How, where and why cuts are hitting disabled and ill people

By Simon Barrow
May 11, 2011

Today (11 May 2011) Ekklesia is highlighting the contents of a research paper which maps out the contours of the government's revolution in Britain’s benefits and welfare system - one that hits the most vulnerable worst.

'Betraying disabled people and welfare', by Karen McAndrew (, was published on our website in the run-up to the Hardest Hit protests ( But we are launching it deliberately to coincide with the march in London - because the voices and lives of disabled and sick people are the ones that should really count.

As Scotland's Poverty & Truth Commission ( has expressed it, with a motto taken from post-apartheid South Africa: "nothing about us without us is for us". That is, poverty and injustice will never be truly addressed until those who experience it firsthand are at the heart of the process. Not remote millionaires prodding calculators in the Cabinet Room, suggesting that taking from those with least and protecting those with most is 'unavoidable'.

For the evidence that Karen McAndrew examines and evaluates in her article indicates that, far from enabling and supporting sick and disabled people, the changes and cuts the UK government is making – disguised by a superficial rhetoric of compassion and empowerment, and eased by ungrounded prejudices stoked in sections of the media – are causing real harm and destroying the fabric of national care and genuine opportunity.

Putting human impact centre stage, this paper sets out disturbing evidence that disabled people are being betrayed, the public misled, and the welfare system endangered. Here is yet more indication that the 'Big Society' is punishing the most vulnerable and eschewing social justice, by making cuts and implementing an inadequate patchwork of policies whereby under-resourced voluntarism cannot substitute for official, statutory neglect.

Read the full research article here:


© Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.