Did you think you were hard-hit by the pandemic? Unless you’re a parent of a disabled child, think again!
Families with disabled children suffered astonishing levels of deprivation during the Covid-19 crisis (so far) as the Conservative government abandoned them to whatever fate befell them.
Read this information from a survey by Contact, the charity for families with disabled children – and weep. It found that, among almost 3,000 families:
- Nearly two-thirds (61%) say that caring responsibilities mean they or their partner has given up paid work, on average losing £21,270 from their family income.
- In the last 12 months, almost a third of parent carers have gone without heating (30%) and food for themselves (37%). Half have gone without toys, presents and computer equipment for their children.
- 55% of respondents were shielding during lockdown. As a consequence of shielding, 30% report they got into debt or borrowed money, 15% got behind with mortgage payments, 10% used a foodbank for the first time and 7% lost their job.
- Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents claim Universal Credit and 40% of those said they are worse off since claiming, despite assurances from government that no one would be worse off.
- 92% of parent carers say going without affects their own health and a third (34%) saying it affects the health of their child.
- Almost one in five say they have increased care commitments due to the pandemic that will impact their ability to earn money in the future.
So it seems the Tories have used the pandemic to hammer the people who needed help the most – while pretending they were ensuring that everybody would be helped.
Some might describe such behaviour as lower than verminous.
Sadly, it is on the very same verminous government that these families must rely for help now.
Contact is running a campaign for action, with steps including:
• An increase in Carer’s Allowance and child disability payments under Universal Credit.
• Energy companies to introduce a special tariff for households with sick and disabled children due to the rising bills facing families this winter.
• The government to invest in specialist independent advice services, to help families with disabled children claim what they are entitled to.
The first act you can take in the campaign is simple: write to your MP. Contact has set up a template email to make speaking out quick and easy.
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