Sep 282013

Just less than 3 years ago disabled people marched at the Tory party conference to protest against austerity cuts using the slogan CUTS KILL. Even though it was obvious that the plans outlined by millionaire George Osborne in the June 2010 Spending Review would not be good for disabled people even we did not envisage just how fast our welfare state would be destroyed by the Condems or how many disabled people would be pushed to suicide or death through the malicious Condem cuts.


We could not have imagined that 3 years later we’d be getting daily emails from disabled people and pregnant disabled people who were actually starving and being left without food, money or access to any hardship payments. We knew but couldn’t have possibly imagined that disabled people would have their benefits stopped for weeks and in some cases months without any means to support themselves other than possible prostitution, drug dealing or theft. What do you do when you are already living on the breadline with no savings and your only income is taken away? We never imagined we’d read about children, disabled and non-disabled being left without food.


It’s hard to believe it’s the UK we’re talking about yet this is what life has become for many in the 21st century in the 7th richest nation in the world. We never imagined that we’d go so far backwards that all of the gains made for disabled people’s rights over the last 30 years would effectively just be swept away as disabled people are vilified as shirkers and scroungers.


10,000 Cuts and Counting is a single issue protest against the now discredited computerised Work Capability Assessment executed by ATOS. It has pushed so many disabled people to suicide or death through fear and stress that DWP have now stopped collecting any statistics on the death count but between January 2011 and November 2011, some 10,600 claims ended and a date of death was recorded within six weeks of the claim end. DPAC and other campaigners are proud to have destroyed the ATOS brand name but there is no point in just replacing ATOS with another corporate monster and the WCA must be scrapped in its entirity. Why should any private firm rake in millions and millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to provide a totally flawed service which could be provided by civil servants for a fraction of the cost as has been the case until recently? The WCA was put in place to cut the number of claimants by 1 million either through miracle cures or death it seems.


One of the next major battles disabled people face is the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance put in place to meet the extra costs of being disabled. This too has been designed with only one aim in mind to cut costs and remove 20% of disabled people from entitlement. Many disabled people rely on this income to enable them to work and will no longer be able to if it is lost to them. Even more will be left trapped in their homes with no means to go out.


For anyone who thinks this doesn’t matter to them 6 out of 7 disabled people have an acquired impairment through long term illness or an accident. Most of you will also get older and so how older disabled people are treated should be of great concern to you – it’s your future. Let’s not be polite older disabled people are often treated worse than animals in the UK getting 4 x 15 minutes ‘pop ins’ if they’re lucky and imprisoned in their homes and some left soaking wet the rest of the time.


This is the fate now awaiting younger disabled people from 2015 when without any vote in parliament the Independent Living Fund will be closed leaving local councils to try to replace this funding with ever shrinking budgets and different eligibility criteria.


At the same time they say they want disabled people to work but without this vital support even if found fit for work they are unable to. The Remploy factories have been decimated in the Condem attacks against disabled people supported by some organisations who purport to campaign for us. At last count only about 3% of those made redundant had secured mainstream employment but given the barriers to gaining and keeping employment that disabled people face this was always likely. To this we need to add the benefit cap which is in effect a futher cut.


The Bedroom Tax so loudly condemned by the UN rapporteur Raquel Rolnik existed in the private rented sector since 2008 and Labour who introduced this have singularly forgotten to mention that they originally also planned to roll it out in April 2010 to the social housing sector. None of us should forget that most of these horrors now affecting both disabled and other people were in many cases introduced by Labour and it is time for all of us all to start to tell them what they must do if they want to have a chance of being elected.


It is also way past time for the larger unions to stop pussy-footing around, stop unconditionally supporting a neo-liberal Labour party and force them to act as an effective opposition and outline their real policies. The unions and TUC should have already called a general strike but need to do so now urgently. It is time to add industrial power to community activism if any vestiges of our welfare state are to be salvaged for our children.


Disabled people and others also face a further raft of cuts and attacks to the NHS and in particular mental health services, to health and safety at work legislation, to Access to Work funding, to secure employment and not zero hours contracts, to accessible transport, to accessible housing, a right to mainstream education, cuts to council tax benefit, all coupled with cuts to CAB services, legal aid cuts and lastly the introduction of the Lobbying Bill which regardless of it’s eventual outcome will not silence us in any way. We are now many thousands and we will be heard.

This piece is also due to be published in the Morning Star




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  15 Responses to “10,000 cuts and counting Linda Burnip”

  1. Just thought I’d post this I found, then read it again, this is the “care” cancer sufferers get

    Dear Mr Cameron,

    Chester and Ellesmere Port Foodbank (Wednesday, 6 November 2013): ‘Jenny shared her story with one of our volunteers, and requested that we share it with you (everyone). We are privileged to do so.’


