The National Coalition for Independent Action (NCIA), held this year in partnership with the TUC was refreshing and reassuring!
The theme was outsourcing and austerity and the civil society and attracted 150 people from mixed backgrounds.
I co-led a workshop on mental health, social care and the effect of the cuts, with Barry Pickthall from the “Don’t cut us out campaign”.
We talked about the awful impact of cuts in care packages on individuals and their caters and that austerity is not because there is not enough money in this British economy which remains the sixth largest in the world, but because priorities have shifted, away from care and public responsibility for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society towards care for people who have unearned income. We felt that if the cuts were really about saving money, adjoined up approach to prevention would be promoted, across professional lines (doctors, lawyers, teachers, social workers, pharmacists, police, nurses would work together on a local basis to maximise help and positive value).
We are facing a situation in which the increasing number of people without work are relying on a social welfare system that treats them as liars and cheats, a system in which the assessment process itself is so manifestly incompetent that 70pc of cases going to appeal are successful. Cost is clearly not a driver!
It was good to be energetically questioning the mainstream media discourse and affirmed that we are in the right place in SAfH, working on the ground with local people in direct situations, helping people to learn for themselves how to manage more effectively their engagements with professionals.
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