The Labour Party has today (Tuesday) launched its manifesto for disabled people, titled ‘Breaking Down Barriers’, which lists ways the party hopes to tackle the discrimination and cruel treatment faced by disabled people and their families.
The pledge comes after a UN report accused the Tory Government of “systematic violations” of the rights of disabled people, and slammed benefit cuts for driving disabled people and their families “to breaking point”.
According to Labour, poverty in families where someone is disabled has risen by over a million since 2010 and almost half of all working age adults living in poverty live in a family that includes a disabled adult or child.
Labour has pledged to end “the scandal of disabled poverty” through measures designed to alleviate poverty and destitution and allow them to live independent lives.
Labour’s manifesto for disabled people includes pledges to:
- Make sure a disabled child on Universal Credit (UC) receives the same amount as a disabled child on Child Tax Credits.
- Currently a disabled child on UC receives less than half the basic addition for disabled children in Child Tax Credits to help parents cover the additional costs of having a disability – £1,513 a year, compared with £3,355 a year under Child Tax. The difference is currently £1,842 a year, or £154 a month, or £35 a week.
- Introduce a self-care element into UC to support severely disabled people without a formal carer – the equivalent of the Severe Disability Premium. Currently, severely disabled people without a carer are worse off on UC than both those on legacy benefits and those on UC who do have a carer.
- Increase Employment and Support Allowance by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group.
- Increase Carer’s Allowance to the level of the Jobseeker’s Allowance.
- Abolish the punitive sanctions regime, immediately suspending all sanctions and scrap the dehumanising Work Capability Assessment and Personal Independence Payment assessment which are unfit for purpose.
According to Labour, these reforms will cost around £2.6 billion by 2023-24 and are accounted for in Labour’s Grey Book ‘Funding Real Change’.
Labour has also committed to halving the disability employment gap, invest in specialist education for disabled people, tackle the rising level of disability hate crime and ensure that victims have access to justice, break down barriers to disabled people in transport, give British Sign Language full legal recognition ,and reinstate the Access to Elected Office fund to enable disabled people to run for elected office.
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said: “The treatment of disabled people by Conservative and Lib Dem governments, from devastating cuts to social security support, to cruel and unnecessary assessments, and a complete failure to address the disability employment gap, should be a source of shame.
“Labour will put right this injustice. We’ll ensure that disabled people get the support they need to lead independent lives and participate fully in society. We are on your side.
“This election is a chance for real change, for a more inclusive, fair and equal society that works for the many, not the few.”
Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabled People, said: “I have heard from disabled people all over the country who are angry at how they have been treated by Conservative-led governments and passionate about working with Labour to transform how government approaches disability rights.
“I am proud that Labour is the only party with a manifesto developed by and for disabled people, according to our principle of ‘nothing about you without you’. Labour in government will embody that principle, empowering disabled people and enhancing our voices.
“Breaking Down Barriers takes us beyond what we’ve previously committed, and sets out how we’ll radically shift our approach to ensure the economic, social and structural barriers faced by disabled people are addressed. It’s time for real change.”