Disabled people are under ‘threat’ from the Tories’ coronavirus response

Boris Johnson
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The UK government’s proposed new laws due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic are a ‘threat‘ to chronically ill and disabled people. That’s according to two organisations. They’re urging all of us to write to our MPs but it needs to be done quickly. Before it’s too late.

Coronavirus: grave consequences?

As The Canary previously reported, the Conservative government is trying to pass the emergency coronavirus bill. It’s legislation that will introduce measures to try and stop the spread of the virus. But it will also erode many of our basic civil liberties. Much of the bill relates to the NHS. It also involves education and the legal system. But disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) Inclusion London and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) have major concerns over the section on social care.

Under the bill, the following will now happen:

  • The rules and standards for social care for older, learning disabled, and other people will be relaxed. This means councils can reduce the service and support they provide to vulnerable people. It could leave countless people, reliant on support, without it.
  • Councils will not have to do new care plans for older, learning disabled, and other people who need new care. This includes “looked after” and vulnerable children. It means countless vulnerable people could get no support at all.

It is this which the DPOs are most worried about.

Disabled people: being hit again

As DPAC wrote on its website:

As it stands the bill poses a serious risk to the lives of many disabled people, especially those of us who need social care support.

The bill will effectively free local authorities of their duties to provide social care support under the Care Act 2014 and will only oblige local authorities to provide support in cases where the human rights of disabled people will be breached.

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We know from experience that in order for human rights to be breached in social care context the situation has to be very critical or severe.

So, they are calling for action.

Write to your MP

The groups want people to quickly write to their MPs. They have made a template letter, which will raise people’s concerns. It outlines why disabled people are facing a “real and present danger” from the bill. And it effectively asks MPs to raise these concerns in parliament.

You can save the letter template and fill it in from the document below:

But you need to write to your MP now (Sunday 22 March). Because parliament is debating the bill on Monday 23 March.

The best way to get the letter to your MP is by email. You can find your MP’s contact details here; enter your postcode and then fill out the form provided. Just copy and paste the text of the above letter.

Chronically ill and disabled people need action now. Because as DPAC outlined, the possible effects of this bill could be huge. And they stretch beyond social care.

Sweeping implications

For example, chronically ill, disabled and vulnerable children who are about to become adults won’t get assessed for social care. Also, things about the Mental Health Act will also change. As DPAC noted, the new bill will make “it easier for people to be detained” if they’re having a mental health crisis or in severe distress. Plus, the bill means people could either be release from mental health inpatient settings earlier. Or it could lead to people being detained in them longer. 

The proposed bill will temporarily allow the extension or removal of time limits in mental health legislation which means individuals might be released into the community early, or find themselves detained for longer.

Overall, the bill could spell disaster. DPAC believes that chronically ill and disabled people could:

left without care and support. Lack of care and support will have a significant impact on disabled people’s well-being.

But the challenge for people is that the bill and its implications may not breach international human rights laws. This is because the threshold for a breach is so high that, even with the severe implications of the bill, it may still not be reached. So, countless sick and disabled people may suffer due to government changes. But they’ll have nowhere to go to challenge what’s happening.

Act now

This is not Inclusion London and DPAC scaremongering. Their view of the bill is based on legal advice. So, chronically ill and disabled people up and down the UK need all our support. Because they could see their support and human rights decimated by the Tories’ bill. There is no time to lose. So please, write to your MP today.

Featured image via the Telegraph – YouTube 

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