On the eve of the second reading of the government’s controversial Welfare Reform Bill, on 9 March, disabled activist Kaliya Franklin stripped off to demonstrate what the result would be for disabled people across the UK if disability benefits are slashed to the bare minimum.
The photo shoot depicts a naked Franklin lying on the sand on a wintry beach, next to her empty wheelchair.
“I was absolutely frozen when I took my clothes off for the photo shoot,” says Franklin, “but it was nothing like as cold I and other disabled people will be if the government removes our essential benefits.”
Says Franklin, “It’s vital that every able-bodied person remembers they are just an accident or illness away from being disabled themselves. Many people think if they do become disabled that the state will look after them.
“But the fact is that even under current provisions, disability benefits are not enough for disabled people to live on. If the Welfare Reform Bill is passed, the situation will become unimaginably worse.”
In January, Franklin released a video on YouTube that explained how able-bodied people would be in for a major shock if they found themselves needing to apply for disability benefits. The video can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7EXSpmrVMU.
The Broken of Britain group has been campaigning since summer 2010 to raise awareness of the government’s wider anti-disability policies. The group has consistently drawn attention to disabled people being the target of unjust government rhetoric and sham consultations, tabloid slander and political myths.
It says: “We are now the targets of deep and damaging cuts to disability services that are contained in and symbolised by the Welfare Reform Bill. The Bill disguises cuts and changes to a number of benefits, from housing benefit to Income Support that will punish disabled people.”