Scope: People with disabilities 'see hostility'

More than half of disabled Londoners have experienced hostility, aggression or violence from a stranger because of their disability, a survey suggests.

The figures come from a ComRes poll of 2,050 disabled people across the UK.

Disability charity Scope, which commissioned the survey, warned a disability benefit crackdown was increasing prejudice.

The Department for Work and Pensions insisted those unable to work would get support.

Half of London respondents to the poll said they experienced discrimination on a daily or weekly basis.

It also found that 63% of people with disabilities in London thought others did not believe they were disabled.

State handouts

Just under half felt others presumed they were not in employment.

Planned government changes to the welfare system would see 1.9 million people on incapacity benefits being tested for their fitness to work.

The government thinks hundreds of thousands of people living on state handouts are in fact fit to work.

Scope chief executive Richard Hawkes said: "Much of the welfare reform debate has focused on disabled people as benefit scroungers.

"Many disabled people feel this has led to the public being more sceptical about disability issues."

Mr Hawkes said the debate may lead to the public being "more hostile" to those who receive welfare support.

He continued: "Ironically this backdrop of negativity will only make it harder for the million disabled people who will be migrated off benefits to actually get a job.

"The support disabled people receive from government enables them to overcome the barriers they face in daily life.

"However, recent government spending decisions look to be eroding away the very foundations of this support."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: "Abuse of this kind is unacceptable.

"We are clear our reforms are about helping people who can do some form of work back into employment, but equally those who cannot work can expect to get all the help and support they need.

"We know that a lot of disabled people want and expect to compete for jobs and we want to give them the support to do that."

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