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An Open Letter to Ian Duncan-Smith MP - Carers UK Forum

An Open Letter to Ian Duncan-Smith MP

All about money
Following Rosemary's post about the reported £44 million paid in bonuses to Mr. Duncan-Smith's staff, I thought I'd drop him a line.

Dear Mr. Duncan-Smith,

I would like to start by congratulating your staff in reaching their targets for the year 2012. It is always very gratifying to feel appreciated and valued, and I'm certain that the £44 million paid to your staff in bonuses must have gone a considerable way in terms of appreciation and value - although I would have like to have been consulted before MY taxes were so freely distributed to people, who, let's face it, are just doing their job. I wonder, if they do NOT reach their targets, do they get penalised by way of deductions from their salaries?

To add to this magnificent news, I have some of my own! I too reached my target, not only for the year 2012, but every year since 2005! As the sole carer to my elderly Father, I can report that he is still alive, he eats and drinks and takes his medication. He can't go out as I need someone to help me, and Social Services haven't yet, since asking them in May of this year, responded to my many requests for advice, but hey ho - who needs a little social interaction and fresh air (not to mention required levels of Vitamin D), when they can sit and watch mindless television all day!

I should perhaps apologise for contacting Social Services for a little help as we do not qualify for any financial support at all - I wonder if this explains their tardiness in contacting me? In retrospect, I think maybe my parents have been a little foolish. You see, they both served in the Armed Forces during World War II, and then forged their path in life by working until they reached retirement age, providing adequately for the latter years of their life along the way. To add to their stupidity, my Mother joined the local hospital's League of Friends and she and her colleagues worked tirelessly for many years in order to fund a state of the art Accident & Emergency department. My Father became a volunteer hospital driver until he was forced out of this role aged 70 as this is the upper limit for volunteer drivers.

I forgot to mention that my Father had stoma surgery in 1952 - he was in hospital for almost 9 months. I was three months old when he was admitted and my Mother and I went to live with her parents so that she could be nearer the hospital. We believe he may be the longest surviving stoma patient. Oh, he also has glaucoma and has lost the sight in one eye. After a severe UTI last year he is now virtually immobile.

So here I am, isolated, lonely, tired, broke and completely devoid of any significant mental stimulation - but you have to admit - I reached my target! Sadly though, no bonus payment has found it's way to my coffers and I continue to subsist on something like £2.05 per hour.

My tale is nothing compared to many others who sacrifice their lives, their incomes, their health and sometimes their sanity in order to care for a loved one. With over 7 million carers in the UK, saving the government an estimate £119 billion every year, I am sure we could find you one who would happily swap roles with you or one of your staff and then you could demonstrate your ability to live on just over £53 per week which you so famously made public not so very long ago. Coupled with the rigours of caring, I'm certain you would find the lifestyle swap interesting and illuminating - although the downside would be learning how to make 2 rashers of bacon and two eggs feed four people and all those nasty phone calls you would have to make to various financial institutions and utility companies trying to explain why you can't pay them. However, with your over-inflated opinion of yourself, this would probably just be a "walk in the park" - which is OK for you, but not for those who can't walk anywhere.

Being a carer, Mr. Duncan-Smith, let me assure you, is not a lifestyle choice. None of us planned it this way and millions of people out here are being robbed of their lives, robbed of relationships and well and truly robbed by the government. There is something quite scandalous in a country which sees fit to reward government employees with extra payments for simply doing what they are contracted to do, but chooses to allow a large swathe of the population to toil day and night, sometimes for years and years, undertaking often very unpleasant tasks, on payments that quite often are less than 20% of the minimum wage.

I would welcome your comments, and your proposals for rectifying this unsustainable situation.(Oh, I'd welcome MY bonus as well).
wow, well said! Are you going to send it anywhere public,as well as to him?

I have just come from the BBC news page feeling very sad. The Samaritans are going to be visiting Welsh Railway stations to advise staff on how they might help to cut suicides,as there has been a 30% rise in people taking their own lives in Wales in the last two years.How does Iain Duncan-Smith feel that the people on bonuses deserve them?
That letter is just fantastic Ladybird and I myself would pop it in the post to my local MP and ask him to forward it on for me just so others can see exactly how we as carers feel.
Our situation is that we have just lost my Dad who I cared for (alongside my Mum) for 10 years, after being left severely physically disabled following a stroke in 2003. The impact of this caring has left my dear old Mum with the onset (and getting worse rapidly) of vascular dementia and me with a prolapsed womb after many years of lifting this dear Man of ours. Mums income has reduced by more than half, my carers allowance has stopped and I have been told that Mum doesn't qualify for Attendance Allowance because she can wash and dress herself. I have to prompt my Mum to do everything including washing and dressing herself, she is perfectly able to remain in her own home but only with help from myself and my dear Aunt who pops in every afternoon whilst I come home. Between us we then make sure she is safely in bed. All this I am supposed to do without any financial support at all and indeed we are now subsidising the bills Mum can't pay. Yes I am going to fight but I would dearly like a bit of time to grieve for my Dad and feel that I am just about cared out - sorry for the rant but this how I feel folks xxxxxxxx
Thanks - I just wanted to put down in writing how I felt!

I'm so sorry for the loss of your Dad JHR - and I also know how difficult it must be for the one left behind.
I really get very wound up about the way carers are treated - and your situation is a prime example. I'm surprised about the Attendance Allowance decision - my Dad got the upper rate about 6 years ago, whilst he was still mobile and doing far more than he can do now. But no doubt they've moved the goalposts - again. The "Whitehall Mandarins" conveniently forget that carers have a life as well - and I don't mean swanning here there and everywhere having a good time, but just dealing with the day-to-day stuff we all need to do to get by.

The system is such that it piles pressure on you at a time when you least need it. I hope you find a way to let your grief come out - I held on to mine (in public anyway) when my Mum passed away as I was trying to support my Dad and both my kids, who were exceptionally close to my Mum. I'm not sure you ever do finish grieving over the loss of a parent, but I guess, somehow, you come to terms with it.

Keep on fighting until you get what you so rightly deserve!
Brilliant letter.

I know many here already have the t shirt, have campaigned much over the years. However, we also have a lot of newish members and this link may be helpful, there are 3 pages of tips

http://www.carersuk.org/get-involved/ca ... ampaigning
Ladybird you just have to email that to IDS and a famous newspaper......please do it as you are speaking for all carers x
Totally brilliant! Well said Ladybird. It's only when you see it written down, that the scale of what carer's do is quite literally taken for granted. It would be something if you got a reply, but better if things changed because of what you'd written. Image
Brilliant letter Ladybird, please send it to him x
I'd like to see IDS championing the abolishment of slavery in Great Britain. There is a portion of the population working up to 168 hours a week for £59.75 per week with no rights to sick pay, time off or holidays. As soon as they get a job paying over £100 per week, even this miserable £59.75, which they have worked very hard for, is snatched away from them. Who are these people - Carers!
What a powerful letter, and so eloquently yet factually said.

When time permits (?), I will also be penning my thought on how carers are treated, and posting it off to anyone I can think of who should be made 'more aware'!

Again, well done Ladybird, and thank you for speaking up for this sub-class of society; Carers!

Warmest regards