Labour has launched its disability manifesto, pledging to scrap benefit assessments and reversing a number of cuts through the introduction of a new ‘Social Security Bill’.
The manifesto, titled ‘Nothing About You, Without You: A Manifesto With And For Disabled people‘, offers a bold and radical programme that is a far cry away from the cruel and punitive approach of the Conservatives.
Labour says that “over the last seven years, disabled people – including people with physical or mental impairments and long-term health conditions – have borne the brunt of the Conservatives cuts, which has seen the number of disabled people living in poverty rise to 4.2 million”.
The party promises to “reverse the cuts to disability support, transform our social security system from one that demonises disabled people to one that is supportive and enabling, scrap the punitive sanctions regime and replace ineffective, degrading assessments”.
SOME KEY PLEDGES:
- Labour supports a social model of disability. People may have a condition or an impairment but are disabled by society. We need to remove the barriers in society that restrict opportunities and choices for disabled people.
- Labour will build on the previous Labour Government’s commitment to disabled people in 2009 as signatories to the UN CRPD. A new Labour Government will incorporate the UN CRPD into UK law.
- Labour will transform our social security system. Like the NHS, our social security system should be there for all of us in our time of need, providing security and dignity in retirement and the basics in life should we become sick or disabled, or fall on hard times.
- We will repeal cuts in social security support to disabled people through a new Social Security Bill published in our first year of office.
- Labour will scrap the Work Capability and Personal Independence Payment assessments and replace them with a personalised, holistic assessment process which provides each individual with a tailored plan, building on their strengths and addressing barriers, whether finance, skills, health, care, transport, or housing related.
- Labour will change the culture of the social security system, from one that demonises sick and disabled people to one that is supportive and enabling. As a starting point we will scrap the Conservatives’ punitive sanctions regime and change how Job Centre Plus staff are performance managed.
- Labour will increase Carer’s Allowance to £73 a week, an increase of 16%, in recognition of Britain’s dedicated, unpaid carers.
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said: “Last night at the BBC Question Time Leaders’ Special, an audience member gave a harrowing account of her traumatic and degrading experience undergoing the Work Capability Assessment.
“Like many others, I was incredibly moved by the film I, Daniel Blake, which tells the story of those who have been demonised and dehumanised by the Conservative’s devastating cuts and a social security system which punishes, rather than supports, disabled people.
“Labour will ensure that disabled people and people with mental health conditions have access to the support they need and will work with disabled people to build an inclusive society, where no one is held back from fulfilling their potential and realising their aspirations.”
Launching the manifesto in Manchester today, Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “We are proud of the manifesto that we have developed with, and for, disabled people.
“For seven long years, disabled people have borne the brunt of the Conservatives’ austerity cuts and been pushed further into poverty.
“Our comprehensive and costed policies set out in this manifesto, will ensure that disabled people are properly supported to live full and independent lives.
“Enough is enough, only a Labour government, offering a real alternative, will work in partnership with disabled people to ensure no one in our society is held back.”