Since the coalition came to power, sick and disabled people have claimed we are being fundamentally harmed by the coalition welfare reforms. Not scroungers or skivers, but people living with long term serious illnesses like me, or who live with physical disabilities. Adults AND children. Young and old. People with terminal conditions
, people with kidney or heart failure, people waiting for transplants
and even people in comas
. None have been spared. The government repeatedly assure you they have.
The government have of course denied that they are putting an unreasonable share of austerity cuts on us. Repeatedly and often aggressively. This is how they respond to the UN of all people :
Since 2011, almost every main voice involved in the services and systems that support sick and disabled people have argued that we must know how all of the changes TOGETHER have affected us so particularly.
Everything we rely on has been cut severely – in some cases by up to 40%. Disability benefits, sickness benefits, social care services, housing support, legal aid for tribunals, respite care, the independent living fund, council tax relief, higher education funding, everything.
It is very possible that if you were affected by one of the changes, you were affected by several or even all of them.
Whilst the government paid lip service to assessing what impact their reforms would have on sick and disabled people, they only did so one by one. They always claimed it was impossible to assess them all together and specifically, how they would affect disabled people when combined.
It has been a long and dishonest journey. As with so many things, the government have done everything in their power to keep the figures from the public.
They said that it wasn’t possible despite a petition gathering over 100,000 signatures calling for what they called a “cumulative impact assessment” or CIA.
The government treated the debate it generated in parliament – a debate sick and disabled people themselves worked so hard for – like a Punch and Judy show of partisan nonsense. You can watch it for yourself if you click on the following link :
And finally, just 2 days ago, Lord Freud, the failed millionaire ex-banker who re-designed our entire welfare system in just 3 weeks, wrote an official response to the SSAC
, the government’s own
Social Security Advisory Committee, who also called for a CIA
relating to disability, confirming yet again, that he believed it was impossible to assess all of the changes sick and disabled people have faced and claiming that the IFS, the all powerful Institute for Fiscal Studies, agreed with him.
This was yet another lie from Freud – there is no other word for it. As the IFS have confirmed
“We can’t find anything we have written down saying we can’t do a CIA….We do think it is possible to do a CIA of tax and benefit changes for the disabled population as a whole.”
As it happens, they did one themselves for Wales
“Figure 4.9 shows that households with disabled children lose out by more in cash terms than households with disabled adults, with households with disabled children and adults losing out by more than either group – around £1,500 per household per year on average.
“Households with no disabled adults or disabled children in the 7th and 8th deciles [wealthier households] actually gain slightly from the reform package, whereas households with disabled adults or children (or both) lose out. At the bottom of the distribution, households with no disabled people, or with disabled adults, do not lose as much on average as households with disabled children, or both disabled adults and children. In percentage terms the distributional effects are fairly regressive across all four groups, with households with disabled adults and children doing worst of all up to the top decile.”
As one of the authors, Jonathan Portes says in an article for the Guardian today
“Modelling the cumulative impact is feasible and practicable – at least by gender, age, disability and ethnicity. Our model isn’t perfect and could be improved, but it can be done…..Families that have a disabled adult or child lose perhaps five times as much proportionally as better-off able-bodied families.”
There is now absolutely no doubt at all that sick and disabled people have been hit over and over again by a barrage of cuts and the more vulnerable the family; the more disabled people within it; the more they have lost.
The DWP, Iain Duncan-Smith, Lord Freud and many right wing media outlets have kept this information from the public through every possible means. They will probably do so again today.
But over 100,000 people signed the WOW petition.
Think tanks and charities and many journalists know that this is hugely significant. And as ever, we can and will make our own news.
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We now know that this government have harmed the very people they promised us they would protect. They have harmed the very people that voters never wanted to be harmed. They have lied about the harm being done at every stage and have actively tried to keep it from both parliament and the media.
If ever a story needed to be seen and understood, it is this. If you never bothered to click on the links in an article for more information before, click on these. It is a shameful and repellant story and those responsible have no place whatsoever within 100 miles of Westminster.