The Conservatives’ latest plans to slash benefits for people with Parkinson’s – leaving them up to £1,500 year worse off – threatens to leave sufferers on the breadline after being subjected to a “crude tick-box assessment process” by assessors who don’t understand the condition.
On 2 March, MPs rejected pleas to review plans to cut disability benefits by a third. Stopping the decision at this stage would also have required the government to examine the full impact of the cuts on people with Parkinson’s and other degenerative diseases – something which the Conservatives have so far failed to do.
Parkinson’s UK Chief Executive Steve Ford said:
People with Parkinson’s, facing the devastating reality that soon they will have to stop working as their symptoms deteriorate, will be left reeling from this result. They now face the terrible prospect of surviving on the equivalent of Jobseeker’s Allowance when that heart-wrenching day comes. It’s now more important than ever that ESA [Employment and Support Allowance] assessments are vastly improved to take into account the progressive and fluctuating nature of Parkinson’s.
And now, research launched on 18 April reveals that nearly two-fifths of people with Parkinson’s are living in fear of being found out and feel that they have no choice but to hide their symptoms or lie about their condition to friends, family and employers. Others reported feeling ‘like their world had ended’, ‘like they were grieving’ or ‘like they didn’t know who to turn to’.
The study commissioned by Parkinson’s UK for Parkinson’s Awareness Week found that an estimated 42,000 people in the UK avoided sharing their diagnosis for fear of prejudice and social exclusion. At least some of this fear has proven to be justified – there are accounts of people with Parkinson’s being shunned and shut out of the workplace. As a result, many are at risk of being left in the double bind of being declared ‘fit to work’ despite reporting gruelling symptoms that render them unable to complete even the most basic tasks.
A paper authored by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on 7 January found that prejudice against disabled people has increased, fuelled by government and media propaganda about benefits. Figures from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) support this, showing that hate crimes against people with disabilities have risen by a shocking 213% since 2007/08.
This can be seen as part of a wider attack on the lives of those living with degenerative disease. Following a freedom of information request, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed that disabilities and illnesses that are at risk of being classified under the ‘fit to work’ category include: strokes, brain haemorrhages, multiple sclerosis, brain tumours, motor neurone disease, quadriplegia, polio and cerebral palsy.
– Donate to Parkinson’s UK to support their campaign to raise awareness of the impact of welfare cuts on those living with the condition.
– Write to your MP about the impact that the cuts are having on disabled people and those living with illness in your community.
– Assist 38degrees in its campaign to mobilise support for public healthcare.
Featured Image via YouTube.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?