In Crippled: Austerity and the Demonisation of Disabled People, Frances Ryan, a fine journalist, broadcaster and campaigner for disability rights, robustly stacks up the evidence that ought to put politicians – especially chancellors – in the dock. There, they could be tried and found guilty of the destruction of the rights, dignity, independence and mental health of too many of Britain’s 14 million disabled citizens...Crippled is an admirably comprehensive charge sheet of the scale of state abuse. “I’m treading water – or at least delaying my drowning,” one woman says.
Ryan, a Guardian columnist, makes clear just how far we have fallen over what she evocatively calls the “precipice of national character”. Over six chapters she sets out the many ways in which disabled people have been made to pay since the financial crash. In Poverty we learn how the cumulative impact of benefit changes – cuts to council tax support, the bedroom tax, increased sanctions – has pushed an estimated 650,000 disabled people into destitution.