Today’s columnist, Patrick Meleady: End scapegoating now

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We are being told that the Government aims to secure £12 billion in savings by 2018.

In order to do this the Government will not only have to massively increase the extent and pace of welfare cuts made over the past five years, but to achieve net savings, they will have to focus on cutting tax credits (currently about £30bn a year); housing benefit (£21bn); disability living allowance and personal independence payments (£15bn); incapacity benefits (£14bn); and child benefit (£12bn).

Political parties of various persuasions are continually using the term “working people” not only during the election campaigns but ever since, each buying into the demonisation of those who are not in work. The subtext is clear. This term is calculated to target and lionise the “employed” middle ground.

The ‘working people’ terminology excludes those who do not fit this.

For instance, unemployed people, older people, disabled people, sick people, and carers.

Government has presided over the most draconian cutbacks to benefits and services that directly affect these groups, despite a third of disabled adults already living poverty.

Disabled people and those needing social care have been hit harder by Government cuts than others.

Under the past Conservative-led coalition every area of their support was reduced, abolished or failed, costing the taxpayer and costing lives,.

Just weeks before the last election a leaked document showed the Tories were planning £12bn more cuts to social security, including disability benefits. This is now rolling out.

It is fact that previous attempts to enforce the cuts upon people who were legitimately incapacitated failed and in fact spending rose at least £3bn above anticipated levels under the coalition.

This was due to the high number of successful appeals against the so-called ‘fit-for-work tests’, because these appeals revealed that there were not, as the Government asserted, millions of people fraudulently claiming benefit.

The UN are gravely concerned at the breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities by the Government.

We do not need more scapegoating or divisiveness.

We need inclusive language and better progressive policies that embrace and involve the most vulnerable and powerless in our society.

The Government agenda presents to be taking from those at the ‘bottom’ in order to give more to those at the top.

The Government is carrying out a massive upward redistribution of wealth.