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Wei out

Now that society is officially big, Lord Wei's work in the Lords is done and he is leaving. This will be a huge relief for the noble Lord, whose parliamentary role was proving an encumbrance to the important work of making a ton of money from the charitable sector.

He has no need to worry, though; the changes in attitude necessary for the big society to function are gaining ground in Parliament as much as they are in the rest of the country. At yesterday’s public session for the Joint Committee on Human Rights, talking about independent living for the disabled, all the witnesses gave evidence that a wide range of disabled people will suffer from the impact of cuts in funding, from outright loss of money, through cuts that will leave them with enough to stay live but not to leave the house, to subtle disincentives to use the aids and facilities that would alleviate their condition.

A woman from the National Centre for Independent Living pointed out that many disabled people will suffer from the closure of the Independent Living Fund. It’s already to closed to new claimants, and will close for good in 2015, affecting 21,000 disabled people. When this was announced, there was a vague statement from the government that the shortfall would probably be made up by local authorities or maybe the Arts Council, or had they considered going door-to-door selling jaycloths? (Not the actual wording.) Rehman Chisli, a Tory disable-sceptic* who appears to be on the human rights committee only sarcastically, was dismissive of this evidence, particularly of the two specific illustrations that she had given.
Rehman Chishti: Can I clarify one thing? You said 21,000, and you said you had the example of two who would be affected by the changes. Am I right in thinking—correct me if I am wrong—that out of 21,000 people who are claimants, that is the figure at which the Government stop? You have only two examples.
This is a level of scepticism rarely seen in Parliament, or indeed outside conspiracy forums:“You have said that 21,000 people will be affected but you can only give us two names. You must be lying”. But which was he—malicious or really stupid? His respondent gently assumed the latter.
Sue Bott: I think there is a misunderstanding here. I have presented two examples to you. I could present a number of other examples and I would be happy to do so, but I am mindful of how much reading matter you have to have. But the point is that those are examples of people who have been affected by closure of the fund since October last year, so they are people who would have been able to apply for the fund had it continued. It is closed to new applicants; that is probably where we are getting confused. A decision has been taken that the fund will close in its entirety. It is at that point that the 21,000 people who currently rely on that fund will find that they do not have that funding any longer, and to date we have no clear indication of where that funding will be made up from.
Mr Chishti looked scornful and left the session shortly afterwards, pausing only to [THIS IS NOT TRUE] punch a row of disabled children full in the face [THAT WAS NOT TRUE].

* He does not go as far as professing that disabled people are not actually impaired, but does make it clear that he believes that any financial help for disabilities is a personal affront to, and probable direct theft from, himself. This makes him a strong contender for a ministerial position at the DWP.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 25th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC)
i think some recent tom gauld work may provide a suitable descriptor for the honourable member

May. 26th, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC)
Chishti stood as a Labour candidate in 2005. He's a thoroughly principled man. His - I assume recently vandalised - Wikipedia entry claims he supports the EDL.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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