Scottish election husting – Carers

On Monday 21st March, an election hustings event took place in Edinburgh. This is a report by one of our members

I could send a blank sheet of paper and that would say it all. Lady sitting next to me ( front row seats!) chatting about the usual. Who, what, why etc and I got on to the Welfare Reform Bill.

What’s that she asked?

Gave her a brief summary and she said they can’t make you work. No but they can stop benefits I pointed out.

They can’t do that.

Nothing was going to convince her otherwise and she kept telling me I must have it wrong. I shut up then.

All 5 Scottish parties were represented ( those that have MSP’s in parliament.) They had 2 main topics. That all carers get an assessment which opens the gates for services of all kinds ( that received a well deserved laugh) and the thousands of carers who don’t know they can have an assessment must be told.

I pointed out I had too many to count and like everyone else got nowt. Why would all those others bother to have an assessment when they knew too nothing would happen?

Mary Scallon (Scot Con) had no idea about assessments or where to get info. She is on the X party group for chronic pain!!! One of my David’s conditions!!! It got better!

A lady in the audience stood up and said that 3 of her 5 children had ‘behavioural problems and she couldn’t get respite.  She also said they were picked on at school and the law must be changed to stop this.

Another chap talked about drug and alcohol abuse and how it was a taboo subject.

The MSP’s gave very little indication of what they would do for us to win our votes. Shona Robison Minister for health & Sport said they are working towards the carer’s strategy. They have been working towards that since i was in nappies.

Robert Brown LibDem, a buddy of mine had a long chat with me after. He knew little about the goings on of Atos, DLA, ESA etc and asked me to tell him what i knew. Brave man and I had an audience but missed lunch!!

Not overly productive but made me realise just how little they knew about what is happening with carers or within DWP. Two of the few departments which are NOT devolved.

We ran out of time to discuss welfare changes and benefits. What a surprise, but we did run on by nearly an hour. It should have been all day not a couple of hours. Monday is one of their days for constituency work so they could have made it longer.

There were 150 carers and related folk with a combined experience of 2000 years!

Pat

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