Thursday, 31 August 2017

UN Condemn Tory Cuts as "Human Catastrophe"

Scottish Social Security System Praised
- But Tories Damaging Living Standards

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has praised the Scottish Government for their inclusion of disabled people in designing the Scottish social security system; their Fairer Scotland for Disabled People and the adoption of the Accessible Travel Framework whilst criticising the Tory Westminster government for a range of policies that led to the head of the Committee saying the UK Government had created a “human catastrophe” for disabled people.

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. The report highlights numerous concerns on the impact on disabled people including “the impact of austerity measures and antipoverty initiatives”; the “detrimental impact of the Employment and Support Allowance’s conditionality and sanctions” and the “negative impact on living standards of persons with disabilities” due to reductions in social support, unemployment allowances, Universal Credit, PIP and the introduction of benefit sanctions.

It specifically calls on the UK Government to “conduct a review of the conditionality and sanction regimes concerning the Employment and Support Allowance and tackle negative consequences on mental health and situation of persons with disabilities” and to “Repeal the Personal Independent Payment (Amendment) Regulations”.

Commenting, SNP MSP and convener of Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee, Christina McKelvie, said:

“The UK Government should be totally ashamed that the pursual of welfare cuts and an austerity agenda at all costs has led to this damning criticism from the United Nations Committee. After a wealth of evidence and reports from people with disabilities and the organisations that represent them that have shown the damage Tory policies have had on vulnerable and disabled people across the UK people, they have carried on regardless. Now the UN is telling them to change the sanctions regime and Personal Independence Payments will they finally listen?

“The UN’s report needs to act as a wake-up call. The UN could not be clearer – UK ministers’ record on disabled rights is shameful, whether that is over Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payments, sanctions or reductions in social support has led to ‘grave and systematic’ violations on disabled rights and must be changed.

“Their dangerous policies stand in contrast to the action the SNP Scottish Government is taking to support persons with disabilities – and the UN’s report welcomes action we have taken to include organisations of persons with disabilities in shaping our social security system, our incorporation of the Convention on the rights of disable people and the adoption of the Accessible Travel Framework.

“The Tories must urgently rethink their disastrous welfare cuts, which have driven people into poverty, caused an exponential rise in the use of foodbanks, lowered living standards of vulnerable people across the country, and has 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 communities across Scotland.”
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