A Fair Societyand the rights of disabled people Dr Simon Duffy ￭ The Centre for Welfare Reform ￭ for Sheffield Green Party & the Campaign for a Fair Society ￭ 14th December 2011
Dr Simon Duffy• Director of The Centre for Welfare Reform - independent R&D network based in Sheffield• Honorary Senior Research Fellow at University of Birmingham’s Health Service Management Centre• Policy advisor to The Campaign for a Fair Society
The Campaign for a Fair Society• Beginnings - began on 8th February 2011 by people horrified at the likely impact of the Spending Review• Members - Over 1,000 individuals and 100 organisations are members.• UK-wide - There are Scottish, Welsh & English Steering Groups - connected federally in a UK group.• Communications - information on web, twitter, facebook etc - www.campaignforafairsociety.org
CoreValuesEveryone is equal, no matter theirdifferences or disabilities. A fair societysees each of its members as a fullcitizen - a unique person with a life oftheir own. A fair society is organisedto support everyone to live a full life,with meaning and respect.
The challenge• The cuts have targeted disabled people• The impact will be dramatic• Reflecting long-standing problems• It’s time to shift the debate...
Protected Cut Pensions Social Care Healthcare Disability Benefits Education Social Housing £350 billion out of £500 £50 billionUniversal, mainstream, for Special, marginal, ‘the ‘ordinary people like us’ poor & unfortunate’ Delivered by centralised Delivered by complexsystems with high visibility systems with low visibility
Cuts are organised as a pincer attack: • Cuts to social care • that can be blamed on local or national governments • Cuts in direct income • that can be hidden within efforts to ‘reform’ the current system
Attack 01: social care cutsApproximately 1.5 million children and adults, including olderpeople, receive social care each year in the UK because ofsignificant disabilities. This group face social care cuts from: • Cuts to local government funding and funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. • Cuts to Supporting People funding • Termination of Independent Living FundNote that: • Local government, by 2014, will have been cut by >20% • Social care is biggest role for local government (>40%) • 37% of all cuts fell on local government (excluding education) despite accounting for only 6.6% of central spending • over the long-run local government funding has been behind other public services
Central control - local weakness...UK is the most centralised welfare state in the world
social care cuts will mean:• Higher eligibility - many people lose support• Less prevention - crises, institutions and abuse• Increased charges - increased poverty• Cuts to local services - fewer options• Reduced individual budgets - below sufficiency• Reduced flexibility in budgets - limit creativity• Increased contracting out - weaken local market• Reduced wages for staff
Attack 02: cuts to incomeBenefits, tax credits and pensions take up c.£185 billion per year, c.18% of GDP. The major changes planned include: • Rolling income support benefits into Universal Credit • Rolling disability benefits into Personal Independent Payments • Cuts to Housing Benefit and Mortgage Interest ReliefAlready: • £6 billion a year to be saved by weaker indexation • Stricter medical tests by ‘incentivised’ provider (ATOS) • Planned reductions in hyper-taxation on poor will be paid for by reducing benefit incomes rather than increasing DWP spendingNB: The poor can be very poor indeed - the poorest must live on£2,780 per year - compared to mean household income of £50,000per year (<6%).
NO, but...1.These cuts are easier to hide than others and systems are poorly understood2.Disabled people are a small group who are not well organised3.There is media and public fear and prejudice to build on4.Direct cutting can be forced onto political enemies5.Politicians must pander to electorate
No, on-going problems...1.Weak framework of rights2.Weak system of entitlements3.Crisis-led service system4.Disempowering systems5.Segregation from ordinary life6.Poverty and poor incentives to work7.Charging that taxes disabled people
The Campaign is now drafting... UK manifesto for a Fair Society ...the Campaign for a Fair Society
1. Human rights• UN Convention on Rights of Disabled People as law in all parts of the UK• Rights that can be backed by the courts, includes• ...equal right with other citizens to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live.• ...services including personal assistance necessary to support living as part of the wider community.
2. Objective entitlement• Cost of health and social care is >£130 billion• Private social care is £3.5 billion (2.7%)• LA charging and top-ups is £2.3 billion (1.8%)• Health & social care divide makes no sense in an era of personalisation• Courts use ‘natural justice’
3. Early support• Family support is counted against you• Families are encouraged to break down• Families are disrespected• Crisis support is expensive and institutional
4. Right to control• People make the best decisions• Current restrictions are burdensome and confusing• Individual or personal budgets are being corrupted• Why is an entitlement ‘public money’?
5. Against segregation• People need access to all the ordinary opportunities available to citizens...• Housing• Education• Work• Leisure• Need to end subsidies for segregation
6. Income security• The poorest 10% of households have an income of £6,500• Of which 47% is paid in taxes - highest rate of any decile• The poor often face marginal tax rates of 100%• Only sensible solution is universal minimum income and fair taxes
7. Against charging• Charging is special tax that is levied only on disabled people• It punishes people on very low incomes and benefits• It encourages people to be poor• It is expensive to organise• It raises very little money