Letter from 10 Downing Street

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I am in receipt of an  undated letter/circular, from 10, Downing Street and signed by David Cameron, which I have found to be rather insensitive and insulting.

It refers, in a rather self-congratulatory manner, to the Government’s introduction of the new Employment Allowance, which reduces employers’ NICs by up to £2,000 per year. This, the letter says, would give me, an employer of five part-time people, a “cashback on the cost of jobs that (I) can choose how to spend”. You conclude by urging me to follow the simple procedure of applying by going on-line at: https://www.gov.uk/employment-allowance

After taking up this invitation, I discovered that I cannot claim the Employment Allowance, because I “employ someone for personal, household or domestic work, such as a nanny, au pair, chauffeur, gardener, care support worker”.



As a disabled person I employ five ‘Personal Assistants’ to help me carry out the personal and social activities throughout the day, which I require to do in order that I participate, both socially and economically as an equal citizen of the UK. As such I am realising the government’s own policy to give disabled people ‘choice and control’ over their own lives.

See: http://odi.dwp.gov.uk/odi-projects/independent-living-strategy.php

However, along with the savage cuts in social care provision and increases in social care charging, disabled people, like me, who employ their own “care support workers”, are now being excluded from the benefits other employers are offered. Not only that, but from April 6th we will no longer be able to claim reimbursement for Statutory Sick Pay following the abolition of the Percentage Threshold Scheme.

We are all familiar with the neoliberal Nozickian political ideology of the Government’s welfare reforms, which has consequentially engendered such general public negativity towards disabled people.

However, disabled people who employ “care support workers” not only do so to enable their active participation in the socio-economic life of their families and geographic communities, but to create job opportunities for others who may otherwise rest alongside them on the unemployment registers. Such fiscal disincentives will do nothing to support their endeavours; and much to continue the misery they are forced to experience with the roll-out of your ideologically driven welfare reforms.

It should also be noted that some disabled people prefer to engage a ‘care agency’ rather than directly employ someone themselves. This has encouraged the sprouting of many private companies throughout the country to meet the new market demands for such a service. I assume these exclusions will also affect their profits, so presumably they will leave the market, thus reducing the ‘choice’ of disabled people – a basic facet of your Government’s independent living strategy.

I’ve replied to David Cameron asking him to make a request to the Treasury to reconsider these repressive and discriminatory measures.  It is repugnant that a Con-Lib government should include much needed social care workers within the same category as superfluous posts of the rich.


About jimelderwoodward

Disabled people's rights activist living in Scotland, promoting the principles and practices of independent living, the outcome of which is participative parity as equal citizens in all areas of community life - economic, civic, social and cultural
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