As regular readers will know, I am deeply exercised by the broad stroke attitude to disability being taken by the government as part of the sweeping cuts and changes to the benefits system. Two weeks ago I took part in the Hardest Hit protest march in Westminster, past the Houses of Parliament and Tweeted and blogged about it all. I received hundreds of Tweets, emails & blog comments from readers, some of which were both moving and angry. I have (with the writers’ permission) decided to extract several of these letters and run them as guest posts on LLG.
A reader posted a link to Cheryl’s blog which ran on her company’s website. I though it was brilliant so, with Cheryl’s permission, we are running it here too.
“Few would disagree that we need to apply some creative policy thinking and universal belt tightening to cut the country’s budget deficit. But the proposed cuts to disability benefits to save £2.2bn from 2013-14 to 2015-16 is a pretty low blow.
The Financial Times shrewdly commented that cuts to disability benefits were “the easiest bits of welfare reform to sell” – because they apply to aspects of life that people don’t want to think about until it happens to them – and are only needed by those who are often least able to fight for themselves.
Amongst other things The Welfare Reform Bill proposes to save money by changing the way that the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is assessed, which will, according to the Government, reduce the level of fraudulent claims (currently standing at only 0.5% according to the Government’s own National Benefit Review 2004-05).
My daughter receives the DLA which I use to buy services (not provided by the state) that give her the skills she will need to live independently – speech therapy, occupational therapy, specialist training for her Learning Support Assistant and school teachers. This investment in my daughter not only breaks down social barriers but will reduce the need for state dependency over the much longer term.
So for a relatively small saving to the Treasury the proposed changes to disability benefits will reduce the quality of life and but also the autonomy of some of our most vulnerable groups.
I agree we need to make cuts. But not all cuts will benefit society in the longer term. And ironically might in fact end up costing more. So think about the human cost of the Government proposals and if you care enough, keep campaigning to ensure the marginalised are not unduly penalised.”
Cheryl’s original blog is over at www.forster.co.uk
Last week’s guest blog by Anonymous is here