Independent Living Critics: Promises Got Bound Up In Red
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 20, 2006
LONDON, ENGLAND--The Guardian recently included an critical analysis about the difference between promises the UK government has made to people with disabilities to live independently in the community, and the reality of budget cuts and bureaucratic red tape.
The paper noted that Prime Minister Tony Blair made a public commitment to shift the service delivery system away from institutional treatment and toward independent living over the next two decades. This included pilot programs with direct payments and individualized budgets to give service users the greatest amount of control and flexibility over their supports and their lives.
But, that hasn't happened the way it was planned.
One problem is that some initiatives have had to be pulled or scaled back because of budget limitations.
"People are living very restricted lives, and the government is saying we might get around to you in 15-20 years' time," said Sue Bott, strategic director at the National Centre for Independent Living. "That's great if you're still alive, but what do [you] do about those lost years?"
Bott added that another obstacle to true independent living is the attitude of professionals toward people with disabilities -- the view that they are not capable of making their own choices and living on their own.
"Many professionals want to hang on to their territory and power," she said. "We are going to need a huge cultural and attitudinal shift. But of course that would be much easier to bring about if they didn't have their backs against the wall, as a result of the present cutbacks."
I'd just like more control over my life (The Guardian)