Many disabled people in Britain feel media coverage about benefit cheats has negatively affected attitudes towards them, a survey suggests. Almost half of the 500 disabled people and carers polled for charity Scope said attitudes to them had worsened. It comes after ministers released data suggesting 55% of sickness benefit claimants were no longer eligible for it. The government said it was restoring integrity to the benefits system.

It is changing the welfare system to try to get more people into work and is scrapping the three main benefits for disabled people in the process. Anyone receiving these benefits will be reviewed to see if they are capable of work or eligible for other benefits. But a report from a parliamentary committee has warned that changes to disabled people’s benefits may risk their right to independent living.

The research for the charity Scope is released just weeks before the Paralympics is due to start. It asked 500 disabled people, their parents and carers a series of questions in England, Wales and Scotland. It found 46% of those polled said people’s attitudes towards them had worsened over the past year. Some 40% said they had stayed the same and 16% said they had improved. Nearly two-thirds (64%) said they had experienced aggression, hostility or name calling, while nearly three-quarters or (73%) said they had experienced an assumption they did not work.

When asked what could be contributing to such hostility, 87% singled out people claiming disability benefits to which they are not entitled. And 84% highlighted negative media coverage about benefit cheats.

Source: BBC NEWS


31st July 2012


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