Labour today launched a new taskforce led by Sir Bert Massie, to look at ways to break the link between disability and poverty.
Launched as Disability Living Allowance is abolished nationally, the taskforce will review ways of helping disabled people meet the extra costs that disability imposes and recommend changes to the social security system to maximise disabled peoples’ control over their own lives. The taskforce will focus on better use of existing resources.
The launch of the taskforce follows Ed Miliband’s speech on modernising social security in which he said a Labour government will reform the government’s failing programmes to help support more disabled people into work.
Recent figures revealed disabled people are twice as likely to live in low income households than non disabled people - yet the Government's 'strivers’ tax' will push 50,000 more disabled people into poverty while the DWP's Work Programme is failing to get 98.7 per cent of disabled people into jobs.
The taskforce will be headed by Sir Bert Massie CBE. Sir Bert is disabled and was previously the CEO of The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (now Disability Rights UK) and Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission. He is currently a Governor of Motability and of Liverpool John Moores University.
Anne McGuire MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabled People, said:
"Many of the Government's changes to social security aren't helping disabled people, they are pushing them into poverty. I am delighted that Bert Massie has agreed to chair the taskforce. The members of the group bring a wealth of experience, either as disabled people or those who have worked with disabled people. I am sure they will throw down some interesting challenges to us as we seek to improve the lives of disabled people.”
Sir Bert Massie said:
“Even in an age of limited resources there are more humane and better ways of supporting disabled people than this government’s unprecedented assault which has left millions of disabled people facing greater poverty. I welcome the determination of the Labour Party to seek ways of enabling disabled citizens to play a full role in society and to provide the support to bring this about. The report of the taskforce will suggest ways forward."