Devastating impact of cuts on disabled people
Summary: The general election is upon us. In 21st century Britain we like to think we live in an equal and fair society, but equality is hard won. There was a time when women chained themselves to railings for their right to vote, a time when gay people were imprisoned and when signs proclaimed “No blacks, no dogs, no Irish”. All have had to fight for their right to equality. Disabled people are fighting too, but not simply for equality – for their very survival.
A third of disabled adults already live in poverty. Disabled people and those needing social care have already been hit up to 19 times harder by cuts than others. Under the Conservative-led coalition every aspect of their support has been reduced, abolished or failed, costing the taxpayer and costing lives. But just weeks before the election we discover through a leaked document that the Tories plan £12bn more cuts to social security, including disability benefits (Report, 30 March).
The UN is said to be conducting a confidential inquiry into “grave or systemic violations” of the human rights of disabled people in the UK. If these cuts went ahead it would be a further breach of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, which the UK ratified in 2009, with cross-party support. Every week we learn of more people who have lost their lives, many others will follow if more support is stripped away.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said the chancellor must specify how he will reach the targets. Yet George Osborne, David Cameron, Theresa May, Matthew Hancock and David Gauke have all doggedly refused to give any details before the election. Iain Duncan Smith has said: “We may, we may not, decide that it’s relevant to put something out there about some of those changes.” It is unfair and irresponsible to conceal changes that may heavily impact the lives of those who have already been hit the hardest. Perhaps they think disabled people are an easy target, because misleading articles and the rhetoric of “scroungers” and “skivers” has skewed public perception of people who need support. But more and more, people are becoming aware of how unfairly disabled people have been treated. The tide is turning.
Disabled people wrote an open letter calling on politicians to stop any further cuts which would increase their already profound social and economic disadvantage and asked the public to show their support. We, like those before us, are prepared to fight until disabled people are treated equally and difference doesn’t matter anymore.
Armando Ianucci Writer, director, producer, Bianca Jagger Council of Europe goodwill ambassador, Founder Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, Michael Sheen Actor, director, Peter Tatchell Human rights campaigner, Dominic Minghella Screenwriter, Aamer Anwar, Criminal defence solicitor, Human rights campaigner, Rev Andy Smith Ecumenical Dean of Telford, Richard Hughes Drummer, Keane, Sophie Christiansen Triple gold medallist, London 2012 Paralympic Games, Steve Peers Professor of human rights law, Jonathon Tomlinson GP NIHR research fellow, Eddi Reader Musician, Professor Peter Beresford Professor of social policy, Brunel University, London, Cherylee Houston Actor, Dr Sam Majumdar Consultant surgeon Dundee, Surgical advisor Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, Francesca Martinez Comedian, author, campaigner, Deborah Bowman Professor of ethics and law St George’s, University of London, Terry Christian Broadcaster, Dr Simon Duffy Director, The Centre for Welfare Reform, Lisa Hammond Actor, Jonathan Bartley Green party spokesperson on work and pensions, Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, Dr Kailash Chand, Rev Fr Patrick Brennan Priest, archdiocese of Birmingham, Cameron McNeish Broadcaster, author, Bill Bowring Barrister, professor of law, Birkbeck, University of London
Forgive my incredulity, but George Osborne refuses to be specific about £12bn of proposed cuts to welfare such as would transform the social fabric of the UK, and this appears to be far less important an issue than the role of the SNP, a perfectly legitimate British political party, in any future government. Is Labour not letting us all down by not hounding Osborne, demanding details, making it plain that if the turkeys do vote for this Christmas, it will be the type that even Scrooge would disown?
• David Marr’s article (30 April) is right in drawing attention to the danger of all the political parties shutting their eyes to the realities of the SNP. What he does not say is that if the Conservatives, with or without Lib Dems, form the next government, the breakup of the union is a certainty since the major further cuts to welfare will be totally unacceptable in Scotland. With 50-plus MPs, the push for an independent Scotland will be unstoppable. The consequences for the UK will be political chaos followed by financial chaos, especially as the EU referendum will be in the mix.
• The Tories and Labour continually use the term “working people” during the election campaign. The subtext is clear. This term is calculated to target the “employed” middle ground. What about those who do not fit this select definition? For instance, unemployed people, disabled people, sick people, asylum seekers and carers. The truth is that their subtle omission from this rhetoric merely reveals that the main political parties have abandoned all solidarity with these groups. In fact, both the previous and current governments have presided over the most draconian cutbacks to benefits and services that directly affect these groups. We do not need more scapegoating or divisiveness. We need a language and a progressive politics that embraces and involves the most vulnerable and powerless in our society.
