Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Disabled Poverty levels highlight government failures

4 August, 2005


Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Disability, Mid Ulster MLA Geraldine Dougan has
said that the research published by the University of Ulster today revealing
that over 50% of households containing disabled people are living with
poverty is both shocking and highlights the failure of government to address
problems created by weak enforcement and legislation and a lack of financial
commitment to ensure the right to full participation is protected and
promoted.

Ms Dougan said:

"Not enough is being done to ensure that the rights of disabled people and
their carers to live as equal citizens in our society are protected and
promoted.

"Creating an equal society means recognising that people with disability
need support.

"People with disabilities are far more likely to be unemployed than people
without disabilities. This transfers into increased poverty rates.

We need to see action in a number of areas including:
· Meaningful employment targets within the public sector.
· Strengthening and full implementation of Disability Discrimination Act
· Increased support services to help people with disability to get a job and
stay in employment
· A time limited programme to make all public transport accessible and free
off-peak travel to promote mobility and reduce social inclusion
· Review of benefit levels
· Provision of respite care

"More must be done to support families living with disability.

"Living with poverty makes living with disability even harder, particularly
as there are many higher costs associated with disability. It is vital more
is done to support carers particularly in making people aware of the
benefits and services that exist and in the provision of respite care. There
also needs to be an honest analysis about the gap between current benefit
levels and the actually costs faced households containing disabled people
that are dependent on benefits." ENDS



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