Tories just can’t stop aiming spite at vulnerable people, the sick and the disabled – can they?
They have just passed new legislation, apparently to help safeguard the UK’s population against the coronavirus.
But what good is it if it still puts people in danger?
A personal friend of This Writer has written to our MP, pointing out this problem, along with others. My friend states that the new law will:
• Remove disabled people’s entitlement to social care. In practice, this will mean local authorities will no longer be legally required to provide support to people who they already recognised as needing it.
According to the Government, this is to ensure local authorities can prioritise and meet the needs in new cases.
The Government made more funding available, so it is hard to see why it is necessary to remove the entitlement to social care for those who already get very little. It is worth remembering that community groups and volunteers cannot deliver the support many disabled and older people need.
Experience and research have illustrated that the lack of social care support puts more strain on the NHS. Surely this is a wrong thing to do at a time when the Government tries to free up resources for the NHS. This way of dealing with the immediate crisis can have considerable and devastating consequences in the longer run.
• Change the duties to educate to meet children’s educational requirements to a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty.
• Make it easier to detail and treat people involuntarily under the Mental Health Act. The existing safeguards are already too weak, and the number of people who are detained has grown significantly in the last few years. Detention will be a severe interference with a person’s fundamental human rights to liberty and freedom. Moreover, detaining people will cost the NHS a lot of money. Instead of making it easier to detain people, more support should be put to help people in the community.
My friend isn’t the only one complaining. Disability Rights UK, alongside other national disability organisations, has urged the government not to withdraw Care Act rights from disabled people as proposed in the Bill.
As that organisation states, these are unprecedented times.
But removing rights and protections from disabled people who are most at risk cannot be justified.
One has to question why a government would even contemplate that – let alone pass it into law as an emergency power.
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