Pontyclun, Mid Glamorgan
• Larry Elliott overlooks the most direct solution to the housing crisis (Report, 27 April): phase out housing benefit. It is estimated that housing benefit will reach £25bn a year during the next parliament. This amounts to a vast subsidy for employers who do not pay a living wage; for banks who can lend recklessly knowing that the government will always (one way or another) pick up the tab; and for buy-to-let landlords, who also benefit from tax relief on their already low interest repayments. Any other “industry” subsidised to this level would quickly be dismissed as a lame-duck enterprise. The savings over one parliament – more than £100bn – would easily pay to build the social housing the UK so desperately needs.
If the withdrawal were phased (probably by region and starting with London), any recalibration of the housing market would be sufficiently gradual to avoid a crash. This radical move will tackle the underlying cause rather than the inevitable symptoms of our building crisis.
Dr Mark Ellis
Source The Guardian
Other recent news items:
- Doctors’ union finally agrees to spread the word
- Disability Politics UK: call to prioritise step free access
- Children with disabilities: targeted violence and hostility
- Dementia care: how social enterprises are developing products and services
- Adass spring seminar: four things you need to know
- The Disability Audit: the eight coalition policies that have hit disabled people
- DWP told to publish ESA deaths report, after two-year delay
- The struggle to find work when you have Down's syndrome
- PIP Delay Crisis Over, Claims DWP
- Meet Justin Tomlinson MP- New Minister For Disabled People
- A quick guide to new care minister Alistair Burt
- How to use your disability as a strength when applying for jobs
- Devastating impact of cuts on disabled people
- NHS ‘has wasted more than a year’ on latest bid to improve wheelchair services
- Five Thousand Disabled Adults Sexually Abused In Last 2 Years Says NSPCC
- ESA Claimant Takes On Maximus And Wins
- One in five benefit-related deaths involved sanctions, admits DWP
- Manchester United tell family with disabled son to watch Stockport instead
- Joint mental health commissioning strategy
- New parliament sees number of disabled MPs plunge
- Motability under spotlight over cuts to grants… despite £190 million reserves
- Disabled people ‘should come together in new national body’
- 'It's a great honour': Selby appoints UK's first mayor with learning disabilities
- Voluntary Community Social Enterprise Review website
- Cameron downgrades minister for disabled people
- Poor UK cancer survival rates linked to lack of GP direct access to scans
- Charity highlights role of siblings in supporting adults with a disability
- Queen’s Speech fails to mention social care funding
- Queen’s speech ‘suggests the worst is yet to come'
- TV industry must improve representation of disabled people
- The bionic suit helping wheelchair users get back on their feet
- New project to tackle mental health issues
- Equality watchdog contradicts football’s Premier League over access
- Schools 'must improve support for diabetic children'
- National Theatre plans shows on issue of disability
- Rise in mental health bed occupancy
- Watchdog writes to Man Utd after stewards confiscate walking aids from fans
- Government cuts ‘could see disabled people slide back to the bad old days’
- Disabled payment delay unlawful, judge rules
- The 'dragons' who want to help disabled people start their own business
- Boy, 12, wins £120,000 in damages after swine-flu jab left him 'severely disabled' by narcolepsy
- DWP ignores watchdog’s deadline over benefit-related deaths
- Man who cannot walk or talk called for jobcentre 'back to work' interview
- UK woman can ride bike for first time with 'world's most lifelike bionic hand'
- GPs to refer more patients with low-risk cancer symptoms under new NICE guidance
- Disability campaigners clash with police inside parliament over benefit cuts
- Indefinite Award DLA Transfer To PIP Will Start From July In Certain Postcodes
- Disabled children less happy with hospital care than peers
- ILF closure: Process has caused ‘fear, stress and anxiety’, say researchers
- Disability poverty rose sharply in fourth year of coalition
- UK services failing patients with dementia
- Shadow disability minister admits backing assisted suicide bill
- Disabled people's rights threatened by government cuts, campaigners warn
- BBC Three’s ‘Defying The Label’ Season
- From 'bloodied knees' to the House of Commons as a disabled MP
- Mental health patients sent hundreds of miles for beds as out of area placements rise 23 per cent
- Systematic over-medication blights learning disability care
- The Superhumans return to Channel 4
- Accessible Information Standard Approved
- Doctors demand return of lung cancer awareness campaign
- David O’Mar, 58, Found Fit For Work Two Weeks Before His Death
- World First Bionic Eye Gives Hope To Millions
- Seven-day NHS to include child mental health services, minister confirms
- Court hears appeal on ‘unfair’ PIP 20 metre rule consultation
- New report by Business Disability Forum cites lack of skills in line managers as major barrier to retention of disabled employees
- Tanni says 10,000 signatures could finally transform wheelchair services
- BBC3 presenter and journalist crowdfunding to transform the lives of people with disabilities in Ghana
- Disabled voters take pioneering legal action over election access
- Has disability sport lost its London 2012 Paralympics momentum?
