Disability Fightback
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Campaigners fear that government “pilot schemes” to “help unemployed people with mental health problems find work” will lead to people being bullied off benefits and will not address the causes of mental ill-health.

Some Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants will be offered employment support and “psychiatric help’. It is ironic that the government is wiling to provide such help to get people off benefits while many people who want and need therapy have to wait months or even years on waiting lists.

The BBC illustrated its report on these pilot schemes with the case of a chef who has been unable to work recently because of mental health problems. The hospitality industry is poorly-unionised and kitchens are notoriously high-pressure, stressful places to work.

Mental health problems do not just prevent people from working, they are often caused or exacerbated by work.

Tackling workplace bullying and stressful working conditions would be a much more effective way to address mental health problems than cranking up the pressure on benefit claimants. 

 

Defend the ILF!

We reported in the last issue of Solidarity that activists are pursuing a court case against the abolition of the Independent Living Fund (ILF). 

There will be a vigil in support of the legal challenge outside the court hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, London, on Wednesday 22 October from 12:30.

 

Conference cuts

Party conference season has seen the announcement of more attacks on disabled people.

The Tories’ Iain Duncan Smith heads the pack with plans to tax disability benefits and to pay welfare benefits not in cash but on smartcards which can only be spent on certain products.

We can not confirm rumours that MPs will have their expenses paid on smartcards that can not be used to pay for unnecessary second homes, duck houses or porn channel subscriptions.

Meanwhile, coalition partners the Liberal Democrats voted down an amendment to a resolution at their party conference that called for the scrapping of the “bedroom tax”.

 

TUC demonstration

The TUC’s demonstration on 18 October will include facilities and arrangements to enable disabled people to take part. 

Government austerity policies are hitting disabled people hard, and employment discrimination against disabled people is endemic and widespread.

It is essential that the workers’ movement makes itself accessible to disabled people, including on major national mobilisations such as this. Access details