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News and Opinions about MS, Health & Disability

Government in fight for survival, cabinet split, opposition turns up pressure on health and disability

Key ministers have drawn up their battle lines and daily newspapers say the cabinet is split. The government has descended into disarray and this is likely to deteriorate into a form civil war within the party. The national leader seems completely unable to set any form of direction.

Meanwhile, the opposition is promising to review its social welfare policies and, so, take the high ground on such issues. Additionally, it already has the best policies for people with diseases including MS, and other causes of disability.

Sound familiar? Of course. In the US, the Republican majority cannot agree its own policy on the future of healthcare. Opinions are sharply divided.

But that’s not the story here.

survivalThis battle is in the UK. Chancellor of the exchequer (treasury minister) Philip Hammond and foreign secretary Boris Johnson are already skirmishing about Brexit and Europe. And other cabinet ministers are busy choosing sides.

So much for prime minister Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ government, promised as part of her failed campaign to win a bigger majority. In the end, her party lost its overall majority in June’s general election. Now, the knives are out and May appears to be lost.

Fight for survival

Yesterday, the Sunday press had a field day. According to the headlines:

Labour’s shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, Debbie Abrahams, has supported calls for the party to come up with a stronger policy on reversing government cuts to social security spending.

Mrs Abrahams spoke after Labour’s annual conference, last week in Brighton, voted overwhelmingly to ask the party’s policy-making machinery to reconsider its approach to reversing the government’s latest cuts to benefits.

The conference vote means that the Labour party MUST rethink, and hopefully strengthen, its response to the government’s horrendous benefit cuts.

A commitment to remove the benefits cap would be a great start.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Clinical Writer with Healthline, the fastest growing health information site. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

 

 

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Volunteer family carers not appreciated by government, new poll shows

carers

Those who provide unpaid care for loved ones are not appreciated enough, according to a new poll. Carers in the UK are the same as caregivers in the USA.

The online poll was designed to find what the public thinks about carers. It was run by the Multiple Sclerosis Society which says the major findings are:

  • More than 7 in 10 (74%) feel carers aren’t valued enough by society for the support they provide. This rises to 83% for those who have experience of caring.
  • The cost of care and its impact on people’s finances is the top worry for people who’ve never had a caring experience (47%). Coping with the stress of caring is the second biggest worry (43%)
  • Nearly a third (32%) who’ve never cared for someone said they would worry they didn’t have the skills or experience to become a carer.
  • Almost a quarter (23%) of those who’ve never cared said they wouldn’t know or understand what help would be available if they became a carer.

According to the society’s website: “These findings are really worrying, as we know people with MS receive a huge amount of support from family or friends.

“Our recent report on social care and the MS community in England showed 85% of people with MS received some level of unpaid care, support or assistance from family and friends in 2016.

“More than a third (36%) of people who need support told us they rely solely on unpaid care,” it said.

Care for the carers

MS Society chief executive Michelle Mitchell said: “More than 100,000 people in the UK live with MS, and we know that unpaid carers make a world of difference in helping people manage this unpredictable condition.

“We know that caring can be really difficult though, and more can be done to better recognise and support them. That’s why we’re joining other charities to urge our new government to set out its plan for how support for carers can be improved.”

Some chance! Based on the despicable record of the last government, I won’t hold my breath waiting for improvements for carers.

The new UK government is led by the same Conservative party. A party which is without care or compassion.

Disability welfare benefits were cut by the last government. There is no sign of any change of heart. The only glimmer of hope is that, under prime minister Theresa May, the Conservatives no longer have an absolute majority. There is just a chance they can be outvoted in the House of Commons.

We live in hope.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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May’s ‘extreme’ bedfellows may be good for welfare benefits

government

Prime Minister Theresa May.

It is no surprise that Theresa May wants to hold on to the keys of 10 Downing Street. After all, it is the official home of the British prime minister. But she needs help, her Conservative party fell several seats short of an overall majority in last week’s general election.

As I write this, talks are continuing between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The DUP is the only other party that is willing to support a May government. And that could be interesting as far as disability and other benefits are concerned.

So, what is the DUP and what does it stand for?

Right-wing, ‘extremist’

DUP leader Arlene Foster.

It is Northern Ireland’s right-wing, unionist, protestant party. It’s the largest political party in the province and is the fifth largest in the UK’s House of Commons. It is an organisation that was born out of controversy, being founded in 1971 during the worst of the troubles. The founder and first leader was the late firebrand Rev Ian Paisley. Some label it ‘extremist’.

But what does that mean for all of us, wherever we may be?

The DUP is Eurosceptic and an advocate of a hard Brexit. It is a fierce defender of protestant unionism (with Great Britain) against Roman Catholic Irish nationalism (merging with Ireland). It opposes both gay marriage and legalised abortion.

Voted against government’s benefit cuts

Interestingly, however, while the party’s MPs might not always be in the House of Commons chamber, when they were there during the last parliament, they consistently vote against the Conservative’s cuts in welfare benefits.

Any deal between the two parties looks set to be on a case-by-case basis, not a formal coalition. As such, it could mean that the Conservative minority government might be outvoted if it tries to impose any further cuts in this sensitive area.

Now, that would be a step forward for those of us who rely on those benefits because we have a disability, or are elderly.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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