weeks of any semester, so it was vital that I had equipment at home. Even if I could have accessed the studios and computer rooms at the university they were rarely available, rather benefiting those who lived on campus who could pop in at various times during the day until they were free, whereas being a mature student I was living in my own home some distance from the university.

    With regard to equipment, I not only received an excellent laptop, but since I was studying computer composition and experimental film as part of my music degree I was also entitled to claim for the associated music programs, monitor speakers, headphones, and hardware for inputting sound. These would have cost many thousands of pounds. My internet connection was also paid for. My travel in a taxi to university was also covered as the hour long journey by bus would have made me terribly ill.

    Even with all of this extra financial help, it did not put me on a level playing field with the other students. I faced a lot of prejudice from certain lecturers. I had to work right through the the year without any breaks due to constant illness. I missed most lectures and had to study at home, which was a great disadvantage. In my final year, the exam department messed up one of my exam arrangement so I had to finish my exam half way through, and though all tutors had allowed me extra time before – typically to work through the holidays and hand assignments in a month to 6 weeks later – one tutor who was always supportive suddenly decided not to allow me the extra time. I appealed both counts to no avail, even though the leading professor said it would have only taken me 2 weeks to complete. Despite this I gained a high 2.1, but this would have translated into a first had I not faced such opposition, which greatly upset me at the time after how hard I had worked.

    It really is hard enough to obtain a degree as it is, but now thousands like me won’t stand a chance. Unfortunately, I eventually had to give up my professional work a few years after graduating due to a chronic deterioration – perhaps this is why the government feel it’s not worth investing in disabled people – but many disabled people do go on to work for years. Without such a degree, they may not be able to work at all.

    Sasson Hann

  4. Barry Davies

    At first I thought you were going to say that the universities were cutting the places to increase their incomes, but yes it’s just another part of the demonisation of the most vulnerable to pay for the mistakes of the rich bankers, and old etonian politicians.

  5. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    This has also been covered on at least one of the other websites dealing with disability issues. And Mike is correct about the enormous benefit to society of providing support to disabled students. I know a lot of extremely articulate, intelligent people, who’ve been held back because of dyslexia. Society is certainly helped and benefited by schemes that can allow them to realise their intellectual potential, and assist them into jobs. This, however, is very much against the governing ethos of the Tories, who just want a cowed, fearful workforce, ready to take the most menial jobs without question, leaving the better paid, more rewarding and more powerful jobs to be dominated by members of the middle and upper classes, their natural possessors, as they see it.

    As for the Tories reacting to recent research arguing that dyslexia isn’t actually a disability, this wilfully ignores and distorts what the researchers themselves are saying. They was a documentary on this on BBC 2 or Channel 4 about a year ago, which I watched with my mother, who had been a primary school teacher. As far as I can make out, the educationalists making this argument are simply saying that dyslexia is not radically different, and is merely a more extreme form, of more normal and milder reading difficulties. They are not, however, saying that support for people with such reading difficulties should be withdrawn. Indeed, quite the opposite. Much of the programme was actually about producing specialist text books and reading schemes to help people with dyslexia overcome it. This included the discussion of a particular staged reading scheme that did produce remarkable results in enabling those with the condition to overcome it when used properly. This seems to be simply another case of the Conservatives appropriating a piece of liberal research, and then stripping it of its original intentions to use as another weapon in their campaign to deny the poor and marginalised education, work and opportunities.

  6. hilary772013

    The current heinous government if they could get away with it, would build camps to put all disabled people in and we all know the outcome of that 1939-45, it seems they won’t be happy until all disabled people have been exterminated and this is there way of doing it.

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