Penalty for hard working life
Due to my diminishing mobility, I needed a ramp in our front garden as I found it difficult to negotiate the two steps at the front door. I contacted Social Services in the hope of receiving some financial assistance. They were supportive, suggesting a builder from their list who had done similar work. I made it clear that any additional work required, such as drainage, would be met by myself.
However, when the builder’s estimate was received, it exceeded the total £1,000 they might have been able to consider.
No allowance was made for my willingness to pay anything over this figure.
We were advised we could apply to SLDC Grants Department, but that this would likely take a month for them to send out the assessment forms, and then a further lengthy period before the application could be considered.
We did not feel able to wait for such a long period and so proceeded with the work at our own expense and their recommended builder did a wonderful job.
More recently, further problems caused the surgeons to fear I may lose part of my foot.
As I could no longer safely get into our shower enclosure, we understood the bathroom needed to become a proper wet room, with a wider door to facilitate wheelchair access.
The social worker agreed a level access shower was needed, but again, the financial people would not be able to assess me for some time. He wondered if I could manage without showering in the interim! He also agreed a wider door was needed.
At that point, I was unable to walk as far as the bathroom on some days, and my wife was pushing me in a standard wheelchair along to the doorway where I had to stand and hobble to the toilet etc.
We had contacted the same builder as before for an estimate to create a wet room, knowing he was approved to carry out this type of work for Social Services.
Then he had a cancellation of another job and offered to fit us in quite early.
Sadly, the Social Services said they could not hurry the financial assessment and if work was already underway they could not consider any application in retrospect.
As I did not feel able to do without the shower, nor indeed the toilet, whilst the work was being carried out we moved to a local holiday let for a week which enabled the builder to get on quickly. This accommodation cost some £500.
Sadly, whilst the wet room was in progress, I became ill due to the infection from my foot and was admitted, yet again, to Royal Lancaster Infirmary, with septicaemia. By the time I returned home the wet room was completed but, once again, I had not received any financial assistance.
Both the outside ramp and the wet room have been done to allow me to remain at home with my wife as my carer, a situation which must be less costly to the state than if I were to require a place in a residential home.
However, this seems not to come into the equation where the rules must be applied without any question of waiver. And yet, I have read in the national press of a young woman using her student grant to have “a boob job” carried out. Rules, it seems, can be broken by some and not others.
I left school at 14 in 1947 and began a nine-year apprenticeship on a few shillings a week. I believe the NHS started around the same time and I contributed to it all my working life until I retired aged 65. I have never been unemployed, have always supported my own children and bought my own home.
I ensured I did not spend more than I earned, BUT somehow I am now being penalised for having saved something for my old age.
My lifetime savings are being rapidly reduced. These two pieces of work alone have cost me some £11,000 which is a good portion of my carefully managed savings.
I think I would have done better as a profligate spender, who could then plead poverty! A decent, hard working life seems only to attract penalties these days.
John Taylor, Heversham
‘Compensation culture’ fallacy
Re: Compo claims leave holes in council finances, (LEP January 25), successive Government reports have found the so-called ‘compensation culture’ to be a fallacy, yet it seems the Taxpayers’ Alliance is determined to perpetuate the old chestnut.
Let’s not forget that, for every successful personal injury claim, an injury which should not have happened has been proven.
It is negligence which causes the real cost to taxpayers, in unnecessary pain and suffering.
But if the local authority has genuine grounds to believe it was not at fault then, of course, the claim should be challenged. I have no objection to that at all.
I do, however, object to a debate in which a human being’s physical injury is placed in the same category as damage to a vehicle or other property.
Jonathan Wheeler, President
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
Rethink these plans for Bill
Regarding the defeat of the Government in the House of Lords on the Trade Union Bill, we are pleased that peers from all parties, and none, have voted to set up a cross-party committee to scrutinise the unjustifiable proposals on political funds in the government’s Trade Union Bill.
The debate has exposed once again how ill-thought through the government’s Trade Union Bill is.
At its Second Reading, widespread concerns were raised across the House about the threat this Bill poses to good industrial relations and fair treatment at work. We encourage all peers to carefully scrutinise the whole bill during the Committee Stage, which starts on February 8.
It is essential that ministers rethink their plans before lasting damage is done. Ministers should be engaging positively with workers and their representatives, not making their lives harder.
Derek Barton, Preston & South Ribble Trades Council
Is Dave working for Brexit bid?
David Cameron’s meaningless negotiations and migrant policies are doing a wonderful job of persuading the ordinary working man to vote ‘out’. A ‘no’ surge in the polls of late proves this. Carry on the good work Dave.
Barrie Crowther via email