Here is a letter from a woman in South Swindon. She sent this to me over email and I’ve copied it here:
I was affected by the cruel DWP rules. My son was on high rate care and low rate mobility. Came to a review and they stopped payments abruptly no warning, had a mandatory reconsideration still the answer was no, I had to take it to tribunal and the wait was just over a year long!
Still in that time I had the extra costs of living with my sons disability needs, got to tribunal and my son and I were in the room with independent reviewers no more than half an hour and they reinstated same rates as what my son was on previously.
Okay yes I got back arrears but I ended up in quite a bit of debt with interest rates.
I would NEVER in my life vote for the conservatives.
When I had my son (the same son with disabilities) in 1998 his dad and I struggling big time, we were both working but we thank our lucky stars that not long after Labour came into power Working Tax Credits and minimum wage came into affect. We didn’t realise for a couple of years after my son was born that he had specialist needs. It was a difficult journey but we had intervention and support, in terms of operations, speech and language therapy, children’s services, Sure Start centres, there wasn’t just support for my son but for myself and the rest of the family even after we added to our brood. Courses focusing on parenting skills were readily available.
Unfortunately I split with my children’s father in 2009 and moved back to Swindon to live with my parents, my son was then 11 and joined year 6 at a local junior school at first we received support , we had a parent support adviser, there was a full time teaching assistant in his class and CAHMS also supported us.
Move on to 2010, I now have a 12 year son and David Cameron and the Tory Party came into power, I can not get across to anyone how stressful the rest of the school life was for my son, I can only tell you that there was twice that he wanted to end his life, I can also tell you I ended up having a physical and mental breakdown. I had as a single parent with other children to consider had to fight tooth and nail for support for my son and family . Services were slowly stopped and became buy in services that schools had to pay for and if the school could not afford or justify the costs we were not getting the support, parent support advisors became a thing of the past unless the school paid for one!
I felt lucky my son and I were supported by an amazing school and senco team, my only break through came when I managed to get my son a private assessment paid for by the charity. I then had legal documents stating my sons needs and the support he required to reach his potential, I then with the support of the senco forced the conservative councils hand, they had to pay for the support he required or I was entitled to take my son out of county and the council would of been reliable for the costs which would of been considerably more expensive.
Isn’t that all we want? For our children to be able to reach their full potential, isn’t that what children deserve. Why does it have to be a struggle?
Please whatever you do, don’t vote Tories, I still have children in education and we are still struggling. We are at our wits end. I am so proud of my children, we have overcome some very tough times and they are not over yet.
My eldest daughter is in uni, I don’t receive benefits for her but I am still supporting her because her loans will never cover her total cost of living, okay I say living but I truly mean just basic living, healthy food for a start.
It might of been okay if I could work but I can’t after my breakdown I never really recovered and now have several chronic illnesses, so now I rely on benefits myself and although some people say that work is good for your mental health, trust me it’s not always the case.
Trust me I have tried I went to university but only managed two years before my poor health took over. Maybe if my family had more support, maybe if I hadn’t had to fight for support and specialist services, I would of had the stamina to finish the course but in the end I simply burnt myself out.
There are children out there that go to after school clubs to learn new skills, go on school trips to broaden their horizons and it’s wonderful to see but although my children at school are intelligent and willing to learn they can’t choose what they want to learn and that makes me sad because now forced onto benefits I can’t afford this. I don’t smoke, I rarely drink, I am not what the media perceives of single parents and my children are most definitely not as Boris Johnson described.
I don’t expect everything for my children all I want and I am sure what every parent wants for their child is for them to reach their full potential. You invest in children now and they become future tax payers.
You won’t get that though without an almighty struggle if you vote tories. I won’t be voting for them because I know my children and your children deserve better.