The 6 policies Labour will introduce to help change the lives of disabled people

3rd December, 2014 11:54 am

By Rachel Reeves MP and Kate Green MP

Tonight we will join Ed Miliband at an event to recognise the United Nations International Day of Disabled People. The event is an important moment for us to do two things.

First, to reflect on the huge contribution disabled people make to our country. Not just in the success of the amazing Paralympics, but every day across the UK in schools, businesses, families and boardrooms.

Second, to consider why in the 21st century so many disabled people continue to be denied the opportunities enjoyed by everyone else.

All too often whether it’s hate crime or discrimination in the job market millions of disabled people are denied a fair chance to live independent and successful lives.

And David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith are making matters worse, not better. We are determined to change things for the better.

Iain Duncan Smith

This government are forcing hundreds of thousands of disabled people to pay the cruel and unfair Bedroom Tax

They have abandoned over 900,000 sick and disabled people to wait for months in a huge backlog for Work Capability Assessment and Personal Independence Payment assessments. The total length of extra time people have waited if you add up all the hours all those 900,000 have waited is 118,000 years; further back than the last Ice Age!

And the government are failing to help disabled people find jobs through the flawed Work Programme. Just one in 20 disabled people who use the Work Programme find a job.

Labour will go into the next election with policies that offer a big difference for the lives of millions of disabled people in Britain.

Here are six examples:

1. We will make disability hate crime a specific criminal offence. This will better recognise the impact of hate crime and ensure the system has a mechanism to punish those who commit hate crimes against disabled people.

2. We will overhaul the failing Work Capability Assessment. That means improving the quality of assessments by getting tough on failing contractors with penalties if they get assessments wrong. We will also give disabled people a real say in how Work Capability Assessments are improved. And we will help disabled people back to work with a more joined-up systems and better information about employment support so more disabled people who can work are given the support they
need to do so.

3. We will get a grip of the huge Personal Independent Payments backlog. Currently thousands of people are spending month after month waiting for help. The assessments backlog is so long it will take over two decades to clear at the current rate, costing millions more than estimated. Another example of Tory Welfare Waste. Labour has called on ministers to set a time limit for making assessment decisions but the government has failed to get a grip.

4. We will set up a new specialist Work Support programme to help disabled people into jobs. We will protect the role of specialist Disability Employment Advisers, and bring together resources from the Work Programme and Work Choice to deliver a new locally commissioned specialist employment programme for sick and disabled people.

5. We will make rights a reality for disabled people. The last Labour government signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities. We are committed to making those rights a reality, ensuring disabled people have a real say in the policies that affect them and undertaking rigorous equality impact assessments of all policy proposals.

6. And finally we will scrap the cruel and unfair Bedroom Tax imposed on hundreds of thousands of disabled people and carers by David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

These six examples show Labour can make the changes that will give disabled people new opportunities to get on in life and fulfil their dreams and aspirations. After four years of David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith that change can’t come soon enough.

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  • treborc1

    That god gas is still to high….

  • treborc1

    ATOS UNUM Provident and hammering down on welfare. I do not believe you or trust you.

  • DaveAboard

    Dear Ms Reeves.

    I am a disabled person. There are just two things you need to do.

    1) Trust my doctor when he says I am actually disabled and that my disability will not get better.

    2) Make it a criminal offence to park in a Disabled Bay without a Blue Badge punishable by a week living with a spinal epidural.

    Instead, your “what we will do for the disabled” is, as usual, based on how much money you can save.

    • Allan6000

      Item 1 agree 100% the tell us our doctors are professional but that the sate don’t believe them Grrr

      Item 2 a tad extreme but i take your point

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Actually, I’m fully behind i.e. analysing data from doctors and seeing if there’s specific patterns which might indicate a doctor was signing people off wrongly, and investigating.

      Quite different from the investigation of all disabled people on a routine basis.

      • DaveAboard

        Yet the government is happy to trust GPs in their role as CCG members with tens of billions of pounds of taxpayer money to more or less run the entire Health Service.

        Doesn’t make sense, somehow.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Well sure, they can lose economies of scale and push unfunded work onto GP’s that way.

          What I’m saying, though, is that there’s ways to prevent large-scale fraud without the “collateral damage” which is being seen today.

          • DaveAboard

            Do you mean fraud by claimants? If so, do you have any evidence that it is “large scale” when the DWP’s own figures state the figure for TOTAL benefit fraud (which includes JSA, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, and Income Support) is around 0.6%.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Yes, and I’m saying there are perfectly good ways to *keep* things that way without persecuting people.

    • Dave Postles

      You are absolutely right. On the second point, when I go to my local Coop, the carpark is behind the store with the entrance at the front. The parking for people with disabilities is along the side, nearer to the entrance. All those spaces are always taken up by able-bodied people – young and middle-aged. These people even park on the yellow hatched area at the road junction to be near the entrance, despite th yellow hatching and a street sign prohibiting it. At Sainsbury’s in Loughborough, people park on the double yellow lines to use the cash machine rather than in the carpark. These people are breaking the law. They would probably be the first to complain about beenfit fraud, which, as you point out, is infinitesimal. I fully concur with both your requests.

