Letter: Blow to disabled

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The Independent Culture
Blow to disabled

Sir: Many of your able-bodied readers may be viewing the Government's heavy-handed attempts at welfare reform with a degree of equanimity, or perhaps a reluctant recognition that something must be done to clamp down on scroungers and shirkers claiming incapacity benefit.

The irony is that these measures are not aimed primarily at disabled people, but at those who will become disabled in the future. Given the law of probabilities, many reading this will become severely disabled. If they have made provision for a modest private pension, as little as pounds 85 per week, they will find that this is clawed back through the benefits system - even if they have contributed to National Insurance for 30 or 40 years. If they are unfortunate enough to become disabled after a period of unemployment they will no longer be entitled to incapacity benefit at all, but will be consigned to a life of subsistence on income support.

As a severely disabled person, I feel outraged for all those who will suffer the consequences of this clumsy, ill-conceived and mean-spirited legislation. Come back Peter Lilley, all is forgiven.

CHARLES HOPKINS

Hellesdon, Norfolk

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