Minister of State for Disabled People Sarah Newton caused uproar in the House of Commons yesterday after adamantly rebuking Labour MP Marsha de Cordova’s insistence that disabled people face in the UK face a “hostile environment.”
Shadow Minister for Disabled People de Cordova, herself a disabled person, was speaking on the UN’s assessment that there are “grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights” in the UK.
She added: “This government’s policies have created a hostile environment, causing grave violations on disabled people.”
The Tory MP responded: “We have very strong protections for people with disabilities in our country, not least of which is the Equality Act.
“I honestly ask all members opposite, please do not use this language of “hostile environment.” It is simply not the case.
“The very people that need all of our support are put off from seeking it and coming forward.
“Really, I would ask them to stop saying things which they know are not true.”
Newton also suggested that people who lose their Motability vehicles due to benefit cuts should complain to Motability, not the DWP – which is not how the service works. She claimed that as Motability can make discretionary payments, claimants should go to them instead of the DWP.
“If any Member has a constituent that’s facing losing their Motability car,” she said, “I suggest they call Motability.”
“Motability are sitting on very considerable reserves – they are a charity, and they are able to make discretionary payments to enable people to keep their cars while they’re going through appeal.”
The comments came after MP Yvette Cooper told the Commons of a member of her constituency who had to spend thousands of pounds of her own savings to buy a new car after the DWP cut her benefits, causing her to lose her Motability car – but the DWP reversed their decision five weeks later,
Cooper said: “Frankly, it is outrageous that [her constituent] should lose all of her savings because the DWP screwed up.”
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