UK austerity policies ‘amount to violations of disabled people’s rights’, says UN


Before anybody quibbles with my figures, they are accurate, covering the period between December 2011 and May 28, 2014.

As one of those who contributed a large volume of evidence to the United Nations’ investigation, This Writer welcomes its findings.

At the time of writing, I haven’t read the full report but, from the article extract below, it seems my argument – and that of the others who provided similar insight – has been persuasive.

The Conservative Government’s claim that it presents an inaccurate picture of life for disabled people in the UK is a lie.

Based on what is said in the report below, I’d say the UN has it exactly right.

Perhaps the Tories would like to demonstrate where the UN has it wrong? I’d like to be shown the evidence that tens of thousands of people haven’t been harmed by Tory policies. Let’s see it.

Particularly filthy is the comment that, “while the government continues to improve and build on the support available to disabled people, it stands by and is proud of its record.”

This government’s record is of killing more than 2,380 people for no very good reason.

I am bitterly amused by the recommendation that the government carry out a cumulative impact assessment, examining the effects of all its spending cuts on people with disabilities. The Tories have already argued that such an assessment of its “welfare reforms” was impossible – only to be proved wrong by another organisation, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.

It seems doubtful the Tories will carry out now what they said was impossible before.

And I despair of any good coming from the UN report. Those of us who know the situation may take heart from the knowledge that the international community agrees with us – but those who pay attention to the Daily Mail will choose to believe the Tories.

And what help with the United Nations provide? How will that organisation penalise the UK government for the thousands of deaths it has caused?

It won’t. Look at the effect of its report on the Bedroom Tax – the Mail (and other Tory-supporting rags) simply slagged off the woman who wrote it.

So the question remains.

How many people have to die before the citizens of the UK wake up to the atrocities being committed in their name?

Austerity policies introduced into welfare and social care by the UK government amount to “systematic violations” of the rights of people with disabilities, a UN inquiry has concluded.

It says a range of measures aimed at reducing public spending since 2010, including controversial changes such as the bedroom tax, and cuts to disability benefits and social care budgets have disproportionately and adversely affected disabled people.

The highly critical report, published in Geneva on Monday afternoon, says the rights of disabled people to live independently, to work, and achieve an adequate standard of living have been negatively affected by austerity measures.

It makes 11 recommendations, including calling on the UK government to carry out a study of the cumulative impact of all spending cuts on disabled people, and to ensure the human rights of disabled people are upheld.

The report is withering about the manner in which ministers have conducted welfare and social care reforms, arguing that they pushed ahead with changes even when they knew they would have an adverse impact on disabled people.

Cuts such as those to personal independence payments and the independent living fund had “hindered various aspects of [disabled people’s] right to live independently”, it says, making them more reliant on family and carers and in some instances forcing them into institutional care.

The bedroom tax and other cuts to housing support had led disproportionately to debt and eviction, it says. “Evidence indicates that persons with disabilities affected by cuts in their housing benefits have undergone high levels of stress anxiety and depression as a consequence of the shortfalls in their budget.”

It is highly critical of what it calls the “functional assessments” of disabled people who have applied for social security benefits, noting that their experience tended to be one where they were “merely processed rather than being listened to or understood”.

Government attempts to decrease the disproportionately high levels of unemployment among disabled people have had little impact, the report notes, while notorious “fit-for-work” tests were riven with flaws.

It noted that disabled people had suffered from a climate in which they were portrayed as “lazy and putting a burden on taxpayers”. They had continued to experience “increasing hostility, aggressive behaviour and sometimes attacks to their personal integrity”.

The report, issued by the committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, concludes: “There is reliable evidence that the threshold of grave or systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities has been met.”

The inquiry was triggered after campaigners, including Dpac, made a formal complaint to the UN in 2012 about alleged violations of disabled people’s rights. After two years of deliberations, the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities gave the green light to the inquiry in May 2014.

The inquiry report is based on an 11-day inquiry tour of the UK undertaken by two UN envoys in October 2015. The inquiry team met with more than 200 individuals, including officials and MPs as well as activists and academics.

The UK government, however, rejected the UN report, saying in a formal response its findings presented an inaccurate picture of life for disabled people in the UK. “While the government continues to improve and build on the support available to disabled people, it stands by and is proud of its record.”

Source: UK austerity policies ‘amount to violations of disabled people’s rights’ | Society | The Guardian

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No Comments

  1. Sanjit November 8, 2016 at 3:37 am - Reply

    Cameron, Duncan Smith & Green, need to prepare themselves, the evidence to support procedural investigation by the British Judiciary is now available, who will be the first to take this to justice? Perhaps a relative of one who has been sentenced to death by support withdrawal, or even a current victim of this proud governments lies.

    • Mike Sivier November 8, 2016 at 2:19 pm - Reply

      Yes indeed, Brian. Why are you still calling yourself Sanjit? It’s very confusing for other readers when you hide behind a pseudonym.

