Cuts to disability benefits have caused misery for thousands of people. They have caused what the UN has described as “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights. And in the worst cases, they have led to people’s deaths. But now, new figures reveal that all the suffering has been for nothing. The cuts haven’t even saved the government the money they were supposed to.
Savings, what savings?
Cuts to disability benefits have been wide-ranging. The government hoped to make £4bn worth of savings in its cuts to the Disability Living Allowance. It hoped that, by moving people onto Personal Independence Payments (PIP), the disability benefits bill would drop to £13.6bn by 2018-2019. But it hasn’t. And now, the Office for Budget Responsibility is projecting a bill of £18bn.
In other words, the government has simultaneously trampled over disabled people’s rights, and failed to save any money.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams stated:
This analysis clearly shows that the Government’s social security cuts are failing disabled people. It is becoming increasingly clearer that these flawed Tory assessments only create further waste and expense.
Punishing disabled people
Since the Tories first came to power in 2010, deaf, disabled and sick people – including those living with mental health issues – have been punished with countless benefit cuts. The UN says they have also been “disproportionately” affected by successive governments imposing years of austerity. And nearly half of all poverty in the UK has a direct link to disability.
Behind all the statistics and reports, there are real people. Real people who’ve lost an essential income or been plunged further into poverty. Real people, like the 51,000 people who’ve lost their Motability vehicles as a result of cuts to PIP. And real people like the 10,600 people who died within six weeks of their benefit claims ending (just between January and November 2011). Or the 90 people a month who are dying after the Department for Work and Pensions declares them ‘fit-for-work’.
This is why Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are calling for people to #TrashTheTories in the upcoming election. And they are asking people to remember, when voting, #NotTheFuckingTories.
Not only have the Tories caused widespread hardship for disabled people, they haven’t even achieved their stated aim of saving money. We should not want to live in a society which treats disabled people so appallingly. And we should also relish the opportunity to do something about it.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election. If you don’t have a national insurance number, a five minute phone call on 0300 200 3500 will get it sent to you in ten days.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
Featured image via Flickr
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