United Nations To Investigate If British Government’s Welfare Reforms Violate Human Rights

The United Nations is due to visit the UK to investigate whether the government’s welfare reforms have led to “grave or systematic violations” of disabled people’s human rights, it has been reported.

A leading disability charity said that the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities had contacted them as part of an investigation into human rights abuses against disabled people in the UK.

Inclusion Scotland, a network of disability organisations, said that they had been advised by the international body that a Special Rapporteur would be arriving in the UK in the “near future”.

Iain Duncan SmithLast week, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith was accused of launching a “new attack on disabled people” after announcing plans for a benefits shakeup to get more people off benefits and into jobs.

The minister said that sickness benefits assessments needed overhauling and argued that there needed to be more support for people with “common” mental illnesses to get them into work.

He said that work is “good for your health” and lambasted critics for “scaremongering” over his welfare reforms, insisting that the vulnerable were still protected.

Bill Scott, director of policy at Inclusion Scotland, told The Sunday Herald: “The UN have notified us they will be visiting Britain to investigate … and want to meet with us when they come, sometime in the next few months.”

This latest news comes after it was revealed that more than 4,000 people died within six weeks of being declared “fit for work” by the DWP.

The United Nations is due to visit the UK to investigate whether the government’s welfare reforms have led to “grave or systematic violations” of disabled people’s human rights, it has been reported.

A leading disability charity said that the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities had contacted them as part of an investigation into human rights abuses against disabled people in the UK.

Inclusion Scotland, a network of disability organisations, said that they had been advised by the international body that a Special Rapporteur would be arriving in the UK in the “near future”.

Iain Duncan SmithLast week, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith was accused of launching a “new attack on disabled people” after announcing plans for a benefits shakeup to get more people off benefits and into jobs.

The minister said that sickness benefits assessments needed overhauling and argued that there needed to be more support for people with “common” mental illnesses to get them into work.

He said that work is “good for your health” and lambasted critics for “scaremongering” over his welfare reforms, insisting that the vulnerable were still protected.

Bill Scott, director of policy at Inclusion Scotland, told The Sunday Herald: “The UN have notified us they will be visiting Britain to investigate … and want to meet with us when they come, sometime in the next few months.”

This latest news comes after it was revealed that more than 4,000 people died within six weeks of being declared “fit for work” by the DWP.

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Figures released by the department on Thursday showed that between December 2011 to February 2014, 4,010 people died after being told they should find work following a “Work Capability Assessment”.

Of that figure, 1,360 died after losing an appeal against the decision.

Mr Scott added: “Because disabled people are less likely to be in work, they are more likely to also be reliant on benefits which aren’t specifically for disabled people, but which are claimed by people on low income – like housing benefit and council tax benefit.

“So if there are cuts to those, it affects disabled people disproportionately, because they are more likely to be on low income.”

In 2013, a UN investigator told the British government it should scrap the bedroom tax, after hearing “shocking” accounts of how vulnerable people were affected in the UK.

A DWP spokesperson told the Huffington Post UK that the department was unable to comment on this issue as all “UN inquiry processes are confidential”.

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