    Jenny came to the Chester and Ellesmere Port Foodbank last month, having been diagnosed with terminal Cancer. Her prognosis was three to six months. She already suffered with several chronic illnesses preventing her from working over the last two years and was in receipt of Disability Living Allowance. Having no family she was trying to “put her house in order”, ensuring all her bills were paid and saving up for her funeral. Her DLA was stopped; the reason given was that as she was not expected to survive the required time, she did not qualify for this benefit!

    She came to the Foodbank not for herself but to bring a neighbour who had mental health issues and short term memory problems. He had been 30 minutes late for his appointment at the Benefit office (he had forgotten the time!) and had therefore been sanctioned. He had not eaten for three days. They were both given a meal and the time to talk of their problems and referred to the appropriate agencies for food vouchers and further support and help. Several weeks later Jenny came to the Foodbank to thank everyone for the help and food that was given and the kindness and support that was shown in their time of need. Jenny died three weeks later.

    Where did Jenny fit in your striver/scrounger world, Mr Cameron? Evidently she did not fit at all, she was abandoned to die in poverty as a direct result of your government policies and in particular the welfare policies of Iain Duncan Smith.

  2. I blog also and I am crafting a thing related to this specific article,
    “10,000 cuts and counting Linda Burnip »
    DPAC”. Would you care in the event I actuallywork with a bit of of your points?
    Thanks for your time -Esteban

    Britain is a has been Country through previous Governments false ideologies.
    We the Backbone of the Country have been Lied to and deceived when our moral values and work ethic were in place.
    Would the Soldiers in two World Wars have laid their lives on the line if they knew that Greed creates Wars. In 2010 Gaddafi offered to invest $97 billion in Africa to free it from Western influence, on condition that African states rid themselves of corruption and nepotism.
    Gaddafi always dreamed of a Developed, United Africa and was about to make that dream come true – and nothing is more terrifying to the West than a Developed, United Africa.
    Gaddafi was returning to a gold standard and was planning to introduce the Gold Dinar, a single African currency that would serve as an alternative to the U.S. dollar and allow African nations to share the wealth.We the West Invaded and let him be hunted down like a dog.
    UK PLC is only worth the money it raises in Taxes,all types of Taxes and 95% come from the working class,everything is taxed so everyone pays some.All other Money is Privately owned the BoE and the USA Federal Reserve are shrouded in secrecy of who actually are their shareholders.Thats why the Political Gravy Train is so Lucrative Millions are syphoned off into dubious pockets.
    Lastest Score Labour-Liars & Deceitful Tories-Blatant Liars & Deceitful.Tory Ideology “whats yours is mine whats mine is mine.BSB

  4. “The unions and TUC should have already called a general strike but need to do so now urgently.”

    Strikes aren’t called by unions or the TUC. No, strikes are called by people in the workplace. The TUC could name a day tomorrow; yet without the support of the workforce this would be a pointless exercise.

    Unite has supported strikes both in the public and private sector over the past few years. In fact Unite has not repudiated a single strike since McCluskey’s became general secretary.

    However, unless workers, in sizeable numbers, within both the public and private sectors are ready and willing to come out and strike we are not going to get a mass support for a general strike.

    Finally, a general strike within itself may not be the solution to ridding ourselves of this dire lash-up that calls itself a government; after all Greece has seen over 20 general strikes in the past couple of years, yet sadly the austerity programme there still continues.

    Osborne in his Frenzied attack on the less well off in our society will continue with his self-determined motivation to reduce Britain’s Deficit at all costs to appease those that have never heard the word ‘squeeze’ never mind felt it.His target does not have to be an absolute and if relaxed would ease the pressure on all of us.
    But his dogged determination to make a name for himself he is prepared to sacrifice a further 144,000 jobs in 2015/16 and has plans for another £23 billion of cuts and to extend his Budget Balancing programme.
    He totally ignores Britain’s population but has increased Overseas Aid by 3.4%.Another enigma is we still pay benefits to people of all Nationalities that worked here years ago but no longer live here.
    Not only are our pockets being squeezed so are our Freedoms.Three Campaign Groups are taking GCHQ to Court for breaching the Rights of British Citizens.
    Government have banned Legal action in an open English Court so it will be tried in the ECHR.No surprise then that MI5,MI6 and GCHQ has a 3.4% increase in their budgets the Government have increased internal surveillance of the UK ,are they paranoid or know their reforms are that Draconian and taking us back to Victorian Times they aim to quell dissent before it spreads.My last Website was closed down because I said Balls & Brown had robbed the Pension Fund of £5 Billion Watch your backs.BSB

