Join us to protest at the Tory Party Conference – Birmingham, England, on 3 October, by Debbie Jolly
August 27, 2010
- The Tories have threatened to remove our Disability Living Allowance (DLA) saying that the number of claimants must be reduced by one fifth. Even those who have been awarded DLA for life now seem certain to have to undergo a rigorous medical to see if they still qualify
- Employment Support Allowance and work capability assessments have been criticised by the Citizens Advice Bureau, disability charities and Disabled People’s Organisations. Even people with terminal cancer have been declared fit for work and removed from Incapacity Benefit. The government have now said that from October 2010 they will speed up the re-assessment of everyone currently claiming Incapacity Benefit so that 10,000 claimants a week are ‘processed’
- These assessments which ignore doctors and consultant views are earning Atos healthcare £100 million a year
- Housing Benefits for all tenants will be 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 1.8 million people on social housing waiting lists. Currently 1 million children live in overcrowded households
- 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
- Benefits will be linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of the Retail Price Index, so claimants will lose £300 a year as the CPI ignores any housing costs you might have
- Value Added Tax increased to 20% will hit those on the lowest incomes the hardest – it is estimated this rise will increase each household’s costs by £500 per year
- Added to that funding from the Independent Living Fund for care and support has now ceased to all new claimants and any additional needs cannot be met by them
- Social Services budgets are under extreme pressure and nearly all Social Services departments have been told to reduce their budgets by 25% which has an obvious knock-on effect to their provision of care and the amount people need to pay towards this. In Warwickshire it is anticipated that one-third of people who currently receive free care will no longer be eligible.
What disabled people say about these changes
“At the moment I am able to claim £17.75 per week for care and £49.50 for mobility which goes straight to the Mobility Scheme and in total that comes to £269 a month. Now consider the fact I work four days a week and roughly pay £160 in tax. Without DLA I wouldn’t be able to do my job, so I wouldn’t pay tax. Without DLA I wouldn’t be able to hire a Motability car which in turn means I wouldn’t be paying tax on petrol. Without a car I would be less likely to travel to shops or be able to engage in leisure activities; things which impact, albeit in a small way, to the British economy.
According to George Osborne the Government will introduce measures to assist disabled people ‘into the labour market’, however, I have shown that the removal of DLA would not only take me out of the labour market, it would also halt the spending power I currently have.
By going down this path, once at 2013 we could see disabled people like myself thrown onto the scrapheap and potentially becoming a greater drain on the Government’s own financial resources. I don’t need an Eton or Oxbridge education to know that this is a bankrupt political move which will do more harm than good to the economy, my life and family, as well as those of other disabled people.”
Bob Williams-Findlay, MA.
“I am in receipt of DLA, without which I could not survive. I have severe allergies, home bound, mostly bedridden. I have carers, and have to pay for extra hours not subsidized by social services. My utility bills are extremely high, and I have to contribute to the rent, which is not met by housing benefits. I also suffer from malnutrition!! Being chronically ill is costly, being depending on carers for everything.
Cutting DLA would mean, that I have to find housing within the Housing Allowance which is much much lower than rental market. There are pockets of housing, in undesirable areas, with mould and cockroaches, and no amenities, no lift, or if on the ground floor, simply not safe.
I could go on and on, about the misery it would cause, to remove DLA.
It would lead to a slow death painful death. Worth adding here, I have spoken to many in my situation, who are discussing mass suicide, rather than suffer more health miseries, for which there are no cures! They are not depressed, but pragmatic about what awaits all of us.”
Disabled woman living in London
We will have our own disabled people’s section of a legal organised march to protest against Tory Party attacks on disabled people. Please join us and ask others to come too.
When – Sunday, October 3rd, 2010.
Where- International Convention Centre, Birmingham
March– 1 p.m.
If the weather is good we will meet at the fountain in Chamberlain Square at 11.30 am and walk to the ICC together otherwise, or for anyone who finds it easier, we will meet inside the ICC in the room where the rally will take place.
If anyone has any specific needs which they need to have met in order to attend this protest march please contact – email@example.com
or firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile phone number for those needing contact on the day itself is 0771 492 7533