Friday 24 September 2010

Disability quangos facing the axe

The Telegraph has today published the full list of 177 government bodies that are facing the chop as part of the forthcoming spending review.

In among them are several that deal with disability issues:
  • Disability Employment Advisory Committee
  • Disability Living/Attendance Allowance Advisory Board
  • Disabled Persons' Transport Advisory Committee 
  • Independent Living Fund
The loss of these will not only mean no agencies overseeing how essential benefits are administered but also no one responsible any longer for helping us stay in work or enter it. Yet this government persists in misleadingly describing DLA as an out-of-work benefit and insisting we must come off benefits, stop scrounging and starting working.

This belies the fact that many of us do work already and losing our DLA may mean many of us will no longer be able to work. And the body supposed to help us with work won't be there to do so. Talk about a rock and a hard place...

The Equality and Human Rights Commission remains under review - it, of course, is responsible for dealing with breaches of the Disability Discrimination Act and ensuring we are treated fairly. Discriminating against disabled people is a lesser crime than racial or sexual discrimination - it's not actually a crime at all, unlike the other two. But any body that is there to fight our corner is better than none.

Remploy is also on the review list. Last year, many of Remploy's branches were arbitrarily shut, throwing many disabled people out of work and taking away much of their independence and sense of societal inclusion. If it goes completely, there will be no agency to help the more severely disabled among us to have even a taste of earning an independent living and feeling useful to society.

Still, this announcement comes as no great surprise. It's just the latest skirmish in the war on disabled people that was declared at the start of the summer. 
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  1. Although not strictly disability related the loss of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council could be a problem. One of the biggest areas of the Tribunals Service is that which covers benefits appeals with Employment Tribunals not far behind. The tribunals themselves will remain but the loss of the body that advises on their operation will at least mean the loss of a source of useful research on tribunal user experiences and the like.

    I see the Legal Services Commission are going too. I mean, they are unspeakably crap but I can't help wondering if the legal aid system they 'administer' won't be far behind.

  2. Eventually, then, no redress against any establishment behaviour or practice or decision no matter how unlawful. Ultimately, when the wealthy are safe in their walled compounds, no benefits at all. We are becoming Africa.

  3. I won't miss the EHRC, it lost its way years ago. I'd go against Remploy closures though, disabled need work, and the fact is the law doesn't facilitate that or addresses discrimination, employers are NOT going to support disabled into work, the state is not going to insist, that's the bottom line.

  4. I would not care if all the major charities and quangos shut down tomorrow. Many are government stooges, highly paid executives, have a look at MIND blog at the liberal conference and subsequent user comments. They do the sick and unemployed a dis service in my view.