Faisal Rashid, MP for Warrington South, recently attended the parliamentary launch of a report from the Disability Benefits Consortium, which considers the impact of welfare changes on disabled people.
According to the new research, changes to the welfare system over the past ten years have left disabled adults four times worse off financially than non-disabled adults. While many people who receive welfare support have experienced cuts of an average of £300 as a result of changes to the welfare system, disabled people have typically lost around £1,200 per year.
The research has been funded by the Three Guineas Trust and conducted by the University of East Anglia, the University of Glasgow and Landman Economics. It is the first comprehensive study looking specifically at the cumulative impact of welfare changes on disabled people.
The research also found that the more disabilities a claimant has, the more liable they are to lose out. To cite one example, an individual with six or more disabilities loses over £2,100 each year on average, whereas someone with one disability loses around £700 each year. Households with one disabled adult and one disabled child lose out the most, with average losses of over £4,300 per year.
The report concludes that the welfare system must be reformed so that it takes a more personal and tailored approach to provide greater support to disabled people so that they can be free from poverty and despair, and live truly independent lives.
Faisal Rashid MP said:
“This report is a damning indictment of the state of the welfare system under the Tories. The system is simply not fit for purpose.
“I am deeply concerned by the effect of Government policies on disabled people. The UN has said that the Government’s social security reforms have led to “grave and systematic violations” of disabled people’s rights.
“These failures mean that people with disabilities are not just losing money – they are losing access to transport, personal independence, and in some cases their jobs. This is totally unacceptable.
“Thousands of disabled people have been forced to undergo stressful, poorly designed Personal Independence Payments and Work Capability Assessments. Disturbingly, the sanctioning of people who are ill or disabled has also been linked to deaths, including suicides.
“We must transform our welfare system from one that is too often demonising disabled people to one that is supportive and empowering.”