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A good meeting was had at the petitions committee on Tuesday 11th November about the Abolish Care Charges Petition. Due to timing issues we were not all able to speak at the start. Jeff managed to cover his whole introductory speech and also introduce Pauline’s points on human rights.
There was a healthy and supportive round of questioning from the committee members. There was a healthy disbelief at COSLA’s failure to deliver change after 12 years of trying. Jackie Baillie MSP also attended and made a very positive contribution.
The full verbatim minutes will be available from about 5pm on Tuesday 11th so I will not try to summarise the discussion any further.
The committee agreed to continue the petition and agreed the following actions.
– They will write to EHRC for an opinion on possible human rights and equality law breaches from care charging
- They will write to the Child Poverty Action Group and the Poverty Alliance for comment on care charging pushing people into poverty,
- They will ask the appropriate Minister to come to a future committee meeting and ask for their view on the lack of progress of consistency on care charges, how long they will continue to be happy with a lack of progress and what the Government plans to do about it.
- They will write to COSLA and ask for the convenor of the Working Group on charges to attend and to explain what outcomes they are seeking to achieve and what timescales they have set for this.
- They will write to NHS Scotland for their views on care charging in light of integration and what effect it has on the services they provide.
- They will write to Moray, Argyll & Bute and Falkirk seeking an explanation for their widely varying care charges.
Overall those who took part and those who watched thought this was a productive and helpful meeting that will lead to some interesting development.
The committee will hear further evidence on this petition at a future meeting - probably not until January 2015.
On the 29th of October over 100 people with learning disabilities from all over Scotland came together to celebrate 25 years of hard work and great campaigning by People First Scotland.
Steve Robertson, Keith Lynch and Monica Hunter all spoke about the good work that had been done but they all made the point that much more had to be done There was still much that needed to done so people good live good lives and not be picked on by other people.
David said People First had helped him be more confident and he had gone on to be the chair of another organisation.
Fiona said that she had learned a lot and become good at public speaking.
From all your friends at the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, we say Good Luck for the next 25 years.
EIS-FELA (Further Education Lecturers’ Association) President John Kelly said, “The results of this national survey of ASN provision in Scotland’s colleges clearly indicate a significant decline in ASN provision for students since the Government began implemented funding cuts for FE colleges four years ago. The evidence from this EIS-FELA survey shows that it is the students who both require and deserve specialist additional support that are suffering the deepest and most damaging consequences of funding cuts. Continued funding cuts have led to a systematic reduction in ASN activity and a reduction in total college capacity to support ASN students – the most vulnerable students in society. The sad truth is that cuts to ASN provision make it far more difficult, if not impossible, for many of these learners to access education at all.”
He added, “The Survey also identifies an alarming range in the amount of ASN provision different FE regions provide, which raises serious equality concerns. For example, Dundee College had 699 DPG18 (ASN) students in 2012-13 whilst Aberdeen College had 240, despite being a much larger college. In the same year; West Lothian College, Aberdeen College and Anniesland College all delivered similar amounts of DPG18 ASN activity despite significant differences in their size and geographic footprint. ASN provision is erratic and it would seem purely historical, with no nationwide planning, that the levels of support ASN students receive is dependant mainly on where they live. For Learners with ASN, potentially having to travel to an institution in another part of the country can present a significant barrier to their access to education.”
A More Socially Just Country”
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.
1. 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.
2. This is an opportunity to reach a good settlement that can bring together everyone in Scotland whether they voted Yes or No.
We are pleased to announce the publication of our latest newsletter dated October 2014. You can listen to it online here
You can read the articles online by clicking on the following links
Article One - This looks at the wider implications of the closure of an Edinburgh service for young adults with special needs. Issues such as Policy Rush, Cherry Picking and Give Back are looked at. Read it here.
Article Two - This is part of our long running campaign for the ending of care charges. We reveal that 23 councils in Scotland charge people in poverty, making their living situations intolerable. Read it here.