Government's reports of benefit fraud encourage abuse

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Government's unfounded reports of welfare benefit fraud leads to increase in abuse of disabled people

Disabled people are being subjected to increased levels of abuse and harassment, due to unfounded reports of benefit fraud by civil servants and ministers, according to six national charities which include SCOPE, National Autistic Society and Disability Rights UK.


The tabloid media have increased the use of words ‘scrounger’ and cheat’ and articles focusing on benefit fraud, as revealed by the Bad News for Disabled People report commissioned by Inclusion London in October 2011. However, the charities place responsibility with the Department for Work and Pensions for driving the media’s narrative and with ministers such as Iain Duncan Smith who have confused the public’s understanding of Disability Living Allowance, a non means tested benefit, with and Employment and Support Allowance.

The latest Comres survey, commissioned by SCOPE shows that the attitudes deteriorated  with66% of disabled people in September 2011 saying that they have experienced aggression, hostility or name calling compared with 41% in May 2011.

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