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Bedroom Tax Despair

It’s been a pretty depressing day.

Disabled people have fought for change after change to the government’s cuts and austerity measures. We’ve won the support of Lords and Ladies and Labour MPs. We’ve even won the support of some Liberal Democrats too. We’ve presented research and reports, presented data and evidence, campaigned and gone on protest marches. Again and again we’ve told the government and the opposition and peers and journalists why what the government is doing is wrong. We’ve said what the impacts will be and the costs they will bring. We’ve even given recommendations on how things could be done better.

But for many, today feels like one hit too far.

Today a judge told us that the judiciary can’t comment on whether a policy can be considered a ‘legitimate aim,’ even if the judiciary considers it a contentious policy. We were told that the Bedroom Tax is discriminatory yet still legal.  We were told that £25 million is enough to cover 420 000 people’s rent shortfall, even though Shelter told us it covers only 35 000 people and is restricted to the 108 000 with adapted homes.

We have fought and fought to maintain rights for disabled people. To be let down today by the very people meant to maintain our justice is a massive blow. Little wonder then that so many of us feel overwhelmed.

Today we cried for hours on end. Today we were exhausted and burnt out and unable to focus any more. Today we were more shocked and scared than ever before. Today we were so disgusted we couldn’t even write how we felt until hours later. Today we came so close to believing that our faith in democratic and judiciary processes is misplaced. Today we thought maybe this was it, maybe we can’t take it anymore.

But we also can’t give up. Not when we know how many people are suffering. Not when we see the fear and distress and destitution our people are experiencing. We have to keep going, we have to keep fighting, but increasing numbers of us are making ourselves so sick through the fight that we won’t, however desperately we want to, be able to keep going.

Today we were let down by the judiciary and by Labour. But with Unite and others we shall continue to fight. We shall fight until either we are dead or this country returns to the fair and considerate place it used to be.

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