Posted on 10/01/2019 by
The number of children with a learning disability or autism detained in institutions has more than doubled since 2015. We challenge the NHS’s explanation that this is due to changes in data collection – we’ve heard too many stories of people being restrained to believe it.
For far too long people with learning disabilities have been unnecessarily detained in institutions, denied access to the quality of care they deserve.
The steps taken to reduce institutionalisation since the Winterbourne View hospital abuse scandal have made only minor progress. A lack of clarity around leadership and accountability means the fate of thousands of people trapped in institutions lies in a delicate balance.
Unfortunately, sufficient funding from local authorities is a pipe dream until pressures on social care budgets have been resolved – for which we look to the much-delayed social care green paper.
The NHS England long-term plan does little to convince us that the needs of the people trapped in institutions will be met.
This is simply not good enough – especially when we know what the solutions are. We need to radically change the approach.
We urgently look to government to ring-fence funding to develop community services that fully meet the needs of the people they support. Many good providers and individuals are ready and waiting to provide this, but need upfront funding.
Until this becomes a reality, we will continue to go around in circles.
Alicia Wood, head of public affairs, Dimensions
I disagree with Tom Peck’s argument in his article “We now know John Bercow is as out of control as Brexit itself”. The speaker rightly warned the prime minister at the time that cancelling the vote on the Brexit deal would have consequences.
Clearly, it was a ruse to bully MPs into compliance by running down the clock. Bercow has burst that bubble by sticking to the original timetable. I see this as the very height of good and brave speakership.
On the other hand, it is quite clear from the conduct of those both inside and outside the House of Commons who support the result of the referendum, despite its glaring illegitimacy, that ignoring the currently expressed will of the electorate and bullying anyone who stands in the way of their corrupt conduct, is fine by them.
An open letter to Andrea Leadsom
For you to complain about the actions of the speaker, as you did yesterday, is breathtaking given how your government has behaved in the past two years as we navigate through Brexit.
Firstly you tried to ensure that parliament had no say before Article 50 was triggered.
You attempted to avoid publishing Brexit impact assessments and later legal advice on the draft withdrawal agreement.
Honours were offered to some truculent MPs in order to buy them off.
Finally, you pulled a vote on the deal in December having categorically told the country that there would be a meaningful vote before Christmas.
I therefore don’t think with respect that you are in any position to throw stones at John Bercow until your own house is put in order.
How the PM can get out of this mess
It is evident that Theresa May has reached her current impasse because from the start she has primarily sought to appease the hardline Brexiteers who, as they have shown, do not command anything close to a majority and yet still reject compromise.
Once the vote on her deal is lost and she returns to parliament she should declare that, in the absence of agreement, she now plans to actively and genuinely reach out to all sides: Remainers, Leavers, left and right with a view to seeking compromise and consensus.
In order to create time and space for sensible debate, she would have to temporarily withdraw Article 50 and her red lines. By doing so, she would show pragmatism and statesmanship and might just provide space for an agreement that the country finds acceptable to be reached.
Referendums are not football matches
Your leader “We should not allow the threat of violence to disrupt our democracy” stated that “no referendum can shut down debate or stop people thinking – and, for that matter, rethinking – their views”.
I am very tired of the 2016 referendum result being referred to as a “win” for Leave and a “loss” for Remain. It was an exercise in ascertaining the views of voters, not a football match to be won or lost.
Slightly more voters, at the time, were in favour of Leave. This does not mean that those in favour of Remain have forfeited our right to representation forever. We elect parliamentarians to represent us – all of us – not just the half who voted a particular way.
I want MPs to care about my views too. And I want an opportunity to restate them – a fair opportunity to restate them, alongside all the people who voted Leave. Equal representation. Fair. Democratic.