Despite in many cases having to fight for an
assessment, new research shows that direct payments are changing
the lives of people with learning difficulties for the better.
national research, which involved members of Swindon People First
as researchers working with the Norah Fry Centre, found that direct
payments had enabled people to find work, go to college, and
maintain their houses.
Payments also helped people with
learning difficulties become bosses. Gordon McBride, from Swindon
People First, explained how he had to sack a personal assistant who
had not helped him live independently and worked “as if I was still
in residential care”. He recruited a new PA, whose wages he pays,
while looking after their tax and insurance.
Parents were also beginning to
feel the positive effects of direct payments. One told researchers:
“Direct payments have helped me to be a parent again – and not just