Penning Axes the Disability Living Fund


Mike Penning, Disabilities Minister. Now in charge of making things worse for the most disadvantaged.

Also in this fortnight’s Private Eye is the news that the Disabilities Minister, Mike Penning, has announced that the government is closing down the Disability Living Fund. The Fund, with a budget of £320 million, supports 18,000 severely disabled people. It allows them to remain in their own homes, be able to get into work and take part in other activities, which they would otherwise be unable to do. The Coalition had tried to close the Fund down last year, but a court ruling in November (2013) appeared to quash that. The court found that the government had not properly considered their duties under the Equality Act. This was to promote the rights and needs of disabled people to participate in public life.

The government, however, merely acted as it always does when its reforms are criticised or blocked by an independent body. It waited a bit, and has now gone ahead and announced it will be closed anyway. The Eye states that on average the fund pays out about £300 per month. It will now be devolved to the local authorities, who are responsible for most social care. It will not, however, be protected, and local authorities are already being forced to drastically cut budgets for social care, and are finding it difficult to support the needs of increasing numbers of disabled people. The Eye states ‘many disabled people are terrified of the consequences’.

The Eye also notes that Penning has announced the Fund is to be axed just a month after the Centre for Welfare Reform issued its report “Counting the Cuts”. This showed that the 4.5 million British citizens with a significant disability bear a far disproportionate burden of the welfare cuts. The average burden of the government cuts is £1,126. For disabled people living in poverty, it’s four times as much: £4,660.

Nevertheless, Penning states that the government’s long-term economic plan will “ensure that disabled people are given the support that allows them to fulfil their potential.’ The Eye drily concludes that how they are expected to do this when they are already struggling ‘is thus hard to fathom’.

The article is on page 31 of the Eye for 21st March -3rd April.

I’ve already blogged about the vicious eugenicist hatred Maggie’s mentor, Keith Joseph, had for the working class, and his declaration in a speech in 1974 that ‘The balance of our population, our human stock, is threatened’. See Owen Jones, Chavs, pp. 45-6. One can reasonably ask how widely such attitudes are shared in the Tory party, and how far they have contributed to a climate of opinion on the right that seems to view the deaths of tens of thousands of people from poverty inflicted through the benefit cuts as acceptable. As many as 38,000 people per year may have died through them. Does Penning share this apparent visceral hatred of the poor and disabled, or is he simply a career ‘yes-man’, who has left his conscience aside in order to gain promotion from doing his masters’ bidding?

I put up a piece a little while ago commenting on the similarity between the Tories’ policy of having Atos throw the disabled off benefit, and often to their deaths, and the organised murder of the congenitally mentally retarded by the Nazi regime. This was organised by Hitler’s doctor and medical staff. At their trial, one of the doctors responsible for the mass murder attempted to defend their actions by saying that ‘they didn’t separate brains and arse’ – a German idiom meaning they had guts. One anti-Nazi doctor at the trial declared that that was because they didn’t have a backbone. Is this true of Penning and the other Coalition functionaries, administering and implementing cuts and reforms that have had the effect of further impoverishing and even ending the lives of the disabled?

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18 Responses to “Penning Axes the Disability Living Fund”

  1. pippakin Says:

    Reblogged this on Political Pip Spit or Swallow its up to You and commented:
    That’s a tory govt for you always the weakest hit hardest.

  2. Mike Sivier Says:

    Reblogged this on Vox Political.

  3. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  4. prayerwarriorpsychicnot Says:

    Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs.

  5. nollyprott Says:

  6. Bernie Bentley Says:

    Reblogged this on bentleybernadette and commented:
    What about a petition? Is there one in action to protest?

    • beastrabban Says:

      I haven’t heard of one, but the people to check might be 38 degrees. If there is one, they might be leading it.

  7. jaypot2012 Says:

    Am I surprised? – No. Am I worried for those who need the help from this fund? – Very worried.
    This unelected coalition are not going to stop until every single disabled person is dead, well, that’s how it seems anyway.

    Mike Penning, Disabilities Minister. – It’s a damned disgrace to even have that title and he should be sacked from it immediately. Let’s start a petition to get rid of him – anyone who is a disability minister should look after the disabled, not the tory government!

  8. jaypot2012 Says:

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    Disabilities Minister – My erse!

  9. nicosuavehh Says:

    Reblogged this on Official Musings of Nico Phillips.

  10. nollyprott Says:

    Reblogged this on nollyprott and commented:
    People are coming round to my analysis !

  11. Stephen Bee Says:

    One word… Murderers!

  12. Helen Maddock Says:

    I have already made my funeral arrangement this very week, a willow casket and a tree to be planted on top. I can’t afford burial so it HAS to be cremation. For people who think that this is an exaggeration try talking to the masses in wheelchairs and house bound. Without this ILF many will simply curl up and die…watch the death rate rise accordingly and weep with shame for what is being done to the most vulnerable in the publics name. Enjoy your bingo and beer and sleep well tonight wont you.

  13. amnesiaclinic Says:

    Please, please don’t give up! That’s exactly what they want. There are so many wonderful people doing amazing things standing up against this heartless government. Everyone counts! Just think what a victory the Disability News Service has done singly handedly against Atos!! And then Jack Monroe against welfare reform and food banks.
    There is no harm in making your arrangements, of course, but then work on supporting yourself and others by us all coming together and taking them on. They are our public servants and we do have a right to fairness and support when we need it and to be treated well and with respect at all times. They have been very clever in dividing and ruling for centuries but it is time to sort this out and put a stop to their divisive policies.
    And we can!!


  14. argotina1 Says:

    Reblogged this on Benefit tales.

  15. Penning Axes the Disability Living Fund | Welfa... Says:

    […] Mike Penning, Disabilities Minister. Now in charge of making things worse for the most disadvantaged. Also in this fortnight's Private Eye is the news that the Disabilities Minister, Mike Penning, …  […]

  16. beastrabban Says:

    Helen, Amnesiaclinic’s absolutely right! You really do need to stick around. There are people like the Disability News Service, Jack Monroe and many, many others, all attacking the government’s austerity campaign. If you want a list of some of the organisations, who’re ready to help, go back to my post, ‘Can Anybody Help Katrina?’, which was written in response to a call for help from a very desperate lady. It got a fantastic response from many great people pointing to organisations that could help her and her problems with the welfare system.

    As for the bingo and beer, I don’t think many people will be taken in by Osborne’s highly condescending attempt to woo back the British workers using them as a carrot. As far as I can make out, it’s done exactly the opposite, so that Osbo has been forced to announce that he has actually played it.

    As for giving up – naaah, as Amnesiaclinic says, that’s exactly what they want. It’s much better to be awkward and stubbornly go on living, demanding your rights and making sure that they really can’t sweep you and the millions like you under the carpet.

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