After seven years of systematic Tory abuse of disabled people Labour have come out very strongly on the side of disabled people and their families.
Here’s my breakdown of the main Labour Party policies relating to disabilities in the 2017 Labour Manifesto:
- Labour will make it a priority to repeal the numerous Tory cuts in social security support for people with disabilities. They will do this through a new Social Security Bill that will be passed within the first year of the new parliament.
- Labour will end the pointless and needlessly expensive continuous reassessments of disabled people with permanent disabilities such as paralysis or permanent degenerative diseases. The Tories try to claim that permanent degenerative diseases get better, but Labour accept that they don’t.
- Labour will scrap the discriminatory and degrading Work Capacity Assessment (WCA) regime that costs more to administer than it actually saves in reduced payments in social security support for disabled people.
- Labour will end the privatisation of disability assessments so that disabled people never again have to face the indignity degradation of having to prove their disability to some corporate bureaucrat with targets to throw as many disabled people off their benefits as possible.
- Labour will scrap the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment regime too. An astounding 65% of appeals that go to tribunal are upheld. The PIP assessment regime is blatantly unfit for purpose and Labour will scrap it.
- Labour will replace the WCA and PIP assessment regimes with a system where personal advisers help to provide every disabled person who feels capable of work to develop a tailored personal plan. A holistic approach to social security planning sounds like a real challenge to implement, but surely it can’t possibly be as bad as the current dehumanising and discriminatory regime that disabled people are forced into?
- Labour will reverse the £30 per week cut that the Tories recently imposed on disabled people who receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
- The Tory government has been slammed by the United Nations for “grave violations of disabled people’s rights” [Source – UN report PDF] . Labour will incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into UK law.
- Labour will scrap the “Bedroom Tax“ that has cruelly hit over 400,000 families with disabled members with punitive charges for “spare” rooms that are often used to store medical equipment, or for carers to sleep in.
- Labour will scrap the Tory sanctions regime that has consigned hundreds of thousands of disabled people to absolute destitution. The sanctions regime is particularly harsh on people with mental disabilities because they’re often the easiest to trick into making sanctionable mistakes, and they’re also often the least capable of appealing when they’ve been unfairly sanctioned too.
- Labour will increase the Carer’s Allowance by £11 per week to bring it into line with the rate of unemployment benefit. This will benefit Britain’s unpaid carers to the tune of £572 per year. It’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but if you care for someone who is sick or disabled then it’s a clear gesture to show that you are appreciated by society.
- Labour will reverse the Tories’ assault on the Bereavement Allowance, so that if you die of your illness or disability your surviving family will get the long-term of support families have had since the 1950s, not the new cheaper “here’s a lump sum and be off with you” approach of the Tories.
- Last but definitely not least: Labour have announced that they’re adopting the social model of disability. This would mark a profound step-change in the way the UK government deals with disability issues, from the draconian Tory approach of bullying, humiliating and intimidating disabled people, to restructuring society in order to remove social barriers and allow disabled people to live up to their potential.
How to vote
In light of these policies that have been designed to end the systematic Tory abuse of disabled people, you should vote Labour if:
• You are disabled.
• You have a disabled family member.
• You know anyone who is disabled and give a shit about them.
• You have the self-awareness to realise that you may one day become seriously ill or disabled.
• You have a shred of basic human empathy.
If you can read an article like this and still conclude that the Tories deserve to get your vote then you should be ashamed of yourself, but then shamelessness is one of the main elements of the self-serving “I’m alright Jack” attitude isn’t it?
So you’ll probably just perform some ridiculous mental gymnastics to conclude that voting to continue completely shafting disabled people is the right and decent thing for you to do won’t you?
What we can do
- Make sure you are registered to vote so that you can vote in favour of this fantastic Labour manifesto for disabled people.
- Encourage others to register to vote too.
- Spread awareness by sharing this article. Please also consider sharing this one too in order to spread awareness of how bad things have been for disabled people under Tory rule.