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Further austerity will cause more avoidable deaths of Disabled people, warns DPOs coalition

16 November 2022

The DPO Forum England, a group of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) says that further austerity will disproportionately affect Disabled people, millions of whom are already living in poverty in the UK as there is “nothing left to cut.”

The DPO Forum includes DPOs such as:

  • Disability Rights UK
  • Inclusion London
  • Disabled People Against Cuts
  • Shaping Our Lives
  • Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living
  • Bromley Experts By Experience

In making its call for an end to austerity, the DPO coalition highlights that:

Write to your MP

The DPOs are calling for people to contact their MPs to urge them to vote against any cuts to essential support, to increase all benefits in line with inflation and to protect social care recipients’ income with an increased Minimum Income Guarantee and excluding disability benefits from the social care means testing.

The MPs need to stand up for the rights, livelihoods and lives of Disabled people, so should:

  • Protect services that are essential to Disabled people’s equality, independence, choice and control by talking about the impact of further cuts to public services on Disabled people and voting against any measures that would lead to cuts to essential support for Disabled people
  • Push the government to conduct a thorough Cumulative Impact Assessment on any proposed public spending cuts and take positive steps to mitigate any disproportionate impact on Disabled people

Raise concern in debates and lobby the government to support Disabled people in the cost of living crisis and lobby for:

  • Increase benefits in line with inflation
  • Protect non-means tested nature of PIP, DLA, AA
  • Stop councils taking people’s disability benefits to pay for social care
  • Protect Disabled people and families from eviction
  • Put in place targeted support for those who have higher energy bills
  • Abolish “no recourse to public funds”.

A spokesperson for the Disabled People’s Organisations Forum said: “We are horrified at a prospect of any future cuts to public services and the impact those will have on Disabled people.

“In the current situation of the rising cost of living, we are certain further cuts to already minimal support that Disabled people get will lead to devastating consequences, including serious deterioration of people’s quality of life, physical and mental wellbeing and the loss of lives. 

“We are calling on the Government to show strategic leadership and compassion and protect Disabled people’s lives, livelihoods and rights by preventing further cuts to essential support and committing targeted support to help Disabled people survive through the cost of living crisis.”

Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said: “Research by the Disability Benefits Consortium found that Disabled people were four times worse off as a result of welfare benefits changes from 2010 compared to non-disabled people on average losing £1200 per year with those who have highest support needs losing £2100 in benefits income.

“As a result of austerity, the UN Committee on the rights of Persons with Disabilities has found austerity measures to cause gross and systemic violations of Disabled people’s human rights.

 “In the midst of a cost of living crisis, it is vital that benefits are increased with inflation and austerity ends now.”

 A detailed briefing on the impact of cuts to provision and expenditure on Disabled people - Austerity Kills – is available from inclusionlondon.org.uk.

You can edit and submit a template letter to your MP here - Austerity Kills - write to your MP.

See also our recent related news story Cross Party MPs call for public inquiry into benefit related deaths.