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You and Yours: are disabled people 'hardest hit' by welfare reform?

Emma Emma | 11:56 UK time, Tuesday, 10 May 2011

An estimated five to eight thousand disabled people are expected to take part in 'The Hardest Hit' march on Westminster on the 11th of May, over cuts and welfare reform.

Today, ahead of the march, You and Yours with Julian Worricker, on Radio 4, asks, are disabled people more severely affected by the spending cuts and welfare reform than anyone else?

Taking part in the discussion will be minister for disabled people Maria Miller, Rebecca Rennison from the Disability Benefits Consortium and Mark Littlewood from the Institute of Economic Affairs.

To join the debate, email or call 03700 100 444. The lines are now open.

If you missed the programme's original Radio 4 broadcast, catch it for seven days afterwards on iPlayer.

Are disabled people the hardest hit by government cuts and welfare reform? Will you be attending the march in London tomorrow? Tell us in the comments below.


  • Comment number 1.

    I have just listened to You and Yours and feel appalled by the lack of understanding about the cuts disabled people are facing. I was also sorry that the UK Disabled Peoples Council the organisers of the rally.

    Unfortunately I had already attended the March rally and cannot afford to go again but my thoughts will be there with them. to here a comment that its "special pleading by self interest groups" made me see red. I would like to ask this person would he not be pleading if his care package was threatened and this could lead to incarceration in an old peoples home?

    i am a recipient of mobility allowance and have a motability car paid for out of the allowance. because of my wheelchairs size i am forced into having a larger car than i would like and with diesel prices it costs me a fortune to run.

    i worked in paid work for 25 years in jobs well below my intellect, i received no support at work and had I not had good self esteem would never have got a job. If i told the employer before hand i was disabled i never got an interview. Imagine going to a job interview and seeing the look of disdain on the employers face when faced with a disabled person. Unfortunately attitudes have not changed and in fact with tabloid newspapers continually calling us fraudsters they are getting worse.

    Finally i would like to know where are all these employers with good attitudes just waiting for potential job seekers?

  • Comment number 2.

    It would have helped the debate if Mark Littlewood had at least accepted the validity of the statistics on the percentage of Disabled people in this country. He also continually referred to people's conditions/impairments as "afflictions" - he's onbviously never heard of the Social Model of Disability. And he added insult to injury by using "wheelchair-bound" once during the programme. This just proves that many non-disabled people are on a completely different plane of existence to us.

  • Comment number 3.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 4.

    One of the many things that outraged me about Mr Littlewood was his repeated assertion of a totally false statistic.It sounds alarming-1 in 10 of the workforce is on Incapacity Benefit,he told us.One must presume he means the potential workforce(if you are not working you are not in the workforce),and if that is 41m(from the UK National Statistics site),and we take his figure for IB claiments of 2.5m,the true figure is 1 in 16.4 or about 6%.Furthermore,the actual figure for those on sickness benefits is 2.17m,or 1 in 18.89,and 5.28% of the working-age population.But that wouldn't sound so shocking.Especially when compared to the averaged-out figure for those of working age,who are unable to work,across the Eurozone populations,which is 5.6%(from Eurostat).All the lies about benefits,the false claims regarding benefit fraud,and so on,are leaving the unsuspecting public with the assumption that if they ever found themselves in need,they would not have any problems getting help.If you are not a fraud,you have nothing to fear,right?WRONG.

  • Comment number 5.

    I lost my right leg after several operations in 2009. So I guess considered disabled from August of that year. I was encouraged to apply for DLA and Motability at the time. I was granted top end allowances for Carer and Mobility and was again encouraged to apply for Motability. Great DLA and a modified car - Until December 2010 when I reapplied for DLA continuity. It was withdrawn because "with suitable aids I could not be considered virtually unable to walk" As a result I have lost my Motability car. For a while I also lost my Blue badge! I recently attended a DWP tribunal, that gave the impression it was "post code lottery driven", where the DWP decision was upheld.
    I have involved my M.P. Steve Webb, who although sympathetic, could not get involved as all decisions are governed by law and statute.
    After 46 years work I decided to retire so have no income other than my company pension and am now paying for all of my needs. Perhaps I'm one of the lucky ones?

  • Comment number 6.

    What did they mean by 'suitable aids' and were you using them ? How far did you state you could walk without discomfort ? If it was within the minimum requirements how did they prove you could do more than you stated ? Did you mention any discomfort or effects of using your artificial limb (soreness, rubbing, limb aches etc ) ? This is how most of the more severely disabled are going to come unstuck. The higher rate of mobility allowance is meant for those who are virtually unable to walk, but they are turning this on it's head. Wheelchair users are going to be the next victims because if they can mobilise more that the prescribed limit, they too will not be considered to have any problems which warrant the higher rate - despite the fact that you need this level of award to qualify for a motability vehicle. I can't think of anyone confined to a wheelchair who would not benefit from a car and the coalition are in danger of being remembered as the government who tipped wheelchair users out of their cars and onto the streets. I think in the end it will need a legal challenge to be made, because the replacement of the word 'walk' with the word 'mobilise' will pretty much put an end to the higher rate for most people and I'm not really sure it's legal - it's certainly not within the spirit of what DLA was meant for, but then this government is not concerned with anything other than saving money. We were promised that the reforms would root out the scroungers and the fraudsters, but someone somewhere has realised that the people who cost the most are the most severely disabled, so the focus is now on them. This is why people's own disabilities are being used against them. Can't walk ? Well use your arms to wheel yourself about - what do you need extra money for ? What else can you expect from this bunch of over privileged milllionaires who have no clue what hardship is ?!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    If you wish to take part in this virtual protest, please send the letter below to you local MP and news agencies and pass along to all your contacts o do likewise

    Many thanks


    Dear Sir(s)
    I with many others, believe that there should be a vote of no confidence in Ms Maria Miller MP Disabilities Minister for the following reasons:

    1) For failing to fight hard enough to ensure that disabled people receive a fairer assessment of capabilities (specifically the Work Capability Assessment implemented by such companies as ATOS) and which is generally acknowledged to be a flawed test.

    2) I and many others believe that, in the light of the recent/threatened cuts to benefits for disabled people, and the cuts affecting disabled people generally, will bring harm, a loss of dignity and a loss of independence to disabled people both at home and where applicable, in their working lives. I and many others believe that her absence at the ‘Hardest Hit March’ on the 11th of May 2011 shows that she is reluctant to engage directly with disabled peoples concerns.

    3) To the best of my knowledge, I and many others believe that Ms Maria Miller, in her role as MP has not taken a sufficiently strong public stand to protect disabled people from disability hatred. Such disability hatred may include acts perpetrated by the media or individual perpetrators of verbal abuse, violence and/or criminal damage when it occurs.

    It is for the above reasons that I and many others believe that Ms Maria Miller MP is out of touch with the worries, concerns and outrage felt by disabled members of society and therefore, urge ministers to press for a vote of no confidence in Ms Miller.

    Name, Address.


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