14 October 2015
What: UN staff arrive in UK as part of a high-level inquiry by the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD). They hear direct evidence from individual disabled people about the impact of government austerity measures. One of the individuals to give evidence is Jill Gant, the mother of Mark Wood, who starved to death in 2013 after being found ineligible for ESA, even though his GP had said he was completely incapable of working. Gant concludes that the operation of DWP’s policies and procedures in her son’s case “exemplified a major failure” in safeguarding.
Why significant: The UN’s decision to investigate the government’s alleged breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was a result of pressure from grassroots groups of disabled activists, particularly DPAC. DPAC worked with the UN disability committee to co-ordinate meetings with a range of people able to speak about the adverse impacts of welfare reform and austerity on disabled people, including disabled people and the families of benefit death victims.