  • Leon Carter

    I will not believe until the WCA is scraped it has proven to be a failure and discriminates the very people who are forced to use it.

    • James Jacobs

      Completely agree with that. As a Labour member I think that whilst these are warm words, need to be a lot more radical. Its all very well attacking IDS et al but if we are proposing doing the same just slightly different then that’s not offering the hope that I believe Labour can bring. As a critical friend of Kate Green especially we need to go further

      …And oh, please “People with disabilities” not “disabled people”

      • Leon Carter

        Absolutely James there is no excuse at all to treat people with disabilities with such disdain

      • Louise Baldock

        Hi James
        the ‘social model of disability’ prefers the term ‘disabled’ to ‘with a disability’ because it focuses on what society does to limit accessibility and inclusion rather than something intrinsic within the person. I am not explaining very well but have a look on Google/wiki.
        Best wishes Louise

        • James Jacobs

          Thanks for explaining that Louise. I know the likes of UKIP think that wording doesn’t matter (being anti-PC and all), but, as I think both of us acknowledge, it does as if used in the wrong context it can be offensive.

          At least we’re having this conversation. Sadly I couldn’t ever imagine the Tories or UKIP having it on their equivalent websites!

          • Louise Baldock

            Equality and disability is something that particularly matters to me so I took the time to learn. I find it dfficult though sometimes, it’s easy to slip back. Yes, catch a right winger caring!.

          • treborc1

            sadly it was labour that put us into this mess, and some of those were once we are told heavy weights within labour, one hero of labour was Frankie the Hit man Field, Purnell who deserted before being shot and to a degree people like Blunkett who backed Blair to the hilt.

            And of course Miliband who backed PIP’s to the hilt, which is being run by his we will sack them ATOS…

        • treborc1

          The social model is far better then the so called Psychosocial and Disability model which is shockingly contrived to force disabled people back to work.

  • catlady16

    How about recognition that some of us are damaged, will probably always be damaged and that work may not be the best option in all cases. By all means help those that can, but please understand that forcing us into things that we can’t cope with will make us worse.
    As far as PIP is concerned – why not scrap it, and the WCA, use information from patients’ own doctors regarding ability to work and bring back DLA. As someone with epilepsy, I note that while DLA takes account of my ability (or otherwise) to remain conscious, PIP does not seem to think this is important. I trust that this will be remedied – anyone with active epilepsy knows the hazards that can be caused by seizures.

    • Dave Postles

      Yes indeed.

    • treborc1

      NO it will not be remedied the same as pain or exhaustion has not been.

  • treborc1

    The Psychosocial and Disability sickness model is the most corrupt method I’ve seen of forcing people back to work, actually all labour had to do to get me back to work was find me a job.

    I’ve written in the past to my MP, and I have said for god sake find me a job, the job center cannot, and the other cowboys like A4e and Remploy interwork and the Shaw Trust was laughable they find work for those people who had degrees or could move about and do things, once I came into View or people like me you could see total horror . I’d end up being given a view of the best method for me to find work and it was always in Charities and it was always for no money.

    I will give you a break down again. I’m classed as Paraplegic due to the loss of bowel and bladder. I refused to have operations to put a tube into my bladder and a bag, so they taught me to put a tube up through the penis in my bladder, the trouble with this is the infections I get and they can be painful. My bowel I refused to have a tube and bag again, and they said they way to do it is by drugs and the use of a finger to break up any solids.

    I’ve lost all sexual function.

    I’m classed as having Chronic pain so severe I can have fits or on a bad day a number of fits so they implanted a morphine pump which I’ve got no control over.

    I also carry an injection with me, or a syringe containing liquid Morphine as a back up in case the pain gets to much I’ve got pain every minute of my life.

    I have other issues like Muscle loss which is now classed as being extreme 45 to 55% muscle loss from both legs and my arms..

    With just those and I have other serious problems it came as no shock when ATOS found me fit to work, but the appeal did cause me to think over my life and did I want to go through these battles, so I took an over does of pain killers and ended up in a coma in the ICU and spent a month in hospital, two weeks in a semi coma.

    I’m now going through PIP’s but already I know it’s been lost because the way you look at the issues is now all wrong. If you can walk using crutches then you can do a job or you can get about, just as good as using legs, if you use a wheelchair then actually sitting down all day is far better then walking in which you may get tired, I can tell you now using a wheelchair is dam sight harder then walking and my hands at times are so badly swollen I have to have treatment to get the swelling down.

    One of the tests is to move a full or empty cartoon from point A to point B what does that prove you can use any part of your body it says including your teeth or your stumps or your feet, which is fine but after you have moved it from A to B what then why not ask them to open it.

    Labour use to be the party of social justice for all of the working class, now I do not believe Ms Reeves or the labour party.

    • John Magnam

      Nothing will change until the people rise up in this country and end the
      present system which has continued with its bribery and corruption for
      politicians for hundreds of years. Until the money is out of politics we
      will continue to suffer the disgusting tirade of inequality from Tories
      and New Latories alike!

