Socialist Worker

Disabled activists target DWP during angry protests in central London

by Sarah Ensor
Issue No. 2369

Protester hangs up underpants outside the DWP

Protester hangs up underpants with messages for Iain Duncan Smith outside the DWP (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Around 200 campaigners for disabled people’s rights protested outside the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in central London yesterday, Wednesday. 

Campaigners rallied outside the ministries for transport, energy, education and health demanding equality for disabled people before converging on the DWP. They chanted, “Give us back our money” and “Atos kills”.

This was part of a week of action organised by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) to highlight worsening affects of cuts on people with disabilities and their families.

Roger Lewis from Dpac said, “We’re fighting against this vicious ConDem government but union leaders need to do more.”

This week marked a year since the Paralympics when the Tories basked in the reflected glory of the achievements of disabled athletes.

The government boasted about the facilities provided to make the games accessible. At the same time they attacked benefits that disabled people need to live.

Dpac and Inclusion London which promotes equality then launched the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto, Reclaiming Our Futures, in Parliament. 

Simone, who was protesting outside the Department for Education, said “Children and young people with disabilities need to be in mainstream schools not segregated.

“It’s about the kind of society we want where children with disabilities play and learn with non-disabled children.”

Campaigners were particularly angry at benefits minister Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) slashing of disability benefits.

He lives in a £2 million house given to him and his wife by her father and has previously claimed expenses for underwear and haircuts.

Protesters wrote messages to IDS on pants and strung them on a washing line outside the DWP.

Campaigners came from Norfolk, Bristol, London and Scotland to protest. They represented tens of thousands who were unable to travel.

Only 80 disability campaigners got into the meeting as Parliament is so inaccessible. They were joined by Labour MPs including Katy Clark and John McDonnell to launch the manifesto.

But campaigners are angry that Labour isn’t doing more.

Tara Flood former Paralympian said, “Labour MPs have to stop pandering to the government.”

Roger Lewis said, “This is a manifesto for everyone not just disabled people. It’s about justice and equality.”

Dpac is organising to get as many people with disabilities as possible to the march against the Tories on Sunday 29 September in Manchester.


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Thu 5 Sep 2013, 14:35 BST
Issue No. 2369
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