The government chooses to believe that disabled people aren’t the sameas everyone else and can just make do with being fed, watered and cleaned – forget going to the pub
If Britain were tasked with finding its deepest wound from Conservative cuts, we would not be short of options. Think food banks, evictions, and destitution. But it’s social care – gutted by £4.6bn worth of cuts since 2010 with another billion to be cut this year – that is emerging as the greatest crisis. Over one million disabled people are now living without social care, according to research by the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, published today. Almost half the disabled people in Britain who say they need support aren’t receiving any at all.
As the report shows, the reality of that is truly distressing: disabled people without sufficient care who have become physically sicker as a result, or sliding into depression due to isolation. Healthy disabled people left in hospitals because the council hasn’t set up help at home, while others, at the mercy of care workers’ slots, are regularly forced into bed at 5 or 6pm.
Cuts have consequences. In England, 400,000 fewer people now receive social care than before the coalition government came to power. That isn’t because the need has suddenly disappeared. It’s grown – 1.4 million more working age adults live with a disability compared to 2010 – but the government shrinks funding anyway.