‘It won’t be a merry Christmas’
Tuesday 13 December 2011
Hardest Hit campaign delivers a Christmas card with a serious message
Representatives from Mencap were among the members of a ‘Hardest Hit' choir who delivered a giant Christmas card to the government today.
The card, designed by the political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe and signed by 20,000 people, calls on Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to protect the basic rights of disabled people.
The choir performed Christmas songs with a twist outside Parliament, including ‘David It’s Cold Inside’ and ‘It Won’t Be a Merry Christmas’. They later delivered the card to Number 10 Downing Street.
The Hardest Hit campaign, organised jointly by the Disability Benefits Consortium and the UK Disabled People’s Council, brings together individuals and over 50 organisations to campaign against cuts to benefits and services affecting disabled people. In October, thousands of people took to the streets for a series of regional Hardest Hit protests.
This latest action coincides with the Welfare Reform Bill's passage through the House of Lords. Many disabled people are living in fear of cuts to essential benefits including Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment and Support Allowance, on top of cuts to many local care and support services. Although the government recently announced that it will not go ahead with plans to cut the mobility component of DLA, there are still concerns about what the replacement of DLA with the Personal Independence Payment will mean for disabled people.
Mencap campaigns assistant Ciara Evans took part in the event. She said: "Today's Hardest Hit event was important because we wanted to give the government a giant Christmas card signed by almost 25,000 disabled people and their families. This was to call for a fair benefits system.
We wanted to tell important people in government that people with disability want to have their rights and to also have the right support to help them to live independently. If benefits are taken away from people with a disability, then this has a massive effect on their lives. This would stop them from living independently and having a good life like any other person."