The United Nation's resolution proclaiming 1981 the International Year of Disabled People set out principal aims for the “Year”: to stimulate awareness of the needs, abilities and aspirations of the disabled; to encourage the participation, equality and integration of disabled people in society; to help the prevention of disability and to make more positive attitudes towards disabled people. The disabled, however, should have taken heed of what had happened to children since their International Year, 1979, and should, perhaps, have decided against the institutionalising and internationalising of their plight. In the UK, the Year of the Child was followed by savage cuts in the field of education, children's homes, pre‐school and nursery care, and child benefits were not up‐rated in line with the cost of living. Similar things have been happening to disabled people: benefits have not been increased to keep pace with inflation, invalidity pension has become taxable, budgets for aids and appliances have been severed, in some areas the home help service has been cut and elsewhere its cost has increased beyond the means of many of the disabled and the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Civil Liability and Compensation for Personal Injury (the Pearson Commission) have been abandoned. Even the new supplementary benefit scheme as it applies to the disabled fails to provide a sufficient income as of right and indeed some disabled people are worse off financially under the new regulation than the old. Notwithstanding the fact that public expenditure cuts have been made in all sectors, not just those affecting the disabled, there is no doubt that while the launching of an International Year of the Disabled may have been a fine, well‐meaning gesture, in real terms little has been done to improve the financial position of disabled people in the UK.
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