M is for Money

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by Sam Bowen
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Religion, Politics, Money... The three big things we are warned not to talk about. 

My Grandparents certainly wouldn’t have dreamt of doing so. Yet in a time when the first two topics are constantly in our daily news, it also seems the last one is a worry for most of us too.

It’s a divisive subject, who has what, what they do with it, what they see as value or expensive, all up for debate.

£1 is £1 in anyone’s pocket, but for some reason it isn’t.

£1 to a homeless busker is worth something, to a businesswoman paying for their skinny Macchiato, it’s not enough.

In western culture at least, money is sadly used as a measure of our own worth.

How much do you earn? How much is your house worth? What savings, pension, and property portfolio do you have?

It’s easy to see how money equals power and freedom to those fortunate to have lots of it.

It might also add to the vulnerability of those not able to earn a wage due to disability, mental incapacity, illness etc.

I am grateful that we live in a country that supports disabled people financially.

However, I do worry that with the current economic climate the way it is, that support might be questioned by some.

I, like many other parents of special needs and disabled children, gave up a good career to become my child’s carer (I’ve only just noticed there’s one E difference in the words!).

This was my choice and nobody forced me. I don’t expect the government to pay me the same as my previous employer did, part of me actually thinks getting any help is amazing.

But then the rational part of me works out that £64 a week is 38p an hour! My £1 ratio is looking pretty weak at this point.

It would be much easier to manage on a lower income if the outgoings were lower, but sadly that isn’t the case.

I was looking to buy a chair for my daughter recently. Nothing snazzy,  just a comfortable low level chair, supportive enough for her to sit in for art activities, playing, and watching TV.

Anything really to get her up off of the floor where her ‘go to’ position is long sitting.

My internet searches came back with costs upwards of £350 into the thousands. I’ll probably have to fundraise for it, but in the meantime, as a stop gap I bought a garden chair from Homebase for £6.99 – it’s pink too!

To make a comparison that would be like the homeless busker paying £50 for a coffee in a specially shaped cup to hold whilst he plays his guitar whilst the businesswoman gets hers for £1.

It is at least 50 times (yes 50!) more expensive for me to buy a chair for my disabled daughter than it would be if she were not disabled, and she doesn’t even have moderate postural needs.

So yes I have found a large part of disability to be about money, it’s only a dirty word if it’s being used in a dirty way.

Charging the earth for everyday essentials just because the user is disabled is a dirty tactic in my book.

It’s profiteering on those in need who often have the lowest income, thank heavens for all the wonderful charities out there without which many of us wouldn’t cope.

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