Tuesday 7 August 2012

What is the Overall Impact of Cuts to Disabled People?

This is a piece I wrote for Occupied Times, and they have kindly said I can re-produce it here :

"To do his schoolwork, the bare minimum Johnny needs is: paper, a pen, a teacher, a school, a chair to sit on, a desk to sit at, and a packed lunch.

If you take away just Johnny’s lunch, he will go hungry. It would be almost impossible for him to concentrate and do well in school. However, in theory, he could still do schoolwork.

If you just took away his desk, it would make it tricky to write, but Johnny could still do his schoolwork. It would just take longer and be less neat.

If you just took away his teacher, he could, in theory, go to libraries and museums to learn. In theory. Hypothetically, it’s still possible that he could teach himself something, so he could still do his schoolwork.

If you take away his paper and pen and school all at once, he can still sit on the floor and use chalk to write on the ground.

But if you take away Johnny’s paper, pen, teacher, school, chair, desk and lunch, all at once, Johnny is sitting on some ground with nothing, hungry, without a roof over his head. It’s hard to learn anything at all sitting alone, on the ground, with nothing but a piece of chalk.

Now imagine you have a disability or a long-term chronic illness. To manage it with a degree of dignity, you need a carer, a roof over your head, a bed, heating, food and transport. You rely on the carer, who comes in twice a day from social services, because she helps you to get up and get dressed and washed. Without her, you would have to spend all day, every day in bed. But at least you still have a bed.

Or maybe you rely on housing benefit to keep a roof over your head. You are forced to move to a smaller property on the 5th floor of a tower block when your housing benefit is cut. The lift doesn’t work. It means you have to move away from family and friends who help you out whenever they can. They cook meals perhaps, or help with all those jobs around the house you just can’t do.

But at least you still have somewhere to live.

Or maybe you rely on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for transport. It means you can get a taxi to the hairdresser or social club. Without it, you would become isolated. It would be impossible to get to your GP or make hospital appointments.

But, in theory at least, you don’t actually need to go anywhere.

If, however, you cut Disability Living Allowance, housing benefits, social care, hospital budgets, the Independent Living Fund, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), income support and the Social Fund, then you are just lying in a bed, hungry and isolated, a prisoner in someone else’s home.

Governments must perform what is called an “impact assessment” on any new policy or law. This government has done the bare minimum to fulfil this commitment. Would it surprise you to know, for instance, that when considering the greatest cuts to disability support in living memory, they claim that they will have no impact on health, no impact on well-being, no impact on human rights, and no impact on the justice system?

The crucial flaw is that they have independently assessed each cut to the services disabled people rely on, as if it existed in a vacuum.

The government has refused to do an overall impact assessment. They have repeatedly refused to assess what the combined impact of their cuts will be. First they said it would be too expensive, then they said it would be too difficult!

Why might it be too difficult? Because they know, as we know, that, metaphorically speaking, the result will be little Johnny sitting on the floor with nothing but a piece of chalk, hungry, without a roof over his head.

The combined impact of removing someone’s DLA so they can no longer afford care or transport, heating or food, cutting their ESA so that they must look for work with cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting their local care support so that they cannot clean themselves or feed themselves, cutting their housing support so that they risk homelessness and, to cap it all, scrapping the Social Fund so that there is no safety net when all else fails, is a strategy so risky that it ought to be criminalised.

We call upon the government to immediately carry out an overall impact assessment of all the cuts to the support that sick and disabled people rely on to live. I’ll say it again – to live. And they must do it now, before it’s too late. Because it’s hard to survive, sitting in the dirt with nothing but a piece of chalk."


  1. I'm at the 'heat or eat' stage for some time now. And that's on the dwindling DLA in real terms. Care costs.

  2. yet they are willing to spend £5 billion on ATOS to ensure the cuts take place! It does not make sense

  3. Great piece Sue, No impact assessment means we will adjust possibly as we go along. The problem being its peoples lives they are dealing with. Nuff Said got no more in me.

  4. How did we end up with a non people's government of bull shit artists

  5. we had £200 this week what we call our skint week we have to buy gas & electric water rates rent council tax bus fares two of the kids needed new shoes so basic pair £10 each as they had been walking round all week in shoes that had holes in them * mine still do but kids come first* so that left us £30 to feed 8 of us for a week so mum won't be eatting again this week.

  6. Pat’s Petition asks for a Cumulative Impact Assessment to protect disabled people and carers through these changes.
    Please sign and share. It is essential that we reach 100,000 signatures by 1st November 2012 and show the government that disabled people are a force to be reckoned with.


  7. Oh and here's another little Consultation on another cut they slipped in while everyone's been watching the Olympics - They have also only allowed 30 days to answer - normally Consultations are allowed 12 weeks, according to their own Code of Conduct!!!


    Discretionary Housing Benefit

  8. I am a full time carer and look after my disabled 19 year old son and my elderly parents who I live with. I joined Unite (the union) and would urge others who are not in a union to do so also. There are benefits and it does not cost a lot. This is another way that we can get our voices heard "out there". I'm called a community member. They have sent me stuff re how to organise community events etc. I am also a member of the Labour Party and also use this organisation to try to spread the word (and by the way change LP policy re ESA!). Susieb1211

  9. The extermination of the sick and disabled has begun...

  10. Time for all the disability groups, organisations, charities and all others that speak up for the sick and disabled to come together as one and speak with one voice.


