Unite The Union Campaign Briefing
Disabled Members Campaign Against ConDem Cuts
Unite The Union Campaign Briefing
Disabled Members Campaign Against ConDem Cuts
Key Campaign Messages
We are not all in this together - cuts are hurting disabled people
Equality for disabled workers - We are faced with higher unemployment
through cuts in our employment and support services as well as
discrimination at work
Dignity and respect for disabled people - We are faced with deeper
poverty through cuts in disability benefits and are being humiliated by
new medical tests in work capability assessments
Right to Independence for disabled people - We are being isolated by
cuts in bus transport, care services and changes to DLA
Why are disabled people more likely to be out of work?
Discrimination is the main barrier faced by disabled people. It can, from a very
young age, hold back many disabled people from enjoying the same
opportunities offered to non-disabled people in our society.
The Life Opportunities Survey published by the Office for National Statistics
(ONS) in December 2010 revealed that:
more than twice as many disabled people (56 per cent compared to 26
per cent of non-disabled people) are restricted in their access to paid
the educational opportunities of nearly twice as many disabled people
are restricted compared to those without disabilities (17 per cent
against 9 per cent);
twice as many adults with impairments are limited in the work they can
do due to a lack of job opportunities; and,
problems with inappropriate and inaccessible transport prevent nearly
one in three (31 per cent) disabled people finding work.
Disabled Workers are bearing the Brunt of Job Losses
Nearly 14% of the public sector workforce and 12% of the private sector
workforce has a disability. Also one in five people (19%) working in the
voluntary sector has a disability1. The cuts will particularly affect disabled
workers since there will be even fewer job opportunities. This is at the time
when programmes to help disabled people find work are being cut.
The ConDem Government is threatening to close the Disability Employment
and Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committees 2 as well as Disability
Hull City council has announced the potential closure of B-Line, a council
run training centre for disabled adults that trains and provides paid
employment for blind, partially blind and other workers with disabilities.
The council has said that unless the training centre can find alternative
funding, this valuable centre will close. The centre provides paid
employment for around 25 adults who are trained to build kitchen units,
which meet home standards, to be used in local authority housing.
Living/Attendance Allowance Advisory Board.
The Coalition has abandoned the Labour Government’s commitment to
double Access to Work funding, including the £8m targeted at people with
cognitive disabilities and mental health problems.
Access to Work is an £80m-a-year scheme that provides technology and
other assistance to disabled workers. The scheme helps disabled people get
into and stay in employment. This government has restricted use of Access to
Work and drastically cut the range of products it will fund. This will only push
more disabled people into unemployment.
Remploy has announced a further redundancy programme across its 54
factories which could mean that 50 per cent of the 3,000 disabled
employees - some of them severely disabled - could lose their jobs.
Remploy is one of the UK's leading providers of employment services
and employment to disabled people. It also provides advice to
employers on retention of disabled people at work. Remploy is a Non-
Departmental Public Body, funded by the Department for Work and
NCVO July 2010
How are disabled people being affected by the cuts in public services?
Ten million people miss out on £6 billion in disability benefits each year.
Almost 1/3 of those who have had a claim refused, feel their claim was not
fairly assessed3. Despite these figures the ConDem Government is making
cuts to vital support system for disabled people.
Disability Living Allowance
The ConDem Government has decided to introduce reforms to Disability
Living Allowance (DLA) for working age adults. It is proposing to replace DLA
with a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from
2013/2014. This benefit cut has been estimated by Disability Alliance to affect
more than 800,000 people, and will make over £1billion of savings. It will
result in tightened eligibility criteria, more assessments, delays in payment,
and missing out on other linked benefits.
The coalition Government intends to abolish the mobility component of DLA
for disabled people living in residential accommodation. Many disabled
people are able to lead independent lives because of the financial support
they receive through one or other (in some cases both) components of DLA,
care and mobility.
These changes are likely to leave thousands of disabled people unable to
meet the additional costs many face because of their disability. This will push
more disabled people into further poverty.
