UN: Welfare Reforms Have Led to “grave and systematic violations” of Disabled People’s Rights
09 Nov 2016
Changes to benefits “disproportionately affected” disabled people, the UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled Persons (CRPD) found.
The committee launched an investigation in 2012 after receiving evidence from disability organisations about an “alleged adverse impact” of government reforms on disabled people.
The inquiry concluded that changes to housing benefits and criteria for parts of the Personal Independence Payment, along with a narrowing of social care criteria and the closure of the Independent Living Fund, all “hindered disabled people’s right to live independently and be included in the community”.
The inquiry also said welfare assessors displayed a “lack of awareness and limited knowledge of disability rights and specific needs”, and disabled people experienced “anxiety and psychological strain” due to uncertainty about assessment results.
“The committee observes that measures have caused financial hardship to persons with disabilities resulting in… arrears, debts, evictions and cuts to essentials such as housing and food,” the report said.
But the government said it “strongly refuted” the committee’s findings and its “offensive” view of disability.
“The UK is a recognised world leader in disabled rights and equality. Not only do we spend about £50bn a year to support sick and disabled people, but we also offer a wide range of tailored and effective support, which this report fails to recognise.” – Damian Green
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