I have an interest in elections and politics that started more than 50 years ago. And, yes, I have delivered leaflets and even canvassed for candidates.
Today, though, I decide election by election how to vote and support the party that has policies with which I agree.
And that’s why on June 8, I shall be voting in the UK general election as someone with a disability. But who to vote for? The one that give people with disabilities a fair deal.
For the last seven years, the UK has seen nothing short of government persecution of disabled people. For the first five years it was a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition then, for the last two, the Conservatives alone.
Regretfully, there is no sign of a change of heart.
Now, let’s look at the official opposition; the Labour Party.
The party’s manifesto has not been published yet, but a copy of the draft has been leaked. And what it contains is revealing.
For the many not the few
Titled “For the Many not the Few”, the leaked draft says:
Labour will act immediately to end the worst excesses of the Conservative government’s changes. We will:
- Scrap the punitive sanctions regime.
- Scrap the bedroom tax.
- Reinstate housing benefit-for-under-21s.
- Scrap bereavement support payment cuts.
We will also review the cuts to work allowances in Universal Credit, and also review the decision to limit tax credit and Universal Credit payments to the first two children in a family.
The Tories haven completely failed on their promise of making work pay, of tackling the barriers to work faced by disabled people.
Labour supports a social model of disability. People may have a condition or an impairment but are disabled by society. We need to remove the barriers in society that restrict opportunities and choices for disabled people.
We will build on the previous Labour government’s commitment to disabled people in 2009 as signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and incorporate it into UK law.
Labour: Social Security Bill
Labour will repeal the following cuts in social security support to disabled people through a new Social Security Bill published in our first year of office to:
- Increase ESA by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group and repeal cuts in UC LCW (Limited Capability for Work Element).
- Uprate carer’s allowance by £11 to the level of Jobseekers Allowance.
- Implement the court decision on PIP so that there is real parity of esteem between those with physical and mental health conditions.
- Scrap the Work Capability and Personal Independence Payment assessments and replace them with a personalised, holistic assessment process which provides each individual with a tailored plan, building on their strengths and addressing barriers.
- End the pointless stress of reassessments for people with severe long-term conditions.
- Commission a report into expanding the Access to Work programme.
We will change the culture of the social security system, from one that demonises people to one that is supportive and enabling.
As well as scrapping the Conservatives’ punitive sanctions regime, we will change how Jobcentre Plus staff are performance managed.
Labour will strengthen access to justice for disabled people by enhancing the 2010 Equality Act enabling discrimination at work to be challenged. We will ensure that under the Istanbul Convention, disability hate crime and violence against disabled women is reported annually with national action plans to address these.
I have never before used this website to urge support for one party over others.
I am not a natural Labour voter.
But, having lived through seven years of cuts and read that draft manifesto, I shall vote Labour on June 8.
If you have a vote in the UK election, join me and vote for the caring policies, vote Labour.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Diagnosed with MS in 2002, he continued to work until mobility problems made him retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective. Besides that, he is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.