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46% of disabled people feel attitudes towards them have worsened - Turn2us

Scope press release about disability discrimination research (link opens in a new window)New research by disability charity Scope shows that almost half (46%) of disabled people feel that attitudes towards them have worsened in the last year.

Disabled people single out the tiny number of people falsely claiming disability benefits and the way their actions are reported as chief causes of public hostility. At the same time disabled people report that they are increasingly confronted by strangers questioning their right to support.

  • 73% experienced the assumption that they don’t work
  • 83% say coverage about 'benefits scroungers' can negatively affect attitudes
  • 87% say 'benefit scroungers' themselves have a negative effect on attitudes.

Scope campaign for positive stories about disability

At a time when London is hosting the Paralympics and disabled athletes will be taking centre-stage, Scope says there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leave a legacy of improved attitudes towards disability. The charity is launching a drive to promote positive stories of ordinary disabled people.

Commenting on the findings, Richard Hawkes, Scope Chief Executive, said: “It is absolutely shocking that in 2012 almost half of disabled people feel attitudes have got worse and many have experienced aggression, hostility or name calling from other people. Disabled people keep coming back to the same concern: benefit scroungers. They single out fraudsters. They are concerned about coverage. They tell us strangers challenge them in the street about the support they claim.

“Yet fraudsters are a tiny minority of claimants. 

“It is telling that these figures come as the Government continues to put the issue of weeding out illegitimate claimants at the heart of its welfare rhetoric.

“The facts and figures they release on welfare reform only tell half the story. Benefit fraud is rare – in fact more money goes unclaimed than is defrauded, and the new fitness for work test is shown to be failing miserably to accurately assess people’s likelihood of finding work.

"This backdrop of negativity will only make it harder for disabled people to overcome the many barriers they face when it comes to getting on with their lives.

“That is why the Paralympics presents a once-in-an-lifetime opportunity to stop this deterioration and leave a lasting legacy of improved attitudes towards disability.

“Scope will be working throughout the games to tell the stories of disabled people in 2012.

“We want the Government to mark the games with a new approach to welfare: tell the whole story when it comes to stats; make fundamental changes to the Work Capability Assessment and avoid repeating the same mistakes when it comes to the new assessment for Personal Independence Payments.

“Greater understanding of disabled people, the challenges they face and their achievements, should be the real Paralympic legacy we are all working towards.”

Read the Scope press release about their research about disability discrimination (link opens in a new window)

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