You wouldn’t change the layout of a busy road junction; add traffic lights, a roundabout, a cycle lane, a pedestrian crossing, plus a one-way system all on the same day without studying the effects first. I hear those who say they have witnessed similar works and it has been disastrous. Cars crashing, people getting knocked down and no one knowing which way to go next.
This is actually happening. Not with traffic cones and diggers but with disabled people with real lives under the heading of Welfare Reform.
The Lords challenged the government when they brought in Welfare Reform and said it was one big social experiment and that they were being asked to sign a blank cheque. The government said they would monitor it as it went along. Stable doors and horses come to mind.
Now the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) is challenging the government to conduct a Cumulative Impact Assessment. Law requires this.
It means look at all the individual changes and how they add up and interact. It means look at the totality of the changes taken together.
It is one thing to look at each change by itself. For example – look at what impact changes to Disability Living Allowance might have - the loss of a care package, inability to meet huge heating bills or be able to leave your home. To many disabled people DLA enables them to get to work to pay their ‘hard earned taxes.’ Reduction or loss of DLA will result in a loss of their employment.
The so-called ‘spare room tax’ hits those in work as well as disabled and long tem sick. The government is trying to uproot vast numbers of families from London to a city hundreds of miles away. Oh yes they CAN stay but only if they pay another stealth tax. They can’t afford it so leave friends, move children to completely alien schools. All this allegedly to save money.
How will cuts to local authority budgets affect those in need of respite? To be able to go to local day centres and give their unpaid carers a little time to themselves?
What impact will losing legal aid have at a time when welfare changes may mean more appeals?
What is needed here is an assessment of how all the changes affect each other.
We know there are so many changes at the moment. Welfare Reform – cuts to local authority budgets – legal aid, NHS in England, pensions, Remploy, to name but a few.
How will these affect each other?
Like the new traffic system. Any one of the changes could possibly work but put them altogether and it is a disaster of magnitude proportions.
Support the JHRC in its call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment.
The government have set up an epetition site so that people can let them know what’s important. They said they would consider debating any petition which achieved over 100,000 signatures. Signing a petition is the simplest way of letting them know this is important.
Please sign Pat’s Petition and encourage friends and colleagues to sign it too. By everyone sharing the link we can gather more signatories.
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Want to do more? Make a noise
Let charities you belong to and your MPs know that you support Dr Francis and the JCHR’s call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment. Make sure Maria Miller knows that she can’t just sit back and wait for the car crash
Send support to JCHR here
Letter from Maria Miller to JCHR an extension has been granted till May 21st
Question asked in Parliament by Caroline Lucas