Briefing for Opposition Day Debate - 10th July 2013


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An overview of the cumulative impact of UK government policies on disabled people. Prepared as a briefing for MPs for the Opposition Day Debate in the House of Commons on 10th July 2013. Supporting: the Campaign for a Fair Society, Pat's Petition and the WOW Campaign.

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Briefing for Opposition Day Debate - 10th July 2013

  1. 1. How the cuts target disabled people Briefing for Opposition Day Debate: 10th July 1013
  2. 2. Introduction This briefing has been prepared by Dr Simon Duffy of The Centre for Welfare Reform. Facts and figures are from official sources, but the detailed analysis can be seen in A Fair Society? How the cuts target disabled people which is available at: The report provides an initial assessment of the cumulative impact of the UK government’s policies for disabled people. However the analysis is somewhat conservative; the real position is likely to be much worse than this. No attempt has been made to include the latest round of further cuts, increased regressive taxation (e.g. VAT) or the enormous subsidy to the better off that is hidden within the deflated rate of interest. Even if cuts are necessary there is no reason to target those cuts on disabled people. No other Western government has targeted disabled people like the UK government and many have tried to protect disabled people from the worst affects of‘austerity’. The report was produced, pro bono, for the Campaign for a Fair Society and in support of the demand by Pat’s Petition for an official cumulative impact assessment of the cuts. We encourage all MPs to stand up against this injustice and to support the WOW Petition.
  3. 3. The current crisis was not created by public expenditure, which has remained relatively stable at around 43% of GDP since 1971:
  4. 4. The crisis was caused by lending by banks. Government bailed out the banks and reduced the cost of borrowing:
  5. 5. To pay for this‘bail out’the government has cut public services. Cuts are not spread evenly, but with great variations:
  6. 6. Financially the biggest cuts are to local government and to people relying on benefits:
  7. 7. In fact, more than 50% of all cuts fall on people on benefits or on local government services.
  8. 8. Although benefits and local government services make up only 25% of central government expenditure.
  9. 9. More than 60% of non-ring-fenced local government expenditure is for social care for children, adults and older people:
  10. 10. Further analysis shows how different groups in society are differently affected by the targeting of the cuts:
  11. 11. The cuts target people in poverty, disabled people and people with the most severe disabilities, those using social care.
  12. 12. The targeting of disabled people is extreme and the inevitable consequence of central government policy.
  13. 13. Government policy seems based on misinformation and stigmatising rhetoric which is then fed into the popular press. Here are some facts that MPs of all parties should remember when debating the future of the welfare state, poverty and situation of disabled people.
  14. 14. The poorest 10% of households pay the most tax.
  15. 15. The poorest 10% pay different taxes to the rich.
  16. 16. The net cost of benefits is less than 3% of GDP.
  17. 17. The level of benefit fraud is very low.
  18. 18. Entitlement to disability benefit is not easy.
  19. 19. Low interest rates provide a hidden subsidy.
  20. 20. Real leaders defend justice and the rights of those under attack.