Tuesday 21 June 2011

Why do we have a Minister for Disabilities?

Here's a quote about the first ever Minister for Disabled People. It sounds to me like he saw a great need for his role.

"Affected by his father's experience, Morris [Alfred Morris, Baron Morris of Manchester] campaigned on behalf of the disabled; his father had suffered a long decline in health and eventual death arising from gassing during World War I.[2] After his father's death, Morris's mother was not entitled to a war widow's pension.[3] Forty years later, Morris himself put the matter right by changing the law affecting armed forces pensions when he became Minister for the Disabled.
In 1970 he successfully introduced the Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act which was the first in the world to recognise and give rights to people with disabilities.[4] In 1974 he became the first Minister for the Disabled anywhere in the world.[3][5] In 1991 he introduced a Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill and he has led campaigns on Gulf War Syndrome.[1]" (Wikipedia)"
Today, the position is filled by Maria Miller.

At this point in history, all of the main sickness and disability benefits are being abolished and replaced with new, more limited, schemes. Sick and disabled people have shown considerable opposition to these plans.

There has been a vote of no confidence in Maria Miller, carried at the Hardest Hit march on 11th May. This was the largest ever protest of sick and disabled people in UK history. Now, there are calls all over the internet for a vote of no confidence in Ms Miller in Parliament.

Sick and disabled people are about to lose 9.2 Billion in support from a 16 billion budget.

Maria Miller has not supported us, she has not consulted us, she has not replied to us and she does not speak for us. 

Not only that, but she misrepresents us! The very people she is elected and salaried to represent. http://fullfact.org/search/node/maria%20miller  She uses false statistics and claims that we support her government's plans. Recently she claimed that more people claim higher rate DLA for alcoholism than blindness. Not only was she wrong, but the implications of "worthy" and "unworthy" disability from a minister who's job should be to do just the opposite is shocking.

But this article really makes clear just how unworthy of her job Maria Miller is.


The part that made me write this blog post is this :

"Disabilities Minister Maria Miller, pictured, said a consultation on the proposed changes, which attracted more that 5,000 responses, had shown support for reform of DLA.
She said: “There’s now a growing view that reform is needed, whether it’s from the Government or from the opposition or from leading disability groups."

The minister claims that this was "one of the most successful consultations of its kind". Yes it was. Because groups like the Broken of Britain asked thousands of sick and disabled people what they thought and spent months running campaigns to involve people in the consultation. Over 5000 people did indeed respond and they were overwhelmingly opposed to the proposals or elements within them. A typical consultation might have 50 or 60 responses. This brilliant summary by Rhydian Fon-James from the Broken of Britain shows clearly that the government response to the "consultations" was a complete and utter whitewash.
None of the legitimate concerns were addressed. 

This woman is not a Minister for Disabled People and does nothing to speak for us in Parliament. She appears to be no more than a Minister for Propaganda and I'd like to know why we pay her a salary at all?
Mr Cameron I can save you a little deficit. Cut the Minister for Disabled People. I can assure you that none of us will notice at all.

Actually that's not true. Our lives would improve without her constant ignorance displayed in both the press and in Parliament. 


  1. Well said Sue, In any other role you would have been dismissed because of the lack of support, but me thinks Mr C likes this kinda talking.

  2. Great blogg Sue and well said, perhaps you should apply for Ms Millers job!

  3. Your right sue maria miller has no experience herself on any illness or disability so therefore she couldn't possibly speak for us
    As for Professor Harrington’s he to has no direct knowledge with illness and their limitations and if he was a honourable man would rule himself out

    It would be like myself having worked in the bank of England and now retried phoning up the Prime Minister of Greece and saying "your getting it wrong financially do you wont me to take over "

    Well what's make me an expert on Greece ? Nothing and the same for maria miller and professor Harrington who know nothing at all about illness

    When their in their sixties and seventies then that's another matter apply for the job then when at least hopefully they will have some experience of running to the loo every hour and crawling out after an hour on their hands and knees

    Or bent up double over the bath and being continually sick for hours at a time like i have been over 30 years and haven't even been able to breath at times and then spend the next 48 hours in oblivion

    As i say at this time maria miller is a utter disgrace to all mp's and bring the whole government in to disrepute and by doing so the evil prime minister of the world can carry on destroying the lives of their own people knowing that the UK treats it's sick and disabled people just as bad

  4. Her remit has a clear what is known as a “conflict of interest”. It may be worth consulting a legal representative as to the legality of this in Law.
    “The Minister for Disabled People is Maria Miller MP. The Minister for Disabled People has the cross-government lead on making progress towards disability equality and is the minister responsible for the Office for Disability Issues (ODI).”
    “The Minister for Disabled People also has specific responsibilities within the Department for Work and Pensions which include Disability Living Allowance reform, reviewing the Independent Living Fund and specialist disability employment programmes.”

  5. Can we get hold of the responses to the consultation ourselves and work excerpts up into some kind of official response to her response?

  6. Jan - That's what the Rhydian Fon-James link does. Click on the red bit of text.

  7. Sorry, that must be what an official response looks like, I can't process a word of it! Far too clever for me :D I was thinking of quoting responses, but I wondered if there would be legal issues around that. Trouble is, no-one's interested anyway, and as I see it these consultations are only helpful as evidence that "we did try to warn you" when it all goes tits-up.

    Anyway, thanks for the comparison with the original Minister, that's really interesting.

  8. This is important and should be debated and changed it is the main reason politicians and others behave the way they do.
    Public officials and elected representatives are there to serve the people, not the Queen. In a democracy it should be you, not the Windsor’s, to whom our politicians, police, armed forces and judges swear allegiance. The current oath must be replaced.
    The wording has been much amended over the centuries, but currently reads: 'I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.'

  9. Er, what has republicanism or the monarchy got to do with this issue? I detect a copy-pasta spam.

  10. Lord Morris of Manchester -

    In 1974 he became the first Minister for the Disabled anywhere in the world.

    "If we could bequeath one precious gift to posterity, I would choose a society in which there is genuine compassion for long-term sick and disabled people; where understanding is unostentatious and sincere; where needs come before means; where if years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years; where the mobility of disabled people is restricted only by the bounds of technical progress and discovery; where they have the fundamental right to participate in industry and society according to ability; where socially preventable distress is unknown; and where no one has cause to be ill at ease because of his or her disability."

    Compare his motives speech and actions to the Minister we have now!!! A billion miles apart.

  11. Sue, have sent an email about this blog post.

  12. Thanks for that excerpt, fiona. I have a dream!

  13. I personally think it's an insult to all disabled people that Maria Miller supposedly speaks for our community in parliament.

    We should all write to Ms Miller and let her know what a calamity she is and the damage she is causing to disabled & sick people all over the country.

    Write to her and put FREEPOST on the envelope..

  14. Well Said Sue, Maria Miller should be sued for dereliction of her duty of care under the equalities act!