Archive for May, 2011

And they say “we’re all in it together”?

May 12, 2011

And they say “Were all in it together”?
(Speech made at the Hardest Hit rally and march of Deaf and Disabled people, Wednesday May 11, 2011, Westminster)
The government says that there’s no choice, that there’s no money, and we have to take action now! Were all in it together, they say. Theyre making £81B of public spending cuts, £18B of Welfare Benefit cuts, of which £9B are disability related benefit cuts.
Individual cuts are bad enough, but when you add cuts in service provision, to major job cuts, to cuts in benefits, then add rising inflation and high unemployment, and we just don’t stand a chance.
And they say we’re all in it together?
The effect of cuts is compounded further by the fact of poverty and other barriers that face Deaf and Disabled people from different communities. For example, young Pakistani Londoner’s are twice as likely to be disabled as their Peers, reflecting the compound impact of disability discrimination, racism and poverty.
And they say we’re all in it together?
Disabled Benefit scroungers are a Daily Mail myth! Employment Support Allowance is frightening Deaf and disabled people off benefits. If claimants can’t meet their work-related activities plan their benefits are cut. The work Capability test doesn’t measure the true barriers to employment, and again we lose our benefits.
People are so desperate they are suicidal. But DWP has guidance on that so that’s ok then isn’t it?
And they say we’re all in it together?
Discrimination, inaccessible work places, inaccessible transport and inflexible work conditions are some of the barriers that stop Deaf and Disabled people getting jobs. Oh and there’s the small matter of the lack of jobs meaning yet again we stand no chance.
Access to Work funds adjustments that support many deaf and disabled people to be in employment. It pays for itself in increased tax revenue. I asked the ODI today if ATW was being cut. They said no, so how come Deaf and Disabled peoples provision is being reduced, threatening jobs? And they say we’re all in it together?
In London deaf and disabled people with jobs earn on average fifty pounds less a week than non disabled people. We are more likely to be employed in the public sector, especially in local government. Local government cuts mean many of us will lose our jobs. I know 5 Deaf and Disabled people who worked in local government who have lost their jobs already since March. And they say we’re all in it together?
And what about DLA? It is vital to help independent living. The planned twenty percent cuts will see 32,000 Londoners lose out. The closure of the Independent Living Fund also threatens Deaf and Disabled people’s independence further.
And they say we’re all in it together?
Axing equality legislation will put the nail in the coffin of any protection we might have under the law. The coalition turns its back on promoting an equal society in favour of the survival of the fittest, a competition in which Deaf and Disabled people will be the losers. The government will provide handouts to the deserving afflicted only, driving us into residential homes because we can no longer afford TO live independently. What kind of economics is that, then?
Disability inequity is the result!
And they say we’re all in it together? No, some of us are more in it than others!

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