Socialist Worker

Benefit attacks have violated disabled people’s rights, says United Nations

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2529

A protest organised by Dpac in 2013

A protest organised by Dpac in 2013 (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Tory benefit reform has meant “grave or systematic violations of rights of people with disabilities”, the United Nations (UN) has found.

The results of an inquiry by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities were published on Monday.

The inquiry was triggered by campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (Dpac).

The Tories dismissed its findings. But the committee said they were based on “reliable evidence” including official figures, academic studies and hundreds of interviews.

The report pointed out that several measures “disproportionally and adversely affected the rights of persons with disabilities”.

Government impact assessments “expressly foresaw” this before those policies were carried out.

It pointed to 13,900 people who lost their Motability adapted cars upon implementation of the Personal Independence Payment benefit up to February 2016.

Sanctions

Some 41,792 sanctions were handed out to claimants of the Employment and Support Allowance work-related activity group by March 2014.

These cut off people’s income for weeks or months because they failed to jump through enough hoops to show they were looking for work.

Such cuts are undermining people’s right to live independently.

The report called on the government to carry out a thorough audit of how its welfare policies impact on disabled people’s rights.

It called on the government to bring in legislation to address this.

It also called on the government to challenge the “negative and discriminatory” stereotype that “dependency on benefits” stops people working.

This vindicates years of opposition by campaigns such as Dpac. It also underlines the need for continuing resistance.


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