The disability benefits system is not compliant with the Human Rights Act and should be reviewed, the CSP says.
The call was made at the TUC disabled workers conference in May attended by two of the CSP disability network’s newly elected co-conveners, Erin Power and Vikki Albarraque.
The CSP motion called for the implementation of the parliamentary work and pensions select committee recommendations on personal independence payments (PIP) and for the government to develop ‘varied alternatives to support ill and disabled people and to utilise the skills of physiotherapists and other health care professionals to do this’.
Seconded by Unison and carried by the conference, the motion was prompted by what Ms Power and Ms Albarraque describe as the ‘shocking experiences’ of a CSP member and the growing statistical and anecdotal evidence around the process. On average 60 per cent and 71 per cent of ESA and PIP appeals are successful and four out of 10 claimants don’t appeal due to the stress of the initial assessment while those with pre-existing mental health problems are particularly vulnerable, according to the motion.
The conference also debated workplace culture, the benefits of reasonable adjustments, the disability pay gap, equality in education and the ‘social model of disability’ whereby people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment or difference.
In a sign of the ‘influence and impact that a small delegation can have on such a large stage’ the conference asked the CSP to deliver a closing motion of thanks, during which Ms Power stated that people ‘cannot make an impact if we are not prepared to stand up and be counted.’
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