The Tories have been failing people with disabilities. They have been failing to help them live independently; failing to help them find employment; failing to help them live a life of dignity.
These were the damning observations of the UN in Geneva last week, concluding that the UK government had created a “human catastrophe” for disabled people.
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities looked at how the UK complies with its Convention, and released these critical observations during its first review with a record number of recommendations.
The final UN report has been published following a long investigation after the Committee last year found that the UK government’s welfare cuts had led to “grave and systematic violations” of disabled people’s rights.
Social security powers are being devolved to Scotland.
👇 This is how we'll use them. pic.twitter.com/ovdb5uvFKo
— The SNP (@theSNP) August 26, 2017
The report highlights a wide range of concerns about the impact on disabled people including “the impact of austerity measures and antipoverty initiatives” and the “detrimental impact” of the UK government’s Employment and Support Allowance’s conditions and sanctions. It also includes how reductions in social support, unemployment allowances, Universal Credit, PIP and the introduction of benefit sanctions are having negative impacts on living standards.
The UK is the fifth-largest economy in the world. How embarrassing and shameful then to be condemned – singled out, even – by the UN for the treatment of those living with disabilities.
In contrast, the UN Committee praised the SNP Scottish Government for its inclusion of disabled people in designing Scotland’s social security system, as well as the initiative Fairer Scotland for Disabled People and the Accessible Travel Framework – policies which aim to change the lives of disabled people and ensure their human rights are realised.
Low income families across Scotland will be thousands of pounds a year worse off per year due to UK welfare cuts. pic.twitter.com/B5OqHJZUOi
— The SNP (@theSNP) September 1, 2017
The UK has more millionaires than anywhere else in Europe – you’ll find of a few of them on the Tory benches – yet the UK government is leaving behind some of the very most vulnerable people in our society.
The Tories must urgently rethink their disastrous welfare cuts, which have driven people into poverty, caused a massive rise in the use of foodbanks, lowered living standards of vulnerable people across the country, and have now been condemned, yet again, by the United Nations.
If they are not prepared to change course, then they must give the Scottish Government the full powers to make different choices and allow us to support rather than neglect people with disabilities.
This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.