Nothing politicised me more in the 80s than Care in the Community.
My brother was a rising mental health nurse star at the time and talked of little else for years. My family heard in graphic detail how Institutions up and down the country were closed and residents placed in the community with little or even no transitional support.
The idea was important and progressive, but as with so many policies, the implementation was often shocking.
DLA - Disability Living allowance was the scheme put in place to provide for the daily living costs disabled people faced to allow them to live "in the community" at all.
The Independent Living Fund provided extra support on top of DLA to just 21,000 of the most profoundly disabled people in the country. It amounted to an extra £300 on average, per month to allow someone to live in their own home, saving the state many thousands more on care they would otherwise have had to provide in residential centres.
Today, this government are scrapping DLA and the Independent Living Fund (ILF). DLA will be replaced with Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and the numbers claiming will be reduced by 20%. They are cutting the lower rate of DLA care payments altogether. It is not yet clear whether or not the ILF will be replaced at all.
Under Universal Credit, Iain Duncan-Smith's new flagship welfare reform policy, seriously disabled children will only receive half the amount they do now.
Children disabled from birth will no longer receive contributory entitlement when they reach adulthood. This will seriously limit their ability to live independently from their families.
Sickness benefits for those who have paid into the system will be limited to just one year for most, limiting the ability of those with long term conditions to live independently, making them utterly dependent on family or a partner to survive.
All of these cuts are proposed by Mr Duncan-Smith's department.
Today I read that Mr Duncan Smith admits that Care in the Community was a "£100 Billion Failure"
Those with mental health problems, he says, did not get the community support they should have done.
Well, Mr Duncan-Smith this is horribly true, and nor did the physically disabled. Your proposals, when taken together, represent the single biggest attack on independent living to them in recent memory.
I haven't even mentioned the cuts to social care happening up and down the country. The single biggest threat to dignity and support the disabled have faced.
Mr Duncan-Smith your weasel words on Care in the Community belie your actions. Cutting almost every vital aid to independent living will only send us back to the 50s. You acknowledge the problem. Now address it.