In order for the WOW Petition to reach the target of 100,000 signatures we need your help. It is very important that people who do not have access to a computer, to twitter and facebook can learn about how serious the situation is for sick and disabled people.
It is simply not true that the country cannot afford it's welfare budget to support sick and disabled people. Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Carers Allowance and Incapacity Benefit account for just 9% of the entire welfare budget. 52% goes to pensioners and they are not having to bear any of the cuts. Rightly so, but then, neither should disabled people. The very last place to look to make savings should be the incomes of the some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.
Since 2007 the UK has committed to spending £1.162 trillion at various points on bailing out the banks. In March 2011 this added up to 31% of the UK GDP. Disabled people were not responsible for the deficit and cutting disabled people's benefits will not help the economy. Removing their benefit incomes will simply shift the costs elsewhere as more demand is placed on care services, GPs, the NHS, local mental health teams and families already struggling to cope.
We refuse to be fobbed off again with weak excuses. That they are "making work pay". Sick and disabled people are not feckless or lazy. If they were well enough to work they would. No one chooses to be made unwell with a chronic illness, be born with a limiting disability or be struck down with a degenerative disease so that they can claim benefits. It's frustrating and upsetting that the only disabled people the public seem to be interested in are the ones that are not disabled at all. The fact is that fraud is a tiny 0.5% of DLA according to the DWPs own figures and Incapacity Benefit even less at 0.3%.
We urge you to spread the word. Please consider writing to the readers letters in your local paper or ask the editor to run a story about your own concerns so that we may reach out to other sick and disabled people who understand what we're going through and ask them to sign the petition. Let's educate those busy people who don't have time to stop and understand what is happening and ask them to sign the petition. They might need social security, or have to rely on care services one day too. We're under no illusion. Gathering the support of 100,000 people is not going to be easy but together we can do it. Please tell everyone you can think of and ask them to sign the WOW Petition.
If you need a little help to get you started we will be publishing some template letters for you to copy and paste. Feel free to use and share them and amend them as you need.
The first letter is for local newspapers:
Many people in (insert name of area/town covered by paper) will have been affected by the government’s changes to benefits for the sick and disabled.
The Work Capability Assessments which determine whether somebody is fit for work have been condemned by GPs, who at their conference in 2012 voted for them to be scrapped. But the government didn’t listen to the Doctors and these cruel assessments continue, with many people dying soon after being declared fit to work.
Similarly with Disability Living Allowance, the government has admitted that when it is replaced by Personal Independence Payments, hundreds of thousands of people will lose the help they get to allow them to live a decent life. Anyone who can walk more than 20 metres will not get any help with mobility, though they may not even be able to walk far enough to reach a bus stop. Many people may become housebound as a result.
These and other changes are making sick and disabled people frightened and stressed, often making their conditions worse. Growing numbers of suicides are being linked to these fears, and health professionals tell of patients who are making plans to kill themselves, if their lives are made unbearable.
For this reason sick and disabled people have united through social media to set up the WOW petition. WOW stands for the War on Welfare which is being waged by the government, and which the petition wants to stop. Contrary to the propaganda, welfare spending has not grown uncontrollably.
Even if you are fortunate enough not to need this help now, that could all change for you or a loved one tomorrow, through accident or illness. So, to protect the safety net we may all need at some time in our lives, please sign the WOW petition, and tell your friends about it too. Go to www.wowpetition.com to resist the War on Welfare.