Recently, Wisbech, March and District Trades Council have been spreading the word about how important our Trade Unions are.
We were distributing leaflets telling why we should love Unions for what they have done to benefit us in the past and why we still need them now, maybe more than ever.
Ours is supposedly the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world, and we talk often of our British belief in fair play.
Yet with the Trade Union Bill, this Government are putting these values at risk.
We’ve already seen them make it harder to register to vote, soon they will redraw the Parliamentary map in a way that benefits the Conservative Party.
Furthermore, hidden in the Trade Union Bill is a clause that is deliberately designed to cut off trade unions’ financial support for the Labour Party – while doing nothing to limit the hedge funds and millionaires that support the Tories.
They’re attacking democracy by silencing opposition, whether it’s from unions, campaigners, or charities; and by changing the rules to make it harder for anyone else to win an election.
As the House of Lords debate the Bill over the next weeks, I can only hope the Government will take the opportunity to embody the values of democracy and decency they claim to support, and drop these unfair proposals.
Wisbech, March and
District Trades Union Council.
Hitting at our independence
The government has announced that it intends to abolish Attendance Allowance for new claimants.
Attendance Allowance is a form of personal independence payment to people over 65 who have become disabled and are ineligible for DLA/PIP.
It has a lower and higher rate depending on your degree of disability.
The intention of the allowance is to ensure that older people who become disabled can maintain their independence.
It doesn’t just cover personal care costs such as washing or dressing, but can be used for things like paying someone to do gardening or shopping, DIY jobs around the house which you can no longer do, towards extra heating, running a car or hiring transport – even to get help to carry on with your hobbies.
It recognises that maintaining independence and wellbeing isn’t just about care, but the emotional and psychological wellbeing that can help you to stay well and put less demand on our health services. This money is about living, not just existing.
The government say that the money will be transferred to Social Services.
They said that when they abolished the Independent Living Fund last June, but a Scope survey found disabled people being left to sleep in their wheelchairs overnight, fully clothed, or going without meals.
The idea of Attendance Allowance was that it enabled older people with disabilities to have a choice in the sort of care arrangements they were able to make for themselves.
Now they will be restricted to what Social Services – which has had adult care budgets slashed by 31% since 2010 – can provide, and will be means tested.
The Conservative Party claims to support people having more choice.
However, this only appears to be for those who are wealthy enough to purchase services for themselves.
Mr Cameron promised before the last election that the Tories wouldn’t take away benefits from disabled people, yet within the first nine months of this government they have abolished two benefits which support the most vulnerable disabled people and proposed to cut benefits to people fighting cancer. I am proud that I am one of the 37% of pensioners who didn’t vote last May for probably the most dishonest, deceitful, disreputable government since they abolished the “rotten boroughs” 200 years ago.
big garden bird watch
Great to see the Brownies at Wisbech taking part in the RSPB’s recent Big Garden Bird Watch (Citizen, February 17).
It’s so easy to take our feathered friends for granted and the information the watch will generate is so important.