“We don’t want to be ‘Left Out In The Cold’ ”, say Britain’s disabled people. On the eve of the second reading of the government’s controversial Welfare Reform Bill on 9th March, a stark image of disabled campaigner Kaliya Franklin aims to convey how vulnerable some of the bills proposals will leave sick and disabled people across the UK.
The photograph depicts a naked Franklin lying on the sand on a wintry beach, next to her empty wheelchair.
Just like Franklin’s wheelchair in the image, social care and support will be left out of reach for many of those most in need if these reforms go ahead, literally leaving many “Left Out in the Cold.”
“We decided to use one thought provoking image to make our point,” explains Franklin. “Sick and disabled people are often left voiceless in society, so we hoped using a single image might reflect this.”
Says Franklin, “It’s vital we all remember we are just an accident or illness away from becoming disabled. Many people think if they do become disabled that the state will look after them.
“But the fact is that even under current provisions, disability benefits are not enough for disabled people to live on. If the Welfare Reform Bill is passed, the situation will become unimaginably worse.”
In January, Franklin released a video on YouTube that explained how able-bodied people would be in for a major shock if they found themselves needing to apply for disability benefits. The video can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7EXSpmrVMU.
The Broken of Britain group has been campaigning since summer 2010 to raise awareness of the government’s wider anti-disability policies. The group has consistently drawn attention to disabled people being the target of unjust government rhetoric and sham consultations, tabloid slander and political myths.
It says: “We are now the targets of deep and damaging cuts to disability services that are contained in and symbolised by the Welfare Reform Bill. The Bill disguises cuts and changes to a number of benefits, from housing benefit to Income Support that will punish disabled people.”