Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) says it is responsible for a previously secret United Nations (UN) inquiry into the accumulated effects on disabled people of the government’s cuts in welfare benefits and other support. The inquiry is the first of its kind by the UN and could cause huge embarrassment for the DWP and the Conservatives.
The UN inquiry is supposed to conducted in secret, but details have now been leaked to the press, prompting DPAC to make a statement.
DPAC say that they first complained to the UN in May 2013 of ‘grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights’.
The government then responded to DPAC’s submission and DPAC sent a further document which included information about:
- the failings of the Work Capability Assessment,
- the bedroom tax,
- the closure of the Independent Living Fund,
- the unwillingness of the government to make an assessment of the cumulative impact of the Welfare Reform on disabled people,
- its reluctance to monitor what was happening to disabled people who were found fit for work after an assessment and who lost their only means of support .
The government made a further response, but by then the UN had decided to launch a formal inquiry.
It is not clear at this stage what effects a finding that disabled people’s human rights have been breached might have. But the fact that an independent body is looking into these issues will be seen as heartening by many sick and disabled claimants, who have been dismissed and demonised for so long.