Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) was set up in 2010 to campaign against the vicious cuts disabled people faced following the June 2010 budget, and to fight for the human rights of disabled people.
Since then Disabled people’s human rights have been steadily eroded and Conservative austerity measures have hit disabled people of all ages including families with a disabled child and disabled grannies and granddads 9 times harder than other groups and for those with the highest needs 19 times harder.
Although it is not possible to be exact about the numbers due to the way the government record statistics an estimated 120,000 disabled and older people have died due to cuts to social care funding and many, many thousands more have been driven to suicide or died an unnecessary death due to cuts to social security payments or the imposition of sanctions leaving them without any money. Estimates of 130,000 deaths is an often used figure which is half a million disabled people who have died unnecessarily due to austerity cuts.
One such person was David Clapson, an ex-soldier. The coroner said that when he died he had no food in his stomach. His benefits had been stopped as a result of missing one meeting at the jobcentre. He was diabetic, and without the £71.70 a week from his jobseeker’s allowance he couldn’t afford to eat or put credit on his electricity card to keep the fridge where he kept his insulin working. Three weeks later Clapson died from diabetic ketoacidosis, caused by a severe lack of insulin. His family and other's families are still fighting for justice which they have not had.
The UK government is the first in the world to be investigated by the UN Disability Committee, following work by DPAC, who found that disabled people’s human rights are being gravely and systematically violated by first the coalition and then the Conservative government. The chair of the committee described what is happening to disabled people in the UK as a “human catastrophe.” Hard fought for rights which earlier campaigners won are simply being stripped away.
You can read more about this here
Following on from this unique investigation into the UK government and a periodic review of the UK’s adherence to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People the next year (2018) the UN Disability Committee has once again taken an unprecedented step requiring the UK government to report on the progress of our rights each year. . This requirement does not apply to any other country in the world because the UNCRPD commits governments to progressively improve disabled people’s human rights.
To maintain our complete independence we have no central or local government funding and rely entirely on donations and one-off fundraising. At the moment we also have no paid staff and are run entirely by volunteers. Overall national strategy is decided by a steering group and we now have about 40 local groups who organise autonomously. We work closely with many other activist groups.
We believe that for too long disabled people have been living in fear and that we must intensify our campaigning to ensure disabled people are able to live safely and are no longer forced to live in fear: fear of the brown envelope arriving, fear of having to have repeated assessments carried out by incompetent and failing corporations paid millions of pounds of taxpayers money regardless of their failings, fear of cuts to care and support funding at each annual review, and fear of going out due to the massive rise in disability hate crime which the rhetoric of successive Tory governments has caused.
What We Need Funding For
We are particularly in need of funding to help us campaign in the next general election and beyond. We believe that regardless of which party is elected we will still need to fight for disabled people’s rights and DPAC is not aligned to any one political party.
All of this will cost money and the more money we have available the more visibly we can fight back – both on the streets, in parliament and through Social Media. In the last General Election we used facebook adverts very effectively in marginal constituencies and of course we’d like our activists to be able to visit some of those constituencies to help unseat the Tory MPs there.
Here we are in Wirral helping get rid of Esther Mcvey and Chingford trying to get rid of IDS whose majority is now very small. (We are reminding him that he claimed expenses, paid for with your taxes, for laundering his underpants.)
and here is a video of us in parliament trying to raise the issue of the closure of the Independent Living Fund
In particular we always need funding for British Sign Language as do our local groups so that we are able to fully involve deaf people in our activities but this is expensive and a morning session alone can cost about £200-£250. Having funding to translate important documents into Easy Read is also essential for inclusion of those supporters with learning difficulties.
Here is an example of a document translated into easy read
We would also like funding to design, produce and distribute resources to our local groups and other supportive organisations.
We would like money to fund facebook adverts in the run up to an election. In 2017 we spent £10,000 on these but we reached a massive number of voters through these.
We also need funding to promote our new strategy for independent living which has now been adopted by the TUC and Labour Party Conference.
This sis what has been developed by disabled people
Most of our supporters are on low incomes so we would also like to raise money to cover their costs for travel and when necessary accommodation for our on-street protests and direct actions.
To meet all of these needs we are therefore hoping to raise a minimum of £15,000.