The salary you are left with barely covers the necessities of living. You won’t starve but you’ll just go to work, come home, and eat super noodles or frozen pizza. You stay in on your own most of the time because you can no longer afford to socialise with your friends. You become isolated, depressed, and very angry. Everything you’ve worked for has been taken away. You try to challenge this decision but you are told this is “EQUALISATION” i.e. many of your peers are worse off than you so from now on you have to take responsibility for their welfare by sharing the fruits of your labour.
This is what is happening in Glasgow today. Stuart Devlin is a 30 year old man who was born with Cerebral Palsy and learning difficulties. Despite the disadvantages he faced every day of his life, he was determined to make the most of his life.
Stuart’s disability means that he is unable to travel on his own or plan, prepare and cook meals, make telephone calls or organise his daily affairs without support. Despite these challenges 3 years ago Stuart, with 55 hours of support, was able to leave home and move into his own tenancy.
He used his support to live a `normal’ life and to become an active and worthwhile member of society. He volunteered in an After School Care Club and Hospital Radio Station. He was a keen sportsman and won medals for athletics and horse riding at the Special Olympics. He played football twice a week and even played for the national CP Scotland Squad. He even raised money to help disability charities!
As part of personalisation, Glasgow Social Work has decided that Stuart had more than his “fair share” of support and cut his hours by 45% to just 30 hours per week. He was told his support has to be reduced as there isn’t enough money to go around. Stuart’s `cut’ will be shared out among his peers who previously didn’t receive any social work service. He was told there isn’t enough funding to support him with the “niceties” of life.
Since Stuart’s support has been cut, he spends a lot of time at home on his own. He mainly eats frozen pizza and super noodles. He has put on weight. Sometimes he just doesn’t want to eat at all. He isn’t sleeping well and feels isolated, angry and frustrated. He has given up his football as he doesn’t have enough hours of support to travel there and back. His flat is grubby as he can’t manage to clean it himself.