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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Week of action demands end to disability benefit cuts

This news post is almost 7 years old

Anti-austerity groups are planning a week of action to demand an end to disability benefit cuts.

Action Against Austerity, a network of groups and organisations from across Scotland, is calling on the Scottish Government to stop “brutal cuts” being inflicted on disabled people.

All disability living allowance (DLA) claimants in Scotland – including those once granted lifetime awards – are currently being reassessed for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) by the UK government with many being deemed fit-for-work.

The groups say the Scottish Government can and should do more to stop the vulnerable having benefits taken away.

There will be a national demonstration at the Scottish Parliament from 11.30am on 29 June to coincide with First Minister's questions, while in Dundee pickets are planned for 30 June at the offices of Shona Robison, cabinet secretary for health and sport.

Other demonstrations are planned for Glasgow and outlying towns.

The protests will demand an end to the re-assessment regime, which has been shown to result in almost half of all claimants losing some of all of their entitlement.

Statistics released by the DWP show that, in the course of these re-assessments, 25% of claimants lose all this benefit, receiving no PIP at all, while 23% lose some of their entitlements and are awarded PIP at a reduced rate.

A spokesperson for Action Against Austerity said: ‘In addition to demanding an end to the re-assessment of all working age disability living allowance (DLA) claimants in Scotland, we demand that the Scottish Government cover the loss in benefits and Motability rights suffered by DLA claimants who have already been re-assessed for PIP, and any who are still re-assessed.

“We see this Week of Action as part of the struggle against all the cuts to social security and against the whole austerity programme, which is no less than global class war by the rich against the poor.

"We need to organise autonomously from the grassroots to take direct action and resist, and to challenge the whole profits system."

Those directly affected by the cuts hit out at the Scottish Government.

Jenny Scott, a spokesperson for East Ayrshire Carers Forum, said: “This is a death sentence for people facing these degrading assessments. The utter misery and anxiety they cause has to be halted.

“It is dreadful news and a huge disappointment for the thousands of disabled people and their carers that this hell will continue.

“We expected so much under the new powers but this a real bitter blow. I’m not convinced at all the Scottish Government can’t do more. It must.”