The poverty and inequality faced by disabled people will be deepened even further if the government fails to rethink its planned regime of spending cuts, according to a new report.
The report, published by Inclusion London, provides detailed evidence of the impact of the cuts on disabled people and makes “a compelling case” for the coalition to “think again”.
The report says the removal of disability benefits, public sector job losses and cuts to services suggest the government is moving towards providing a “bare minimum” safety net, rather than aiming for a “genuinely more equal society”.
And it says the cuts will erode “basic and fundamental human rights”, such as the right to live independently, have an adequate standard of living, participate in public life, and have equal access to justice.
Previously published research shows disabled people are likely to be in the lowest income groups, which could face a loss of 20 to 35 per cent in net income a year through changes to tax and benefits and cuts to social care, housing and education.
The report says about 114,000 disabled people working in London’s public sector risk losing their jobs, while 32,000 Londoners are set to lose their disability living allowance due to the cuts.
Anne Kane, Inclusion London’s policy manager, says the evidence shows the government should do more to tackle discrimination, exclusion and inequality rather than making “harsh cuts that will hit the poorest most”.
The report, All in this Together? The Impact of Spending Cuts on Deaf and Disabled People in London, says the estimated 1.4 million disabled people in the capital already face “significant” pay inequality, with average net pay of almost £50 a week less than non-disabled people, as a result of discrimination in education, training and employment.
Kane says this discrimination “will be worsened by the government’s proposals for education, equality legislation and public sector restructuring and spending cuts”.
The report, funded by London Councils, says disabled Londoners are more likely to live in rented accommodation and to rent from their local authority than non-disabled Londoners, and four times more likely to receive housing benefit.
Kane says: “These facts of poverty and discrimination will be made much worse by the government’s proposed cuts to housing benefit and possible changes to social housing.”
The report concludes that “it is clear from the evidence that the coalition government’s policy agenda will lead to worsening outcomes” and “greater hardship” and inequality for disabled people.
It adds: “The overwhelming message that emerges is that disabled people in London are likely to be amongst those that suffer the most from the tax, benefit and spending measures announced last year.”
30 March 2011