United Nations: British Austerity a “Human Catastrophe” for Disabled
The United Nations delivered a harsh assessment of the United Kingdom and its treatment of disabled citizens in a 17-page report discussed in Geneva.
As one of 160 signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the U.K. had to face the international committee responsible for monitoring compliance with the treaty. The report was not good, and British diplomats surely felt uneasy when the committee accused the government of “going backwards” as a result of its austerity measures.
Committee chairwoman Theresia Degener stated that “the evidence we had in front of us was just overwhelming.” She called the situation a “human catastrophe” that would have disastrous effects on the independence of Britons with disabilities.
Among the issues referenced in the report were:
- Reductions in support for independent living, including the provision of carers and coverage for adaptive technologies.
- Segregation of disabled children from their able-bodied peers in educational settings and insufficient inclusion training for educators.
- Benefit cuts that have resulted in a reduction of disabled persons’ income by thousands of pounds on average.
In response to the report, a government official said, “We’re disappointed that this report does not accurately reflect the evidence we gave to the UN, and fails to recognise all the progress we’ve made to empower disabled people…We spend over £50bn a year to support disabled people and those with health conditions…the second highest in the G7.”
What say you? Has British austerity gone too far? Are the measures targeting people with disabilities at a disproportionate rate?