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Left MPs stand up for sick and disabled in Parliament

Cuts debate prompted by online petition

Labour MP Grahame Morris protested in Parliament yesterday that the sick and disabled are paying for the economic crash with their lives while Britain's richest survive unscathed.

He and other left MPs exposed the Con-Dem government's "war on welfare" in a debate that was demanded by over 100,000 people through an online petition.

They called for the government to put a brake on welfare cuts while an assessment was carried out into the effects of Con-Dem policies on disabled people, their families and carers.

Mr Morris reminded Tory PM David Cameron of his pledge that those with the broadest shoulders would bear the greatest load in his bid to reduce Britain's deficit.

But he said: "On average, in terms of loss of income and services, a disabled person is affected by government cuts nine times more than the average person, and a person who requires social care is affected 19 times more.

"Poor, sick and disabled people are being lectured on how there is a need to tighten their belts, removing vital lifelines, while the wealthy and privileged that this government represents survive austerity unscathed."

Parliament also heard how disabled people have been hit by the bedroom tax, cuts to the independent living fund and employment support, which were made worse by cruel Atos tests.

On top of that massive cuts to local government will shut many people out from local social services.

Unite union community co-ordinator Pilgrim Tucker told MPs in a briefing before the debate how welfare cuts had been "lethal."

"We hear from people who are increasingly depressed, to the point of threatening suicide, on a more and more frequent basis due to these reforms," he said.

Mr Morris said the uncomfortable afternoon for cuts-crazed Con-Dem ministers was a victory for the disabled activists and other campaigners who collected the 100,000 signatures.

"Do we really want to live in a society where a government will not only remove such vital support for its most vulnerable members, but is so indifferent that it chooses to wilfully ignore the suffering it has wrought?"

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