Tag Archives: budget cuts

Kill or cure: budget hits disabled people

As I write, we are just finishing Learning Disability Week, an annual event organised by Mencap to headline the needs of the 1.5 million people in the UK who have learning disabilities.

Now it’s not been a good week for people with disabilities. We have heard that front line services are to be protected in schools but many worry that teachers will be safe at the expense of care assistants and learning support workers. In addition, there are to be stringent new rules for claiming disabilities benefits to help “reduce dependency and promote work” and many current claimants are set to lose out under the new regime.

Obviously this move will help the blind to see and make those with mental health problems pull themselves together. Who knows? Perhaps it will turn the average wheelchair user into Andy out of Little Britain who leaps out of his chair to score a goal for England in the latest Nationwide campaign. That’s the attitude – now get a job! Osborne’s argument is that 2.9 million people are now eligible for the Disabled Living Allowance which is three times as many people as when it was introduced eighteen years ago. Of course, a lot of the increase is due to the improved healthcare – more children survive premature birth and neo-natal complications and people generally live longer but become increasingly infirm. People may be expected to work until their late 60s but every day in the UK 100 people start to lose their sight (source: RNIB ).

Short of killing people off, the numbers of people claiming disability benefits are likely to rise. Mencap are targeting the NHS in their latest campaign. Let’s hope this government is aware of the consequences of better healthcare.