In January I wrote to Maria Miller, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for disabled people regarding the proposed changes to Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The only response I got was a standard photocopied letter from the Department of Work and Pensions. I also sent the letter to my MP, Harriet Harman. Her response was quick and helpful, saying she would write to Maria Miller and raise my concerns with her.
This morning she forwarded me a copy of Maria Miller’s response to her. As you would expect, it glossed over and failed to address my concerns, but it was clear that Harriet Harman had given her full details of my circumstances and views. Her involvement had resulted in my getting a detailed response, which I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
The extent and ferocity of the government’s cuts are making the future bleak for many people. The only thing that seems to offer some hope is the creativity and strength of the protests against them by people of all backgrounds and generations.
Advocacy is going to become increasingly important in highlighting the drastic effects of these cuts on individuals. It’s really important that standard letters full of platitudes don’t put us off and that we make sure the decision-makers face the impact of their decisions.