Disabled students from across Scotland joined thousands of protesters on Saturday the 22nd of October in Edinburgh as part of a series of nationwide protests by disability organisations to rally against the UK Government’s welfare reforms.
Speaking ahead of the march, Jay Wakefield, NUS Scotland Disabled Students’ Officer said:
“The Hardest Hit demonstrations show the strength of feeling of people in Scotland about the impact cuts to disability benefits will have on disabled people, their carers and their families.
“The Scottish Government needs to do everything it can to protect disabled people from the damage that the Westminster Government’s cuts to welfare will unleash. That means helping disabled people into work as well as making sure that disabled people have access to education in colleges and universities.
“Students in Scotland are supporting the Hardest Hit campaigns efforts to fight these cuts, and urge the Scottish Government to do everything in its power to oppose these cuts.”
Speakers on the day included Lord Colin Low (A Crossbench Peer), Margaret Burgess of the Scottish National Party and Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray, who did get heckled but responded: “I am standing shoulder to shoulder with you today”.
Other supporters who offered messages of support for the campaign were Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton:
“It [the reforms] amounts to the single most significant attack on the welfare state in my generation; it is nothing short of a cover for cuts.”
“While the most affluent avoid paying £120 billion in taxes and bankers continue to award themselves huge bonuses, disabled people are facing the biggest attack on their rights in my lifetime.”
“In the reality of the new Tory Britain, the broadest shouldered are the poor, the disabled, the sick and the elderly…I will stand shoulder to shoulder with any party or group to challenge the UK Government’s welfare reform agenda, which attacks the very poorest members of our society…”
To find out more information about the Hardest Hit campaign go to their website. http://thehardesthit.wordpress.com/octoberaction/scotland/
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