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Human rights of disabled people at risk

A new report from Just Fair claims that the UK is breaching international law on the human rights of disabled people as a result of its welfare reform programme.

The report ‘Dignity and Opportunity for All’ was published by Just Fair which is an amalgamation of a number of charities including CPAG, Save the Children and Oxfam. The report looks at how the UK is meeting its obligations to disabled people’s rights to independent living, employment, social security, and an adequate standard of living under the international law.

Housing and benefits

In terms of housing, the report looks at the impact of changes to Housing Benefit on the ability of disabled persons to live independently. It highlights a number of concerns in relation to the right to independent living:

  • the benefit cap,
  • restrictions on local housing allowance for homes in the private rented sector,
  • the social sector size criteria,
  • the adequacy of using discretionary housing payments to lessen the impact of welfare reform, and
  • restrictions on the payment of mortgage interest through income support.

The report states that “The availability of accessible, affordable housing is a key factor in enabling disabled people to enjoy the right to independent living...Since disabled people are less likely to own their own homes and are more likely to live in poverty, changes to housing benefit are likely to have a disproportionate impact on their lives.

It goes on to recommend that the Government re-evaluates the changes to housing benefit, notably the local housing allowance and the social housing size criteria, in the light of evidence that the “policies are retrogressive, threatening disabled people’s occupation of accessible and affordable housing to enable them to live independently, exercising their right to choose where they live on an equal basis with others.”

Tagged In

Welfare Reform, Equality
This article was written on 9 July 2014. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.