People who cannot work

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Your Disability Works campaign to help people get back into work is good and important. I hope it remains high profile as it’s incredibly difficult for people with disabilities to find work.

I am getting in touch to encourage you to highlight the plight of those who cannot currently work, many of whom will never again be able to work, and tell some of their personal stories. With the £30 cut in the Employee Support Allowance yesterday, they continue to be targeted for cuts in a massively disproportionate way than other groups and face ridiculous red tape and useless DWP interviews for jobs they will never be able to look for or take. In Sheffield yesterday, Green party co-leader Jonathan Bartley (who has a 14 year old son in a wheelchair) said he wants to stop talking about vulnerable people and focus on requesting dignity and respect for people in this situation in the 5th richest economy in the world.

They are an easy target as they can’t fight back in many cases. The press release below highlights that - a small group worked towards a meeting for months with the assistance of Sharrow Community Forum but it was a constant struggle due to their disabilities. The end result was a poorly advertised and attended meeting with no councillors or MP’s present and a weak press release below that gave you little to work on. As with the previous meeting I heard some desperate stories of people who are not being treated with dignity and respect by the government or Sheffield Council who are also making swingeing cuts for purely financial reasons and nothing to do with care needs. Many are in families with more than one disabled person. Many who spoke are carers whose health is also suffering due to diminishing support and benefits. Many face bankruptcy as their incomes are cut massively and they lead increasing isolated lives stuck at home without the help they need.

Their stories are powerful and need to be told - what is going on is a disgrace as we return to a Victorian workhouse approach. I know they plan to make some videos to highlight their cause but it would be really good if the Star came to them and told their stories in print and on video - contact via the e-mail below. You also have the wonderful Simon Duffy based in Sheffield who can comment and inform on this situation http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/. I’m sure Natalie Bennett would be happy to comment/contribute for Sheffield Greens while I would expect that Jonathan Bartley would write something for you if requested.

Eamonn Ward

Sheffield Green Party