20 Dec 2010

Disability in the Coalition's Budget Cuts

The #ukuncut phenomena presents an interesting growth in political activism in 2010.

The recent blog post on Disabled Demonstrations highlights the negativity of those who are disabled in the UK and the negative views from society.

I am a disabled person, but I still work full time. I have an "invisible" disability, which is arthritis in my fingers. In my late 20s, people do not see this or even think of it.

But cuts to Access to Work will mean I will find it difficult to work unless I have an employer willing to fund reasonable adjustments (in particular voice recognition software).

This would mean I would be resigned a to dole queue, or left to work in reception or some other menial employment that would make my post graduate status faintly ludicrous.

This is a far bigger issue for disabled people in light of cuts.

But I have yet to find many people who have a disability who are willing to undertake menial work. I have worked in receptions, I would undertake call centre work if I could (but this is tricky with voice recognition software) but I know many, many people who reject these areas of work and prefer to choose benefits.

I do not think that people eating humble pie and undertaking work that does not conform to their sense of entitlement is a bad thing.

If you can use a computer, if you can answer a telephone, it is better for you to be working than to be at home moaning because you cannot get work.

One of the significant benefits in the coalition agreement is the raising of the tax threshold to (eventually) £10,000. At just £5,000 it will have a significant affect on the earnings of those who work on minimum wage, and may encourage people to seek this work above receipt of benefits. It will certainly grow more financially beneficial to do this than sit at home.

And the benefits to society will be huge; people will have better mental health. Those with an income will spend that income, and that will trigger the economy to start moving a bit more.

This is the upside.

The downside, the cloud to the silver lining of the great austerity measures, is the loss of Access to Work support, which means some people just wont be able to work.

I know some supermarkets that are now saying that shelf stackers must be able to use tills to work, meaning people with learning disabilities are denied work. And this will have a significant affect on the budget for benefits, with the role going up not down.

To fully facilitate people going into work, the Government should be investing in means to work, not cutting them.

But that is not the main cloud. The main cloud is whether there are any jobs to have. The unemployment figures may be down, but the truth is more people are

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