A protest by disability rights campaigners in Westminster in June 2015 [Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA].

A protest by disability rights campaigners in Westminster in June 2015 [Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA].

Are you still undecided about whether Damian Green and the Conservative Government are being unfair in dismissing the United Nations report on systematic violations of the rights of people with disabilities?

If so, please read the following comments from experts in the field, along with those of Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams, who has campaigned on this subject for years.

They know their subject; Damian Green doesn’t have a clue.

The shadow work and pensions secretary, Debbie Abrahams, said the UN report was “crystal clear” in its identification of UK government failures. “It confirms that, despite Theresa May’s warm words, this government is failing sick and disabled people,” she said.

Abrahams said the report echoed warnings Labour had been making since 2011 about the effects of the government’s policies on disabled people.

“The UN committee is clear that its report examines the cumulative impact of legislation, policies and measures adopted from 2010 to October 2016, so the government’s claim that it is outdated does not stand up to scrutiny.

“I am also concerned that the government is labelling the report as patronising, when they are the ones dismissing the concerns raised by disabled people who helped instigate the inquiry in the first place.”

Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at the mental health charity Mind, said the UN findings were extremely concerning but came as no surprise.

“The government has ambitions to help many more people with mental health problems back into work but, as this inquiry points out, the current approach is cruel, inappropriate and doesn’t work.”

Liz Sayce, the chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said the government was right to emphasise its commitment to helping disabled people get into and stay in work, but it had failed to invest sufficiently in inclusion and participation in recent years, leaving many people reliant on social protection.

Neil Crowther, an independent disability rights expert, said: ‘It’s deeply sad to see the UK – once a proud global leader on disabled people’s rights – being found guilty of systematically violating them.

“Britain’s own joint parliamentary committee on human rights warned of the risks to disabled people’s human rights that would result from the combined effect of reform and spending decisions in 2012. After extensive research and consultation, the UN committee has found that these risks have come to pass.

“With further cuts to social security still to come and no plans for additional investment in social care, it seems likely that things are only going to get worse. The government’s complacent response offers little reassurance to the contrary.”

Dan Scorer, head of policy at Mencap, said: “This report is further acknowledgement that cutting disabled people’s benefits will only make life harder and isolate people further from inclusion in employment and wider society. People with a learning disability face massive exclusion from the labour market, and have seen their benefits and funding for vital social care services reduced.”

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of the MS Society, said: “This is yet more evidence that there’s a clear need for changes to disability benefits. The system is currently failing too many people with MS.”

Linda Burnip, a founder of Disabled People Against Cuts, a grassroots campaign group that helped trigger the UN inquiry in 2013, said the findings “came as no surprise to anyone who has followed the stripping away of disabled people’s rights over the last six years”.”

Source: Damian Green dismisses ‘offensive’ UN report on UK disability rights | Society | The Guardian

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