Brent Central parliamentary candidates had the chance to meet their electorate on the 15th of April.
Among the questions presented during the hustings, there was this one:
– What would you do to make people with learning disabilities to get independence and a proper job?
– Disabled people are savaged by the cuts, under the excuse of insufficient funds. Is this fair?
Shahrar Ali – Green Party
Austerity harmed the vulnerable in this society. The Green Party wish to protect the vulnerable.
Eviction, especially for the people with disability, is not acceptable, in Shahrar Ali’s opinion. “It is an assault to the vulnerable society,” he said. “If you want a fair and equal society, you have to vote for me. Politics is nothing if not to protect and defend the right of the vulnerable. It is not about covering your interests.”
John Boyle – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
The council need to make cuts. However, talking about people with learning disabilities and disabled people, John Boyle said there are categories that should be more protected. “The candidates should go back to their documents, as they read a very different thing from what they stand for,” he said. The TUSC candidate added “I am not a professional politician. But that is what I am standing for, and I think more people need to do the same. We know the money is there. The problem is: we do not control it.”
Dawn Butler – Labour Party
People with learning disabilities need support to gain self-esteem. International conventions have highlighted this point. However, the cuts by the government have not allowed these people to get into jobs they can actually do. She said this group has suffered from the lack of support. “There is an awfully large number of people who commit suicide. What we need is a change of direction, and this would be possible only with a change of the government.”
Lauren Keith – Liberal Democrats
“Of course, because of the economic crisis, we need to make cuts,” said Lauren Keith. But people with learning disabilities need more support. What they need to do is to help people with learning disabilities to get into job, in proper schemes, with the possibility to access work experiences.
For what regards disabled people, “A large part of the problem is a stigma of it.” The Lib Dems will try to protect them.
Kamran Malik – Communities United Party
People with learning disabilities need to receive special treatment. Proper plans and preparation to offer them more services are required.
Talking about disabled people, Kamran Malik said their current situation is frustrating: the council has been affected by the council tax. Instead, a proper policy is needed, especially for disabled people, who are a priority.
Alan Mendoza – Conservative Party
More people with learning disabilities have been brought into the economy, into job. It is important for them to get into society, to gain independent living. “Yes, there have been cuts,” Alan Mendoza said, but more people with these difficulties got a job. For what regards disabled people, the conservative candidate said it is a priority to protect them, with adequate policies.
Stephen Priestley – UK Independence Party (UKIP)
The current policy for people with learning disabilities is not at all good. According to Stephen Priestley, “they need proper possibilities.” The laws need to be strengthened to make these people have the same opportunities in the job market. In the UKIP candidate’s opinion, discrimination is not allowable.
“Benefits for people should be managed fairly by an independent body for financial responsibilities,” he said. “When we are talking about a just and fair society, it means it is based on the needs of people. It means a more humanitarian society”.
For the other topics treated during the hustings:
The full list of candidates is available here.