With the collusion or encouragement of this government, sick and disabled people have become the target of a campaign of vilification in the press. As with unemployment benefits, welfare benefits have been presented as people getting something for nothing. Assaults against disabled people have increased as a result.
The reality is that, while the majority of welfare benefit recipients are in work, their income is usually so low they depend on benefits for the basics of life. Nevertheless their benefits have been subjected to severe cuts to support and benefits, with even more severe cuts promised. People on employment support allowance (ESA) have been put through a computer-based Work Capability Assessment that was outsourced to a private company and roundly criticised by disabled charities as insensitive, cruel and not fit for purpose. Thousands of people have died within a few weeks of being declared “fit for work” by this assessment.
- We will replace the Work Capability Assessment with a humane system based on a genuine assessment of people’s abilities and support needs, plus the resources to support them back to work where possible.
- We support the abolition of the cruel and target driven “sanction” system which is driving many people to poverty. The “bedroom tax” (“spare room surcharge”) should be scrapped.