The government’s insulting Disability Action Plan

We are with disability organisations criticising the government’s insulting Disability Action Plan. Last year, WinVisible and particularly, the Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign we co-ordinate, responded to the government consultation which referenced our campaign. We took part in meetings with the Disability Unit focussing on disabled parents and disabled children.

Quoted by Mikey Erhardt from Disability Rights UK in his opinion piece, we say:

“The Disability Action Plan dismisses important problems the Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign and others raised: children being taken from disabled mothers – mainly single mothers – triggered by disability discrimination, racism and poverty.

“The Disability Action Plan hides disabled people’s poverty and increasing destitution, which empowers abusers. Through Universal Credit, waiting time for money to come in, deductions and sanctions, the two-child limit and total benefit cap, the government has deliberately impoverished children.” (The government’s insulting Disability Action Plan won’t deliver any change, Open Democracy, 12 February 2024).

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Our full comment was:

The Disability Action Plan (DAP) dismisses important problems we and others raised: children being taken from disabled mothers, mainly single mothers, triggered by disability discrimination, racism and poverty, because having a disabled mother is seen as harmful to the child; the lack of financial support for disabled mothers and children to keep families together, and multiple obstacles when we need to escape domestic violence.   The DAP makes dishonest policy statements – even claiming they want to improve train access, when we had to battle to keep ticket offices open!

Money to mothers is not addressed.  Since 2015, “child protection” spending on removing children has increased by 30% to £9bn whilst spending on keeping families together has been cut by 50% to £2.2bn.  And the government aims to cut SEND support for disabled children by 20%. Disabled mothers are being falsely accused of Fabricated Induced Illness (FII) and having children removed as a way of cutting spending.  Our disabled children are placed in abusive but hugely costly institutions.  Mothers whose children were taken, are chased for overpayment of Child Benefit which they didn’t cancel in their traumatised state.

The DAP hides disabled people’s poverty and increasing destitution.  Through Universal Credit, waiting time for money to come in, deductions and sanctions, the two-child limit and total benefit cap, the government has deliberately impoverished children.  Disabled children are now more likely to be in poverty, which is state neglect.  Single disabled mothers are among those hardest hit.  Only 26% of disabled people under pension age receive income-related benefits, compared to 39% in 2010-11 (JRF).  The new attack on disability benefits will lead to more deaths.  And racism excludes many of us from benefits due to immigration status. Mothers and other family carers should get an independent Care Income in recognition of their caring work.

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