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Disabled People Fight Back in Protest - UK Disability News

  • Date: 2010/12/15
  • UK Disability News
  • Synopsis : It is no surprise that disabled people feel their lives are under threat with the cumulative onslaught of attacks against them.

Main Document

Disabled People Against Cuts on today's protests.

It is no surprise that disabled people feel their lives are under threat with the cumulative onslaught of attacks against them inflicted by the coalition government and local councils.

Still reeling from being told "There are too many of you for us to continue to fund you all" - by the Coalition Government last week, and that £330 million used to provide social care will be completely scrapped in 2015 disabled people are also having to face up to the savage attacks planned against Housing Benefit claimants and plans to both scrap security of tenure for social housing tenants and the raising of rent levels by 30%.

Under the coalition government's economy drive disabled people are set to lose at least £140 per month through direct cuts to disability benefits (initially devised to pay the extra costs of being disabled) alone, plus a further £300 per year once benefits are linked to the CPI index

Debbie Jolly one of the co-founders of DPAC said: "Disabled people have had every single support targeted for 'reform', cut or scrapped completely. DLA 'reforms' set out to cut 20% of claimants saving 17 million pounds. The Independent Living Fund allowing disabled people to stay in their homes: scrapped to save £330 million, many cuts are being applied to social 'care' in local authorities, housing tenure is being restricted to two years with additional cuts to housing benefit. We call on this government to think again about what they are doing to disabled people"

Housing Benefits for all tenants will be drastically reduced. From October 2011 for those 2 million disabled people living in private rented accommodation and from 2013 for anyone living in social housing which is deemed too large for their needs

There are already 1.8 million households on social housing waiting lists, and currently 1 million children live in overcrowded households. In Leicester in June 2010 there were 500 households needing an accessible property and only one available.

Already 30% of disabled people live below the poverty line and 1 in 4 families with disabled children cannot afford heating. A tenth of disabled woman have incomes below £31 per week and a tenth of disabled men have incomes below £59 per week including earned income and benefits.

Reducing Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile from next October plus caps on Housing Benefit rates will mean many disabled people will be unable to afford to remain in their homes. Not only will they be forcible removed from their communities and support services but for anyone needing care there will be no guarantee that if they have to move to another local authority area those needs will be met.

Increasing numbers of homeless disabled people surviving on the streets in destitution will reduce this country to little more than a third world nation, yet that is the likely outcome for disabled people in relation to being unable to meet their housing costs.

The government say that they have increased funding for Discretionary Housing Payments but this will not lead to any additional security for disabled people since there is no automatic right to them and they are often time limited to a maximum of 6 months. There is also no right of appeal if they are refused.

Linda Burnip, campaign co-ordinator of the Local Housing Allowance Reform Group, said:

"In just over 6 months this government have swept away all of the progress made by the disabled people's movement over the past 30 years. They have brought back the Poor Law concept of deserving and undeserving poor and we are definitely being classed by them as undeserving and too expensive. However we will not sit back quietly and allow them to kill us all off one by one. As disabled people we have had to learn to fight for our rights and we intend to keep doing that now.. We are sick of hearing about disabled people who have died from neglect and lack of services or who have committed suicide because services and benefits were withdrawn from them. We will not just accept these vicious assaults against us"

Clair Lewis from DAN (Disabled People's Direct Action Network) said:

"they have left us with nothing to lose anymore so we may as well fight back for all we're worth."

Data from Family Resources Survey and the National Equalities Panel 2010 found that:

75% of disabled women and 70% of disabled men are already at the bottom end of Britain's income distribution scale living in poverty.

A tenth of disabled woman have incomes below £31 per week and a tenth of disabled men have incomes below £59 per week including earned income and benefits.

Already 30% of disabled people live below the poverty line and 1 in 4 families with disabled children cannot afford heating

The Chartered Institute of Housing has calculated that the cumulative effect of the coalition's proposals mean that by 2020 every tenant's Housing Benefit will be too low to cover their rent

The Minister for Disabled People's quote comes from the Disability Allowance reform Executive Summary ministerial foreword which can be found at www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dla-reform-consultation-exec-summ.pdf

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