Election 2017: Coalition of 80 charities unite to pressure party leaders over disability benefit cuts

Paralympians Kadeena Cox and Anne Wafula Strike and BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills among those signing cross-party open letter

Jon Vale
Friday 02 June 2017 00:01
Comments
There are more than 13 million disabled people in the UK, forced to spend considerably more than average
There are more than 13 million disabled people in the UK, forced to spend considerably more than average

More than 16,500 people and a coalition of 80 charities have signed a letter urging party leaders to put an end to disability benefit cuts.

Paralympians Kadeena Cox and Anne Wafula Strike and BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills are among those to have signed the open letter to all the political parties, urging them to protect disability benefits from further cuts in the next parliament.

There are more than 13 million disabled people in the UK, who spend an average of £550 extra every month on costs related to their condition.

However, charities in the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) say disabled people have borne the brunt of welfare reforms to the point where their benefits have been reduced or removed altogether.

Laura Wetherly, policy manager at the MS Society, which co-chairs the DBC, said: “Today, thousands of people across the UK are sending a loud and clear message to our politicians that the current welfare system doesn't make any sense.

“Too many disabled people have been stripped of the security and stability they need to live independent lives.

“The next Government must make sure no further cuts are made to disability benefits so that disabled people can rely on support without the constant fear of having it taken away.”

More than 50,000 people have had specially adapted motability vehicles taken away since personal independence payments (PIP) were brought in to replace the disability living allowance (DLA) in 2013.

Celia Johnson, who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS), lost her motability car after having her benefit downgraded last year.

She said: “I’ve fought for a long time to keep my independence with a condition like MS that's so unpredictable.

“It can’t be right that with a stroke of a keyboard, they can completely mess up someone’s life. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”

Nearly two-thirds of people rejected for PIP who take their case to an independent tribunal have the decision overturned in their favour.

Other issues include a £30 a week cut to new claimants in the employment and support allowance (ESA) work-related activity group, as well as problems with the work capability assessment, which tests people on whether they are fit to work.

Disabilities Minister Penny Mordaunt this week said this assessment treated people “like they’re in a sausage factory” as she pledged to reform it if the Tories continued in power.

Press Association

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in