You may have noticed purple ducks and socks popping up on our social media recently. This isn’t just because it’s one of our favourite colours. It is because purple is the recognised colour for disability since around 2010 and we want to use it to show our recognition of the rights of disabled people.
We campaign for the rights of disabled people all year round, but right now is a particularly important time to make our voices heard.
With the general election around the corner (May, 2015) and the party conference season coming up, the next few months are crucial for policy making. This is a time when political parties will be strategising and prioritising, when they will be formulating ideas on how to engage with the British public.
Therefore, it is essential to make sure that disability issues (and so ‘disability purple’) are central in people’s minds, especially considering how difficult the past few years have been for disabled people.
Since its introduction in 2013, the Spare Room Subsidy has had a disproportionate effect on disabled people with the DWP’s own interim report showing that some 300,000 people (3/5 of those effected) are now in arrears as a result of the policy. The Government’s Work Capability Assessment has also failed in properly assessing people’s ability to work, with some 40% of successful appeals against Atos costing the taxpayer £60m. The government are also due to reduce the amount to be paid to disabled students in the Disabled Students Allowance by 2016.
The effects of these policies have been widely reported. A charity report publish in July (2014) showed that the Government’s ‘Independent Living Strategy’ had not produced any substantial results. More worrying still was the report published by Just Fair also in July stating that as a result of some of these policies the UK Government was in breach of its legal obligations to respect and protect the rights of disabled people.
These kinds of policies will continue unless we shout about it. So, although sending in a photo of your best purple scarf might not seem significant, it is important to think about what it represents. You are nailing your ‘colours’ to the mast. Showing where your values lie and what you won’t tolerate. You are, most importantly, showing that disabled people must not be marginalised.