- 2010 National Disabled Members' Conference
- 25 August 2010
This conference is gravely concerned about reports on 10 August 2010 that government intends to use credit rating firms to target disabled people claiming benefits by using intelligence about what disabled people choose to spend their benefit on. We see this latest attack as another bounty hunter initiative that could cost billions of pounds to provide workers with bonuses on results. Attention should be given to increasing revenue lost to tax evasion rather than expecting the public to pay the price of funding fat cats.
Using credit rating companies is an Orwellain, Big Brother concept that can play no part in building a Big Society, it will scrutinise the spending power of disabled people; it infringes civil and human rights. Disabled members working in public services report to us that data used by credit rating companies can be incorrectly recorded and stored; consequently causing stress and embarrassment through enquiries that put claimants under pressure and are managed through under-handed resources.
We have no concern about government’s intention to penalise genuine benefit cheats but to target disabled people perpetuates a stereotype of dependency, it questions the rights of the deserving disabled and the undeserving disabled at a time when the additional cost of living with disability becomes more apparent due to public service cuts.
A recent High Court ruling declared illegal, the use of surveillance techniques by London Borough of Harrow for using anti-terrorist and anti-fraud legislation to prevent a family from detecting fraudulent claims for school places. HM Government is also not above the law and this possible action demonstrates their targeting of disabled people in order to reduce the national welfare bill.
This conference calls upon the National Disabled Members’ Committee to seek support from the National Executive Council to lobby government so stop the persecution and potential criminalisation of disabled people in welfare reform proposals and cuts in public services.