Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Birmingham England (not Alabama)

I'm so glad I don't live in Birmingham. I've nothing against the place and the people I've met from there seem fine. But I'd find it very hard to live somewhere where the council was intent on not providing any services to disabled people that they didn't absolutely have to by law - and even then only provide the absolute minimum to maybe keep people alive.

Social Service Departments classify disabled people's needs into 4 categories - low, moderate, substantial and critical. Most SS Depts provide services for people with moderate needs, many are withdrawing services and only providing services for people with substantial or critical needs. A few, like Birmingham, want to restrict services only to people with critical needs. My own son is classed as critical, so he'd get some sort of service - but I'd find it difficult to live with myself where people with substantial, let alone moderate needs were left uncared for by the Local Authority. This is how the cuts are being implemented locally.

There's been a legal challenge to Birmingham, and they've been told this weekend, by the courts, in no uncertain terms that they are acting unlawfully. They've been told they didn't consult properly, that they are breaking the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act if they go ahead, that they haven't assessed the impact these cuts will have on disabled people and that they have a legal obligation to provide services - even if this means cutting costs somewhere else. This is good news of a sort - but I don't really want to live in a society where it's acceptable for the local politicians to feel that just keeping disabled people this side of the grave is good enough.

I really feel for the people of Birmingham - even if these cuts get rolled back a bit. There but for the grace of god .... Our own Local Authority would dearly like to send us down the same road - we're just luckier that we're starting off a bit further away. Thank you the real people of Birmingham for getting the courts to put a spanner in the works of these heartless politicians, lets hope this spanner can be mass produced to stop other areas doing the same thing.

Civil Rights turned a painful corner for black peoples rights in Birmingham, Alabama - lets hope disabled peoples rights can also see a turning point in Birmingham, England.


  1. This has been happening in other councils; my own had stated a few months ago that I was not critical because I could technically wash myself (even though by this, they mean 'shower board and a bucket') and feed myself. That's it, end of story. I had been fighting for a year for a shower and even though I originally was approved, they blamed cuts and denied it, just like that.

    So I was told unless I was critical, they couldn't do anything for me. Birmingham may be the turning point for such councils but even though I now have grounds to take my council on yet again, what I lack is the energy to fight a months-long battle for a few hours a week.

    I hope other folks are able to point to this legislation if their councils are dragging their feet.

  2. I know what you mean about losing energy. We've had 28 years getting my sons care package together - we've just got it working when the cuts come. We're too tired to start again, there just doesn't seem to be any alternative.
    It's not that they can't do anything for you - they don't want to - they could change the criteria if they wanted to.
    Best wishes, hope things don't get any worse for you.