Jeremy Corbyn took to the stage at yesterday’s Labour Party Conference to blast the “hostile environment” that the Conservative parties have created for disabled people.
Telling the story of a man named Richard who wrote to the Labour leader, Corbyn said: “The Tories have created a ‘hostile environment’ for disabled people. Hundreds of people write to me about it every week, people like Richard who says: ‘My wife was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis 20 years ago. A few months ago we were told that she needed to reapply for Personal Independence Payments. She had an assessment by someone who wasn’t medically trained, we have now been told that all her benefit will be stopped.’
“Richard adds: ‘I have tried to be her rock but the stress and suffering I can see my wife going through is so very cruel and I have had to be put on anti-depressants.’
“These are the human consequences of a Tory Government that puts tax cuts for the wealthy ahead of care for disabled people.”
Corbyn also criticised the “mental health crisis” caused by the Conservatives, citing the story of a woman named Angela who wrote to him to ask for help for her daughter who lives with mental illness, and was told she would have to wait 12 months to see a therapist.
“As a mother, I am at my wits end to know how to help her any more,” Angela wrote. “I would hate her to become another suicide statistic.”
Labour have previously condemned the Conservatives for the creation of a “hostile environment for disabled people,” with Shadow Minister for Disabled People Marsha de Cordova saying in the Commons in July: “This government’s policies have created a hostile environment causing grave violations on disabled people.”
However, a furious Sarah Newton, Minister for Disabled People, shouted down the accusation, saying: “We have very strong protections for people with disabilities in our country. I honestly ask all members opposite, please do not use this language of hostile environment. It is simply not the case.
“Really, I would ask them to stop saying things which they know are not true.”
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