Other things we can expect from the new Scottish Government
Created on 20 May 2016
Helping Disabled People Get Jobs by investing an additional £20 million on top of funding that is transferred from Westminster to ensure that those who most need support get it. Due to start in 2018.
Helping Social Care Staff by implementing the Living Wage of £8.20 per hour from October 2016 for all social care workers.
A Disability Action Plan to improve lives.
Helping unpaid carers by increasing Carers Allowance to the same level as JSA with further adjustments for those caring for more than one disabled child.
Establishing a Disability Benefits Assessment Commission to look at PIP such as how often assessments for PIP should be, what long term conditions should be given an automatic or lifetime awards, and what the eligibility rules about who should get PIP are.
General Election 2015
What difference will this election make for people with learning disabilities?
Created on 24 April 2015
Ivan Cohen and John Booker went up to the Scottish Parliament to interview three leading politicians to find out what difference this election will make for people with learning disabilities. Each politician was given 2 minutes to make their case. A short video is available on our website but here are some of the policy highlights.
Mary Scanlon MSP for the Conservatives said:
- We want more resources for people with special needs.
- We would want more investment in Further Education to help people with learning disabilities.
- We need to make sure people with learning disabilities get the right help and support to get into work
- We support welfare reform but many people with learning disabilities will get more help as the reviews show they need more help than they got in the past.
Stewart Hosie MP for the SNP said:
- We are committed to people with learning disabilities having active equal lives.
- The Scottish Government passed the Self Directed Support which helps people live full and independent lives
- The UK Government should stop the roll out of the Personal Independence Payment
- We are working with the NHS, Cosla and charities to help people badly affected by welfare reform and will put as much money as we can into helping them
Jim Murphy MP for Scottish Labour said:
- We’ll ban zero hour contracts and introduce an £8 an hour minimum wage
- We’ll also keep the Disability Employment Advisers to make it easier to get into work in the first place.
- We’ll make sure that Disability Hate Crime becomes a specific offence
- We will involve people with disabilities in reviewing the Work Capability Assessment and clear the backlog of people waiting for Personal Independence Payment
You can get lots more information about the General Election on our website such as Easy Read manifestos and the very popular “The People Speak” video showing what people with learning disabilities think about the General Election and who they are going to vote for.
Smith Commission Submission
“A More Socially Just Country”
Created on 28 October 2014
The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland is a user led group that works with people with learning disabilities from all over the country. In the run up to the referendum, we held 52 workshops involving over 700 people with learning disabilities looking at the issues that were being raised and helping people understand what the decision might mean for them.
Since the referendum we have held 5 focus groups with 64 people with learning disabilities and their carers to talk about what the referendum meant for them and what more powers. if any, they would like for Scotland.
There were 2 consistent messages that came across from all the groups.
- The new powers that are being suggested are a chance to put the means for delivering social justice into the hands of the people of Scotland.
- This is an opportunity to reach a good settlement that can bring together everyone in Scotland whether they voted Yes or No.
The Focus Groups discussed the principles that could help decide what powers should be further devolved to Scotland.
- They should help make Scotland a more socially just country
- They should support us in doing what Scotland is best at.
- They should be powers that helped people with disabilities play a full part in society
The Economy: Powers related to the economy were at the top of many people’s mind. Many were aware of the pattern of industrial decline and lost jobs that has characterised a particular view of Scotland. Our members said that being able to help get jobs back and then get people into jobs was a top priority.
Mary told us “My family all used to work in the shipyards. My uncle was a great storyteller but he didn’t have much to say after the jobs went.”
Ewan said “People in Scotland know more about what is needed to get new or more jobs.”
Alison said “London is too far away to understand what is happening here”
Andrew said “The jobs are the most important thing for people. Of course we should have control over this.”
Suki said, “I am concerned about jobs being linked to welfare benefits and there aren’t enough opportunities for people with ‘limited skills’ to get a job.”
Welfare Benefits: Powers related to welfare benefits were very important to our members. Many rely on state benefits and even those who work enjoy the additional support that comes from Disability Living Allowance. Many think that powers to establish a new welfare benefits system in Scotland would be really helpful. It could be designed to make sure that particular needs in Scotland were addressed such as the long term nature of many conditions. A few people were aware of the work of the “Expert Group” commissioned by the Scottish Government and felt this showed that there could be a “particularly Scottish” way of reforming and changing welfare benefits.
Kevin told us, “Benefits are really important to me. I want to get help in Scotland that suits me.”
Joan said, “It could be better if Scotland took care of the benefits we get.”
Fiona said, “We should have control over all the benefits but it should be a better benefits system. Right now its hard to discuss benefits. You just get asked the same question time after time.”
