Yesterday evening an Inquiry by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was published. According to the report, people with disabilities have had their rights systematically violated by the austerity policies put in place by the Government, including cuts and reforms to benefits.
The findings of the report have since been contested by Damian Green, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Responding to the report, Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, said:
“The findings of this inquiry are extremely concerning but will come as no surprise to the thousands of people with mental health problems living in fear of benefits sanctions and damaging assessments which often fail to grasp the very basics of how someone’s mental health can affect their day-to-day life."
“The Government has ambitions to help many more people with mental health problems back into work, but as this inquiry points out, the current approach is cruel, inappropriate and doesn’t work. Less than 1 in 10 people with mental health problems have been helped into jobs by the Government’s mainstream back-to-work scheme, the Work Programme. In fact, people with mental health problems are often pushed further away from work by such schemes because they’re so anxious and unwell at the prospect of sanctions - having their benefits cut - if they’re unable to do what they’re asked."
“We are disappointed that the Government has not taken this opportunity to look again at the fear and anxiety that benefit cuts, inappropriate assessments and the threat of sanctions creates for people with mental health problems. In fact, the recently published Green Paper contains proposals for extending their ineffective, punitive approach to thousands more people with mental health problems in the ESA Support Group who are currently exempt from sanctions, which would be a disastrous move.”