Leading disability charity holds anti-austerity conference as PS12bn of welfare cuts loom


Cuts to disability benefit could amount to PS30 a week under chancellor’s plans

INCLUSION SCOTLAND, a leading disability organisation in Scotland, is holding an anti-austerity conference in Glasgow on Friday as part of its AGM.

The event will discuss the planned PS12bn in welfare cuts over the next three years.

The conference will be joined by Scottish government ministers to give disabled people a chance to talk directly to politicians about how new powers over carers and disability benefits that are set to be devolved in the Scotland Bill can be used for the purposes of social justice.

A panel session involving Ken Macintosh, Scottish Labour leadership contender, Natalie McGarry, SNP spokesperson for disability issues at Westminster, Professor Nick Watson of Glasgow University and Emma Ritch of feminist organisation Engender will discuss how to tackle the PS12bn in welfare cuts expected to be announced next week at Chancellor George Osborne’s emergency budget.

Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment Marco Biagi will be a keynote speaker at the conference, and he said the Scottish government and Inclusion Scotland were “united in our opposition to the UK Government’s proposed PS12 billion cuts and the detrimental impact they will have on disabled people in Scotland.”

“Benefit cuts are already affecting some of the most vulnerable people in our society, for the UK Government to continue its austerity agenda will only undermine the provision of care and support for disabled people. The UK Government needs to call a halt to these cuts,” Biagi added.

Chief executive of Inclusion Scotland, Dr Sally Witcher, said that the Scottish Government’s emphasis on “promoting engagement and participation with disabled people” was encouraging.

“With the devolution of disability benefits to Scotland, there is a real opportunity to improve policy, and with it, disabled people’s life chances,” Dr Witcher said. “It is very much to be welcomed that the Scottish Government are taking seriously the fact that disabled people know best what disabled people want and need.”

The Independent reported on Friday [3 June] that disability benefit could be cut by as much as PS30 a week under Osborne’s new proposals. (Click here to read more).

Picture courtesy of RNIB