Talking with many Labour members, I have learned first hand the impact the Tory government’s lack of compassion is having on the most vulnerable.
I met Clive who suffers from bi-polar disorder. He has been stable for four years and because he is over 65 he will escape the reassessment by ATOS but he felt for those who he knew would not escape. I also met Hilary who will not escape reassessment and has been unemployed because of her illness.
A recent study for the mental health charity Mind found that three-quarters of people it surveyed said the prospect of a work capability assessment had made their mental health worse and 51% said it had left them with suicidal thoughts.
I have also met people who care for partners with dementia. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to watch someone you love deteriorate and detach day by day. There are 800,000 people in the UK with dementia, and this number is expected to grow to over a million by 2021. There are almost an equal number (650,000) of carers.
Last week was Dementia Awareness Week and the Alzheimers Society set out to get people talking about dementia. I am a great believer in the power of words to break barriers, challenge ideas and lend support. Words can be powerful if turned into actions.
This government is proving itself to be willing to penny pinch from the most vulnerable and those least able to defend themselves. Shameful.