The British Betrayal of People with Disabilities

disabled-man-holding-no-cuts-sign

Image Source

If we take a moment to cast our minds back to 2013, and that year’s G8 summit, those of us who believe in fairness and equality within our society, will clearly remember David Cameron’s pledge to fight tax evasion and avoidance in the UK.

However, it will also come as no great surprise that Cameron has recently faced a barrage of criticism due to his reluctance to fight tax avoidance, following the leak of more than 11 million documents reportedly detailing how a Panamanian law firm had assisted its clients in the use of offshore tax havens; it surely did not come as a surprise to most of us that Cameron had actually profited from an offshore trust set up by his late father.

As usual it was another ‘do as I say, not as I do’ moment from the Conservatives, who, despite their repeated mantra that we are all in this together, have attempted to reduce the UK’s deficit through financial-attacks on those who are amongst the most vulnerable in our society, the disabled.

A large proportion of their strategy has included attempting to redefine what it means to be sick or disabled, along with slashing or taking away benefits from those who need them the most, despite the fact that they have little chance of finding another viable source of income.

However, while the plight of the disabled and vulnerable has recently been brought to the nation’s attention, the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was initially scraped in 2013 and replaced with Personal Independence Payments (PIP). It was initially claimed by Iain Duncan Smith that the “ridiculous system” was altered in order to ensure that people with disabilities were regularly assessed in order to ensure that no bogus claim were being made.

It is hardly a surprised that hate crimes against the disabled have risen by a shocking 213% since 2007/2008 following the anti-scrounger rhetoric aimed that those with disabilities, which was first bandied about by the coalition government at the time.

It was, however, seen as a way for the Government to save money, and there was no consideration given to the more vulnerable amongst us in our society; reports earlier this year highlighted the fact that nearly 14,000 disabled people had lost their access to a  Motability vehicle despite the fact that they were dependent on it for their mobility and quality of life.

Those who have been personally affected by Duncan Smith’s claims that he quit the Tories over the recently proposed additional cuts to disability benefits, no doubt feel insulted by his cheap point scoring.

However, there was some welcome news when the Tories were forced to make another U-turn on their policies and scrapped those proposed changes, which would have affected a wide range of people, ranging from those suffering from mobility issues, to those suffering from Dysphagia, a condition which causes great in difficulty swallowing tablets.

The suffering that has been enforced on the vulnerable and disabled by a privileged minority has once again been taken too far and the lack of respect towards people’s dignity further emphasises the fact that their main cause for concern is enabling the wealthiest within our society to hoard as much as money as possible, while paying as little tax as they can get away with.

It is all too easy to shift our focus towards slashing the country’s deficit but as a society we would do well to remember that behind the figures that are bandied about, the lives of individuals’ are being changed for the worse and they themselves and their families are having to face up to the consequences with little or no support whatsoever.

GUEST BLOG

Leave a Reply