Disabled people are in the Tories' iron grip but we can't give them a free hand

2013-03-27_daily_record_thumbnail.jpgTheresa May doesn’t get out much. It’s too risky these days – she might bump into a real person.

Which is exactly what happened in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, when “Cathy”, a woman with learning disabilities, confronted the imperious PM.

Cathy’s income was cut when she was moved from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.

She is not alone. Hundreds of thousands are being hurt across the UK as a result of Tory cuts to social security. Many are disabled people.

In Scotland, the Tory UK government will have cut £1billion a year from welfare spend by 2022 – with £0.25billion coming through changes introduced last month alone.

May had no answer for Cathy. That’s because these cuts to the most vulnerable are indefensible.

Yesterday, in the Scottish Parliament we debated these cuts, with many MSPs sharing stories from constituents who have suffered.

I chose to highlight cuts to motability vehicles, which happen when an individual loses the higher rate mobility component of PIP.

The charity Muscular Dystrophy UK have found that 900 disabled people A WEEK are losing their disability vehicle in the UK.

Many affected individuals use the vehicle to get to work. Losing it can mean losing your job too.

Ironically, 75 per cent of these unfair DWP decisions are overturned on appeal. But that takes months, by which time the car is gone.

This is exactly what happened to a constituent of mine recently.

The gentleman was employed and works hard. He suffers from scoliosis and is an amputee with a full length artificial leg.

He has a brace attached to his back and walking or standing for any period of time was excruciating for him.

I quoted him in yesterday’s parliamentary debate.

Read the rest of my column here.

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