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DR UK contributes to EDF human rights report

16 September 2020

DR UK CEO Kamran Mallick has contributed to the European Disability Forum’s human rights report: Poverty and Social Exclusion of Persons with Disabilities.

This pan-European report paints a very bleak picture of the state of support for disabled people in the UK. The key findings about the UK include:

The social policy priority of post-2008 UK governments has been spending reduction, rather than promoting equality, fairness and equal participation, which has disproportionately hurt disabled people.

Benefits

Stricter criteria for disability benefits and inaccurate assessment procedures have left many disabled people without the financial support needed to live independently. People previously given lifetime disability benefits have been reassessed under new criteria and often lose some or all of their support. Stricter criteria have particularly affected people with mental health issues or chronic illnesses. 74% of applicants who appealed a benefit decision won their case in January-March 2019 (the most recent data available), and many claimants do not know how to appeal.

Social care

Cuts to local government funding have meant many disabled people have had to pay more for adult social care and have had care hours cut if they cannot contribute enough. Many disabled people are increasingly relying on unpaid care from family or friends, or going without other necessities in order to pay for care. Community-based care remains chronically underfunded and many people with learning disabilities or autism live in hospitals or care homes due to a lack of social care that would allow them to choose where they live.

Education

The proportion of disabled children attending “special” schools has increased from 2011 onwards, as mainstream schools are unable to provide proper support. Many disabled children are unable to find any school close to their home that can accommodate them and provide a good education.

Employment

Support for unemployed disabled people takes an all-stick no-carrot approach, and disabled people deemed not to be trying hard enough to find a job can lose access to benefits. Disabled claimants have been sanctioned because of hospital appointments conflicting with JobCentre appointments. Cuts to legal aid and advice service funding have made it difficult for disabled people to file employment discrimination claims.

Overall impact

Research commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into the combined impact of public spending reforms found that households with one or more disabled people saw, and will continue to see, greater decreases in their income than households without disabled people. Households with multiple disabled people or people with more severe disabilities stand to lose the most – expected to be over 10% of final income – by 2021/22 in England.

Read the full report.