26_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,534

Friday 26 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Up to 500 disabled people a week are losing their independence under the ludicrous and obscene ’20-metre rule’ in the Personal Independent Payments (PIP) system. Even the previous 50-metre rule was limited, that’s a there and back trip to a corner shop within 25 metres of home, if you’re lucky enough to even have one that close. Under the ’20-metre rule’ that might just cover putting your rubbish out, providing you can walk and carry a sack full of waste at the same time.

In 2014 the Guardian reported that corporate handouts were £85 billion, in 2015 that was up to £93 billion. It seems we can support Disney to the tune of £167.6 million since 2007 to make films in the UK, but we can’t afford to support either the Motability industry or those who rely on it just to manage to get around on a daily basis.

Speaking to one Motability company in North Devon today, they report that garages and workshops that adapt vehicles are quiet and as PIP rolls out I wonder how many UK businesses are going to hit the wall?

The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that the cost of all PIP payments between 2015/19 will be £66.4 billion, or £16.6 billion a year. If we can afford corporate handouts of nearly £100 billion a year, why are disabled people being targeted and penalised?

Culling benefits and therefore those who rely on them was George Osborne’s explicit chosen route to paying down Britain’s debt which, I hasten to mention, he managed to double during his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer. According to the Centre for Welfare Reform, Britain’s disabled people have been hit 9 times harder than the average person and severely disabled people 19 times harder. Presumably Osborne had inside knowledge that Britain’s severely disabled people were responsible for the 2008 crash and therefore should be expected to bear the greatest burden for Britain’s recovery. Either that or austerity and attacking the UK’s poorest and most vulnerable people is ideologically driven without a shred of justification. I wonder which it is?

Meanwhile Carly Tait, a member of ParalympicsGB athletics team in Rio, has been deprived of her means of transport and George Osborne has been made Companion of Honour in Cameron’s resignation honours list. I have nothing further to add.

http://www.disabledgo.com/blog/2016/08/benefits-rule-change-forces-500-disabled-people-to-give-back-vehicles-every-week/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/06/benefits-corporate-welfare-research-public-money-businesses

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/07/corporate-welfare-a-93bn-handshake

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35830275

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-uk-national-debt-has-risen-by-555-billion-since-2010-under-george-osborne-a6947661.html

The surprising truth about disability benefit cuts

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/disability-sport/36926033

Government ‘has stripped Paralympians of their Motability vehicles’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36976596

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