Cuts totaling 9 billion pounds have been proposed to disability benefits in the UK. These cuts amount to 10% of finance minister George Osborne's 89 billion pound deficit reduction plan and include changes to welfare eligibility, cuts to disability living allowance (DLA), and local authority reductions in funding for carers and services. 5000 to 10,000 persons with disabilities were expected for the Hardest Hit March to protest the cuts to disability in London on May 11, 2011. Marchers also planned to meet with their Members of Parliament (MPs) to send a message to the government to stop the cuts.
A report, Disability in Austerity, published this week by the think tank Demos and the disability organization Scope, makes it clear that, rather than being protected, persons with disabilities will be indeed be hit very hard by the cuts:
"...disabled families across the country faced dramatic reductions in their household incomes, as a result of changes in the way benefits are uprated in line with inflation, and reforms of the way claimants are assessed for incapacity benefit and DLA.
"Disabled people were quickly identified as likely to be among those hardest hit by the coalition's reforms, the report states, because this group is at "substantially greater risk of living in poverty than non-disabled people, [and] disproportionately more reliant on welfare benefits than other low income groups".
"We estimated that disabled people would lose £9bn [9 billion] in welfare support overall in the next five years," the paper said. "We questioned whether the government had intended the budgetary axe to fall so heavily on this group and whether by attempting to 'incentivise work' for the majority, they had overlooked the disproportionate effect welfare cuts would have on those who were less able to join the labour market."
We ask you to stop the cuts to disability benefits which provide essential support for persons with disabilities. What kind of a nation chooses to cut services, programs, and necessary supports for those most in need?