Developing ICT skills and networks of support.
Ciara’s APPG Blog
Posted: 23rd Aug 2011
I am going to tell you about my role as the new APPG Meeting Co-Clerk. My role is to help organise the APPG Meetings which take place in the Houses of Parliament alongside my colleagues Peter Hand and James Robinson.
I am really enjoying being the APPG Co-Clerk. I have learnt a lot about how parliament works and have been able to meet MP’s and Lords who are interested in learning disability issues.
As someone with a learning disability I feel that it is really important that we get our messages heard by the government so that they can help to improve the lives of people with a learning disability.
On 27th April I attended the APPG Meeting on Welfare Reform in the Lords Committee Room.
I think it is really important for people with a Learning Disability to have their benefits money, because if people don’t receive their benefits then they cannot go out into the community and see their families and friends. Also, they cannot go out and get a job.
I gave a speech about Welfare reform and talked about the issue of the mobility part of the Disability Living Allowance being taken away from people that live in residential care.
As I have a learning disability, speaking up for other people with a learning disability is really important to me.
A copy of my speech is below!
Hi, my name is Ciara Evans and I am a campaigns spokesperson for Mencap as well as the UK representative for Inclusion Europe which campaigns for the rights and interests of disabled people and their families throughout Europe.
As someone with a learning disability myself, I think it is very important to speak up for disabled people so that people can listen to our views and know what life is like for disabled people.
It is important that when making laws politicians listen to the views of disabled people, which is why APPG meetings like this are so important.
With the Welfare Reform Bill, it is very important that the views of people with a disability are listened to because it will affect many disabled people.
So, now I will talk a bit about my views of the Welfare Reform Bill, as a disabled person.
There is a great deal of debate about lots of technical issues in the Welfare Reform Bill, and I must admit I do not know all of them.
However, I do know that benefits are important when making sure that disabled people can have the support they need to live more independent lives.
I hope the content of the Welfare Reform Bill can help even more disabled people to live independently.
The Government says they want to make the system simpler, with less time filling in unnecessary and complicated forms. I welcome this.
The government also plans to make changes to Disability Living Allowance in the Welfare Reform Bill and I know many people are concerned about how some of these changes could affect disabled people.
In a recent survey called ‘DLA: why it matters’, Mencap asked nearly 1,000 people with a learning disability how they spent their DLA to see how important it is to their lives.
The survey showed that 84% of people said that they spent their DLA on paying for care and support like help around the home and transport needs.
Also, 61% of people said that it cost more money to do “everyday” things because of their learning disability and 71% of people said that DLA makes a difference to their lives.
This survey shows the positive difference that DLA can make for disabled people.
The changes to the mobility part of DLA for people who live in residential homes is something that many people are concerned about.
It is important that disabled people who live in residential care homes still have opportunities to go out and meet friends and members of their family.
The Government’s decision to look at this matter again with a review is also welcome, and I hope disabled people will be able to make their views known on this matter.
I believe it is important for the government to listen to what disabled people have to say on this issue.
If the government wants to change DLA, it is important that any changes continue to help disabled people.
And for the government to realise that disabled people need extra help and support to live independently.
Thank you for listening and letting me speak at today’s meeting.