Daily Post

‘I will spend what remains of my life fighting this if I have to’ – Disabled man’s battle for grant to live independently #SaveWILG

The following article appeared in the Daily Post and includes a video of me speaking to the Journalist Steven Bagnall as the fight to #SaveWILG intensifies.

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A disabled man says he will continue fighting for the rest of his life against Welsh Government moves to scrap a grant to help him live independently.

Nathan Lee Davies from Wrexham, made the pledge after social care minister Huw Iranca-Davies indicated this week ministers are pressing ahead with the plan to stop the Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG).

The £27m fund is paid to about 1,300 disabled people in Wales to allow them to live in their own homes.

But the cash is currently being transferred to local authorities and by the end of March next year they will assess and decide on care packages.

Mr Davies, who is campaigning against the move, fears the money will be absorbed into struggling council’s cash-strapped budgets and will see the 86.5 hours he currently receives massively reduced.

He has friedreich ataxia disease which damages the nerve system.

It has left him needing an electric wheelchair to get about and extensive care to live alone.

“We were on a massive high after the Welsh Labour conference voted to oppose the moves,” Mr Davies said.

“But after what Huw Iranca- Davies recently said, it is massively deflating. I do fear I may become trapped in my house.

Nathan Davies outside his home. Mr Davies is determined to fight to keep the Welsh Independent Living Grant (Image: Daily Post Wales)

“I feel like I am wasting precious time fighting this – I am 41 and the average life expectancy for someone with my condition is 35.

“But I feel it is the right thing to do – not just for me – but for the other 1,300 people, some who cannot speak up for themselves and I will do it until the end if I have to.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said no individual would lose their current payments until they have worked through and agreed their support package with the council.

He said: “Welsh Government and councils in Wales are determined to support independent living for all disabled people, recognising that independent living is key to a full and satisfying life.

“We will continue to closely monitor the ongoing transition to the new scheme to make sure this happens.”

A Wrexham council spokeswoman said the authority is following the Welsh Government process and working to review all people in receipt of the WILG.

She said: “It is not possible to predict what the outcomes will be for individuals.

“We do work with people to identify alternative ways for them to meet their support needs where it is appropriate.

Links and updates

his is a busy time for me, so I would like to keep you up to date with my recent activities by sharing a few links with you that show the pressures that I have been under and the local celebrity status I have been creating for myself 🙂

Blue Badge Petition

Independent Living Debate with Ian Lucas

Daily Post Feature

The Leader

I am also looking forward to the following two events which I am busy trying to organise. The first of which is a #SaveWILG Art exhibition at Theatr Clwyd in Mold, north Wales. This event runs from January 24th to February 12th and includes art, poetry and pictures from a wide range of disability activists and artists. The official media day for this is on February 2nd. I am very proud of what we have put together in such a short space of time.

A leaflet for the Theatr Clwyd event has also been produced by Heather Wilson.

Our North-East Wales WLG/M comrades are centrally involved in organising this great event. It will be a fantastic occasion, but we need to get as many people there as possible! This is a day of entertainment and information. There is alcohol, soft drinks and food on sale at the venue and there is full Disabled access and a Disabled toilet. Some of our comrades are performing, but we would love to hear back from you or anyone you know how is in any way creative and/or a performer. Please do get in contact with either Vic Grout (vic.grout@glyndwr.ac.uk) or Louise Bosanquet (louise.bosanquet@hotmail.co.uk) if you would like to perform or know someone who would. The least we hope anyone can do is promote this event by sharing the flyer and printing it off and putting around your area, disability groups, CLPs etc etc. Raising awareness of the event is crucial to the campaign’s success! The event is FREE to all. Please do help in any way you can!

 

Daily Post article

It is with a strange mixture of pride and disgust that I include the following article, written by Steve Bagnall of the Daily Post, about my sister being banned from the Labour Party as Blairite infiltrators do everything they can to stop frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn from winning the Labour leadership election.

Wrexham woman shocked after Labour Party rejected her in ‘cult-like’ telephone call

A woman who has supported Labour for most of her life was shocked to be rejected when she tried to join the party following a “cult-like” telephone call from party researchers.

Cassie Ogden, from Trevor, Wrexham, wanted to join and cast a vote in the party’s leadership election after being inspired by surprise front runner, Jeremy Corbyn.

Around a month ago she applied in writing to join the party.

On Tuesday she received a telephone call from party researchers during which they asked her which party she voted for in the General Election and she replied, Plaid Cymru.

The following day she received an email rejecting her application.

Some in the Labour party have expressed fears that the leadership election could be infiltrated by non-supporters to skew the result.

Cassie, 35, a university researcher said: “I have supported Labour for the majority of my life, although I did vote Plaid at the last election because I believe there are similar policies with Jeremy Corbyn on some issues.

“I have never been a member of another political party, but I wanted to join Labour after Jeremy became involved in the leadership race and I wanted to vote. Isn’t that the nature of politics? You can disagree and debate?

“On Tuesday, I got this telephone call from a party researcher, basically telling me they had reason to believe that I didn’t support the Labour statement of commitment.

“I was at home with my child and I was having this accusation levelled at me. I am really on the back foot and in a bit of shock. I was asked to repeat the Labour commitment statement again, which I did, but it felt like I was joining some sort of cult.

“This is a democracy and support can change.

“They asked me who I voted at the last election. I should have said none of your business, but I said Plaid and that was it.”

Jeremy Corbyn attended a meeting in Llandudno recently during a visit to North Wales

Cassie, who would have voted for Mr Corbyn, the MP for Islington North, was then officially rejected by email.

No Comment

A Labour Party spokesman said they would not comment on individual cases.

But he said: “The Labour Party has a robust system to prevent fraudulent or malicious applications.

“All applications to join the Labour Party as a member, affiliate or supporter are verified, and those who are identified by our verification team as being candidates, members or supporters of another political party will be denied a vote.”

The party said there are several reasons why prospective party members could be rejected.

They include not being on the electoral register, or having stood for another political party at the last general election, local elections or European elections.

They also include people who nominated candidates for other parties at previous elections, and those who are known campaigners for, or members of, other parties.