- NHS Announce New Care Guidelines For Learning Disabilities
- Fresh evidence that ‘benefit scrounger rhetoric’ is causing hate crime
- Sanctioned Jobseekers With Mental Health Problems Are Not ‘Vulnerable’ Says DWP
- Clubs “Neglecting Responsibility” To Disabled Fans
- Latest Figures Show Massive Rise In ESA Sanctions
- ‘Bizarre’ figures raise fears over ministers’ plans for ESA
- School nurses ‘need better mental health training’
- Number of people developing dementia 'stabilising'
- Boy, nine, fitted with first prosthetic hand that can change grip with gestures
- Iain Duncan Smith criticises employers over disability employment gap
- Disability benefit sanctions soar by 30% in a year
- Thousands have died after being found fit for work, DWP figures show
- Goths at risk of depression or self-harming, research says
- Elderly 'ripped off' in mobility scooter market
- GPs are missing cancer in children - because they 'don't have enough training'
- IDS announces 'fitness for work' U-turn that was five years in the making
- People with autism and learning disabilities excel in creative thinking, study shows
- Starbucks apologises for telling woman she was not 'disabled enough' to use the toilet
- DLA Lifetime Award PIP Transition Started from 1 September in 29 New Areas
- Successful 'Fit for Work' Appeals at Highest Ever Level, Show DWP Stats
- Why is our justice system failing vulnerable people?
- UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms
- Coroners 'ground breaking' verdict: Suicide was 'triggered' by 'fit for work' test
- Schoolboy calls for more disabled characters in children's books
- The quadruple amputee who needs the correct prosthetic
- Welfare to work programme failing disabled and ill jobseekers, say charities
- Disabled fans 'delighted' as Premier League finally acts on access
- Two-thirds of adult social care requests rejected by local councils
- Independent Living Fund: Government silence 'suggests something to hide'
- UK employers report rise in mental health problems: CIPD study
- UN inquiry considers alleged UK disability rights violations
- Parliament's own disability group picks first non-disabled chair in nearly 50 years
- Dementia drug 'keeps patients out of nursing homes'
- Disability benefit cuts will actually make it harder for disabled people to find work,coalition of 60 charities warns
- Problems with the care and treatment provided by the NHS and/or difficulties in accessing health services?
- Consultation on the proposed new adult social care strategy
- The Leicestershire Advice Service for Social Care is here to guide you
- Minister: MPs must help 'open doors' for disabled jobseekers
- 'Homes not hospitals': learning disability care to move to community
- Equality Act 'simply isn't strong enough' for BSL-users, peers are told
- Disability Hate Crimes Rise 41% In A Year
- Companies fear employing people with learning disabilities, survey reveals
- DWP cuts specialist disability employment advisors in jobcentres by over 60 per cent
- Watchdog 'must do more to support disabled people to fight discrimination'
- ‘We must keep banging the drum,’ says bus campaigner after five-year fight for justice
- 2,000 disabled people wrongly declared ‘fit to work’ by DWP in just three months
- Local authorities 'spend close to nothing on mental health'
- Rock band with learning disabilities release first single
- NICE seeks to improve diagnosis and treatment of cerebral palsy
- Premier League clubs face legal threat unless disabled access is improved
- UK’s progress on disability rights ‘patchy and tortuous’, UN told
- Peer pressure sees minister finally announce date for taxi access laws
- Stop the NHS slashing vulnerable people’s care packages in and around Leicestershire
- Minister tells industries to increase representation of disabled people
- Disabled children in England 'finding it increasingly hard to access council care'
- Wheelchair Rugby Loses Funding Appeal
- Plans that could force people into institutions could be ‘front line’ of national problem
- Young people 'fear stigma' if they ask for mental-health help
- Disability benefits process is 'inherently flawed', MPs told
- Businesses woefully ill-equipped to deal with Britain's rapidly growing mental health crisis
- Cash boost for pupils with special needs and disability
- PIP investigation: ‘Horrific’ suicide question sparks fresh assessment inquiry calls
- Disability report: Being disabled in Britain
- Stop PIP reassessments for patients with progressive diseases, campaigners say
- Patients with learning disabilities missing out on health checks
- Thousands have disability vehicles taken away
- Aspire announces GLL and LCiL as first partners to lead InstructAbility
- Easy read guide to voting by post
- Online campaign ‘could enable disabled people to affect election outcome’
- Health Committee inquiry and report: Brexit and Health and Social Care – People and Process
- Women’s Resource Centre report: the Impact of Austerity Measures on Women’s Voluntary and Community Organisations