With the 2017 General Election looming, 80 charities and over 16,500 people have signed an open letter to party leaders urging them to ensure that there are no further cuts to disability benefits.
The letter will be delivered to party leaders ahead of the General Election on 8th June. The campaign has received massive online support with the letter being signed by, amongst others, paralympians Anne Wafula Strike, Kadeena Cox and Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills. It urges all political parties to put an end to the cuts and to protect disability benefits in the next parliament.
The open letter was launched online by the MS Society in May on behalf of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC). It followed confirmation from hundreds of MS sufferers and the campaigns community that this is the election issue which matters the most to them.
The letter urges protection for disability benefits and continues:
“As well as the costs to the individual, there are huge costs to the UK economy as disabled people are not supported adequately when out of work, and often need to rely more heavily on health and social care services as a result.
“Financial support is vital for disabled people and their families. It allows people to get out of the house, enter and stay in work for longer, pay their bills, spend time with friends and family and fulfil life goals.
“We are asking for your commitment that you will protect disability benefits should you form the Government after this election.
“Removing the threat of further cuts to financial support is crucial. It will give disabled people the security and stability they need to live independent lives and take part in society.”
There are more than 13 million disabled people in the UK. Charities in the DBC say that disabled people have borne the brunt of welfare reforms to the point where their benefits have been reduced or removed altogether, and they are now forced to spend an average of an extra £550 per month on costs related to their disability.
Laura Wetherley, policy manager at the MS Society, which co-chairs the DBC, says “Today, thousands of people across the UK are sending a loud and clear message to our politicians that the current welfare system doesn’t make any sense.
“Too many disabled people have been stripped of the security and stability they need to live independent lives.
“The next government must make sure no further cuts are made to disability benefits so that disabled people can rely on support without the constant fear of having it taken away.”