The introduction of the new medical test for working age DLA will create
additional stress and anxiety for disabled people claiming this benefit. It will
create unnecessary bureaucracy as well as increasing those costs associated
with both the assessment and appeals process.
Employment and Support Allowance
The proposed cuts of £2.5 billion cuts to Employment and Support Allowance
(ESA) will have a great impact on the support received by disabled people.
The government proposal is to limit the length of time people can claim the
contributory element of ESA, to one year. Time limiting contributory ESA will
mean that, after a year, people will only be able to carry on getting the ESA if
their family’s income is very low in relation to its needs. The change will affect
hundreds of thousands of people as 1.7 million people have moved from
incapacity benefit to ESA, many of whom are likely to be put on the
Also the removal of the youth provision from Employment and Support
Allowance (ESA) will have a great impact on disabled young people. This
means that young people who live in households who earn slightly “too much”
to qualify for an income related benefit could lose out.
Work Capability Assessment
New applicants for ESA have been required to complete the Work Capability
Assessments since October 2008, and have reported significant problems
with the process. Around 40% of appeals have been successful. The new
proposals make it much harder for people with mental health problems. From
April 2011 current Incapacity Benefit claimants will begin to be transferred to
ESA and will be required to complete this tough Work Capability Assessment.
Independent Living Fund
Access has been denied to new claimants of Independent Living Fund (ILF).
The ILF, set up in 1988, has been providing money to more than 20,000
disabled people with high support needs to live independently at home out of
residential care. Abolition of ILF will only take away the right of tens of
thousands of disabled people to live independently.
Benefit up rating by CPI
The ConDem Government has decided to use the Consumer Prices
Index (CPI) for the annual up-rating of benefits. The CPI uses a different
calculation to the Retail Price Index (RPI) which was previously used.
This change is likely to result in lower increases to benefits than if the
RPI were used. This means that in cash terms, benefits would have gone up
by 31% since 2000 under RPI, but just 20% under CPI. For example, Carers’
Allowance would now be £5 less at £48.64 a week rather than its current level
Local Housing Allowance
The Coalition Government intends to reduce Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
payments and place a cap on the overall limit for LHA which will lead to many
disabled people on low incomes unable to afford suitable accommodation.
Also cuts in support for mortgage interest payments puts almost 65,000
disabled people at risk of losing their homes.
Disabled people experience extra barriers to finding suitable homes with
disabled access and close to the support services and transport that they
need. This cut will mean more isolation and poverty for disabled people.
Cuts to Bus transport
Overall a 28% cut has been made to the funding from central government to
local authorities for public transport. Research by the Save our Buses
campaign shows that the current tally of local authority bus cuts is £34 million,
with 70% of councils already looking to buses to make cutbacks
Support Services for Disabled People are being Closed
Disabled people rely heavily on support services provided by local authorities,
there are many examples across the country of vital support services being
closed and cut.
The Coalition Government is proposing that from April 2013 the community
care grants and crisis loans for general living expenses should be replaced by
locally-based service and assistance. There will be no new statutory duty
requiring local authorities to deliver the service.
Cuts to the Equality and Human Rights Commission
The ConDem Government is proposing to cut the EHRC current budget and
staff by over 60% which will severely limit the Commission’s ability to
discharge its statutory duties and affect its ability to build a fair and inclusive
society. The cuts could end the commission's legal work such as its support
for Sharon Coleman, whose victory at the European court of justice ensured
six million carers in Britain are protected against discrimination in
The EHRC public helpline, the regional advisers working with communities,
and the Commission’s ability to award grants to local voluntary groups are all
What Can Disabled People Do About It?
Unite is campaigning against the Cuts in Public Sector. Unite members and
reps need to organise in their workplaces and their communities to fight
against these cuts.
You can sign up to our Disabled Members’ network and receive regular
campaign briefings and actions. Also log on to the Website
http://www.dontbreakbritain.org/ to find out about local campaign events near
you and tell us how the cuts are affecting you.