COMMENT: Bureaucrats have a duty but must also have a care

The concept underpinning a welfare state like Britain is that society at large plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the social and economic wellbeing of its citizens.

Friday, 9th March 2018, 5:00 am

Most would agree that one of the cornerstones of our welfare state is to look after the less fortunate in society: the old, the infirm, those least able to look after themselves.

Take Philip, from Waterlooville, who is 65 with learning difficulties that mean he has the mental age of a child of six.

He enjoys the time he spends at the Blendworth Centre, a charity-run day facility near his home that helps people with varying degrees of learning difficulties or disabilities to build their independence.

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Like others who attend the centre he works with nature, growing plants and produce for sale in the centre’s nursery outlet.

The centre aims to develop and support individual goals, encourage friendships, raise self-esteem and promote confidence and independence.

But like thousands of other vulnerable people, Philip’s care allowance came under scrutiny as government policy put the emphasis on getting people into work.

Thanks to his battling family, his precious days at Blendworth will not be cut back, but the threat caused them and Philip untold upset.

We know there is pressure on the public purse and that, in times of austerity, we must all share the burden. But the bureaucrats must be allowed to employ common sense and compassion where it is required.

People like Philip and their families deserve that courtesy.

Cut back on unnecessary spending by all means, but do not cut care for vulnerable people who really need it.