1. Home
  2. Library
  3. From Unfair Cuts to a Fair Society

From Unfair Cuts to a Fair Society

This paper was the submission from the Campaign for a Fair Society to the Joint Committee on Human Rights and its inquiry on independent living. The paper argues that there is a strong moral and practical case for a radical reform of the current welfare system.

The current welfare system is not designed to support the rights of older and disabled people - particularly the right to independent living. Many people find that they lack essential supports or, if they are entitled to any support, they find themselves constrained in ways that undermine independent living.

The current government has imposed spending cuts in a way that targets older and disabled people - more than 25% of the planned cuts are likely to fall on 3% of the population - those with the most significant disabilities. It is unfair that these cuts target older and disabled people; but moreover the way in which these cuts are being made will also promote dependency and institutional solutions and is further evidence of the fundamental inadequacy of the current welfare settlement.

We need to reverse the current situation. In a decent society cuts would not fall first on those with the greatest needs. As a society we are failing this critical moral test. It is time to change course, time to build a fair society that ensures citizenship for all; so the Campaign for a Fair Society proposes:

  1. A commitment to human rights: this means embracing the European Convention on Human Rights and building the UN Convention on Rights of Disabled People into UK law. This reform will involve a fundamental redesign of the obligations of government at every level to secure citizenship for all.
  2. A commitment to make the right to support an objective right established in law: this will remove the dependency of older and disabled people on ‘gifts’ from professionals. Instead our entitlement to support and the level of that support will be established as a fundamental aspect of our shared citizenship.
  3. A commitment to provide families and individuals with early support: this will prevent crises, reduce the need for expensive interventions, and end the indignity of severe eligibility thresholds.
  4. A commitment to put people back in control of their own lives: this will enhance personal autonomy and dignity by restoring people’s right to control both their lives and any essential support that they need. 
  5. A commitment to good housing: this will give people the right to live in their own accessible homes, with a choice of the full range of different types of tenure. This will involve reform of the housing benefit and mortgage interest relief systems.
  6. A commitment to a guaranteed minimum income free from means-testing: this will create the necessary incentives for people to work and make contributions to civic life. Older people and disabled people will be able to avoid poverty and dependency.
  7. A commitment to end the current super-tax on older and disabled people levied through local authority charges: this will end the indignity of older people having to spend or give away all their savings just to get minimal support. The right to essential on-going support will be put on the same footing as our rights to healthcare and education.

The publisher is The Centre for Welfare Reform.

From Unfair Cuts to a Fair Society © Simon Duffy 2011.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

Documents

People

Simon Duffy

Simon Duffy

Director

Library

Unfair Cuts

Unfair Cuts

Public expenditure cuts by the UK government will target disabled people, older people who need extra help, poor families and people with mental health problems.

Unfair Cuts in Detail

Unfair cuts in Detail

The current social care system in the UK is deeply unfair and needs reforming; however current efforts by Central Government seem self-defeating.

A Fair Society - Tizard Annual Lecture

A Fair Society - Tizard Annual Lecture

These slides were given as part of the 2011 Tizard Lecture given by Simon Duffy on A Fair Society & the Limits of Personalisation. They describe both the cuts facing disabled people and policy solutions for the future.

A Fair Society - Tizard Annual Lecture

A Fair Society - Tizard Annual Lecture

Simon Duffy gave the Annual Tizard Lecture on the 4th March at the University of Kent.

A Fair Society and the Limits of Personalisation

A Fair Society & Personalisation

This discussion paper describes how the current cuts that target disabled people reflect deep flaws within the welfare system and sets out the case for more fundamental reforms.

A Fair Start

A Fair Start

Pippa Murray makes the case for an integrated Personalised Pathway to enable disabled children and their families to take control of health, education and care funding.