Disabled people being stigmatised

There is - quite rightly - outrage when far-right thugs attack disabled people. David Cameron and the media are doing just the same thing, using their wealth and power rather than their fists.

Disabled people are among the hardest hit by the cuts and the ideological assault echoes the eugenicist argument that disabled people are ‘useless mouths’.

Cameron really ought to be careful talking in these terms. For the general public there seem to be plenty of ‘useless mouths’ around the cabinet table, in the banks and in the boardrooms.

Around one-third of disabled people already live in poverty, because of the higher cost of living associated with disability.

With councils also making cuts to the amount they spend on supporting disabled people, the savings-driven ‘reform’ of Disability Living Allowance is likely to cause real hardship. As usual the Government wants to ‘reform’ benefits the same way a rat ‘reforms’ cheese: by biting great chunks out of it.

It is wrongly claimed in Daily Mail headlines that benefit fraud is a major problem. The DWP’s own estimates put fraud at 0.5 per cent.

Disabled people are regularly stigmatised and bullied as ‘cheats’ and ‘scroungers’. Hate crime against disabled people - verbal and physical abuse - is on the increase.

Scope, Mencap, Leonard Cheshire Disability, the National Autistic Society, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), and Disability Alliance say inflammatory media coverage has played a role in this, they primarily blame ministers and civil servants for repeatedly highlighting the supposed mass abuse of the disability benefits system, much of which is unfounded.

Is this the kind of society we want or do we want a welfare state?


Giblets Lane, Horsham