The Tories’ Cuts to the Disabled Students’ Allowance: Chriswaynepoetry’s Story

A few days’ ago I reblogged a piece from Mike over at Vox Political reporting the government’s proposed cuts to the Disabled Students’ Allowance, which helps support disabled people study at university. The government is proposing to reform this, so that only the most severely disabled students would be eligible for the grant. Those with milder disabilities, such as dyslexia, are to be excluded under the proposed new rules. This is another, alarming example of the government’s attacks on the poorest and vulnerable in society, particularly as the amount saved will be virtually negligible. It’s simply another example of Tory spite. Many of Mike’s readers expressed their extremely strong disapproval.

One of those was Sasson Hann, who gave their account of how the grant allowed them to study for and gain a very good degree in music, despite suffering from a severe handicap that later required them to leave work altogether. I took the liberty of posting their account up here, as it was an example of the way the government’s reforms would punish hardworking, creative people like them for absolutely no reason other than that their disability is perceived as making them a financial burden to the state.

Chriswaynepoetry, one of the commenters to this blog, also commented on this post, describing how he had also been helped through uni by the grant. He wrote

I have experience of this as without the grant, I would not have the necessary equipment I need to help me through lectures. Indeed without this allowance I would have had to pay for the test which diagnosed me as dyslexic (which would have cost me £400).

One caveat I would like to add onto that is that while I think the removal of this grant is plainly not right, there is a wider issue with regards to disabled students getting the best education within the school system. This may have changed, but when I was going to school, teachers always used to say to me that though they thought of me as a critical thinker, my written assignments did not articulate what I used to say in class. There may have been teachers who considered me dyslexic then (I was not diagnosed until I was thirty). The problem is, teachers could not tell me if they thought that this was the case, as if I took the test and it shown signs of dyslexia, any assistance would have had to come out of the school’s own fund, not from a specialised grant system for students that the school could apply for.

I am not sure if this is still the case, but if it is, then surely this needs to change.

He’s not alone. I know a number of extremely bright, creative people, who suffered from some form of disability, from dyslexia to very severe handicaps that left them almost totally paralysed. The cuts to their education, which will leave all but the rich unable to afford higher education are a false economy. Despite their handicaps, the disabled people I know were intelligent and talented, and very able to contribute to society. In the case of the physically disabled, the emergence of the ‘knowledge economy’ of IT and related industries has meant that they have been able to excel in careers, which simply did not exist earlier in the last century, where physical strength and performance is not required. Society will most definitely not benefit – indeed will actually be impoverished – by the exclusion of the disabled and their talents from higher education and the opportunities it provides.

Chriswaynepoetry second point is an extremely good one, and probably would not occur to most people, myself included. The government’s policy of making schools individually responsible for their limited budgets in his experience has led to children like himself with dyslexia going undiagnosed because of the extra cost this would place on them. As a result, children’s education is suffering. This clearly needs to be addressed, so that all Britain’s pupils and students can achieve their true potential and have lives enriched by learning.

Education should most definitely not be for the privileged. We are all the poorer when it is.
Which is another example of the effects of the Tory and Tory Democrats’ austerity programme. It’s leaving us poorer both physically and morally, to go with their own moral bankruptcy.

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6 Responses to “The Tories’ Cuts to the Disabled Students’ Allowance: Chriswaynepoetry’s Story”

  1. gingerblokeblog Says:

    Reblogged this on gingerblokeblog.

  2. Joanna Says:

    I might be wrong but to me, Professor Stephen Hawkins is the biggest example, of how intelligent disabled people are! In fact they are more so because they have so much more to overcome, even today when attitudes and opinions, should be much more enlightened!

    In my opinion this coalition is trying to wreak everything, so that it will take more the 5 years term for the next government to put right. They will then have the upper hand, and be elected again fully.
    It would take a brave new government to pull out all the stops to make that timeframe smaller and succeed in treating every citizen as Valuable in their own right!!!

  3. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  4. Mike Sivier Says:

    Reblogged this on Vox Political.

  5. Nick Says:

    mps in general don’t like sick or disabled people of any kind and am sure those that are sick and disabled are well aware of that message

    as for testing people with dyslexia, etc this has always been hit and mis and while one person will get diagnosed correctly the same specialist will get it wrong with the next person

    the government of today are in general just happy in destroying the lives of the sick and disabled based on the knowledge that the rest of the population don’t give a damn either

  6. socialaction2014 Says:

    Reblogged this on Social Action.

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