Emily Thornberry Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury
Thank you for contacting me about the emergency support disabled people need as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
We all know that disabled people have been hit hard by the pandemic, and disproportionately so.
Between January and November 2020, disabled men were up to 3 times more likely to die of Coronavirus than non-disabled men, whilst disabled women were up to 3.5 times more likely to die of Coronavirus than non-disabled women.
There have been abhorrent reports that ‘do not resuscitate’ notices have once again been non-consensually assigned to patients with learning disabilities in hospital with Coronavirus.
When it comes to financial support, many disabled people are still in receipt of so-called ‘legacy benefits’ – which have not benefited from the £20 uplift to Universal Credit. I think that this is unfair and unacceptable.
Many constituents have contacted me about the emergency support disabled people need as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. They have asked me to consider the points raised in Scope’s new briefing, ‘Emergency Support for Disabled People and their Families’. It is alarming that disabled people are facing crises in all aspects of their lives during the pandemic – but most acutely in relation to their health and their finances.
Labour are clear that the government have failed disabled people during the pandemic.
As Marsha del Cordova, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, has said:
“This government has failed to protect disabled people throughout the pandemic. Many have seen their access to care and support slashed, nearly two million sick and disabled people have not received the same additional support as those in receipt of Universal Credit and the government continues to not produce accessible communications.
“The government must now introduce a plan that protects disabled people from coronavirus and ensures they are not left out any more from the government’s responses to the pandemic and immediately extend that £20 uplift to Employment and Support Allowance.”
Vicky Foxcroft, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabilities, is currently conducting a series of regional roadshows to help develop a Disability Benefits Green Paper in the short-term and ensure that disabled people are at the heart of the Labour Party’s policy development in the long-term. The London roadshow will take place on 4 June. You can find information about these virtual events here: https://www.vickyfoxcroft.org.uk/regional-disability-roadshows/
Please be assured that Labour will continue to hold the government to account on this issue.
I hope that you and your family are keeping safe and well. If you have any further points you would like to raise with me, please do not hesitate to get back in touch.
The Rt. Hon Emily Thornberry
Islington South and Finsbury
Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade