A coalition has warned that further austerity will cause further avoidable deaths. The Disabled People’s Organisations Forum, a group of 40 Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs), claims that this will disproportionately affect disabled people, millions of whom are already living in poverty in the UK. They state that there is “nothing left to cut.”
They are calling for people to contact their MPs to urge them to vote against any cuts to essential support, to increase all benefits in line with inflation and to protect social care recipients’ income with an increased Minimum Income Guarantee and excluding disability benefits from the social care means testing.
- Austerity is already responsible for tens of thousands of excess deaths in the UK 
- The UN Committee on the rights of Persons with Disabilities found austerity measures to cause gross and systemic violations of Disabled people’s human rights
- Before the cost of living crisis, 4 million disabled people already lived in poverty
A spokesperson for the Disabled People’s Organisations Forum said
“We are horrified at the prospect of any further cuts to already minimal support that Disabled people get. Disabled people paid already with quality of their lives during austerity, their lives during Covid and now are facing a prospect of starving or freezing this winter.
We are calling on the government to show strategic leadership, compassion, and protect disabled people’s lives, livelihoods and rights by preventing further cuts to essential support and committing targeted support to help disabled people survive through the cost of living crisis”
James* relies on benefits as his sole income and is required to pay a contribution for his social care. His income has gone up 3% this year, but his social care contribution has gone up 21%, an extra £137.54 per week, due to funding cuts. James simply cannot afford this and feels like he is now in a position where he is without the basics and unable to live well.
Lauren* receives direct payments and has a Personal Assistant (PA) for her care needs. She really values her PA and feels she provides her with excellent care. However, she can no longer afford to pay her because her local authority has begun asking Lauren for an additional contribution to her care of £270 a month, bringing her monthly contribution to close to £1,000. As Lauren’s only source of income is ESA and PIP, she is left with very little left to live on. Lauren has spoken to the Council and feels they were not understanding about her situation. She feels she is left with no choice but to stop having a PA as she simply cannot afford it during a time of increasing cost of living.
Notes for editor:
- Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations are organisations fully run and controlled by Deaf and Disabled people ourselves
- Case studies are anonymised as many Deaf and Disabled people live in fear of having benefits stopped in retaliation for speaking out
- Disabled People’s Organisations Forum includes 40 DDPOs such as:
- Inclusion London
- Disabled People Against Cuts
- Shaping Our Lives
- Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living
- Bromley Experts By Experience
If you have questions or want further information/quotes, please contact:
Rensa Gaunt at Inclusion London
The Guardian: Over 330,000 excess deaths in Great Britain linked to austerity, finds study https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/oct/05/over-330000-excess-deaths-in-great-britain-linked-to-austerity-finds-study
 Disability News Service: Austerity cuts to social care and health caused 57,000 deaths, research suggests https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/austerity-cuts-to-social-care-and-health-caused-57000-deaths-research-suggests/
The Guardian: UK austerity policies ‘amount to violations of disabled people’s rights’ https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/nov/07/uk-austerity-policies-amount-to-violations-of-disabled-peoples-rights