How some busy, important people could get things right in the Autumn Statement on Thursday

3 December 2013

by Guy Parckar

At this very moment lots of very busy, very important people in Westminster will be working away to come up with facts, figures and ideas.

Maybe that’s what very busy, very important people in Westminster always do.

But on this occasion, they will be doing it because on Thursday the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, will make his Autumn Statement.

Along with the Budget, this is one of the main announcements about the strength of the economy and how the government spends and raises money. And there are always some new policies and proposals announced that can have a big impact on people up and down the country.

This year I am hoping for just one really important thing — that all the people coming up with those big new ideas think about the 1 in 7 people who have a disability.

So this year I’m hoping, whatever new ideas are announced, that they have stopped to think what this might mean for disabled people.

If the important people in Westminster really do think this through, then some things will be very clear to them:

  • Too many disabled and older people are receiving inappropriate flying 15-minute care visits.
  • Too many disabled and older people are missing out on the support that they need altogether (PDF).
  • Too many disabled people are struggling to make ends meet and finding it difficult to pay their bills.
  • Too much of our transport system still isn’t properly accessible, meaning that disabled people can’t get out and about.
  • Too many disabled people aren’t getting opportunities to work, even though they want to.

I don’t expect the Chancellor to solve all of these problems in one speech, but I do hope that he and his advisers do something to solve at least one of these problems.

At the very least we have to see some plans to end the scandal of 15-minute flying care visits and to make sure people get the support that they need to live independently.

We’ve heard over the last few weeks about the crisis in Accident and Emergency departments. Solving this crisis is pretty important. So is making sure that people have the support they need to live at home with some dignity.

It’s lucky then for the busy and important people that they could with one announcement help to achieve both aims. Investing in social care would make A&E departments less busy, as fewer older and disabled people are forced to go to A&E simply because they can’t get help anywhere else.

It’s hard to think of anything more important that the busy and important people could do on Thursday? Here’s hoping that they take the opportunity to think about things from a disabled person’s point of view.

  • The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement takes place at 11.15am on 5 December. You can watch it online or on BBC Parliament.
  • Sign up to our campaigns network to find out more about Leonard Cheshire Disability’s campaigns and policy work.

Guy Parckar (@GuyParckar on Twitter) is Leonard Cheshire Disability’s head of policy and campaigns.

Add new comment