Government spending review: Disabled people ‘will take to the streets’


Activists have pledged that disabled people will take to the streets to protest at the impact of the government’s programme of spending cuts.

The pledge came from campaigners who took part in a protest march in Birmingham during the Conservative party conference.

There were also protests in Westminster on Wednesday as the chancellor, George Osborne, unveiled the coalition government’s spending review.

Linda Burnip, a founding member of the new campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), said disabled people were being “disproportionately affected” by the cuts to benefits and local government spending, and pledged further protest action by disabled activists.

She took part in the protests outside parliament this week, and helped deliver letters to both Conservative and Liberal Democrat party headquarters, warning of the consequences of the cuts for disabled people.

The letters featured black triangles, symbolising fears that the cuts will lead to disabled people losing their lives.

Many disabled people have threatened to kill themselves if their care packages or benefits are reduced as a result of spending cuts.

But Burnip said many disabled people would also die through neglect because of cuts to care and support.

She said: “I think the problem is that they do not really understand how it affects disabled people and they will be responsible for the deaths of a lot of disabled people if they go ahead with all these policies.”

Anne Kane, policy manager for Inclusion London, said: “I think people will protest and Inclusion London will be protesting along with them.

“What else can you do when government ignores opinion and introduces savage cuts on an unprecedented scale? People will protest and they should protest.

“We will certainly want to work with disabled people’s organisations and disabled people campaigning for disabled people’s rights and others who stand to be affected by these attacks on benefits and the welfare state.”

Sam Brackenbury, a DPAC member who took part in the Birmingham protest, said: “When laws become unjust, when government becomes unjust, resistance becomes a duty.”

He also promised further protests by disabled activists, and added: “As far as I can see the only thing we can do is hit the streets, stop the traffic, do what we have got to do.”

He said if disabled people did not protest, many of them would end up homeless and living on the streets, so protesting was about “survival”.

21 October 2010