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  • Writer's picturePhilip J Connolly

The parties, their manifestos and disability - not all the same

Not all the same.

Same old, same old I have heard people say about politics. Is their cynicism justified? What's new and different when it comes to the' manifesto promises as they affect disabled people? What are they saying, the main parties? Here's a sample in their own words. What does it tell us the one in four (23%) disabled people in the UK?

The Conservative Party

Reform our disability benefits so they are better targeted and reflect people’s genuine needs, while delivering a step change in mental health provision. We will improve PIP assessments to provide a more objective consideration of people’s needs and stop the number of claims from rising unsustainably. While people suffering with mental health conditions face significant challenges, it is not clear that they always face the same additional living costs as people with physical disabilities. We will look at the best way to provide support, including whether treatment or services could be more appropriate for some people than a monthly cash payment, while also delivering a dramatic expansion in mental health support. At the same time, we will make the assessment process simpler and fairer for those with the most severe conditions.

The Labour Party

Labour is committed to championing the rights of disabled people and to the principle of working with them, so that their views and voices will be at the heart of all we do. We will introduce the full right to equal pay for disabled people. Building on gender pay gap reporting, we will introduce disability and ethnicity pay gap reporting for large employers. We will support disabled people to work by improving employment support and access to reasonable adjustments. We will also tackle the Access to Work backlog and make sure people can try out a job without fear of an immediate benefit reassessment if it does not work out.

The Liberal Democrats

Repair the broken benefits safety net by:

  • Reducing the wait for the first payment of Universal Credit from five weeks to five days.

  • Scrapping the bedroom tax.

  • Replacing the sanctions regime with an incentive-based scheme to help people into work.

  • Ending the young parent penalty for under-25s by restoring the full rate of Universal Credit for all parents regardless of age.

The Green Party

Elected Greens will campaign to: • Increase Universal Credit and legacy benefits by £40 a week. • End the unfair five-week wait for benefits which is pushing people into debt. • Abolish the two-child benefit cap and lift 250,000 children out of poverty. • Increase all disability benefits by 5%. • Ensure that pensions are always uprated in line with inflation and keep pace with wage rises across the economy. • Increase carer’s allowance by at least 10% a month. • Scrap the bedroom tax.

What do you notice about what they have stated in their own words?

Firstly not all the parties trust disabled people to be disabled people the conservatives speak of genuine needs. Next there are differences as to why they think they are intervening from improving support to equal rights to incentives over punishment to avoiding debt and poverty. Only the Conservatives appear to want to drive a wedge between physical disabilities and mental health, despite disability legislation making no such distinction. The opposition parties have similar specific commitments on welfare such as scrapping the bedroom tax even if they have different reasons for their approach.

Finally whilst all parties speak of being simpler and fairer it is clear that the conservatives would make cuts in support e.g. better targeting. In summary there are both important differences and important similarities but when it comes to why you should vote for a progressive party and not the conservatives it is perhaps this - Politics isn't just about whether you believe in the politicians but whether they believe in you. 

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