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2011 National Black Members' Conference
14 January 2011

The announcement of further cuts to public spending and benefits on 20 October 2010 in the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review heralded yet more difficult times for disabled people.

Disabled people were already set to be disproportionately affected by the Con-Dems emergency budget that claimed to be designed to redress the deficit in the economic downturn. Against this backdrop, the CSR’s attacks on important financial support for disabled people, such as the Employment Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and household benefit payments are set to cause further suffering. Disproportionately high incidence of conditions within the Black community such as sickle-cell anaemia, thalassaemia, lupus, diabetes, HIV and certain cancers means that the public service cuts targeting disabled people will also exacerbate the effect of cuts on the Black community.

Proposals announced to time limit contributory Employment Support Allowances for those in work related activity to one year means that disabled people will be subject to an arbitrary cut off point. Furthermore, there are concerns that Government proposals to reassess all Incapacity Benefit and Employment Support Allowance claimants will potentially see many more people wrongly denied these benefits; the campaign group ‘Compass’ estimate that up to 500,000 people have been wrongly judged ‘fit for work’ and disallowed benefit over the last 15 years . Even prior to these reviews, many people were struggling to get resources to fund workplace reasonable adjustments and additional funding to meet the additional cost of disability provided for through Disability Living Allowance.

The Government are also proposing to remove the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance for people in residential care, including children. This would have a devastating impact on the ability of disabled people to maintain their mobility and choice that the Disability Living Allowance once afforded them and would in particular affect their ability to retain links with work colleagues, family and friends, and be in control of their own independence.

Black Disabled people will experience acute disadvantage as a result of the Government’s cuts agenda. It is all too clear that the Government’s ideological attack on the public sector will make the disadvantaged and the vulnerable pay the greatest price.

Conference calls upon the National Black Members Committee to work together with the National Executive Council to ensure that issues for Black disabled people are incorporated into their ongoing fight against public service cuts.