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Carers UK Forum • Who controls your life?
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Who controls your life?

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:09 pm
by Scally
It is no coincidence that the Welfare State was founded just after WW2, when Britain was flooded with demobbed ex-servicement, many of who suffered from significant physical and mental disabilities. My father in law Alex was one of them: a former Burma Railway FEPOW who came home to Scotland as a walking skeleton, riddled with malaria, Beri-Beri and other tropical diseases, and a below leg amputee. He was put to work making baskets in a sheltered workshop, but broke free, moved to the Midlands with his young family, and made a good career in manufacturing in the booming motor industry, ending up in management.

It's not just about the State, or welfare benefits, is it? It is also about individual tenacity and courage: Alex was probably a heartland Labour supporter, (though we never discussed politics, funnily enough) but Tebbit would have understood where he was coming from: he wasn't willing to accept a second class role as a disabled veteran: and indeed, many of his later employers and staff never knew his wartime history or the reason for his limp.

I live in one of those Scottish mining areas devasted by industrial closures: but well before Thatcher, the pits here closed in the 1960's because the coal ran out. It doesn't much matter which government was in power, the pits would have closed anyway, good riddance, they were horrible. The key to good welfare is to support people just enough so that no-one goes hungry or cold or lacking in educational opportunities, but no-one loses the incentive to improve their situation. By claiming that "there are no jobs" for carers or disabled people etc etc, we contribute to negativity and defeatism, and I want no part of that: both me and my caree work p/t - he might be only 16 and have Downs Syndrome, but he is already learning the value of a wage and he wants more.

When asked what he considered his greatest achievement, Harold Wilson unhesitatingly said: "The Open University". And ironically enough, that socialist legend, Tony Benn, would probably point to the Girobank, that finally opened up banking to the working classes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girobank
History is full of ironies like these. The Tories would have given blood to have come up with these innovations.

Many of the former miners in these parts went on to use their skills to create thriving new industries, employing thousands. The biggest creator of new jobs isn't giant remote global corporations, it is small businesses set up by folk like me and you.

The biggest crime of welfare is to create situations where people are trapped on benefit with zero incentive to study, get a job, or set up a small business on their own. Like carers, who lose their pittance as soon as they become students or earn over £100 a week. Now that's criminal.

Re: Who controls your life?

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:15 pm
by myra
nothing to do with the above, but we must stay around the same area, dad still stays in an ex mining village, he worked in 4 of the local mines, and then a private mine just before he retired, hes 84 now and i am proud to be a miners daughter.

myra

Re: Who controls your life?

Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 3:15 am
by Guest
You are ignoring the reality, Scally, that work is not a viable option for many disabled people and their carers, it is always a good idea to look beyond your personal circumstances and see the wider picture.

And ask those living in those former mining communities where the public sector is now the largest employer and experiencing major job lossess whether the economy will support business start-ups when businesses are closing and private industry is laying off staff, it takes investment in infrastructure and incentives for employers to bring their business to these areas in order to boost the economy and reduce unemployment, many people have retrained, some more than once, only to find that new industries have gone the same way as mining and their new skills are no longer needed. And no bank is going to accept a business plan when there is no market for the product or service.

Re: Who controls your life?

Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:35 am
by daylily
Scally's is always optimistic and I do not blame him, he has done a fantastic job with his son- made him into a wonderful independant adult.
The reality for a lot of carers is sadly very different as we are nursing the end of lives and not helping someone achieve their full potential.
It is a totally different ball game. The endless jobs to be done knowing that there is only one end to it all.
It's heartbreaking and makes every day just a little bit harder.
Re the jobs situation. I do not want a job. I do not know how long I will have my hubby, could be months or even a couple of years and that is the reason I push myself to the limit each and every day.
He shuffles to the loo and my heart breaks a little bit more.
He holds my hand when there is a fire/crash or something on TV because he cannot separate reality from fiction and gets scared and my heart breaks a little bit more.
Why should I have to put this very vulnerable man in a care situation just so we can get enough money to live comfortably on. The financial help should be there but it is being eroded little by little every single day.
Incentive to work Scally? I need an incentive just to get up in the mornings!!!!!!!

