We publish a newsletter every two months. We publish the last 6 copies on this website but if you want to access our archive, please get in touch.
Here is our latest newsletter dated April 2013. There are three main articles in this edition.
The first article looks at concessions from Dundee City Council following legal action over plans to close a Day Centre for people with learning disabilities. This will be of interest to many people in different parts of Scotland who face similar challenges.
Our second article introduces worrying new evidence released by the DWP on what will happen after the closure of the Independent Living Fund. You can read the full documents here by clicking on the following links
The third article looks at a new project for gay and lesbians who have a learning disability.
All the articles are available on our website if you have problems reading this email. All articles on our website can be read aloud by simply highlighting the text and clicking the speaker icon. There is also an audio version of this newsletter on our website. If you would like a copy emailed to you or a version on a disc please let me know.
For the last few months, some of the small print in the Self Directed Support bill had been causing worry to family carers. A power was to be given to local authorities to legally charge carers for services that were given to them to help them carry on caring.
Many carers feel that their contribution is unrecognised and now they would have to pay for any help they get. For example, going on a Manual Handling course would be means tested and if you had a few pounds in savings or perhaps DLA on your own account, you could have to pay £40 for the privilege.
Jackie Baillie MSP with the support of many carers pushed forward an amendment to stop this in its tracks. Thousands of carers signed petitions and wrote directly to MSPs and Ministers.
In the end the Minister of Public Health rejected the amendment but came up with a compromise of his own. The power would remain but he would publish regulations before the Act came in that waived any charges for services provided to carers through the Act.
Some people have been a bit sceptical about this move but at LDAS we thinks it’s a great development. We have long campaigned against the Care Tax and been told that we have to wait for COSLA to come up with changes.
By making this promise, the Minister has said that he doesn’t trust hard pressed councils not to charge carers and that he has to act to control them. In doing this the Government acknowledges that they have both the power and a duty to intervene when care charges are a problem.
Now that the Government has opened the door then we expect many more regulations from the Scottish Government to make councils behave when it comes to the Care Tax.
After all, aren’t disabled people also partners in their own care too? Why should newly bereaved disabled people be means tested on Bereavement Benefit? Why should people be means tested to help them get out of bed in the morning?
We look forward to more government regulation to sort out this unfair Care Tax.
You can read the articles on line at
Our July 2012 newsletter has been published. We are still having problems with the email distribution so if you haven't got it yet, please download your copy here.
You can also read it online
Article One - The Same As You Mark 2
Article Two - Vote For Jimmy
Article Three - More equality changes coming.
For those who want an audio version you can listen to it live or download it by clicking here and don't forget you can listen to any article on this website by simply highlighting the text and clicking the loud speaker symbol.
The UK government has gone ahead with plans to implement new rules on age discrimination. From October the 1st 2012, it will be illegal for providers of goods and services to discriminate against people on the grounds of age. This will also cover public authorities such as the NHS and the local authorities.
From then on it will only be legal to give differential treatment in two situations. First where there is an “objective justification”. This might be where screening for Prostate Cancer was offered to men over 50 because they were more likely to get that disease. In other words, there has to be a good reason that is obvious to anyone who looks at this matter.
Second is where there is a “statutory exemption” created by previous law. For example, in England the law says that people over 60 should get free prescriptions. This is allowed to stay in the future.
These new rules are important for people with learning disabilities in two areas.
First some local authorities have been saying that when people with learning disabilities are over 60 they should go into care homes for older people. This will no longer be allowed. There is no objective justification for this.
Secondly in local authority charging policies for non-residential care there is no legislative underpinning for differential charging between those over and under 60. Currently those over 60 get much more generous personal income disregards. This is a purely local decision based on voluntary guidance from COSLA which local councils are under no obligation to follow.
As a result, it is likely that current charging regimes will have to change dramatically and it may lead to people with learning disabilities getting to keep more of their money before they start paying charges.