Sunday 24 October 2010

Another Video Against Disability Benefit Cuts

Following this video, I was inspired to make a video too. I didn't want to post it here until I had a transcript, but that's not been forthcoming so far, so for now, here's the video.

If anybody would like to transcribe it for us, that would be great. Alternatively I will try to get one done. So apologies to those for whom this is not yet accessible.
Transcript now added below the video.

[The last few days I've watched the videos from BendyGirl at Benefit Scrounging Scum, and I loved them, I thought they were brilliant. But I never thought it was something I could do, until in her second video she pointed out how important it is for everyone to speak out.

Like many, many people I am frightened by the proposed changes, the cuts, to disability benefits, and what's going to happen to services and the third sector.

The thought of withdrawing mobility rate... the thought of withdrawing the mobility section of DLA for people in care homes is disgusting. The thought that just because somebody was living in a care home, they no longer need to go anywhere, they no longer need mobility equipment, is just obscene.

The changes in housing benefit rules so that people under 35 in private rented accommodation can't get full housing benefit if they live on their own is disgusting.

And limiting ESA to one year, when so many people were fighting against the very principle of ESA at all, and now to have to change that fight to at least, it was perhaps better than nothing, and if people are going to be put on it because they are considered fit to work, even though we know that many, many people who are not fit for work are being put on ESA, the fact that that's now limited to one year, and nobody seems to know what would happen after that.

When we are in a recession, and people – everybody who isn't working is finding it difficult to find jobs, and the strange assumption that the few jobs that there are will go to disabled people, is just not unfortunately how this society works. Disablism means that disabled people are discriminated against every day, and that includes the disabled person who is well enough to work can find it more difficult to find that job because employers are frightened, or don't want to make changes, or don't know what it means.

I'm frightened. And I'm also, like many other people, very confused. I watched the budget on Wednesday, and I was thankfully using twitter at the same time because there were many aspects that I didn't understand, or that I thought I must have misheard. And that there was a group of us all watching and using twitter at the same time made it more accessible to me, I guess.

But there are many unanswered questions. I've heard of people ringing the DWP to say, 'What's this about ESA being stopped after a year?' and the DWP not being able to answer, because they don't know.

The Housing Benefit cuts, I've heard so many different stories about who it's being cut for. So it's not just that the changes are frightening, it's that they're very unclear, and people don't know where they stand.

When I first became ill and went on benefits, I just got Income Support, and it was a horrible time. With paying part of my rent out of that, and with making debt repayments out of that, I had £15 a week for food, and electricity, and transport. For months I lived on... I used to buy these tins of Irish Stew from Kwik Save, and they were disgusting, but they were really cheap, and I figured it was as close to a balanced diet as I could get because it had meat and potatoes in it. And for months, every day, I had one meal a day, and that consisted of Kwik Save Irish Stew and as much bread as I could eat. Every day. For months. I couldn't afford sanitary towels, I couldn't afford shampoo.

I didn't know about other benefits. And someone told me about DLA and I applied for it, and I eventually got it, and it was one of the key... it was key for me, it was vital. Because my health was bad enough anyway, it was vital for me because I could afford to eat more than Irish Stew. I could afford to go to places on the bus. And I'm talking medical appointments. Before that I was missing medical appointments because I couldn't afford to get there. I could get taxis. I could get ready meals when I wasn't well enough to cook.

Getting DLA literally changed everything for me. And makes, still makes, such a difference. It means that I can afford the extra things I need because I'm disabled. Like taxis. Like ready meals when I can't cook. Like mobility aids, and other aids I use. DLA, along with everything, is being threatened. With ATOS taking over the medicals. And after what they've done with the ESA medicals that's frightening, and many people who need DLA are going to lose it.

Everything that is happening since the new government came in is frightening to disabled people. And I'm not a Labour supporter. I know that various important Labour politicians have come out and said that they would be doing what the Conservatives are doing with regard to disability benefits. So I'm not falling into the trap of saying, 'the coalition government is awful, Labour is the answer', because they are... although they are fighting some aspects of the budget, they are supporting the disability benefit cuts.

I feel like I'm being punished for being disabled. The press and the government are doing a really good job at the moment of whipping up hatred, whipping up this image of disabled people being scroungers, of disabled people not really being disabled, and being workshy and lazy. The government and certain parts of the press are promoting this strongly and I can feel, in the atmosphere, that this is affecting people's views. And with the further cuts, this gets worse and worse.

What depresses me is not my illness. What depresses me is not my impairment. What depresses me is how I am treated because of it. That's what makes everything so much harder. We do need to speak out. Because disabled people are being scapegoated and it's horrible. And for non-disabled people, you don't know what's round the corner. I became disabled. Many people become disabled. It could be you in a few years, with no care packages, with no benefits, with no support. With people thinking... with people thinking you're lazy or can't be bothered, or exaggerating. Nobody's immune from disability. And there are some people in the government, the Prime Minister included, who really should know that through their own lives. I am so... I'm frightened, and I want to give a message of hope, but at the moment it's hard to find one.

