UK Disability History Month: 22nd November – 22nd December 2013

By 2015[i], disabled people with the highest needs will be 19 x more affected by cuts than other citizens. Other disabled people will be 9 x more affected.
UK Disability History Month was set up to celebrate our lives and to explore the history of negative attitudes and their consequences.
Despite the Olympics creating positive shifts in the media and public attitudes to disabled people, levels of hate crime continue to increase and disabled people are bearing the brunt of Government austerity measures. The long history of civil and human rights’ struggles by the Disabled People’s Movement has led to the majority of disabled people living independently in the community. Over the last 70 years, all long stay hospital and institutions, where disabled people were inhumanely ‘warehoused’, have rightly been closed. This is now in danger of being reversed. The UK’s international human rights obligations[ii] are increasingly not being met. The Daily Mail, on 30.08.12, established that
on average 32 claimants were dying every week, after having benefits withdrawn.
As the welfare state retreats under a sustained attack from successive Governments, private enterprise is taking over. We can expect many more Winterbourne Views, as basic rights are denied to disabled people.
The Children and Families Bill will for the first time allow disabled children without Statements/Plans to attend ‘free special schools’. The
gains of inclusive education and equalities are under sustained attack.
Today’s negativity to disabled claimants is based on similar lies[iii] to those perpetuated after the Reformation- the widespread assumption that those claiming poor relief were cheats.
Until the Industrial Revolution most disabled people were accepted as part of society and the workforce. The demands for uniform factory
performance and eugenicist prejudices led to the incarceration of large numbers of disabled people in institutions in the C19th and early C20th.
The Launch of the 4th UK Disability History Month is on Tuesday 19th November[iv], 6-8pm Abbey Community Centre, SW1.
The National Union of Teachers, sponsoring the Launch, have developed materials for use in schools.[v] English Heritage[vi] and the BBC have developed resources in the last year to focus on the often surprising history of disabled people. During the Month there will be events
all over the UK[vii].
For more information contact Richard Rieser Coordinator 07715420727
Nancy Maguire 07907346273

[1] Simon Duffy  ‘How cuts target disabled people’
[1] UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified UK Government July 2009
[1] Celebrating our Struggle for Independent Living: No Return to the Institution or Isolation Broadsheet 2013
[1] Launch Night in London on Tuesday 19th November
[1] National Union of Teachers We Want Choices and Rights in our Lives – a UK Disability History Month
Resource Pack
[1] English  Heritage :A History of Disability: from 1050 to the Present Day | BBC Radio 4 Disability A New History with Peter White
[1] Disability History Month Events 2013