The dismissal of whole sections of society as comparatively worthless by politicians and the media seems bad enough, but in a recent radio discussion about global population growth, the term ‘useless eaters’ was used, says Berandette Meaden. This chilling phrase is used by some people to refer to anybody who consumes resources without producing any. A dangerous philosophy is being created on this basis. It stigmatises disabled people, the poor and many more besides.
Those across the country who care about human rights for all should oppose the trend to push disabled people into cheap and cheerless institutional living, says Savi Hensman. While councils do indeed face difficult financial challenges, taking away basic rights from any section of the community is not the answer.
Here is the full text of the letter published in the Guardian (17 May 2012) from disability organisations and disabled rights advocates, backed by signatories from charities, NGOs, academics and others (including Ekklesia), on the impact of government cuts hitting disabled people.
Many people across Europe have recoiled from harsh austerity policies, which are badly affecting the poorest in society as well as ordinary families. But the UK government is determined to take the cuts even further. Half a million people will lose disability living allowance, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has proudly announced.
The coalition can force its welfare changes through using procedural measures, minor concessions and ‘financial privilege’ to do so. But the long-term political fall-out from all of this could be immense, says Simon Barrow. The warfare over welfare has shown just how powerful citizens’ action and web-based crowd sourcing can be.
MPs in the Westminster House of Commons are debating the Welfare Reform Bill from 12.30pm on Wednesday 1 February 2012, one day after the House of Lords final debate. There are vital issues at stake for disabled people, including the young disabled and those with cancer, for people on housing benefit, for lone parents, vulnerable women and larger families.