Monday, January 20, 2020

Parties accused of ‘neglecting’ disabled people after politicians fail to show up for welfare debate

Disability Rights UK: "Such a stance is dangerously neglectful.”

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Charities have lashed out at the ‘neglect’ of disabled people after a hustings event organised to debate the impact of austerity cuts had to be cancelled due to a lack of interest.

The Westminster event was due to run just days after the Office for National Statistics released new data showing that Britain’s 14 million disabled people are more likely to participate in civic engagement than non-disabled people.

Despite these findings, the organisers were forced to cancel the event because politicians seemingly refused to take part.

The event had been set up by the Disability Benefits Consortium, a national coalition of more than 100 charities and other organisations who are committed to improving the welfare system for disabled people.

Photo: Paula Peters

Commenting, Disability Rights UK’s Chief Executive Kamran Mallick said: “There are well over 2,000 prospective candidates standing in this election.

“It is extremely disappointing that politicians do not want to make the time to address a high level hustings for such a significant part of the population.

“Only the Labour Party has released a specific manifesto for disabled people.

“The Conservative Party has pledged just five new policies for disabled people, the Lib Dems have pledged to relieve the crisis in social care, tackle workforce shortages, and invest in mental health and prevention services and The Green Party has committed to an increase in Carers’ Allowance and a Universal Basic Income.

“Few of these policies specifically mention disabled people in the parties’ campaigning materials.

“Politicians across all political parties are well aware of the impacts of austerity, punitive benefits assessment processes, freezes on benefits and the impacts of the financial squeeze on the NHS on disabled people.

“Such a paucity of policies for a fifth of the population is an atrocious reflection of the esteem in which disabled people are held by those who have the ability to help such a large part of the population not just survive, but thrive.

“Such a stance is dangerously neglectful.”

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