Re: Who controls your life?

Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:56 am
by Myrtle
my heart breaks a little bit more.
Why should I have to put this very vulnerable man in a care situation just so we can get enough money to live comfortably on. The financial help should be there but it is being eroded little by little every single day.
You and me both, Daylily Image

Re: Who controls your life?

Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:26 pm
by charles47
It's too easy to generalise. Did David Lloyd George introduce idleness into our collective thinking when he introduced Retirement Pension, Unemployment and Sickness Benefits (the origins of the Welfare State) before WW1?

I don't think so somehow. And I don't believe it now. There are some individuals who are idle and who need a swift kick into a different mindset. Some of them are carers. I've come across a very few who could work, without affecting their caring situation in the slightest. But they are a very few. For others, there is an impact - in some cases, a very significant one.

As a working carer, I recognise the fact that while working may provide a break from the caring role, it doesn't provide me with a battery recharge or a good night's sleep.

Re: Who controls your life?

Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:09 pm
by cheryl
Tenacity and courage comes in many forms sometimes it shows itself in an individual making a decision or choice to remain exactly where they are.
Sometimes it takes all of a persons tenacity and courage to just maintain what they already have and to continue doing the amount of work that they already do whether that's caring for someone or regular paid employment.

In the example of Scallys FIL, well he really didn't have a lot to loose in giving up basket work? it certainly took courage to make the move from where they lived to a new strange area, but there again he had already been held prisoner and survived the experience in a strange country? After all the deprivation, disease etc Scallys FIL had experienced and witnessed he must have felt pretty much like he'd been to hell and back? what was there left for him to be fearful of in this earthly life? not much would be my guess!

Re: Who controls your life?

Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:28 pm
by paulingreece
I think scally is an agent provocateur, working for the conservatives, and only says he does market research as a cover story. Image Image Image Image Image Image

Re: Who controls your life?

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:58 am
by Scally
Ha ha!
Labour mobility will always be important as some industries rise and fall, such as the oil industry. I've zig-zagged the UK for work several times, and I can understand why it might be difficult for some folk to take the risk of upping sticks - this is one of the downsides of social housing and a lopw wage economy, it tends to trap people into a locale. We probably need a larger, and more affordable private rental sector, like France. I've moved house twice as a carer, long distance moves too, not round the corner. But the real key is education and skills: I know Scottish plumbers and builders who regularly work down south in London because work is plentiful. Thats why the bar on Carers becoming students is so deeply offensive and counter-productive: its a very good way to break out of welfare dependency.

Re: Who controls your life?

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:07 am
by Guest
You know I find it so offensive to see the words "Welfare dependency" on here, no-one chooses to live on a subsistence income when they become sick, disabled or a carer and carers are not universally low-skilled, many have given up good, well-paid jobs to care. We pay into a social insurance system in order to ensure that if we can no longer work, for whatever reason, we have some degree of financial security, there is nothing shameful about claiming benefits, the alternative is a return to the Poor Laws, seeking assistance from the parish, and I do not think anyone, including Scally, would like to see a return to the pre-Welfare State days when families had to prove that they had nothing left to sell before they were helped.

The problem with social housing is that, as a result of right-to-buy and lack of (re)investment in housing social housing stock, there is not enough of it, not that people become trapped in it because it is comfortable, the greatest shortage is where there are still some jobs to be found, but people also prefer to remain within communities where they have friends and family especially if they are in need of support and I do not think that is unreasonable. Rents in the private sector are rising because of the reluctance of banks to lend to first-time buyers, it would make more sense and cost less to the tax-payer over the long term, housing benefit is paid to low-income families in work as well as those out of work, to increase the social housing stock than to increase the market-led housing supply.

I agree that it is wrong that people lose entitlement to CA if they enter full-time education but not every carer is in a position to access full-time education let alone look for work.

It is easy to put forward simplistic solutions to complex problems, for many carers the problem is not lack of employment or lack of aspiration, it certainly is not lack of "individual tenacity and courage", the undeserving poor, but lack of support and lack of an income which meets the cost of living when work is not an option and, dare I say, lack of an understanding of their circumstances.