Blog by Gary Bourlet, Membership and Engagement Lead and self advocate.
Last week we submitted Learning Disability England member’s response to the government’s Shaping Future Support Green Paper.
The green paper was a long read, the easy read was about 50 pages.
Things I heard from members
Lots of the members thought the Green Paper had good ideas but they also had concerns about it.
People think lots of changes are needed so the benefits system works for people with learning disabilities and their families.
Members are worried about current cuts to universal credit and people losing £20 a week.
They don’t want this Green Paper to cut benefits more.
They worried some changes would be ‘benefits cuts by stealth’.
People want to have enough money to live good lives.
Members though lots of the ideas in the Green Paper weren’t big enough and it stopped us talking about other things that aren’t in the Green Paper.
The Green Paper is trying to solve one part of a puzzle, but it needs to look at the big picture.
Members don’t think we can talk about benefits or employment without thinking about the other things people need to live good lives.
Like housing or social care.
What I thought of the consultation process
It was great to meet with members to talk about the Green Paper.
They were very enthusiastic and had great ideas.
I always worry when we do consultations that politicians won’t listen to people with learning disabilities.
Or they will water down the great ideas people have.
The Green Paper could be positive if members ideas are listened to.
It’s not all about spending lots of money, it’s about spending money on the right things that will make a difference.
It’s about investing in people and communities.
Sometimes the government seems more interested in systems than people.
You can see that in how they run the consultations, when they don’t coproduce them with people with lived experience.
Never has it been more important for them to work together with us.
Never has co-production been more important.
Nothing about us without us!