Congrats to all who join London's biggest ever 'disabled march' to highlight the cuts. Up to 6000 protestors marched to draw attention and challenge the cuts. On the news reports I saw placards with slogans such as “Blame Banks Not Disabled People”, "I didn't chose to be disabled", "Easy Target: cuts to disabled disgraceful" and “Don’t Leave Me Stranded”. See The Guardian report here and see a blog here earlier in the year on The Guardian. See Green Party comment re cuts here and my blog earlier re cuts here.
Pic: rainbow over Ruscombe
Jaspal Dhani, chief executive of the UK Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC), said that the government's policies “are not just affecting a minority group of disabled people but the whole disabled community. This is about protecting disabled people’s futures. It is not just about the cuts taking place today, it is about maintaining rights and independence and promoting an independent living agenda into the future. Disabled people have fought long and hard over the decades for those rights and if they lose them now it will take decades to re-establish them.”
One third of working age disabled people already live in poverty, but that figure doesn't account for the higher cost of living they face, so they have a far lower disposable income than most people in England.
A report, Disability in Austerity, just published by the think tank Demos and the disability organization Scope, makes it clear that, rather than being protected, persons with disabilities will be indeed be hit very hard by the cuts:
...disabled families across the country faced dramatic reductions in their household incomes, as a result of changes in the way benefits are uprated in line with inflation, and reforms of the way claimants are assessed for incapacity benefit and DLA....Disabled people were quickly identified as likely to be among those hardest hit by the coalition's reforms, the report states, because this group is at "substantially greater risk of living in poverty than non-disabled people, [and] disproportionately more reliant on welfare benefits than other low income groups"....."We estimated that disabled people would lose £9bn [9 billion] in welfare support overall in the next five years," the paper said. "We questioned whether the government had intended the budgetary axe to fall so heavily on this group and whether by attempting to 'incentivise work' for the majority, they had overlooked the disproportionate effect welfare cuts would have on those who were less able to join the labour market."
The Hardest Hit campaign is organised jointly by the Disability Benefits Consortium and the UK Disabled People’s Council and is supported by Action Duchenne, Action for Blind People, Action for M.E., Age UK, Arthritis Care, Breast Cancer Care, Broken of Britain, Carer Watch, Carers UK, Changing Perspectives, Child Poverty Action Group, Citizens Advice, Clic Sargent, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Deafblind UK, Disability Alliance, Disability Awareness in Action, Disability Wales, Elizabeth FitzRoy Support, Epilepsy Society, Every Disabled Child Matters, Guide Dogs, Haemophilia Society, Hammersmith and Fulham Against Care Cuts, Hampshire CIL, Inclusion Scotland, LASA, Leaning Disability Coalition, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Macmillan Cancer Support, Mencap, Meningitis Research Foundation, Mind, Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association, MS Society, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, NCIL, National AIDS Trust, National Autistic Society (NAS), National Deaf Children’s Society, Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People, Parkinson’s UK, Public and Commercial Services Union, People First Ltd, Rethink, Royal Association for Disability Rights (RADAR), Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), RSI Action, Scope, Sense, Skill, Spinal Injuries Association, Sue Ryder, Transport for All, TUC, United Response, Vitalise, Where’s the benefit?