Support the WOWpetition

Disability Social Security

WOWpetition was founded on twitter by a group of people, Ian Jones being one of the founding members. Most that started the group were either sick, disabled or carer’s who were concerned about the cuts to themselves and others. Social media is a great tool for disabled it gives us a voice to share concerns and information, when mobility and sickness often stops us mobilising by other methods. The wording for the first petition came from ideas and interaction on twitter by asking people to put forward ideas on the wording for the petition. Francesca Martinez was then approached and kindly agreed to be the face of the petition.

We were delighted after a lot of hard work by all concerned to reach the 100 000 signatures I am sure at one stage some Union leaders and groups thought we were stalking them, (Mark Serwotka PCS, I apologise). We worked around our illnesses and used our strengths, like Laura Stranghetti who is our fabulous IT expert. We had numerous bloggers, tweeters and members of the group that worked hard to achieve the aim. We were delighted that we won the debate but we quickly realised the Government had no intention of assessing the impact of cuts on the individual.

John McDonnell MP tried to push the campaign again and as the Social Security Advisory Committee and the Equality and Human Rights Commission  called for cumulative impact assessment we were hopeful. Penning claimed the Institute For Fiscal Studies said it couldn’t be done but they have since denied the comment. We felt frustrated that a party could just refuse to assess impact cuts on the individual whilst making inflicting further cuts.

By this time the group was down to four: Ian, Laura, Carol and myself. We kept the social media face book and twitter accounts ongoing to give information on press releases and policy changes. After months of speculation before and after the general election when disabled people were left not knowing how or when more cuts would fall, I can say for myself I was left fearful of how I would survive on less funding. With 300 000 more disabled people pushed into absolute poverty then further cuts to ESA, social care and the Independent Living Fund announced we felt we had to push forward, what choice did we have? With statistics of 1 in 3 losing their mobility cars cuts were threatening me from all directions.

We decided as a group, which is now four of us, to try and push again for impact assessment of all cuts including social care. We were seeing everyday on WOWpetition twitter feed stories of cuts and messages of fear and confusion. We knew that John McDonnell, Ian Mearns, Graham Morris and Jeremy Corbyn would support us again. Natalie Bennett from the Green party has always been very supportive towards our campaign. That SNP and Plaid Cymru are now supporting the new campaign is fabulous as we hope to keep raising the fact that the Government are failing, in our view in their duty of care to the disabled. How can you keep cutting with only impact assessments on each cut not all the cuts together? It is estimated by Simon Duffy that the most severely disabled maybe hit up to nineteen times, in whose universe is that OK?

When you are blocked in a corner you come out fighting, like many other groups, we had to keep fighting or else the 100 000 people who signed it last time would be let down. We continue to fight as every day we hear or see stories of fear, the impact of sanctions, decisions by the DWP that are unbelievable and cuts and more cuts. Francesca kindly agreed again to be the face of the campaign and we keep fighting on like many other disability groups, charities and unions. Governments regardless of which party should not be able to abdicate their responsibility to the disabled of the UK whilst impacting their lives on a daily basis.

Link to petition