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HUNDREDS of protesters gathered outside Parliament last night as the government continued its ruthless attack on disabled people.
In March, the Tories ignored widespread opposition and forced through a £29 per week cut to employment and support allowance, affecting almost half a million disabled people from April 1 next year.
Labour mounted a challenge in the Commons yesterday, demanding that the cut be reversed.
The protest rally was led by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), a direct action group launched in 2010.
DPAC pressure led to a United Nations investigation into the government’s attacks on disabled people, which found “reliable evidence of grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights by the UK government due to welfare reform.”
The government rejected the findings.
Speaking at the rally, DPAC co-founder Linda Burnip said: “From its small beginnings, DPAC has grown into an unstoppable force fighting for equality, human rights and justice for disabled people in the UK and elsewhere.
“Yet, sadly, while now the horrendous attacks against disabled people are much more widely recognised, too many of us have been driven to death or left to fester at home without the levels of care and support we need to take part in society.”
She paid tribute to DPAC co-founder Debbie Jolly, who died last week.
“I know Debbie’s thoughts now would be, in the immortal words of Joe Hill: ‘Don’t mourn: organise,’ so let’s all get started. It’s time to honour Debbie’s memory by fighting back even harder then we already have.
In a message to the rally, film director Ken Loach accused the government of “conscious cruelty.”
He said: “The cuts to social care have devastated people’s daily lives. Another £29 is to be cut from employment and support allowance. How are people expected to live? MPs will charge that amount of money on their expenses for a breakfast.”
The daughter of a disabled woman suffering from cancer told how her mother’s benefits had been stopped when she was too ill to get out of bed to attend an assessment.
When her mother died, she left a note saying: “I am a burden.”
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