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Crippen looks at poverty amongst disabled people with the assistance of Dan Pitt's blog / 14 January 2010

The following is taken from the blog of 17 year old Dan Pitt who has very kindly agreed that I can post it along with my latest cartoon.

'Despite nearly 15 years of new legislation, the results of a new survey reveal that disabled people in the UK are facing rising levels of poverty and discrimination. Yet many disabled people believe things are getting better. What explains the contradiction?

Disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people. Leonard Cheshire Disability's report Disability Review 2009, published this week, shows that the economic picture for disabled people has deteriorated over the past three years. Almost half (42%) of respondents were struggling to live on their present income, a rise of nearly 10% since 2007. Discrimination at work had been experienced by 52%, another 10% increase, and 9% stated they had been the victim of hate crime. Worrying news indeed, particularly given that the Disability Discrimination Act is now well over a decade old. It will also be of concern to policymakers who have sought to make the promotion of equality a central part of their social policy agenda.

Alongside the disturbing trends in disability poverty and discrimination revealed by (the) survey, many of the disabled people reported improvements in their experiences. Paradoxically, increasing discrimination in the workplace and in access to goods and services – and unacceptable levels of disability hate crime – were coupled with a sense that, when it comes to discrimination, things are simply "not as bad as they used to be". This could just be the knock-on effect of progress made in other areas, such as transport accessibility.

An alternative explanation might be that developments in the law have triggered a shift in the way disabled people conceptualise equality and social justice issues. If disabled people have an enhanced awareness of rights and increased expectations of them, then they might be more willing to challenge prejudice and discrimination. At the same time, a better grasp of our legal and civil rights might give people the overall impression that things are improving, irrespective of reality. This offers an interesting twist on more straightforward notions of achieving social change through legal reform – food for thought for those of us in the disability sector and beyond.

Whatever the reasons for this paradox, however, it is clear that disability poverty in the UK remains a massive social justice issue. Engendering a sense of empowerment and optimism among one of the poorest and most vulnerable groups in society is clearly not an undesirable end in itself. Unless the government takes urgent action to ensure that the dislocation between perception and reality is bridged, their pledge to eradicate disability inequality by 2025 will remain illusory. Perhaps the battle for hearts and minds is beginning to be won. Now the real work must commence.'

To read more of Dan's excellent writing, please click on the following link.

Dan's Blog

 

Keywords: disabled people's movement,poverty,

Comments

Daniel Pitt

/
17 March 2010

I am humbled by the compliments given to me in regards to my blog on the oppression of disabled people. As a human rights activist, disability rights are on of my biggest passion so I hope to help challenge prejudices and perceptions regarding disability.

pinkpjs

/
23 January 2010

amazing writing Dan!

Linda Burnip

/
20 January 2010

I am increasingly concerned that venues like Manchester Evening News arena and super Showcase cinemas are removing the right for disabled people to be accompanied by a free PA/ carer on the basis that since their venues are 'fully' accesible they don't need to take anyone with them.This is just sheer ignorance, how do they think people get to the venues.what do they think PAs do to support people,have they absolutely no concept of what needs disabled patrons may need to have met by a PA/carer. I think challenging this will have to be our or possibly someone else's next legal battle.

But somewhere in this the DDA is failing.

Colin Hambrook

/
17 January 2010

The blockbuster xmas movie this year was Avatar - a disability-hate movie, dressed up as concern for the environment; the immorality of US military power etc. ... is it no wonder things are getting worse ... resistance to countering media crap is lower than it has been in the last 20 years.

Penny Pepper

/
15 January 2010

A great piece from you both. Keep writing this stuff Dan!

As an old timer, I think it's true there has been progress especially in areas of what we could call environmental access.

When I was 17 - eek! I won't launch into some old git monty python style rant about it were hard in those days etc etc). But certain things we can now take for granted were not there.

However, leaving out the lack of genuine exposure and involvement we get in the media - I also think we are certainly much more Out There in the world. And I think at this point in time, it disturbs people-the Nons. We make a lot of them uncomfortable. This triggers hate crime, prejudice and all the rest, including a pervasive indifference to us - an indifference which I think injects much of society at present anyhow.

We can only keep being Out There! And make them even more uncomfortable until they get it.

Arty Farty

/
14 January 2010

A formidable team eh Mr C? Mr Pitt can certainly write!