Philip Hammond: UK productivity rates low because more disabled people are in work

From Huffpost: Philip Hammond has been criticised after suggesting low productivity rates in the UK could be linked to the employment of more disabled people.

The Tory Chancellor made the claim while giving evidence to the Commons Treasury select committee on the 2017 Budget.

Asked about a fall in productivity rates earlier this year, he said: “It is almost certainly the case that by increasing participation in the workforce, including far higher levels of participation by marginal groups and very high levels of engagement in the workforce, for example of disabled people – something we should be extremely proud of – may have had an impact on overall productivity measurements.”

Anna Bird, director of policy and research at disability charity Scope, said: “These comments are totally unacceptable and derogatory.

[Read full article with video on Huffpost website…]

Inquiry into disability benefits ‘deluged’ by tales of despair

From The Guardian: A House of Commons inquiry into disability benefits has heard from more than 3,000 people in despair at the system, including dozens who say they have been driven to suicidal thoughts by the process.

The evidence includes testimony from many saying their mental health had deteriorated as a result of trying to claim the employment support allowance (ESA) for daily living costs and/or the personal independence payment (PIP) to cover the extra costs caused by long-term disability.

It comes after longstanding concerns among mental health groups, medical professionals, user groups and MPs about the operation of both benefits, which see claimant assessments run by outsourced providers and final decisions made by officials at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The submissions included more than 100 people reporting that they or someone they care for feels their suicidal feelings have worsened or been triggered by the process. Read more

Minister: Rest of world should be learning from Tory disability policies

disability news service mordauntFrom Disability News Service: The Tory minister “for” disabled people has dismissed a damning UN report on her government’s disability rights record, arguing that the rest of the world should instead be learning from the UK’s policies.

Penny Mordaunt was speaking weeks after the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities said the government’s social protection policies had caused a “human catastrophe” for disabled people.

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The Tories are literally now being investigated by the UN for ‘ongoing human rights violations’

From Evolve Politics: United Nations officials are hearing evidence from UK-wide disability organisations which shows the Tory government’s “ongoing human rights violations” have put it in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People.

After being warned last October that welfare cuts have led to “grave and systematic violations” of rights, the UK government is now under investigation by the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Campaigners have called the government’s lack of action “complacency at best and high-handed evasion at worst”. Read more

Fiona Robertson: Voting Tory in #GE17 is a vote to kill people like me

Disability activist and writer Fiona Robertson writes on Commonspace: “When I and my fellow disability activists woke up on the morning after the last General Election, we spent an unrelenting few days tag teaming as we tried to keep people in our community alive. We were not always successful. Over and over, hour after hour, we saw iterations of the same message: ‘I do not think I will survive this government.’

“There were 30,000 extra deaths in England and Wales in 2015 as a result of cuts to health and social care, according to research by Oxford University. There were hundreds of suicides by the very lowest estimates, though we who spend our days working with people who are struggling to survive this government know there are more which aren’t counted; that there are many, many deaths because the stress and fear and pain and malnutrition and isolation exacerbated a person’s condition to the point of lethality. Read more

“Disabled people are to be ‘warehoused’. We should be livid”

Mark Brown writes in the Guardian: 37 NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England are introducing rules about ongoing care that could force up to 13,000 people with health conditions into care homes. The CCGs will essentially begin saying to people with disabilities and long-term health needs: if you haven’t got the cash for homecare, then it’s off to a care home for you.

Imagine you have been living in your home for years. It might be where your kids were born. Being at home, having your stuff around you, having the greatest possible measure of independence, obviously means a lot to everyone, whether you’re well, ill or disabled. Then one day someone comes and tells you, “Nope, you’re too expensive here. We’re moving you to a care home unless you cough up the money to pay for what you need.

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