The government’s priorities about the “really disabled” (Report 26 February) are, not untypically, ill-informed, inhuman and discriminatory. They are clearly motivated by ill-conceived economic deficit-reduction motives, as articulated by Patrick McLoughlin: “We’ve got to reduce the deficit… we’ve got to reward those people who work, and that’s what we are doing.” It also signal yet another attempt to use political brute force to overrule the judiciary, which, on this occasion, dared to recognise the disabling effects of mental ill-health.
Punishing those who are not “really” disabled who cannot presently work because of mental ill-health (or other disabling circumstances and conditions) will, in the long term, cause significant hardship and distress – not just for those who become economically disabled on top of everything else, but to the economy overall. What did Theresa May say on the steps of No 10 as she moved in? Did she “really” mean what she said about “fighting burning injustice” and “if you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand”? Can she and her colleagues be held to account on this and other matters of state?
Dr Simon Gibbs
School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University