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While Tories are up in arms about anti-Muslim retweets by Donald Trump, let’s remember that they wouldn’t care less if he had targeted disabled people [Image: www.disabledgo.com]

Amidst the furore over US President Donald Trump retweeting messages attacking Muslims, by far-right extremists Britain First, the following tweet struck a chord with This Writer:

It does.

One of the most hateful lies used by the Tories to divide communities was the narrative they peddled that people with disabilities were “scroungers” and “skivers”, and that they were “sponging” off the state when they should be at work.

The effect of that lie has been appalling, with recorded hate crime against disabled people increasing hugely over the last few years.

And the number of sick and disabled benefit claimants who have died while the Department for Work and Pensions played silly games with their applications and found flimsy excuses to deny them the support they were owed is mostly unrecorded – because the government never bothers to check what happens to people it cuts off.

Even people whose disabilities are acknowledged by the Tories are more than £2,000 worse off than they were before the Tories took office in 2010 – due to punitive cuts in the amount of benefit they receive.

I mention this because Labour’s Debbie Abrahams has called for the Tories to reconsider their determination to continue applying an austerity to the disabled that they seem to forget when considering support for people like – say – bankers.

She said: “The Tories’ cuts to social security support are pushing more and more disabled people into poverty. Last week’s Budget failed to do anything for disabled people even though the recent Equality and Human Rights Commission report showed a disabled adult is over £2,000 a year worse off since 2010. Even the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities condemned this Government for causing a ‘human catastrophe’ in their failure to uphold the rights of disabled people.

“This ‘plan’ from the Government looks like nothing more than a guise for more cuts. The Tories have already hit disabled people who are not fit for work but who may be in the future in the Work Related Activity Group. I hope they are not going to now target the most disabled people in the support group, as their Green Paper hinted at.

“At the 2015 General Election, the Tories promised to halve the disability employment gap. Since then they have dropped this commitment.

“If this Government really cared about disabled people they would end austerity now which is disproportionately impacting upon disabled people and reform and extend Access to Work for those disabled people who are able to work.“

The statement will gain no support at all from the Tories.

But what if Ms Abrahams – or the appropriate shadow minister, who would be Dawn Butler – had been calling for an easing of policies that unfairly target Muslims?


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