Cuts will hit disabled people especially hard. Protest with us on 11 May.
As we enter a new financial year, the huge cuts that have been endlessly discussed and debated since last year’s election are starting to really take effect. The vast majority of people in the UK face tough times as their services and possibly their jobs are cut. But some people will be hit harder than others.
Mind is one of over 50 charities and organisations supporting ‘The Hardest Hit’ protest on 11 May because we believe that disabled people and those with health conditions are being disproportionately affected by government cuts and reforms.
This group of people rely on the state for additional support in a number of areas: health and social care; benefits for incapacity, independence and housing; in and out of work employment support. As these services are changed, reduced or withdrawn, the impact on disabled people and people with health conditions will be monumental.
This is not a niche issue: the £18bn of cuts that the government has unveiled for the welfare budget will cast its shadow over a significant proportion of the population. 1.6m people claiming incapacity benefits will be reassessed through a test that has been shown to be neither fair nor effective, with 25 per cent of people expected to be denied the replacement benefit. Millions of people in receipt of Disability Living Allowance will also be reassessed in an effort to find a 20 per cent saving in the budget for that benefit. Meanwhile, millions more face uncertainty as their health and social care services are reorganised.
Many of these people, feeling under attack from all sides, are experiencing anxiety and distress but, rather than expressing concern and sympathy, much of the media is adding to the onslaught by lazily labelling them as “scroungers”.
Mind, and many other organisations involved in ‘The Hardest Hit’, are engaging with the government to try to mitigate the impact of these policies. However, 11 May is about giving a voice to disabled people and people with health conditions so that they can express their concerns about the entire direction of travel in government policy and point out that short-term savings will lead to long-term pain.
We will all be affected by the cuts, but please join us on 11 May to show solidarity with those people who will be ‘The Hardest Hit’.
Tom Pollard is Policy and Campaigns Officer at Mind.
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