    Once all these different charities, organisations join together as one you can then do one massive petition (possibly Pats). Once all the different charities and organisations come together as one you could also collect/seek donations and fund raise by doing many different charity events to go into a fund to get legal advice to look into all the legalities of what this Coalition have done to the sick and disabled with the view to challenging the Government in a Court of Law.

    The only way to stop this issue from continuing to be protracted and quickly get justice for the most vulnerable in society is by coming together as one to become strong and speak with one voice otherwise this issue will go on for years with just a few very minor changes that the Tories will probably fool you with and then take it back in a year or two.

    Remember that David Cameron and company have lied to the sick and disabled, discriminated against them, persecuted them, abused them and now about to leave them with next to no dignity.

    The only way forwards is to Unite as one, speak with one voice and raise money to get justice. There is no other way. Together We Are Strong and cannot be bullied.

  11. Could you kindly put this into a spoonie friendly letter that people can forward to their MPs?

  12. this reminds me of:

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me

  13. Following the BoE financial announcement today the Government will no doubt expand its cull of disabled people to include the unemployed, the poor and the formerly middle classes now trying to survive redundancy and downsizing. Soon there will only be the elites left.

  14. Remember what David Cameron said live on television during The Final Televised Electoral Campaign Debate 2012 Live : I David Cameron believes that a good test for any Government/country is judged upon how it cares for it's most vulnerable in society in bad times as well as good times. He (David Cameron) went on to say : If you are sick, disabled, frail, vulnerable or the POORESET in society you have nothing to FEAR if he (David Cameron become prime minister because he would protect that group of vulnerable people in society.

    The reality is that David Cameron and others have deliberately lied to, discriminated, persecuted, pumped out false and misleading information, bullied and totally abused the sick and disabled.

    This Tory Led Coalition had deliberately targeted and inflicted misery upon this group of vulnerasble people for no just reason whilst rewarding the rihest in society with a big tax break in the last budget. The only ones that Cameron has protected in society is the richest that already have money pouring from their pockets.

    It is my personal opinion that the sick and disabled have suffered some serious breaches under the Human Rights Act.

    Yes all the disability organisations, groups, charities and all others that speak out for the sick and disabled should come together as one and speak with one voice. They should also raise money from donations and charity events to finance legal advice with the view to challenging this Tory Led Coalition in a Court of Law and soon. If not you cannot repell this injustice. What this Tory Led Coalition have done to the most vulnerable in society that do not have a voice is clearly wrong and draconian. Time to unite and bring this Government to account and make good their election promise. If not together you are strong and once united you will have that voice and the ability to take this Government to court.

    Unite because together you atre stronger. This is the only way to deliver yourselves from this evil !

  15. Perhaps some of the following is not directly aimed at the ill/disabled but now I think those on low wages, losing their jobs, becoming ill or having a major unexpected life changing really are in it together and should be working as one but I cannot see what good it will do for any of us.

    The truth is that many are walking into this blindly mainly because the media have ignored the situation and only the exceptions that get people's backs up are shown.

    We have the changes in the council tax that have now been handed over to individual councils to decide who is helped and by how much,how it is collected(a neighnouring council might be fairer)there is talk of re-evaluing property, possibly trying to take more from the poor or spreading the cost and actually collecting more from those already paying CT and who may be working.

    The bedroom tax(approx £13 for one unused bedroom possibly £26+ for two)for some reason HA's will charge £16 but unsure what they'll charge for two)

    And the Housing Federation are acknowledging that many will not continie to get DLA or the replacement PIP so will see income drop and no one knows if they will award some other benefits(ESA, JSA, HA,CTB etc...)It will be much less and whether you will be capped, some benefits will mean the cap does not happen.

    And then if you are of retirement age you can have £10,000 in savings and the bedromm tax is waived but if you are of working age you are b*******!

    So really we all need to be past working age then perhaps we might survive even if money is tight but I have 12 years to reach that point and if they keep putting the retirement age back...

    The job would have to be extremely light and up on getting home I may have to take to my bed to rest to be ready for the next day.

    Not having my own transport what will travel cost? What will I have left in the pay packet? I certainly cannot walk far and taxi's are £2.50-£5 just on the town. I walk very, very slow so could take 30 minutes to reach a bus route and buses do not run a good service unless you are on a popular route and work normal hours...

    Could I survive on part time work? The hours would be better but you have to find an employer that will want a PT disabled person and to get help I think you now have to work 24 hours, less and no help.

    And they say people are better off claiming...not! You jump through hoops and get stress whilst we await what is coming.

    It's depressing but worth clicking on all the links below and those I have not posted.




    It's making me ill and dominating all of my waking hours...I am starting to wish as the Who song says "Hope I die before I get old!"

  16. I should've said it's worth worth clicking on all the links below and those I have not posted but are contained within the documents...

    You have probably seen this and tried it but just in case...


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