This article titled “Disabled people hit especially hard by cuts, finds report” was written by Patrick Butler, social policy editor, for guardian.co.uk on Friday 22nd June 2012 00.03 Europe/London
Savage cuts to social benefits have shredded the welfare “safety net” and left many disabled families in a “struggle for survival”, according to a detailed study of the impact of the government’s austerity programme.
It calculates that disabled people and their carers have seen their income collectively cut by £500m in the past two years, leaving many increasingly financially impoverished, socially isolated, and at risk of declining mental health.
Many disabled people’s quality of life will continue to deteriorate over the next three years, warns the study, as a further £9bn of predicted cuts to disability support are rolled out and local authority social care budgets shrink further.
“Although nearly everyone faces tough times in this current economic climate, disabled people are hit particularly hard as a result of lower income, higher costs, fewer support services and unpredictable health conditions,” the report, published by the thinktank Demos and Scope, the disability charity.
The study has followed the fortunes of six households, including two families with disabled children, since June 2010. It combined regular interviews with a study of the impact on each household of benefit changes, pension reforms, social care cuts and fuel price increases.
Total income losses between April 2011 and June 2012 for each the households ranged from £269.45 for Carla, a single disabled woman, to £2,066.67 for Albert, a disabled man cared for by his wife, who has moderate disabilities herself.
Some of the families were forced to rely on the help of charities and family to make ends meet because of the absence of state support. These were “short term fixes rather than sustainable solutions,” the report says.
It says media stories attacking “benefit scroungers” have contributed to an increase in reports of disability-related abuse and crime in recent months. One of the case studies, Carla reported that she had been abused.
The report says “financial uncertainty and concern at home – combined with a hostile political and media environment – have left our six disabled households, and no doubt many like them, feeling unfairly treated, persecuted even, and struggling to cope financially and emotionally.“
Coalition ministers are criticised for pursuing a “paranoia-based media narrative” of welfare reform, choosing to “build popular support by encouraging public anger over workshy fraudsters” rather than engage constructively with disabled people.
Claudia Wood, deputy director of Demos and author of the report, said: “The safety net has well and truly gone. Two decades of progress in disabled people’s living standards is being unravelled as disabled people’s quality of life is being narrowed.
She said disabled people were “struggling with a toxic combination of lower income, higher living costs and fewer services to support them. The cumulative impact of this at household level has seen carers stretched to breaking point and people telling us they have gone from ‘getting on with living’ to ‘struggling to survive'”
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope, said: “Disabled people are facing spiralling living costs at the same time their financial support and local social services are falling away. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are further cuts looming.
“We recognise the need for deficit reduction but decisions are being made without any real understanding of the cumulative impact cuts to welfare support and local services are having on people’s lives.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
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and do htey listen NO I THINK NOT more cuts coming our way ,the only thing good in it all his that a lot of us wont take much gas to burn our bodys as we withered away by our missing our meals how quaint this goverment is in the trearment of the sick and disabled by slowly taken our money away we slowly starve thus saving them loads on their gas bill it got to make you think jeff3
Deficit reduction my arse ! Why should the people pay for the debts of the banks, and for the tax evasion of the rich . Get bloody real people, the only reason austerity is being forced on us is because this government and its previous incarnation as neo-liberal Labour have landed us with huge debt. But the debt is purely down to the banks and tax evaders. This imaginary deficit would be wiped out if the banks were forced to pay back that which they have stolen from the people, and the tax laws which see all those on Paye having to pay every penny to HMRC, and those in positions of power using their own self made tax laws to avoid their contribution to making the nation a fair place for everybody.STOP playing sop to the politicians and tell it like it is, WE THE PEOPLE are NOT responsible for the state of the nations finances, and the cuts to disability and welfare payments are purely ideological in this disgusting governments hatred of the state and their lunatic desire to make us the next state of the union, or should that be the UNUM. We are living in times of unprecedented lies and political deceit, the politicians are lying, and they know it and we know it. This nonsense is purely to destroy the welfare state and replace it with an american style system where if you have no money , well you die in the gutter, simple as that. Equally those who stand to profit from the sale of that which is not theirs to sell are of course Mr Cameron , lansley et al, funny that do you not think. Corruption of the highest order, and the people of Britain are more concerned with football and soap operas, WAKE UP UK, as tomorrow it may be too late.
Hear hear David. Well said. America might as well be classed a third world country for the contempt and piteous lack of support for so many of it’s citizens. We are travelling along the same route and HAVE TO stop this pernicious unnecessary decline of Britain into Victorian conditions. If the soaps would run robust story lines along this theme, if footballers and celebs spoke out, I fear it would only be then that sleepwalker citizens would wake up and smell the coffee; meanwhile we have had our second cup, analysed the ingredients, found them toxic and unfit for consumption and are taking action. We will never give up. Listen up Cameron, Grayling and IDS! We shall prevail.