Reader letter: Disabled have been ignored

Protesters in Peterborough city centre who argue there is a 'crisis' in SEND provision
Protesters in Peterborough city centre who argue there is a 'crisis' in SEND provision
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Councillor John Holdich is apparently open to suggestions on how to save money but how about early intervention for families who have disabled children?

How about an all age inclusive autism pathway? If evidence and data was to be fully understood and considered, Coun Holdich would recognise that appropriate social care and education for disabled children and young people has long-term economical benefits and a positive impact on social mobility. Parents balancing the demands of employment and half-day schooling are being pushed to their limits, parents seeking social care support for their adult disabled child are struggling to navigate a demonising benefit system whilst tackling an understaffed, resource deprived and a crippling social care system.

There are over 13 million disabled people in the UK, nearly half of those in poverty – 6.9 million – are from families in which someone has a disability.

Professor Philip Alston highlighted that disabled people are the hardest hit by austerity measures in his report on extreme poverty and human rights. Disabled people and their families from Peterborough are no exception, we have been denied the very basic in terms of social care, housing, education and employment.

It’s disappointing to read time and time again articles from local politicians’ claiming to be ‘the’ voice for the public whilst consistently ignoring or avoiding disability specific campaigns such as the SEND Crisis Campaign. It’s all well good for Coun Holdich to blame increasing demand whilst saying that funding has reduced from the central government and the leader of the Labour Party to remain consistent in regurgitating the old opposing party rhetoric of ‘well look how bad the current council administration is’. It has almost become an ongoing school playground game whilst vulnerable people are pushed into poverty and despair.

The government’s persistent failure to assess the impact of austerity of the most vulnerable groups of people is shocking but what’s more alarming that locally in Peterborough, the total lack of transparency and evidence-based decision making has remained unchallenged by what appears to be a politically diverse council. Why is it that limited resources are used to fund projects such as form filling whilst there are other organisations providing the very same service? Is this not an example of poor decision making?

From observation, councillors have more to say when a bridge is being discussed and yet when vulnerable children are denied access to education, we the parent campaigners, are ignored, our children are ignored.

As the General Election is upon us perhaps it’s time to ask this question: the person with a rosette or letter knocking on your door, will they listen to your concerns? And, most importantly, what are they proposing to do about it?

Nazreen Bibi

Peterborough