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Psychologists back call for a new watchdog to protect the rights of disabled people

31 August 2017

The British Psychological Society has welcomed the publication of a United Nations (UN) report that accuses the British government of violating the human rights of disabled people by slashing welfare provision.

Produced by the UN's Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in November 2016, the report said cuts and caps "gravely or systematically" violated the rights of disabled people.
 
Dr Lisa Morrison-Coulthard, the Society's acting director of policy, said:
"Earlier this year the Society, along with a number of other organisations in the mental health field, called on the government to suspend its system of benefit sanctions. We argued that it did not encourage people to find work and can result in destitution, hardship, widespread anxiety and feelings of disempowerment.
 
Any government serious about improving the lives of people and understanding why intractable problems persist, must ensure that policies and interventions are based on a deep understanding of human behaviour and are designed to enhance wellbeing not hardship"
 
As the United Nations report shows, people with disabilities are among the hardest hit by this system. The Society very much endorses the report's call for the government to establish a watchdog to assess the impact of policy changes on disabled people's lives."
Members of the UN committee visited Britain on a fact-finding mission in October 2015.
Their report was based on more than 200 interviews and around 3000 pages of evidence.
 
On its publication, the welfare secretary Damien Green described it as "patronising and offensive".

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