Oxford Circus was blocked for two and a half hours yesterday by people protesting against changes to disability benefits.
Members of DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and UK Uncut chained themselves together across Regent Street. The government wants to reduce payments to what is now Disability Living Allowance, soon to be called Personal Independence Payments, by 20% (actually it’s a bit more complicated than that; see Channel 4’s FactCheck for a breakdown) – a figure that campaigners and independent assessments say will result in genuine claimants losing benefits (government figures confirm just 0.5% of DLA benefits are paid out fraudulently).
The government was defeated on several key points in the Lords the other week but have vowed to overturn the overturning in the Commons. The protesters want to make sure MPs hear their concerns, hence 15 wheelchair users blocking the road supported by around 250 others. The Guardian has a good video of the day’s events. This isn’t the first protest London’s seen over welfare reform, and we can’t imagine it will be the last.
All photos by Julia Cameron for DPAC