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Welfare Working Group declares war on disabled

Welfare Working Group declares war on disabled beneficiaries

Alliance Party Media Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday 10 August 2010

Alliance Party disability issues spokesperson Chris Ford says the Welfare Working Group and the National Government are intending to declare war on disabled beneficiaries.

Mr Ford is an invalid beneficiary.

He says in the Welfare Working Group’s recommendations released yesterday, invalids beneficiaries like himself, could be forced to defend their entitlements.

At the same time, employers could be asked to carry the costs of their disabled and sick workers, potentially allowing employers greater control over the incomes of, and rehabilitation services offered to, disabled people.

“These proposals are an attack against one of the poorest groups in society, namely, disabled people and those with long-term illnesses. Disabled people find it difficult to obtain work in a very discriminatory environment already."

"If workers become impaired or ill, do they want to disclose that to their boss and risk being fired on some flimsy pretext? That possibility might exist for many workers if the welfare group’s proposals were to be enacted by the Government."

The Alliance Party believes that the other proposal to make invalids beneficiaries defend their entitlement is designed to ensure a maximum culling of beneficiary numbers.

“This will lead to many people losing their entitlement even when they need it. Living with a disability often means having to face higher living costs such as, for example, higher power bills and transport fares. If disabled people were forced to survive on a meagre hand out, this would send them further into poverty,” says Mr Ford.

The National Government risked violating the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities through not providing an adequate income to meet their needs.

“National made a huge fuss before the last election that it would uphold the convention. Now that it is in power, it is preparing to jettison this pledge. Sending more disabled people into absolute poverty doesn’t exactly equate with the building of a more inclusive society as envisaged by the UN Convention.”

The Alliance has pledged that it will increase benefit levels to provide a liveable income. This will enabled disabled people and other beneficiaries to participate fully in society.

The Alliance peldged to create full employment so that disabled people who wanted to work were able to find it within the open labour market.


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