Sunday, 12 September 2010

LSNED 2010 ~ DAY 11

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As 11th September starts at midnight, I've decided to share with you something I learnt while talking to Mum shortly before she fell asleep at the end of 10th September. Yes, she really did fall asleep while we were talking!! Don't think she liked the way the conversation was going!!!

Someone we both know has a very strong opinion about people on benefits. They feel that benefit claimants get way too much money and help. At the moment, their gripes are with families where both parents are out of work and those on Mobility/Disability Allowances. Our pre-bedtime talk was focused on mobility/disability allowances.

There's someone this person knows who gets Mobility Allowance. In the UK, you can trade in your allowance to get a car. What I didn't know was that the car is brand new, gets upgraded every two or three years and all parts/servicing/tyres etc are paid for for you. What I did know, was that if you're on Mobility Allowance, your road tax is free. That part of the benefit goes either to the disabled person if they still drive, or to their main driver. I know this because my Nan got that benefit and Mum's road tax was free. So, what's the gripe? Well,this lady has a car that is funded by the Government, her road tax is free and she uses the local dial-a-ride (a door-to-door mini-bus service that you pay to use) during the week while her husband uses the brand new car to go to and from work. Neither my Mum nor my sister seem to think this is right.

My take on it, is that if the couple are prepared to give up their benefit money and find the money for her dial-a-ride journeys, what's the issue? Her husband drives her about when he's home, so she's not being kept housebound while he has a shiny, road-tax free car to do what he wants with. When I reminded Mum of what it was like for her when Nan was alive, she didn't seem too happy. Nan kept her mobility allowance and used it to pay Mum some fuel money and the rest of us bus/taxi fares to be able to do her shopping, get to her to do her housework, take her to doctor's appointments and such. Sometimes a taxi would have to be used to go to an appointment or the odd time she wanted to go to town because Mum wasn't available. All the time Mum's road tax was being paid for by the Government and she was able to go where she liked with it. No-one said it was wrong. No-one said that it was unfair. No-one said Mum should do all the transporting. No-one batted an eye-lid. No-one cared. Nan was getting what she needed, having done what she needed to be done and such. So, why is it wrong for someone else to have to find another means of getting places and such? At this point, my Mum closed her eyes and went to sleep.

Sometimes I despair, I really do. I think the phrase 'people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones' comes in handy here and I'm sure there's loads of other sayings that are appropriate.

Love, Sarah C xx

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