The SNP has promised that the disabled will enjoy "a whole new era" as part of their programme for government following the 5th May Scottish General Election.
This is the first really good news for the disabled since the scummy Tories took power in 2010. Well, good news for those of us who are disabled and who live in Scotland, that is.
The Tories started to replace Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment in 2012, and PIP aims at one thing and one thing alone, which is to reduce the benefits' bill by doing over the disabled. In Scotland, the SNP government plans to subvert that in the following ways:
1. Reform the whole assessment procedure to remove the stress that the current private provision of the "service" creates.2. Restore the long-term awards for people with a condition that will never improve.3. Create sensible time-scales for the assessment process.4. Ensure an open and accessible appeals process.5. Continue to provide DLA/PIP as a non means tested benefit.
People will complain and say that PIP is harder to apply for than DLA, but it is a step in the right direction for the disabled.
Looking ahead, all of this will need a new Scottish social security ministry to oversee the quarter of state benefits, excluding pensions, that are on the cusp of being devolved. As this ministry replaces the infamous ATOS with state employees to carry out and administer the devolved benefits' process, that will create several hundreds, at least, of new, permanent jobs here in Scotland.
For the disabled, we can finally start to look forward to a system that was similar to the one that we had before the cataclysm of 2010. It will not be perfect, nothing ever is, but it will at least aim at meeting our needs, instead of seeking to save money for a government that only wants to reduce taxes for the rich and the middle class who grovel to them.
Another good reason, as if you needed one, to give your constituency vote to the SNP next month!