Britain’s greatest Paralympian, Lady Tanni Grey-Thompson, has warned that disability benefit cuts will affect the development of top athletes and undermine the Games’ key legacy aim of widening access to sport for disabled people.
Nice try, love, but it’s not really up there with the ‘disabled people will starve in the gutters or commit suicide!’ hyperbole we’ve been hearing non-stop, is it?
Her comments were backed by other Paralympians. Ben Rushgrove, a sprinter and silver medallist at the Beijing Games, said that while he had no problem with the principle of welfare reform, the loss of disability benefit would be an obstacle to sporting participation for many people.
Shouldn’t we be concentrating on, well, getting them back into work, and not just into sport?
He added: “We have to ask what type of society people want. In the UK years ago we made a decision to support those people who are the most vulnerablein society and we would not let them fall by the wayside. I feel that idea is being eroded away.”There will always be people who game the system. But most disabled people are living hand to mouth. It’s about getting the change right and the pace of change right.”
If they really are living ‘hand to mouth’, I wouldn’t have thought sport would be the first thing on their agenda…