GB Paralympians speak out in defence of DLA

David Clarke, who will captain Britain’s blind football team at next month’s Paralympics in London, said he believed cuts of 20 per cent to spending on disability living allowance (DLA) could put people’s independence and equality of opportunity at risk.

And he said that the focus on forcing disabled people off incapacity benefits and back to work ignored the barriers in society and workplaces that can prevent them from finding jobs.

Asked by Disability News Service (DNS) about the cuts to disability benefits, he said: “It does seem as though disabled people’s independence is being jeopardised by the government’s proposals and I think what worries me is that it has been done with good intentions in certain areas, but it is so wide of the mark.”

Speaking at the official launch of the ParalympicsGB team for London 2012, Clarke said the push towards forcing disabled people off out-of-work disability benefits appeared to be ignoring the “wider debate” about equality and discrimination.

“It is about creating opportunities through diversity programmes within businesses, it is about transport, it is about assistance in the workplace.”

He said the government appeared to have failed to understand the importance of DLA to disabled people’s independence. “If a government minister found himself in the middle of a city with no-one to help and needed to get a taxi owing to mobility difficulties, he probably would appreciate his DLA. Or indeed if he needed someone to read his post.

“DLA matters. It covers some of those additional costs that we wouldn’t necessarily have the money for.”

“What DLA does in my opinion is it enables you to afford all the additional support you need in all sorts of guises without impinging on the income you receive. It puts you on a par with other people in society.”

He added: “Every single penny of that DLA goes back into the economy. It is not like people are clinging onto it and creating a nest egg. They spend this money on funding their independence, on necessities, on assistance, on transport networks. Whatever it is doing it is going into the economy.”

A string of other Paralympians have joined David in speaking out about the importance of DLA.

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5 thoughts on “GB Paralympians speak out in defence of DLA

  1. All I can say and I’m taking it how I see david camron had a disabled child who died (god bless him ) no one deserves to die but if he was still alive would camron do all that he’s doing to the disabled I think not so what does that say about him I will let you make up your owm minds

  2. Please realise David Clarke, Ian Duncan Smith doesn’t care about us ‘disabled’ – all he bothers about is his own status in stopping disabled and the ‘ill’ getting any Disability Benefits. If you are able to take part in the Games, you should be working. The Tories just don’t care.

  3. yes but not a one of em will publicly boycott the games to drive home this point – we who are on DLA and are not fit enough to protest need ACTIONS not more words of support WORDS ARE CHEAP

    SO COME ON TEAM PARALYMPIC GB – lets see a mass walk out in support of the disabled of the uk who can only dream of being ABLE to take part in sport anymore

  4. A lot of disabled people would like to work, but the assistance they would require does not exist. What job would allow me to sleep at least 2 hours every afternoon? What job would let someone take their carer with them if they need help going to the loo? A lot of folk with MS have to go to the loo very frequently – show me the employer who would put up with that. How do we get to and from to work if we cannot use public transport?

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