A group of Disabled People’s Organisations including Disability Positive has warned that further austerity cuts will cause untold misery and many deaths.
The Disabled People’s Organisations Forum, a group of 40 Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), believes any further public spending cuts will once again disproportionately hurt Disabled people, millions of whom are already living in poverty in the UK.
The DPO forum says that there is “nothing left to cut, the government must make different political choices – austerity is the problem not the answer.”
They are calling for people to contact their MPs using the letter template here to ask them to vote against any cuts to essential support and public services, to increase all benefits in line with inflation and stop social care charging to protect social care recipients’ income with an increased Minimum Income Guarantee and excluding disability benefits from the social care means testing.
Impact of Austerity on Disabled People
Austerity is already responsible for tens of thousands of excess deaths in the UK.
The UN Committee on the rights of Persons with Disabilities found austerity measures to cause gross and systemic violations of Disabled people’s human rights.
13.3% of Disabled people have no educational qualifications and are blocked from access to employment increasing poverty further.
Before the cost-of-living crisis, 4 million disabled people already lived in poverty.
Among disabled people, women, children, people of colour, and more severely disabled people are more impoverished.
We will be tweeting using the hashtag #AusterityKills.
Disability Positive has heard from many of our clients about the impact of the current cost of living crisis including Lauren* who receives direct payments and has a Personal Assistant (PA) for her care needs. She really values her PA and feels she provides her with excellent care.
However, she can no longer afford to pay her because her local authority has begun asking Lauren for an additional contribution to her care of £270 a month, bringing her monthly contribution to close to £1,000. As Lauren’s only source of income is ESA and PIP, she is left with very little left to live on. Lauren has spoken to the Council and feels they were not understanding about her situation. She feels she is left with no choice but to stop having a PA as she simply cannot afford it during a time of increasing cost of living.
Lynne Turnbull, Chief Executive at Disability Positive said:
“Cuts to public services are a choice the government is making, but after so many years of austerity we are now in a position where there is nothing left to cut. Disabled people are amongst the hardest hit by austerity, and have been disproportionately affected time and time again, by covid, by the cost-of-living crisis and now by another round of cuts to public services.
The government must make the right choice to protect disabled people’s lives by ruling out any cuts to services that are essential to our rights, wellbeing, independence, choice, and control.”
*Not her real name
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