“Too complicated” claim denounced by disability campaigners

Please note: The current Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is fast moving, and reactions to it seem to update not just day-by-day but minute-by-minute. Obviously, this site was not designed to bring you the very latest developments in a ‘breaking news’ story such as this. Instead, this site will continue to include news and opinions relating to major events, policy changes, and so on.


What a load of absolute BS! This pathetic excuse for a government has refused t give people with disabilities the same extra support given to recipients of another government benefit because of the crisis caused by COVID-19.

Although the decision is disgraceful, it is not unexpected. After all, neither this government, nor its equally shabby predecessor, have shown any care or compassion towards people living with disabilities.

What is shocking, however, is its disingenuous claim that giving extra support to those who receive disability benefits is somehow ‘too complicated’ for its computer system to handle. What pure and utter nonsense, to put it politely. The same government computer handles the ludicrously small Christmas bonus to the very same people.

Last month, more than 115,000 people signed the ‘Don’t Leave Disabled People Behind’ petition to prime minister Boris Johnson’s UK government. The petition called for all out of work benefits, such as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), to receive the emergency £20 a week top up given to Universal Credit.

But the UK Government has said it’s “too complicated” for its computer system.


Prime minister Boris Johnson with chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Savek. (Pic: The Guardian).

As part of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), a network of over 100 organisations, the MS Society has now written to chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak.

The letter urges Sunak to stop this ‘discrimination against disabled people’, by extending the top-up and backdating pay to when the Universal Credit increase was introduced on April 6.

Denied vital support

ms societyThe MS Society points to the example of Chris Bourne, 60, who is from Leeds, Yorkshire. He gave up work in 2019 to care for his wife Dawn who lives with secondary progressive MS. Dawn receives ESA so does not qualify for the extra £20 a week.

Chris says: “Dawn is among the most vulnerable people in this country, so it doesn’t make sense why we can’t get the £20 uplift. It might have only been a few months, but council tax and the water bill has already gone up.

“Having that £20 would help towards these essential bills – especially as I have no real wage other than the weekly £67 I get as a carer. We need that financial support.”

Anastasia Berry, MS Society policy manager, and DBC policy co-chair.

Anastasia Berry, MS Society policy manager and DBC policy co-chair, said: “More than 130,000 people live with MS in the UK, and many who receive out of work benefits are being denied extra financial support at a time when they need it the most.

“To say the reason is because it’s ‘too complicated’ is a slap in the face for the thousands of people in vulnerable situations who have been hit with extra costs to survive the pandemic. This is not an acceptable excuse, and we urgently need to see an increase in ESA and other legacy benefits so those living with MS, and other disabled people, aren’t left behind.”

Editor’s note

It is the policy of this blog to refer to ‘people with disabilities’, NOT ‘disabled people’. However, when an individual or organisation is quoted directly, it is reported accurately. It would be wrong, and unethical, to change their choice of words.

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Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.

For example:

Centre                              not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control)                  Colour                              not color                                                                                                                      Diarrhoea                       not diarrhea                                                                                                  Haematology                not hematology                                                                                Haematopoietic          not hematopoietic

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.


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