Reasons Not to Vote Tory: Violations of Disability Rights as a result of Benefit Reforms

A few years ago who would have thought that the UK would come under the scrutiny of the UN in regard to human rights violations against sick and disabled people?

During the lead up to the next election here in the UK I am going to include a series of entries under the simple heading: Reasons Not to Vote Tory. These periodic postings will as the title suggests concern the many reasons why we should not vote conservative in the next election. Each post will centre on one issue beginning today with the shocking fact that sick and disabled people are suffering and dying as a result of the present government’s welfare reforms.  Always though keep in mind that the Tory’s were invariably aided and abetted by their coalition partners the Liberal Democrats without whose support many of their draconian polices could never have been implemented.

“For a government to be so implacable in insisting on its course of action without any resort to due care and attention is appalling.

“The breaches are now so blatant, the fact that people are dying and the coroner’s courts are recognising suicides or lack of care as direct results of benefit reform… there is a limit to how much can be said without anybody listening, and if it has to be from outside the country, so be it.”
Julie Newman, acting chair of the UK Disabled People’s Council


This issue has certainly not gone away. Still every week I hear of someone who has committed suicide due to some aspect of benefit or service cuts – and that’s just the very few that are ever reported. Many more people are in dire poverty due to cuts – and to needless sanctions. The Jobcentre has targets to move people off of benefits whether it is justified or not. Usually not. And the consequences are appalling.

Many of our politicians and many civil servants need literally imprisoning for their part in fueling mass poverty and in particular for their responsibility for so many deaths.
Flickr user Byzantine_K

Credit Poster: Flickr user Byzantine_K  – larger sizes available of this and other posters with a creative commons license, ideal to spread the word about the coalition’s treatment of sick and disabled people and other issues. You would be amazed at how many people have fallen for the government’s scrounger propaganda, a deliberate and shameful Nazi Style campaign designed to turn people against the most vulnerable in our society.

Here’ s an idea, why not print a few out and stick in public places, for example on the doors of public toilets for a captive audience. (Please use only blue tack or other method which does not damage surfaces.) People need to know what is happening to genuinely sick and disabled people in our society as a result of Tory Benefit reforms.

Below is a list of some of the deaths that are connected to welfare reforms, there are thousands more.

Some Welfare related deaths:

Nick Barker – RIP

Former sheep farmer, Nick had a brain haemorrhage which left him struggling to walk. The father of two shot himself after the DWP claimed he was fit to work. Recording a suicide verdict, coroner Michael Oakley said the benefits assessment was key to the tragedy.

Robert Barlow – RIP
Robert worked as a Government scientist but gave it up when diagnosed with severe cardiomypathy. The DWP deemed him fit to work. He died penniless under 2 years later.

Cecilia Burns – RIP
Cecilia had cancer. Atos called her in for one of their assessments. The DWP declared her fit to work, but she appealed the decision. She died shortly after winning her appeal.

Read More:

As a result of ATOS work capability assessments People with serious health problems and disabilities have been declared fit for work.

…a 39-year-old woman from Livingstone with a brain tumour was fit to work just weeks before she died and a double heart and lung transplant patient from Essex dying nine days after being declared well enough for employment.

Colin, 59, from Flint, worked in the steel industry for more than 25 years, before a car accident and a nasty fall down the stairs finally forced him to give up work. His left hip and leg are so damaged that he is in constant pain and uses a stick to walk. But Atos assessors said he was fit to work, leaving him to live off Red Cross parcels while he waited for the reassessment.

Read more:

People with serious disabilities and health conditions are being left for weeks with no financial support as a result of Government changes to benefit assessments.

Under new rules implemented by the Tory government

…anyone wanting to appeal a decision that they are fit to work first has to have all their paperwork looked at again, while receiving no sickness benefits. The Citizens Advice Bureau believes this will result in thousands of people being wrongly forced to survive on no income at all.

The Government said that this “mandatory reconsideration” would cut down on bureaucracy and take just two weeks, but some disabled and sick people are being wrongly assessed and left with no support for months on end.

The UN are investigating the UK welfare reforms.

The above and other Benefit reforms have resulted in a UN investigation.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has opened an investigation into the recent welfare reforms instigated by the present government. Concerning disability rights the UK, which once led the way internationally for decades, is now, thanks to the Tory government, set to be the first country to be investigated for violations regarding disability rights.

Disabled activists have welcomed the UN’s apparent decision to launch an inquiry into allegations of “grave or systematic” violations of its disability convention by the UK government.

Disability News Service (DNS) revealed last week that the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) appears to have made the UK the subject of its first inquiry into alleged violations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Read More:

According to the declaration of human rights:

  • (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  • (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 25 – clearly the government are in breach of this article and and many others as you will see if you read the entire declaration.

As a result of benefit reforms many disabled people are facing absolute poverty, a far cry from the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being...

Reforms such as the bedroom tax, unfair Work Capability Assessments with seriously ill and profoundly disabled people being declared fit for work, benefit sanctions for people on Employment and Support Allowance and other unfair reforms have left thousands in poverty, hopelessness and despair.

