Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/690/12992
The Hardest Hit protests
Stop government attacks on disabled
In the coming weeks the much talked about Welfare Reform Bill gets voted on in parliament. As for myself and many other disabled people this is a deeply worrying time.
All we know is that cuts are coming our way and this is just another attack on disabled people. We are being made to pay for an economic and financial crisis that is not of our making.
One of the bits in the bill I have picked out is the proposal to scrap the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and replace it with a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in April 2013.
This change, from the government's point of view, is to reduce the case load by roughly 20% of claimants. But the fact that the fraud rate for DLA is a tiny 0.5% means it's increasingly likely that many disabled people will be losing out.
It is estimated to result in an overall loss of £2.1 billion to disabled people - valuable money they need during these tough economic times with rising costs of living.
The criteria for gaining PIP are likely to be stricter and tougher. If you can't walk but can get about using a wheelchair you will be deemed mobile enough to not receive the payment. This is even if no wheelchair is available for them to use.
The Tories are making out that people want to be independent as a ploy to remove some off benefits. This is a cruel tactic. I've not yet met a disabled person who does not want to work or contribute to society in any way they can. But changing the goalposts to reduce the cost to the state seems to me a cynical tactic being used by the government.
The tight rules and regulations disabled people have to go through to claim nowadays is getting some media exposure at last. Claimants who have tried to claim the Employment Support Allowance, for example, have reported feeling demoralised and at the end of their hope when being turned down the right to benefits to help them due to minor issues with their claims.
And let's not forget that the private company ATOS, which was brought in by the last Labour government, is especially contracted to move claimants off disability benefits into more mainstream benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance, saving the government millions if not billions of pounds. But the affect on disabled people, mentally and physically, is huge.
I know many in the disability movement who feel victimised for being disabled and being made to feel like a criminal for needing help and support. The vicious right-wing media does not help lessen the stigmas that are flung around bracketing all benefit claimers as workshy and feckless.
It is time government minister Iain Duncan Smith and his Tory millionaire chums are told what life really is like for disabled people before rushing head long into attacking us.
- No cuts in benefits, jobs and public services. No privatisation of services
- Oppose the Welfare Reform Bill
- Decent benefits, education, training or work for all, without compulsion
- Sack Atos Origin and scrap the Work Capability Assessment
- A living wage and provision of respite for all family carers
- Provide free health and social care services to all who need them
- Massive investment in social housing, services and infrastructure to create jobs and meet need
- Support the 30 November strike as the next step in the campaign to defeat all the cuts
- For a socialist society that puts the needs of the millions before the profits of the millionaires
In The Socialist 19 October 2011:
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