Monday, August 08, 2011

Willie Rennie spends 24 hours learning from carer Claire

One of the very first things Willie Rennie did when he was elected to the Westminster Parliament in 2006 was to campaign for those in receipt of Bereavement Allowance, the payment made in the year following widowhood, to be able to keep their Carers' Allowance after an approach by a constituent. It seemed very cruel to take it off her when she'd just lost her husband and was shouldering the burden of caring for her child alone.

Over the years he continually supported carers facing struggles with issues like respite care, withdrawal of physiotherapy and problems with school placements. He supported calls for the Winter Fuel Allowance to be extended to disabled people who struggle to keep warm.

At the end of last week,  he spent 24 hours with Claire Lally and her family, including her disabled 4 year old daughter Katie. Caring for Katie is a 24 hour job, with Claire and Derek having to sit up in shifts through the night watching her all the time. Claire and Willie were interviewed by Good Morning Scotland on Friday, after having been there for the  whole night. He described Claire and Derek as inspiring and professional and talked of his embarrassment at the difficulties they face dealing with bureaucracy.

You can listen to the Good Morning Scotland feature here on the iPlayer from around 1hour 51 minutes in. It's a very good insight into the realities of life as a carer and I think that all politicians should take part in initiatives like this.

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