On 12th December last year, sick and disabled activists came together online to access democracy. They launched the WOW petition in order that sick and disabled people might be heard.
The DWP refuse to engage with us or the charities that represent many of our conditions.
They treat parliamentary questions with contempt and regularly lie in their answers. This is supposed to be against parliamentary rules. But no-one stops them or reprimands them .
They refuse to come on mainstream media programmes any longer to debate with us and when they are asked, they try to tell the particular show how they must report the issues or refuse to appear. This is supposed to be part of our democratic process, but no-one makes them engage.
They treat opposition day debates like partisan circuses, shaming their office and those who fight so hard to be heard.
They ignore consultations and Lords amendments that tell them their reforms are bound to fail.
They change the law retrospectively seemingly at will when the courts find that they have acted unlawfully. Or simply ignore the court's decisions.
Perhaps if their "reforms" were achieving their stated aims, no-one would care, but Universal credit is in crisis, PIP (reform of disability benefits) has been repeatedly delayed, ESA has all but ground to a halt with backlogs, Atos are under audit and pulling out of the old disability assessments, the bedroom tax gets more horrific by the day.
600,000 people will lose disability support. Up to a million will be told they must work with cancer, kidney failure, Parkinson's and any other condition you can imagine. 660,000 people are affected by the bedroom tax, 700,000 lose everything as sickness benefits are limited to just one year in many cases. Nearly a million people were sanctioned (lost benefits) through the Work Programme this year and tax credits for disabled children have been halved.
Many of those cuts will hit the same people over and over again.
Today, WOW petition stands at 96,268 signatures with just 14 days to go. Just 3,732 signatures short of the 100,000 required to force our own debate in parliament. The government do not have to accept the will of the people, but they look even more shockingly arrogant if they don't
Please, if you haven't already, sign the petition here http://wowpetition.com/
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Democracy is only as good as the structures and conventions that hold it in place. For sick and disabled people, those structures and conventions lie in tatters.
Help us to be heard. Stand with us. Sign WOW Petition http://wowpetition.com/