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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.
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
“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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