  2. Sid November 8, 2016 at 7:17 am - Reply

    Another excellent exposé of the callous Conservatives attack on Disabled Rights

  3. Tony Dean November 8, 2016 at 7:35 am - Reply

    From the report:-

    E. Systematic violations of the Convention

    113. Consequently, the Committee considers that there is reliable evidence that the threshold of grave or systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities has been met in the State party. That conclusion is based on the following findings:

    (a) The State party has implemented a policy aimed at reforming its welfare system and the reforms have been justified in the context of austerity measures to achieve fiscal and budgetary policy consolidation;

    (b) The assumptions made under the policy include that: taxpayers need to be treated with fairness; large numbers of persons with disabilities have been relying and dependent on social benefits; persons are better off in work than on benefits; the dependency of persons with disabilities on benefits is in itself a disincentive to move them into employment; the number of persons with disabilities relying on social benefits were to be decreased; and tightening sanctions and conditionality of social benefits is a legitimate tool for incentivizing their moving into employment;

    (c) The impact assessments conducted by the State party prior to the implementation of several measures of its welfare reform expressly foresaw an adverse impact on persons with disabilities;

    (d) Several measures have disproportionally and adversely affected the rights of persons with disabilities;

    (e) Measures resulting in reduction of support provided to meet the extra cost of disability, denial of reasonable accommodation in assessment procedures and realization of the right to employment have had a discriminatory effect on persons with disabilities;

    (f) The core elements of the rights to independent living and being included in the community, an adequate standard of living and social protection and their right to employment have been affected: persons with disabilities affected by policy changes have had their freedom of choice and control over their daily activities restricted, the extra cost of disability has been set aside and income protection has been curtailed as a result of benefit cuts, while the expected policy goal of achieving decent and stable employment is far from being attained;

    (g) There is evidence that a large number of persons with disabilities have been affected (e.g. 13,900 persons with disabilities have lost their Motability schemes and therefore their adapted cars, upon implementation of Personal Independence Payment up to February 2016; 492,180 had been placed in the Employment and Support Allowance work-related activity group by end of 2015; 41,792 Employment and Support Allowance work-related activity group sanctions were handed out up to March 2014);

    (h) Evidence gathered nationally by the Parliament, the independent monitoring framework, universities and research institutes and centres and independent experts, has documented adverse and disproportionate effects of measures on persons with disabilities;

    (i) The State party has not conducted a comprehensive human rights-based cumulative impact assessment even though reliable sources have indicated it is feasible;

    (j) The State party continues its policy of reducing social benefits of persons with disabilities as reflected in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.


    114. The Committee recommends that the State party:

    (a) Conduct a cumulative impact assessment of the measures adopted since 2010, referred to in the present report, on the rights to independent living and to be included in the community, social protection and employment of persons with disabilities. The State party should ensure that such assessment is rights-based and meaningfully involves persons with disabilities and their representative organizations;

    (b) Ensure that any intended measure of the welfare reform is rights-based, upholds the human rights model of disability and does not disproportionately and/or adversely affect the rights of persons with disabilities to independent living, an adequate standard of living and employment. To prevent adverse consequences, the States party should carry out human rights-based cumulative impact assessments of the whole range of intended measures that would have an impact on the rights of persons with disabilities;

    (c) Ensure that: any intended legislation and/or policy measure respects the core elements of the rights analysed in the present report; persons with disabilities retain their autonomy, choice and control over their place of residence and with whom they live; they receive appropriate and individualized support, including through personal assistance, and have access to community-based services on an equal basis with others; they have access to security social schemes that ensure income protection, including in relation to the extra cost of disability, that is compatible with an adequate standard of living and ensure their full inclusion and participation in society; and they have access and are supported in gaining employment in the open labour market on an equal basis with others;

    (d) Ensure that public budgets take into account the rights of persons with disabilities, that sufficient budget allocations are made available to cover extra costs associated with living with a disability and that appropriate mitigation measures, with appropriate budget allocations, are in place for persons with disabilities affected by austerity measures;

    (e) Introduce all adjustments necessary to make all information, communications, administrative and legal procedures in relation to social security entitlements, independent living schemes and employment/unemployment-related support services fully accessible to all persons with disabilities;

    (f) Ensure access to justice, by providing appropriate legal advice and support, including through reasonable and procedural accommodation for persons with disabilities seeking redress and reparation for the alleged violation of their rights, as covered in the present report;

    (g) Actively consult and engage with persons with disabilities through their representative organizations and give due consideration to their views in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of any legislation, policy or programme action related to the rights addressed in the present report;

    (h) Take appropriate measures to combat any negative and discriminatory stereotypes or prejudice against persons with disabilities in public and the media, including that dependency on benefits is in itself a disincentive of employment;

  4. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl) November 8, 2016 at 7:55 am - Reply

    It is up to the citizens to stop complaining about the Tories and to get up and vote for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn to get rid of them as soon as ever it will be possible; this will, of course, necessitate removing the right-wing from Labour which is playing into the Tories hands every time. We must fight this Tory dictatorship but in order to do so we need a clean Labour Party under Corbyn WITHOUT the undercover Tory section.

  5. jeffrey davies November 8, 2016 at 8:07 am - Reply

    This government’s record is of killing more than 2,380 people for no very good reason. now now well under estimated we lost far far to many yet on it goes peoples point to them yet still no action to put ir right lets us do more for disabled sick unemployed under their aktion t4 plans has it cant be anything else on with the great cull of the stock has rtu ids called us

  6. NMac November 8, 2016 at 8:34 am - Reply

    No matter where the allegations come from they’ll just deny them.

  7. Fibro confused November 8, 2016 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Will this report have any effect on people to early to tell, coupled with I Daniel Blake perhaps a slight shift in attitudes can be achieved certainly I’d like to see more Labour Mp’s react to it other than those who we know already who fight the disabled corner. On a personal level an outside body has vindicated everything we have said and the nightmare we are still going through with worse to come, it’s not worth much except to back up the fight going forwards. We can also thank the Tories for being honest about the misery and deaths and the fact they are proud of it, that will be most useful.

  8. Roland Laycock November 8, 2016 at 9:45 am - Reply

    What a proud record they have in a country where the people have no teeth and let the state walk over them

  9. Lin Wren November 8, 2016 at 10:58 am - Reply

    I do not believe that the UN will take it any further in any way. How can we believe in them when they’ve do absolutely nothing about the poverty in kids? So many more will die this winter after the next round of cuts. Murder by Government

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