Did you know? Austerity hitting disabled people hardest? While austerity policies may well be shown to have been at least part of the answer to the financial crisis over the last few years, the evidence provided in the recent Dignity and opportunity for all: Securing the rights of disabled people in the austerity era report suggests that disabled people have been disproportionately disadvantaged as a result.  Although this may not have been deliberate, it does smack of lack of attention to the impact of single or collective policies on about one fifth of the population: probably 5-10 million people have born more than their fair share of austerity and they are the least able to do so. The report provides a wealth of evidence within the context of assessing the UK’s performance in relation to its obligations under Articles 19, 27 and 28 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (plus other treaties).    It’s not a great success story. My one-page summary can’t hope to do justice to this huge and very comprehensive report although I have added links to other related blogs that add further depth. It really does seem time for a much bigger debate on the UK’s social and economic approach to nearly 20% of the population.    The combination of a growing and ageing population plus later retirement ages is going to result in more working age disabled people in the future.  But, despite legislation, conventions and lots of public expenditure, we still don’t seem to have found an effective way of being fully integrated socially and economically.  If there aren’t some much more successful changes, there are decades ahead of high cost to the UK economy while some people are consigned to near destitution.  Is this the sort of society that we want? Bouquet of the week. Last Friday’s production of Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus” (remember the film about the death of Mozart?)  At the refurbished Chichester Theatre was terrific: outstanding cast led by Rupert Everett.    For us blind people, there was a special “touch tour” when we could handle all the props and set on the stage and have a good fondle of the (empty) costumes: so heavily padded, embroidered and be-sequinned that the actors must have been melting under the lights.  We got audio description through head-sets: especially tricky to keep us in touch with who is speaking/moving in such a rapid fire script. Yours dramatically, Penny Melville-Brown penny@laylands.co.uk
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