Theresa May met a real voter today who wasn’t happy with the Prime Minister’s record on disability rights. And it shows why May is so reluctant to meet real people.
A real person
May was campaigning in Abingdon when she was asked what she would do to help people with learning and mental health disabilities. But May couldn’t quite get her head around the fact she was also talking about learning disabilities, as the woman had to keep reminding her.
But the real challenge came over cuts to disability benefits. The woman stated:
I haven’t got a carer at the moment. And I’m angry. I’ve got no one to help me write a letter… I’d like someone to help me because I can’t do everything I want to do.
Everyone needs help
And when the local MP, Nicola Blackwood, tried to placate her by saying she’d tried to help her, the woman replied:
No, I’m talking about everybody. Not just me. I’m talking about for everybody who’s got mental health or anyone who’s got learning disabilities. I want them not to have their money taken away… The fat cats keep the money and us lot get nothing.
May tried to cut across her with platitudes, but failed:
You know what I want. My Disability Living Allowance to come back. Not have PIPs and get nothing. I can’t live on £100 a month. They took it all away from me.
You can watch the full exchange here:
An abysmal record
Since the Tories first came to power in 2010, deaf, disabled and sick people (including those living with mental health issues) have been the subject of countless benefit cuts. The UN also says they have been “disproportionately” affected by successive governments imposing years of austerity. And nearly half of all poverty in the UK is directly linked to disability.
These cuts have included:
- The Independent Living Fund (ILF), which previously supported people with care packages. Since the government cut it, in some areas 88% of people have seen their care packages reduced by up to 50%.
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for sick and disabled people in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) by a third. This will affect 500,000 people.
- 55% a week from ESA for sick and disabled 18-to-25-year-olds.
- 51,000 disabled people’s Motability vehicles, which were vital for them to live independently.
- Personal Independence Payments (PIP) from 164,000 people living with mental health issues. And the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has reduced or stopped PIPs for nearly half (45%) of all claimants.
Given this record, it’s no wonder that disabled voters are angry. And this is why Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are highlighting what the government has done, and calling for people to vote for anyone but the Tories.
But this video also shows why May has been hiding from ordinary people. Because many ordinary people are angry. And it’s these people who are feeling the brunt of her government’s cuts.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election.
– 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 YouTube screenshot
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?