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Rallies held over cuts for disabled


Disability groups have held protests over benefit cuts

Disability groups have held protests over benefit cuts

Disability groups have held protests over benefit cuts

More than 5,000 people gathered across the UK in protest against welfare cuts for disabled people.

Twelve protests were held in different cities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as part of the Hardest Hit campaign.

The campaign, organised jointly by the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) and the UK Disabled People's Council (UKDPC), includes individual and more than 50 organisations in a fight against the Government's planned welfare reforms, currently being steered through Parliament.

The protests follow the Hardest Hit rally, march and lobby in May, when thousands of people marched through central London, and come a year on from the Comprehensive Spending Review.

The campaign said more than 5,000 people gathered in 12 different cities across the UK for the Hardest Hit Day of Action, including Edinburgh, Cardiff, Leeds, Brighton, Manchester, Newcastle, London and Birmingham.

Protesters held banners that read: "Don't box me in", "Betrayed", and "PM says scrounger, doctor says Parkinson's", according to campaign organisers, while Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, who plays Hayley in Coronation Street, apparently attended the Manchester protest.

Jaspal Dhani, CEO of the United Kingdom Disabled People's Council, said: "Today's protests demonstrate just how much disabled people, their friends and family are going to be affected by this Government's cuts and the many broken promises it's made to protect disabled people.

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"The last 12 months have seen a string of cuts that have hit disabled people the hardest, from benefits changes to local authorities slashing social care budgets and axing concessionary bus passes. Remember it was disabled people who campaigned for and won laws to tackle discrimination. We can and must do it again to resist these cuts."

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said earlier: "This Government is absolutely committed to supporting disabled people and we continue to spend more than £40 billion a year on disabled people and their services.

"However, the current benefit system is not always reaching those who need it most, which is why we will be introducing the new personal independence payment to ensure people get the right levels of support.And our reforms are more than just changes to benefits. The Sayce review is looking at how we can use the protected budget for disability employment services more effectively, to get an extra 35,000 disabled people into work."

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