Saturday, 14 August 2010

"Councils pay for prostitutes for the disabled" - The Telegraph

Taxpayers' money is being spent on prostitutes, lap dancing clubs and exotic holidays under schemes designed to give more independence to the disabled.

While other papers are content with attacking claimants of DLA and Incapacity Benefit, it seems The Telegraph have set their sights on Personal Budgets; the new-ish scheme which offers disabled people a choice in how their assistance needs are met. I guess they'd prefer to see us get 15 mins of old-style Home Help 3 times a day and only being allowed to go to the toilet in those slots.

They say:

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph can disclose...

Which means they didn't stumble upon a story about someone using their PB to pay for a Dutch prostitute, they actually went looking for any hint of PB scandal they could find. Because disabled people aren't under enough fire already...

Edited to add: Unsurprisingly the Daily Mail are also covering the story. (Thanks to @CrippledWriter for tweeting the link.)

It's interesting that these papers - the same ones that are so keen to see disabled people off Incapacity Benefit and getting jobs - are the ones decrying Personal Budgets. For a great many disabled people Personal Budgets are the only way they are able to work. Without being able to pay someone to come and get you up and dressed at a time of your choosing you can't go out to work, can you?


  1. I went to a conference that trained people in using personal budgets, some time ago. We considered the possibility there that the media would jump on them. It wasn't unexpected. I very much hope councils have been equally well-prepared and won't let it affect how they allocate care budgets, though.

    The issue of disabled people and prostitutes is a complex one. It's a feminist issue as well as a disability issue. I believe the 'disabled men can't get sex and therefore need prostitutes' (and it always is men - disabled women are apparently not entitled to sex) is a smokescreen covering up both sexism and disablism. But that's a personal opinion. I do wish this were a different issue, though. It would be easier to fight the anti-PB rhetoric around something like 'disabled person takes flying lessons'*.

    *An actual case of an early PB user.

  2. I've just posted a rant on the article above at SD. Dropped in here to see how to ask you guys to cross post it, only to find you had already picked it up.

    Anyway, have a read, if you like:

  3. Makes a change from going 2 the bleeding gymn!

  4. lilwatchergirl - yes, I completely agree. I mean, one of the things listed as if it's a shocking exploitation of the system is taking driving lessons. Exactly how sour-minded does someone have to be for this to leap out at them as unreasonable?! Yet it's been presented so that you can't really address that without having to say something about the headline issue and as a despairing feminist I just can't face getting into that yet again.

  5. I think the Daily Mail ripped off a Community Care feature article, that was actually quite balanced:

    Although I was surprised by the Disability Alliance quote.