Disability Poverty Campaign Group respond to the PM Rishi Sunak

Fri,19 April 2024
News Benefits Equality & Rights
Today the PM Rishi Sunak stood in front of an assembled audience and proceeded yet again to demonise Disabled people and those with long-term health conditions, by announcing plans to make them seek employment at the cost of their already fragile physical and mental health.

In his speech today the prime minister announced a consultation on the personal independence payment (Pip), a non-means-tested benefit paid to Disabled people to help support the extra cost of living with a disability or ill health. He also accused the UK of having a “sicknote culture” that needed to be tackled.

The DPCG is sadly used to hearing the same, chilling, and threatening words from this Government around anything that provides financial support for Disabled people. What the PM fails to realise or appreciate is that under the conservative’s life for Disabled people has been decimated and a blame culture for government economic failure has been constantly pinned on those who already have very little and no voice to respond.

The fact is the system blames and fails us in equal measure. Recently the UN gathered evidence that UK government policy has “undermined the human dignity” of Disabled people, noting Disabled people are “demonised” by the government in many areas, especially benefits. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is also facing cover-up allegations after suggestions that it has destroyed reports showing why it weakened guidance on when to investigate suicides of benefit claimants.

You cannot scare or threaten people into good health, you cannot terrorise people into jobs that are often unsuitable. This is what the system constantly fails to understand, and the system constantly fails to want to understand the lives of Disabled people on benefits.

The PMs wording today just continues a trend that is stigmatising, harmful, and inaccurate. The problem is not Disabled people on benefits, it is not the fault of those left Disabled by the governments appalling handling of Covid, it is not the fault of those broken by mental illness because of failed economic policy and the cost-of-living crisis, the problem is the system itself and its long-term prejudices, a system able to blame anyone but itself.


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