Norfolks disability community fights back against governments cuts to services and financial lifeline.
With over 180,000 disabled people in Norfolk the government's dramatic attack on benefits and allowances, alongside the cuts to social and health care, will have a severe effect on a large part of Norfolk's population.
The Norfolk Coalition Of Disabled People (NCODP), a leading organization representing disabled people across the county, is launching a document countering these measures which will inevitably increase the inequality experienced by disabled people
The document, based on the core values that the organization was founded on; promoting social equality and dignity for all disabled people, is intended to raise awareness of the unfair approach by the government towards the hardest hit members of society.
NCODP believe that by launching the document and addressing a number of issues raised by the new policies it can raise awareness of actions that it believes will negatively affect the life chances of disabled people.
Mark Harrison, NCODP CEO said
"Disabled people do not want to be treated as 'special cases' or be stuck in welfare dependency or excluded from the mainstream. However, the world is not an equal or accessible place for disabled people. The policies being pursued by the coalition government in its first hundred days will not promote or achieve disability equality. Rather it will have the opposite effect."
Within the document NCODP seeks to redress a number of issues such as Housing, The Independent Living Fund (ILF), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Incapacity Benefit and Employment for disabled people.
Further the organization is calling on the government to stop all cuts and welfare reform until they have actively consulted with Disabled Peoples Organization's (DPOs).
An Institute for Fiscal Studies report 1, released on Wednesday 26th August, provides further evidence that the strategies announced in the emergency budget in June 2010 will affect people on low incomes rather than the announced higher-end households which the chancellor stated were the target of his policies:
"...the main measures which will lead to losses amongst better-off households were announced by the previous government, and that the reforms to be in place by 2014-15 are generally regressive." 2
Disabled people are dis-proportionally more likely to live in low income households and rely on benefits and disability allowances. The measures put in place by the new government will result in immeasurable effects on their lives.
The cuts to Housing Benefits and Mortgage Payment Support alone have the potential to push many out onto the streets. 64,000 disabled people risk losing their homes 3 when the support that enables them to continue to pay their mortgage is removed. Housing Benefit also faces cuts which will mean that those who are not even able to purchase a mortgage will see their benefit reduced to the point that they will face becoming homeless.
These cuts will all impact on many of the most vulnerable in society.
NCODP's document "Attacks on disabled people", addressing a range of new polices, can be downloaded from www.ncodp.org.uk/campaign2010
This press release can be found along with previous releases at www.ncodp.org.uk/press-releases.
For further information regarding this news item please contact NCODP Communications via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01508 491219
1) Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) "The distributional effect of tax and benefit reforms to be introduced between June 2010 and April 2014: a revised assessment" www.ifs.org.uk/publications/5246
2) New IFS research challenges Chancellor's 'progressive Budget' claim Press Release www.ifs.org.uk/publications/5245
3) The National Housing Federation says that at least 64,000 people will be at risk of falling behind on payments, with those affected struggling to "keep up with their mortgage payments, falling into arrears and eventually losing their home". www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/aug/09/mortgage-benefit-cuts-disabled-housing
The Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People (NCODP) is a human-rights group controlled by disabled people and their organizations. They organize and take part in campaigns and run services that promote social equality and dignity for all disabled people.
The NCODP regards having an impairment as a normal part of being human. Disability results from people with impairments being excluded by physical and social barriers and negative attitudes. Their main task is to challenge the many forms of discrimination created by these barriers and attitudes.
The NCODP believes that disabled people must take the leading role in decisions that affect their lives both locally and as part of the national and international disability movements in which the NCODP plays an active part. There must be "Nothing about us without us.