Cruel state: the impact of austerity on disabled people

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Guardian columnist Frances Ryan, who is disabled, has written about inequality and disability rights for decades. She discusses the impact that austerity has had on those most in need. And: Helen Davidson on the Hong Kong protests

In 1995, the Disability Discrimination Act was passed, making it unlawful to discriminate against disabled people in connection with employment. It was a landmark moment for disability rights, says the Guardian’s Frances Ryan. But then in 2010 came an era of austerity, which disproportionately impacted disabled people.

Ryan talks to Anushka Asthana about growing up with a disability during a period that felt full of promise for disabled people. She reflects on the impact of David Cameron’s coalition government launching what has become an unprecedented assault on disabled people: from the bedroom tax to the rollout of “fit for work tests”, and the abolition of disability living allowance. Longstanding cultural prejudice around disability, combined with the demonising rhetoric of austerity, has exacerbated a sense of difference in society, she says. Her book Crippled: Austerity and the Demonization of Disabled People is out today.

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