Doing your Duty, Sanctions for Disabled People
The latest government attack on people with disabilities was announced this week. Despite the froth of presenting Rish Sunak as a ‘centrist’ the proposals are incredible.
People with mobility and mental health problems will be asked to work from home or lose benefits as part of what a UK government minister described today as doing “their duty”.
Rishi Sunak will lay out the plans in the Autumn statement. Laura Trott, chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News: “Of course there should be support for people to help them into work but ultimately there is a duty on citizens if they are able to go out to work they should. Those who can work and contribute should contribute.”
She added: “It’s saying we’re going to put the right mechanisms around you to help you with that. But ultimately, you have to engage with that, and that is an obligation on you as a citizen to do this. And if you don’t do this, we will look at sanctions.”
“Ultimately, there is a duty on citizens that, if they are able to go out to work, that is what they should do.”
There is a DUTY to work, now, is there? ~AA pic.twitter.com/6rjcykdQaY
— Best for Britain (@BestForBritain) November 21, 2023
Hundreds of thousands of people are going to be told to look for work that they can do from home or face having their benefits cut by £4,680 a year.
While the policies of creating a punitive welfare system have been in place for years the language is getting more aggressive. The Independent reported: “Jeremy Hunt is set to unveil a crackdown on benefits claimants in tomorrow’s autumn statement that campaigners say risks punishing disabled people.”
Under the softening language of ‘working from home’ the underlying message is coercive talking about ‘crackdown’s and ‘doing your duty’.
As disability and care campaigner Dan White has responded: “Under the new benefits shake-up, claimants could have bank accounts checked every month by the DWP to make sure they’re not “lying” about saving. Disabled people & carers ARE the hardest hit by the #CostOfLivingCrisis Not heating homes, skipping meals etc What bloody savings?”
Lucy Webster is a journalist and the author of The View From Down Here: Life as a Young Disabled Woman has written:
“Once again, the Tories have delivered a budget that punches down. The chancellor tried to dress up his attack on disabled people as a generous offering of “opportunity,” but make no mistake: the aim is simply to take away vital, lifesaving benefits.”
“While the repeated threat of a real-terms cut to personal independence payment (Pip) and other benefits mercifully hasn’t materialised (yet), many of the most disabled people in the country will now fear an even worse outcome: a total withdrawal of their out-of-work benefits when, inevitably, they can’t find work within the new, arbitrary 18-month limit. Already, many of these people are going hungry, cold or without essential medical equipment. Some will die, not from their conditions but from enforced poverty.”
She continues: “People who are so sick or disabled that they can’t work are not the enemy. They’re not the ones who made your weekly shop unaffordable. The Tories are. Lives depend on remembering where the blame truly lies.”
A petition to resist the process has been set up calling to ‘Scrap the cruel welfare cut plans’:
“Reports say the Government is planning a change to benefits that would force hundreds of thousands of people to find work despite suffering from a range of physical and mental health conditions, and waiting for operations and other treatment.