AS Disabled people fight for our lives, where are the disabled Labour Activists?
Why should benefit recipients be able to live in expensive accommodation that people with jobs cant afford? Froths a Tory minister. If you hadnt sold off all the council houses, they wouldnt have to. I snarl as another minister accuses Benefit claimants of making a lifestyle choice. 1 in 3 disabled people live in poverty. ATOs throw disabled people off benefits, expecting even those undertaking debilitating cancer treatment to look for a job. More than 30 people a week die after failing the work capability assessment.
Osborne threatens to cut welfare benefits by another £10B.
The Disability Living Allowance is being abolished and replaced by personal Independence Payments with a significantly reduced budget. Fanning the flames of tabloid fuelled disability envy; government spokespersons assert that disabled people are getting something for nothing, obscuring the fact that DLA is there to meet the additional costs of disability. Beat the cheat tabloid campaigns encourage the lie that Disability related benefit fraud is endemic. The papers scream malingerers, scroungers, benefit cheats, and Disability Hate crimes escalate.
The austerity frenzy also hits services that make disabled peoples independence possible. Cuts will imprison them in their own homes or confine them to institutions. Housing Benefit reductions will force disabled people out of their specifically adapted homes or remove the additional room needed to aid independence or which houses their carer.
Its a fight to the death say disabled people at a State of the Movement conference organised by Inclusion London and other disabled peoples organisations. We pledge to fight back!
Ive been a Labour Party member since 1994. I stood as a candidate in the last GLA lection in London and was instrumental in influencing Ken’s agenda including on disability. But I got little support as a blind candidate and had to pay sighted helpers to meet my access needs.
Trying to participate in general party activities is equally as challenging. Thanks to ongoing disability discrimination, I continually have to argue about disability access rather than policy.
But I have lots to say about policy. If Labour is to win the 2015 election, plan B must include integrating and properly funding social care, health and welfare. We must prove how this will stimulate the economy and create jobs, enabling older and disabled people to be equal productive members of society rather than be seen as the useless eaters of current government philosophy.
The Partys proud tradition of driving forward equality was led by its members via self-organised black, women or LGBT sections. Nothing about us without us, say disabled activists. The history of our oppression is peppered with non-disabled do-gooders speaking on our behalf. So where are the disabled Labour activists?
What will Labour do to stand with disabled people as we fight for our lives? How will disabled members be supported to be a part of Labours plans as we develop the 2015 manifesto?