  • clivegsd

    1- How quickly will you be arresting Iain Duncan Smith?

    2- Tory rhetoric about getting disabled people into work, well done for that.

    3- Scrap PIP and reintroduce DLA, DLA wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t a cost cutting exercise which is what PIP is. There are many doctors that will question peoples disabilities and capability to work so expect people to still be appealing in huge numbers.

    4- “Help” or “force”?

    5- “ensuring disabled people have a real say in the policies that affect them and undertaking rigorous equality impact assessments of all policy proposals”<– By this you mean charities and not actually disabled people themselves?

    6- Bedroom tax, what about Labour's LHA which hits disabled people in the exact same way as the Tory bedroom tax? (IE you pay for each 'extra' bedroom in the property)
    So nice to see we carers have not been mentioned.
    1- Define who is and is not a carer then raise Carers Allowance to a level that reflects and respects the roles that we play.
    2- The 'Standing Commission on Carers' present members are kicked out and replaced by rank and file actual carers.
    3- Drop the overlapping benefit rule where by people who draw the state pension have their Carers Allowance taken off them.
    4- If a carer is the driver for a disabled person then they should be able to drive the vehicle themselves without the disabled person present (if you as a carer take the person you care for to hospital and they are admitted then technically you should not be able to drive the car back to your home).
    5- Stop speaking to charities to get your information about us (carers) we know better than charities what we need and deserve. We are not charity cases so don't treat us as such.
    6- Carers assessments are legally binding. At present they are just 'suggestions' about what a carer needs.
    As usual Labour will ignore these ideas and stick to it's own idea of what disabled people and carer should have to put up with

  • stevewhiteraven

    So what you going to do for those of us who care for disabled parents /children etc

    • treborc1

      Nothing, Blair did it all for you, you can care and find a job , this will take you out of poverty, no need y to increase the carer’s allowance

      • stevewhiteraven

        i have a job i earn £80 a week from that (max i am allowed is 100 ) i work from well usually about 7 am to 9 pm and often been called out at night my total income is approx 130 a week i pay council tax (ok reduced ) and have to pay rent (i get some help with that too) heating in winter costs me 30-50 a week . i don’t complain i manage i have no social liv=fe can afford one but there again i don’t get time for one i care for 2 people elderly.
        services are always being cut or reduced i don’t get 1 day off this year i have managed to range so i can have 2 days with my daughters before xmas)
        Carers in the uk (6.5mil of them thats 1 in 8 adults that save this country 119 billion a year
        its not more money i want (you assumed that is so ) but better services to help care for the people i care for .

  • Willow Jacky

    scrap the wca and work programme all together – give those with progressive, degenerative neurological and spinal conditions support for life in form of dla and ILF, support those able to work in to work with access in place but do not force disabled in to work programmes, it does not help us. do not penalise those unable to work full time from doing a small 1-2 day a week vol job in hospitals or disability advice centres, our experiences are valuable to supporting others, give us more access to rural support and transport and access to community help – not all of us have family and friends to take us out or shopping, make gps more accountable to knowing their clients social problems and housing needs, many wash their hands beyond handing out tablets and many gps refuse sick notes and dwp evidence leaving us fighting and desitute and in debt, safeguard us with affordable heating and access and aids, the expense of chronic illness and disability is immense

  • Michael

    Keep DLA and just scrap PIP then you have my vote waste of time money and in many cases ruining peoples Lives

  • Ross Marc Campbell

    So Labour, what about the Independent Living Fund?
    Scrapping the WCA?
    Stripping people of their DLA under WCA 2.0 PIP reassessment?
    Sanctions that kill?
    Cuts to social care?
    Foodbanks?

    Far from scrapping these cuts that are killing us, you are fully signed up to even more Tory cuts.

  • Alan Bennett

    Lots of great stuff here BUT no mention of reversing the closure of ILF a life saver for the most disabled. Please look at this and think again repeal this disgusting closure.

  • RSDFighter

    How can Labour claim to care about the disabled when Andy Burnham took part in a debate in 2006 on sufferers of the Worlds Most Painful Incurable Condition, one so bad that according to a US survey 25% of sufferers take their own lives in the long term and he did absolutely nothing to help them and in 2013 ignored my letter to him begging him to help us. Labour don’t care anymore than the conservatives. I have the letter if anyone wants it.. [email protected]

  • Tony Turtle

    1. Disability Hate Crime is already a crime under the Equal Opportunities Act isn’t it?

    2. Overhaul the WCA? It needs to be scrapped and the GP and Consultants that treat those with disabilities should not be treated as liars and should decide if people are fit for work.

    3. Don’t get a grip on PIP, get it sorted out. I will admit it’s name is better than the DLA.

    4. Work Support for Disabled? Why? Are you going to be forcing them into work? See 2 above.

    5. If people have rights, they have them in law, why waste time doing something that’s already done?

    6. Yes, OK, Scrap the most hated tax since the Poll Tax!

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