Maria Miller – new minister for Disabled people

Maria Miller’s Parliamentary assistant confirmed today that she had been appointed to the post of minister for disabled people. Although Number 10, tasked with making ministerial announcements, will not confirm this it did confirm last week that she has a role as an under secretary of state within the Department of Work and Pensions.

Miller, Conservative MP for Basingstoke, was previously the shadow minister for family while in opposition. She has been an MP since 2005.

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3 Responses to “Maria Miller – new minister for Disabled people”

  1. Tweets that mention Maria Miller – new minister for Disabled people « Carer Watch's Blog -- Says:

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  2. Alan Wheatley, Green Party Spokesperson on Disability and Social Care Says:

    I got the story originally from Community Care magazine online.

    The previous Minister for Disabled People, Jonathan Shaw, was famously an ex-social worker and a disaster. Speaking at a SERTUC conference on welfare reform, Paul Treloar mentioned that just before Shaw’s predecessor Anne McGuire was replaced as Disability Minister, she was actually beginning to listen to disabled people and take their issues on board; and that, it seems, is why she was replaced.

    One of Shaw’s other roles — concurrent with disability ministry — was as Minister for South-East England. While he was making disabled people more vulnerable to the ravages of the Welfare Reform Act 2009 by kowtowing to DWP lines, as Minister for South-East England he presided over job losses on the Isle of Wight as a wind turbine factory was relocated from the UK. With renewable energy being a potential growth industry in cutting the UK’s carbon emissions, and more displaced workers resulting from factory closure, there will thus be more competition in the jobs market compared to what the Green Party’s Green New Deal had to offer.

    We have yet to see what Maria Miller will do as Minister for Disabled People. The job title suggests top-down govt imposing itself on disabled people. How about a ‘Minister OF Disabled People’?

    I do not know for how long I wlll be available to carry on as Green Party of England & Wales Spokesperson on Disability and Social Care. Given the way disability discrimination permeates our society, being a Spokesperson on Disability is a Labour of Heracles in itself and I am a much slower reader and writer than most. My adoption of the Social Care spokespersonship for the Green Party of England & Wales was as an extension of the disability spokespersonship and the fact that parents/carers of disabled people approached me for assistance.

    Ironically — bearing in mind my decades of painful failures as a jobseeker and my slowness at ‘executing tasks’ in terms of Employment & Support Allowance eligibility — I have received little but praise as Green Party Spokesperson on Disability and Social Care. It’s like when I was a part-time social care worker in 2005-2006, and used to invest most of my contact time trying to decipher what one of my ‘service users’ had to say in sessions labelled ‘cleaning’ or ‘shopping’. He had a very severe speech defect and experiencing family bereavement, and I was concerned that my difficulties on account of consonant deafness might only be making his frustrations worse — even with the aid of a ‘mood book’ that used ‘smiley’ type symbols to help him convey what he was feeling.

    Yet he to greeted me very warmly at a social event after my time as his cover-duties worker finished, and so I spoke to a colleague about my confusion. He was much more attuned to the speech-impaired guy’s conversations, and said to me, “The thing about you, Alan, is that you care. So many of the agency workers who work with James [not his real name] on cover duties just respond to the session label, marshal James about. You treat him as a person, they treat him like a robot.”

    The Green Party that at last has its first Westminster MP might not have a family-based carer as it Spokesperson on Disability and Social Care, but it has a disabled person in that role. And while Caroline Lucas MP was accused by one of her Brighton Pavilion parliamentary constituency opponents as ‘a career politician’, through Caroline Lucas’ office and my spokespersonship, disabled people and family carers have a more attentive audience than Jonathan Shaw and perhaps than an appointee of ‘cost-cutting govt’.

    After all, oppressed people need to be politicians for life, and the Green Party will only appoint a disabled person as its disability spokesperson.

  3. carerwatch Says:

    Hi Alan,

    Thank you for your comments.

    It has been a pleasure to have communicated with you ( and others from different political parties) for several months now, even when we had different viewpoints. Your insight of so many issues faced by families has helped us a great deal.

    Whatever decision you make about your future, we wish you well and hope you will remain in contact with us.You have so much still to contribute and with the battles ahead, all voices will be needed.

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