By Laura Dale
DOZENS of disabled people from Bristol travelled to London to take part in a protest against Government cuts.
The Hardest Hit march, held on the anniversary of the Coalition Government, began on Victoria Embankment yesterday before marching past the Houses of Parliament.
The Government plans to cut Disability Living Allowance (DLA), as well as cutting back on services, such as day care, transport and respite care services.
The march aimed to stop these cuts and appealed to the Government to improve the Work Capability Assessment so that those who cannot work are ensured Employment and Support Allowance support.
Andy Rickell, 48, the chief executive of The Vassall Centre Trust in Fishponds, arranged a group of people to travel together from Bristol for the protest.
The Vassall Centre is an organisation run and controlled by disabled people and committed to disabled people’s rights, particularly in employment.
Mr Rickell said: “It is rare that disabled people demonstrate at all, and certainly in these numbers.
“This is an important story about the need for a group in society which needs to get its voice heard if its quality of life is not to become even worse.”
A bus taking a group to London was provided by Bristol Dial-a-Ride and supported by the Vassall Centre Trust and the Bristol Disability Equality Forum.
Mr Rickell said that dozens of other disabled people from Bristol and the surrounding area, along with their friends and families, joined the group in London.
He expressed his concerns that disabled people were “at the bottom of the heap”.
“Many are in poverty already and because of these cuts they are now in danger of being even worse off,” he said. “By protesting, we know that the voices of disabled people will be heard.
“By marching, politicians take more note of you.”
Charities supporting disabled people say that in 2011, they and their families are estimated to be worse off by as much as £370 million.
The Hardest Hit protest was organised by the UK Disabled People’s Council and the Disability Benefits Consortium.