So I'll agree with BendyGirl that the hope... maybe we have to get hope from each other... from knowing it's not just us, it's not just me that's frightened, it's not just me that's confused, who doesn't know what's happening and what's going to happen.

We're all in this together.]


  1. Well done you - I like courage, you have shedloads of it...

  2. great video, well done

  3. I, like you - am very very scared. It is not fair that they are making disabled people feel like scum. I was not always disabled! I was training to teach fitness and then something happened and I ended up with a neurological condition that there is no cure for. I DID NOT WANT TO BECOME A SHELL OF MY FORMER SELF.

    Nobody can know what it is like being INSIDE disability - Unless they walk in our shoes. Nobody can tell us we are scum just because life has thown us a crap hand that we are forced to play!

    It is totally unfair that this Govt are attacking the disabled and letting companies who owe them 6bn in tax off! That is totally out of order - The scum in my eyes is the Govt who lets off a company who own millions and then attacks their disabled citizens!

    I am hoarding my drugs. And I will leave a note for my familt to pass on to this Govt (not that they will read it or care) - This is the most UNCARING Govt I have ever known of! They don't even know what the word CARE means!

    I am very very scared My DLA is all I have to help make my life more normal - I ned it as I cannot let myself get cold now as it causes alot of pain! now - God knows what I will do, I wont be able to pay my rent or bills or anything - Because I am scum ARENT I MR CAMERON!!!!!!!!

  4. It's an incredibly important article and video. Thank you for speaking up. May be we all, including carers should speak up on YouTube?

  5. I fully agree with your views on this as a Lib Dem I'm now ashamed of my parties views on this they could not have got it more wrong. We will have to fight to keep our Benefits and dignity it's just not on

  6. DLA can be a lifeline to many people. Although I appreciate cuts have to be made, I don't agree with means testing benefits.

  7. Why do cuts have to be made, growth is now standing at the highest in eight years this down turn recession now turns out to be the same as all the rest, the banking crises is a different area, and Banking should be repaying this debt not some poor sod with no legs.

    We have just been told the Military will need to go through these medical now.

    fact is and it's a fact a lot of people forget, we do have many severely disabled people in this country ten million in fact many born with a serious disability or learning disability, you can only have so many people picking up litter, you can only have so many moving trolleys at Asda, what do you do with the rest.

  8. This government do not care what happens to the rest (answering to Roberts comment above) This government do not care about disabled people - They should reduce the DLA payment, yes it is a lifeline and to reduce it will cause hardship - But to remove ALL help DLA/benefits/housing help will just make a hell of alot of disabled people homeless and it will not help the government if they have people on the streets. To enable growth they need to enable people more - not disable people more! reduce DLA benefit by 25% and have no medicals - bar the normal medicals you go through anyway, this was you will not be giving atos more payments for yet more medicals that they are already not adept to do on many neurological conditions. If you care for your sick and disabled it shows you are a humanistic country The UK will turn into a backwards uncaring country. Get the money back off the banks, get the people who hide from paying their taxes. Get that 6billion back from Vodaphone, the govt wouldnt let me off paying MY tax so why should a multi billion pound company get let off so easy? Start caring for your disabled and in that you will help them to help themselves by making them feel HUMAN instead of making them feel like sh*t on your shoes and unwanted. Cameron should look at his own life and see the help that his child gets for disability. Disabled people are not scroungers, though yes maybe a small percentage are but they are usually weeded out in the normal 3yr medical as it is! If you attack the people who are most at need it just shows that you have no heart and no soul. There is FAR more fraud in normal Jobseekers payments than in disability, people who claim and work - we all know of them. Stop giving money to people who just arrive on the boat and immediately sign on. Start caring for the people of this country FIRST. we all help when other countries have disasters. I bet no other country will help when the disaster happens here! No money will be donated for the poor or the homeless of the UK. Get OUT of the EU and be our own country again and stop letting other countries call the shots. This USED to be GREAT Britain - Now we are only the UK and soono this country will have more and more people on jobseekers as we will (this govt will I hasten to add) have ruined the economy and we will have thrown our disabled into the trash, we will have shown we do not care for out OWN people, and we care more for other countries than we do our own. There are many disabilities out there than lethargy is part of it and you do not see these people outside of their houses and yet atos can say they are fit to work when they cannot even get thoruhg a normal day at home? Get a grip Cameron and get a heart! I assumed this government would be a move forward but now I can see that we will be regressing in human care by 100 years, and that is not a good thing. well done Cameron in a matter of Months you have managed to UNDO a century of forward movement.

  9. I'm terrified too... I have an "invisible disability", mental health issues. And, I am hoarding my pills too.. because without DLA or ESA, I will not be able to afford the bills or proper care of my daughter. I'll be dead, and she will be in another country, if they take my means away from me. If I could work I would, but with what I have gone through in my life, the chances of me having a decent, rewarding job are nil. I'd be lucky to scrape a living cleaning toilets.