The Coalition Government along with Norfolk County Council are presiding over some of the severest cuts ever to take place in welfare, benefits, services and healthcare all affecting disabled people and their families and carers.
Mark Harrison, NCODP Chief Executive said “These cuts are neither fair nor necessary. Disabled people are experiencing a double whammy as they are being targeted in a disproportionate and discriminatory way by both central and local government.”
The Christmas card highlights a recent report which states:
“Many disabled people in Britain are living socially isolated, cash-strapped lives and struggling to participate in normal activities.”
Life Opportunities Survey, Office of National Statistics, December, 2010
There is not a level playing field for disabled people. Statistics show that disabled people and their families are poorer than their peers and have less access to education, training and jobs because of discrimination and barriers in society. Therefore they are more reliant on benefits and services than other sections of the population.
“If the main focus of cuts is these very benefits and services then it is inevitable that they are completely unfair.” Mark Harrison said
The card also notes some of the changes taking place:
From the Coalition Government:
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to be replaced
380,000 disabled people to be excluded from new benefit
DLA ended for people in residential care
Incapacity Benefit scrapped. Many disabled people will be put on less generous and one-year-maximum Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
Tough medical tests, that experts say are grossly unfair, to be applied to all disabled people
Housing benefits capped for many disabled people
The Independent Living Fund scrapped
Access to Work cut and employers’ contributions increased
Norfolk County Council proposals:
Moving eligibility for social care from substantial to critical will mean 9,000 to 18,000 people (not now classified as ‘critical’)
Support for people with sensory impairments to be cut to the legal minimum
HIV/AIDS service scrapped
Mental health and learning difficulty services cut
Equipment and adaptation budget slashed
Prevention services cut by almost half. This will mean harder, more stressful lives for disabled and elderly people and an increased demand for more costly care and support
Mark Harrison commented,
“I think that if the Norfolk MPs and County Councillors are serious when they say they have the best interests of Norfolk citizens at heart, then they would tell the Coalition Government that it is not possible to implement these changes to benefits and over £155m cuts without causing poverty and misery to the most vulnerable people in the community and refuse to do it.”
The card ends up with a powerful message for all politicians:
Disabled and elderly people, their families and carers only want equal rights and equal chances in life. Right now their prospects for 2011 and thereafter look decidedly grim.
Mark Harrison is available for media interviews and can be contacted directly on 07825 600195.
NCODP's Christmas card can be download via http://www.campaignagainstcuts.org.uk/
Life Opportunities Survey - Office of National Statistics
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) runs the survey throughout the year across Great Britain. It interviews a random sample of households, with sectors of society chosen to reflect the general population.
This is a longitudinal survey, which means it will return to interview the same people over the coming years. This will help government understand how people’s lives change and to monitor whether life opportunities are improving.
NCODP have launched a website to coordinate their Campaign Against the Cuts, which can be viewed at http://www.campaignagainstcuts.org.uk.
This press release can be found along with previous releases at http://www.ncodp.org.uk/
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The Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People (NCODP) is a human-rights group controlled by disabled people and their organisations. They organise and take part in campaigns and run services that promote social equality and dignity for all disabled people.
The NCODP regards having an impairment as a normal part of being human. Disability results from people with impairments being excluded by physical and social barriers and negative attitudes. Their main task is to challenge the many forms of discrimination created by these barriers and attitudes.
The NCODP believes that disabled people must take the leading role in decisions that affect their lives both locally and as part of the national and international disability movements in which the NCODP plays an active part. There must be “Nothing about us without us.”