Caroline said, “Welfare reform won’t make much difference in a better together or independent Scotland because there is just not enough money.”
Tax raising powers – Our groups had mixed views on this. Tax can be a hard issue for people with learning disabilities to understand. Many of the messages given out during the referendum had given contradictory accounts of whether Scotland contributed more in tax or less than other parts of the United Kingdom. Working out what was good or bad would depend how much of current spending tax raised had to cover, how much control there was to grow the economy and tax base.
Paul said, “I agree it would be good if we could have tax powers”
Hannah said, “There is a lot to think about. More tax powers might be a problem if there are not enough people to pay it living in Scotland to cover the costs of things like free prescriptions. “
In the end there was a slight majority for passing over tax raising powers to the Scottish Parliament.
Other people felt that devolved powers over issues like Immigration, Gambling and Broadcasting should come to Scotland. These were issues that they felt had particular Scottish approaches. If such powers weren’t transferred then some people might feel annoyed or resentful. Looking at the transfer of further powers to Scotland was commonly seen as a way of helping people get back together again.
David said “Scotland is a good place to come to. People work on the farms, in cafes, in the hospital and that is good for everyone.”
This was not unanimous though. A number of people felt that it would be better if countries unite to make bigger decisions about international affairs and immigration.
This will not be the most detailed or comprehensive submission that is received by the Smith Commission but it is one that has been delivered by some of Scotland’s most marginalised citizens. They took up their right to vote in the referendum and they would now like their thoughts on the future of Scotland to be considered on an equal basis to others.
Life’s Getting Harder – Let’s Make It Better
Created on 9 October 2014
The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland is pleased to announce its major new conference on the crisis that many people with learning disabilities are experiencing in care, support and managing the cost of living. We would be grateful if you could share this information with members and service users that you know so they can make the choice to come to the conference.
The day is a chance for people with learning disabilities and their families to look at the challenges in their lives that is making life hard. From changes to eligibility criteria to get social care to the rise in charges for getting support and help, we will look at the different things that make life difficult. We will look for what we can do to find some answers to these challenges
The conference will be mostly for people with learning disabilities from all over Scotland. There will be some carers and parents of people with more profound disabilities there too. We will also be inviting a small number of politicians, officials and professional staff so they can hear more about what people are saying and can help us in finding some solutions.
It will start at 10am on Monday 2nd March 2015 and go on till about 4pm. It will be in the centre of Glasgow, at the Scottish Youth Theatre in Brunswick Street, not far from the train and bus stations.
We will start with a speech from Caroline Gray, Secretary of the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland and a speech from Michael Matheson, the government minister who helps people with learning disabilities. There will be then 4 workshops on some of the different problems that people with learning disabilities have to face. Everyone will get a chance to talk about these and what can be done about them.
- Having Enough Money to Live On.
- Getting a Service,
- Making Real Choices,
- Quality Or Quantity,
The workshops will use drama, music and art to report back before lunch. Everyone will get a choice of a second workshop in the afternoon after lunch. These will be more focussed on finding things we can do to make things better in each of the different areas.
There will be a final session for everyone to get together and to share what they have been doing and what we could all do to Make Life Better for everyone. For more information or to book use email us or phone 0131 243 2699 for the booking line.
10 jargon phrases used for my autistic son
Created on 27 July 2013
Mark Neary is a blogger and father to Steven, who has autism and other learning difficulties. He has written a fascinating guest blog on the BBC website about the use of jargon in social care. Read the full article here
Here are 10 jargon phrases I jotted down on the back of a beer mat, the kind of things which make Steven’s life sound even less “normal”:
1. I live in my home. Steven’s current placement is in the family home.
2. When I make a pizza, I’m making a pizza. When Steven makes a pizza, he’s increasing his independence skills (as overseen by an occupational therapist).
3. If I cry, I’m sad about something. If Steven cries, it is logged and analysed by the psychologist and positive behaviour team.
4. If I shout or swear, I’m angry about something. If Steven shouts or swears, it is challenging behaviour and new behaviour management plans need to be drawn up.
5. If I choose between steak or fish for my tea, I’m making a choice. If Steven chooses either steak or fish for his tea, he is being empowered.
6. I have friends. Steven has a circle of support and influence.
7. If I’m asked what I want to do with my free time, I’m planning my hobbies. If Steven is asked what he wants to do with his free time, it’s his person-centred plan.
8. If I make an unwise choice, I’ve messed up. If Steven makes an unwise choice he may be lacking mental capacity.
9. If I sort my CDs into alphabetical order, I’m being a bit anal. If Steven sorts his Mr Bean DVDs into colour order, he is being inappropriately obsessive.
10. If I eat two Mars bars, I’m being a pig. If Steven eats two Mars bars, he is challenging boundaries.