    • No matter how much money is ploughed into internal uk surveillance, it will not be sufficient to overcome the fury and power of the masses against the cuts we are facing. I now have to work 5 years more though I SHOULD HAVE RETIRED LAST YEAR.. and whose fault is that? Not mine. What prep time were we given? 18months. Instead of retirement I am unemployed and on a Work Programme. What chance of a job for a 60 yr old female in an unemployment black spot?! I feel just as persecuted and demoralised as any disabled claimants; but because there are only 35,000 women who have had the pension goalpost moved twice in 3 yrs., we are considered a minority group and are ignored by the media. DON’T BELIEVE that the media are independent/unbiased! They are as partial politically as anyone in the pay of a political party. And you are right about Balls and Brown. If any Central Scrutinisers appen to be reading this, feel free to investigate me..unlike your employers I have zilch to hide, no hidden agendas, no desire to suppress anyones opinion, no reason to strip them of their dues, no political ambition, no public standing to uphold, no reason to tell anything but the truth and total belief that
      yet another Govt. has failed the public and will continue to fail us in pursuit of their own status, power, influence and luxurious lifestyles. They choose not to recognise the true meaning of politico,politicus or of the responsibility to the people implicit in the
      title of ‘politician’. How many are altruists?
      How many are moral or ethical? WCAs destroy lives. Poor pensioners might live longer but it’s only prolonging the challenge of survival on a pittance. Young people see no future. 30 year olds are still repaying £25k or more borrowed to get them through university and into either unemployment or minimum-waged work ..or a job abroad.
      our economists foresight… a mistake which has cost us all except those in power and 5% of the rest. And they…the same ‘they’ who create the ‘them and us’ societal attitude.. could not care less. If assessed by an Atos asesser they may well be evaluated as pathological.. without morals or a sense of duty or responsibility, without regret for actions they have taken which cause damage or stress to others; and certainly without remorse. How can we hope to show our children how to behave when the Government example is so corrupt, so bereft of humanity or democracy? I sound passionate? Yes…to give up is to give in. If you do not fight
      dictatorship you accept it. No grey areas. Do I hear a cry of ‘Britain isn’t a dictatorship!’? Think again.

  6. If the Conservatives win in 2015 they will be unfettered by a coalition- even if they buddy up with UKIP. They appear to be hell-bent on “austerity” by any means and they have expressed a desire to withdraw from EU human rights legislation and EU courts. This can only mean things can only get worse for anybody they label as not “hard-working” (and how I hate those words when spoken by Osborne, Cameron and their ilk).

  7. Well said Linda, a passionate and honest piece, the next attack is again on the under 25s unfortunate enough to be unemployed, the “posh boys” constantly go on about youth but constantly attack the ones on benefits , as for the disabled, words fail me, I have been saying Atos is the instigator of a form of “cleansing” pushed by IDS and his cronies, I accept Labour introduced them but this coalition has bastardized it to such an extent that it’s no longer about “helping disadvantaged people into work” but an aid to demonize for the “posh boys”
    But it’s not just the vulnerable being attacked, agencies needed are being crushed the advice sector is almost on it’s knees, as an ex adviser from Sheffield I know first hand the Clegg isn’t a fan and I’m 100% certain that Lord Snot Cameron would rather people go bankrupt to try and see his barrister chums.

    Note to Terree, don’t give up, remember apathy is a poor administrations best friend

  8. A brilliant piece, Linda, written with the passion that a lot of us feel. Ironically, The Daily Mail may have made a Labour Government after the next General Election more likely, with its despicable attack on Ed Milliband’s father – this has educated a lot of people about how nasty the Conservatives and their Newspaper supporters are. But, there is a message to Labour; like Ed Milliband has stood up to defend his father, well start really standing up for the vast majority of people in this country – yes, whether they’re working or not (for whatever reasons), and stop pandering to the Right, and never make similar mistakes like those mentioned above. (Finally, one little request for Liam Byrne – please leave the Labour Party, and join a Centre Right Party (like the Lib Dems) that reflect your politics!)

  9. I’m really fcuking depressed after reading this. I know I should be angry, and I am, but the sadness and hopelessness I feel outweighs the anger.

  10. We need too get this current Government Out Cameron Osbourne and especially that evil apology for a human I.D.S who is breathing air he shouldn’t be entitled too with more lies to come at the 4 day conference and on Tuesday I.D.S will deliver a 45 minute speech aimed at making work pay meaning all disabled people are worthless scroungers.

    Enough is Enough now get the tories out


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