Black people and Disability – The impact of Welfare reform and benefit cuts

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2014 National Disabled Members' Conference
3 July 2014

Many disabled workers are reliant on benefits even though they are working. Conference condemns the Coalitions Governments Welfare Reforms and the resulting adverse impact of the policies on our members, especially our Black disabled members and their communities.

Many of our disabled Black members are low-paid and due to poverty wages, pay freezes and unwavering cuts in benefits, many are being driven into the arms of loan sharks, payday loans and food banks.

Recent Welfare Reforms will inevitably lead to increased poverty for groups of people already disenfranchised in society. Disabled workers are at the forefront of the Coalition Government’s Welfare reforms and will experience substantial detriment as the proposed changes take effect , such as changes to incapacity benefits, a 1% cap on benefit rises, Bedroom Tax, housing allowance.

Disabled people will also be affected by changes to the Working Tax Credit , as the disability element is removed there is expected to see fewer disabled people being able to work part time as a result of their health condition or impairment.

We call on the National Disabled Members Committee to work with National Black Members Committee and other appropriate structures of the union to:

1)Raise awareness of the impact the Welfare Reforms are causing to our Black members.

2)Facilitate a fringe meeting at the 2016 National Black Members Conference to enable the issues facing Black disabled to be addressed through discussion and practical support be able to be identified to assist our Black members.

3)Consider the inviting of a speaker from UNISON’s registered charity “There for you” and Credit Union making the suggestion that they demonstrate the benefits of both organisations to our Black members

4)Highlight and promote UNISON Worth-It campaign as a key contributor to fighting poverty pay which serves only to add to the negative experience of Black members in the austerity agenda.