There are a million and one reasons why not to vote UKIP. I’ve tried to keep this as relevant as possible to the issue of disability.
Tax: UKIP propose a flat rate of tax to replace separate income-related income tax and national insurance. This is regressive taxation and therefore will hit the poorest of society the most which unfortunately includes large numbers of disabled people. In their 2010 manifesto they said this would be set at 31% although a recent policy paper mentioned it would maybe be 25% instead. The last time England had a flat rate of tax it was the poll tax under Thatcher…and I think everyone knows how well that went!
EU: Obviously everyone knows UKIP want to leave the EU. They also want to repeal the Human Rights Act and stop British citizens being able to bring claims to the European Court of Human Rights. Minority groups such as the disabled will be hit worst by this as we’ll potentially lose some protection and no longer have an extra court to appeal to when we’ve been mistreated by our own state. On top of that, disabled Brits who may want to travel abroad to another EU member state for medical treatment would potentially face a lengthy visa application process to do so and the associated costs with that. Also visa application costs etc just to go on holiday to an EU member state would obviously hit the poorest the most so it would probably reduce the ability of poorer families to go on holiday outside of the UK and gain valuable cultural experiences for children.
Law: UKIP have pledged to double prison places. The UK already has one of the highest numbers of prisoners in the world and it’s a well-known fact that the vast majority of people in prison suffer from mental health problems. Reoffending rates are currently very high too and I fail to see how doubling the prison population is going to be beneficial.
Economy: UKIP pledges to cut £77 billion from public expenditure to cut the deficit. If it looks like austerity and sounds like austerity…it probably is austerity. Those cuts are evidently going to hurt those who are most reliant on public services and state benefits, i.e. the poorest and most vulnerable which includes the disabled.
Political correctness: UKIP want to cut back on ‘political correctness’. This could make me it more acceptable to use highly offensive language against minority groups inevitably including slurs against disabled people. Geoffrey Clarke, UKIP candidate for Kent County Council famously called for the mandatory abortion of disabled babies in his manifesto. He also wanted to cease all free IVF treatments on the NHS, something very important to many disabled people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to have their own children.
Other disability related things: UKIP’s 2010 manifesto called for out-of-work disability benefits to be scrapped and replaced with a flat-rate out-of-work benefit paid to everyone at the same value regardless of if they have extra costs as a result of being disabled or not. They also spoke against inclusive education and declared support for “congregate” communities which are essentially ghettos for people with learning difficulties or other disabilities to live together away from healthy people.
UKIP’s disability spokeswoman (who incidentally is a former Tory but was suspended by the party for posing in a Facebook photo with a ‘golliwog’ toy insisting that it wasn’t offensive), also does not think that disability benefit work capability assessments should ever be conducted by the claimant’s own GP. She also stated with regards to offensive slurs against disabled people such as “spastic” and “retard” that “it depends on the context”.
Do you still want to vote UKIP???