According to Disability News Service the figures show that 2,882 decisions were made to sanction claimants of employment and support allowance in December 2013, rising to 3,750 in January 2014, them 4,698 in February and 7,507 in March, an increase of nearly 580 per cent since March 2013.

Sanctions in some cases can mean no income – no money for food, gas and electricity, rent and so on.
“Sanctions are cruel and can leave people utterly destitute – without money even for food and at severe risk of homelessness. It is difficult to see how they are meant to help people prepare for work.
Matt DownieDirector of policy and external affairs, Crisis quoted in ‘Shocking increase’ in ESA sickness benefit sanctions:

Over ten thousand people have died after being found fit for work, still others have taken their own lives as a result of fear, anxiety and stress as a consequence of vicious welfare reforms and unfair assessments. Untold thousands more have suffered serious detriment to their lives because of these  reforms. According to the DWP’s own figures 10,600 people died during the months of January and November 2011. There are no records for 2012 and 2013. Therefore the number of deaths are much higher.

The list of injustices to sick and disabled goes on, for instance DLA (Disability Living Allowance).

Thousands will lose benefits as a result of the change from DLA to PIP including
100, 000 people in Scotland where a roll out of PIP began in January of this year..

Scottish ministers said the Personal Independence Payment, which replaces disability living allowance, would result in thousands losing benefits.

Well I could go on the list of injustices is extensive. Even if there were no other reasons not to vote Tory or Liberal Democrat surely the coalition’s treatment of sick and disabled people alone is enough not to vote for either of these right-wing parties whose interests are only for the rich and privileged in our society.

What about Labour? Why not write to your MP or Milliband and ask him or her what they intend to do to rectify the injustices of the present government.

At the time of writing as far as I am aware with the exception of the bedroom tax Labour have been quiet on the matter.

The UK has a long way to go concerning its treatment of the disabled and human rights in this regard are not as good as they once were. In some cases there are shocking discriminations which have been around for a long time and about which few people are familiar for instance regarding the abortion act:

The 1967 Abortion Act permits babies to be aborted right up to the moment of birth if the baby has a ‘serious’ disability? – See more at:

Related Information

Number of Sick And Disabled Claimants Facing Sanctions Triples In Just Six Months:

Never Forget, it is David Cameron Who is Ultimately to Blame for Welfare Reform Deaths

Mark Unravels After Sanctions: “The process left me feeling Suicidal”

KB’s list. ”Benefit Reforms Death Scandal Must Stop”


6 thoughts on “Reasons Not to Vote Tory: Violations of Disability Rights as a result of Benefit Reforms

  1. I’ll add to this with the news that A&E departments across England and Wales are struggling badly to meet the quota of 95% of patients seen in four hours or less. Of course, neither BBC News or ITN have stated the fact that this is probably to do with the mass closures of A&E departments over the last few years by the Tories. Biased pricks.

  2. Didn’t see this earlier: The 1967 Abortion Act permits babies to be aborted right up to the moment of birth if the baby has a ‘serious’ disability?
    That’s why I believe that abortion after twenty weeks (five months) should only be allowed for conditions where it is 100% guaranteed that the child would have no meaningful quality of life, such as anencephaly.

    • I was shocked when I first heard this. I doubt that any doctor would perform an abortion at this late stage and it really would not be an abortion in any real sense of the word. It is though shocking that the abortion act permits this even if only in theory. I find it appalling that a child can be aborted at any time by his or her parents because he or she will be born severely disabled in some way. Who decides what is severe. Can there be a 100% guarantee. We do not have the right to decide who should live and who should die. Personally I think that the law should allow only women who are ill, either physically or mentally, or whose lives are at risk to have an abortion.

      • Can there be a 100% guarantee?
        With anencephaly, yes, since the name of the condition means ‘without brain’. In the most severe cases, a child is born without their skull and with only a brain stem, so while they feel no pain because they haven’t enough of a brain to process it, they also experience no enjoyment for the same reason and the condition is invariably fatal before the age of three years. I would abort in the above situation if I was a woman, but not in any others. Of course, thanks to folic acid, no one in the UK has to experience their child being diagnosed with anencephaly, only spina bifida at the worst.

        • Yes after posting yesterday I realised that of course an Anencephaly diagnosis has 100 percent confirmation. I had looked it up and from what it says on Wikipedia the child lives only a few hours or a few days at the most though there are exceptions as you say when the child lives longer.

          After posting my comment yesterday I thought about this quite a lot, would it be fair to expect a mother to carry a child like this to full term. I admit that I am glad that I do have to make such a decision. Such decisions are of course individual choices but as abortion involves the help of another person, a doctor, it is not as straight forward as many believe or can be considered as a right. There has to be some guidelines. The term severely disabled, except in obvious circumstances as in the above condition, is ambiguous and as a consequence I consider abortion for reasons of disability as unacceptable and a slippery slope in deciding who should live and who should die.

          I think that in the vast majority of cases we don’t have the right to make such decisions. I included the part about the permitted full term abortion in the above blog entry as I find it shocking and a form of discrimination. A very emotive topic about which opinions vary. I am pleased to know that at least here in the UK no one will have to make this choice concerning anencephaly . It is sad that that for the want of something as simple as folic acid that children are born this way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s