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Report exposes “misleading” disability benefit consultation

BASW has lent its support to a report claiming that the government “misled” MPs and peers over the levels of “hostility” to disability benefit reforms.

The report, Responsible Reform – also known as the Spartacus report – was produced by disabled people and is based on consultation responses to the Government’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reforms. It was presented to Parliament today as MPs prepare to debate the final stages of its controversial Welfare Reform Bill.

Writing in the Guardian, report co-author and creator of blog chronicling life with a chronic illness, Diary of a Benefit Scrounger, Sue Marsh, said:

“Overall, we found that of those who responded to the government’s consultation, 74% opposed the plans. On individual issues, the opposition was stronger: 98% objected to making people wait longer before they could access financial support; 92% opposed scrapping the lowest rate of support for disabled people; and 99% objected to DLA no longer being used as a qualification for other benefits.”

Commenting on the report BASW England manager Ruth Cartwright said: “Many of our members work with people with disabilities and share their concerns about being caught in a ‘double whammy’ of cuts in financial support through welfare reform and reductions in care and support services which assist people to engage in everyday activities.

“In this time of high unemployment, we deplore the pillorying of people with disabilities as scroungers and the attempt to divide people into the deserving and undeserving poor. If more people with disabilities are to find work, there need to be more jobs and more employers and workmates who welcome those who are disabled, understand their situation and value them as colleagues. In the meantime, those who are seeking work and those who are unable to work should have the wherewithal for a reasonable standard of living.”

BASW is urging members to sign the e-petition: Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families