Hundreds join disability cuts protest in Cardiff

Almost 1,000 people have marched through Cardiff in protest at welfare benefit changes for disabled people.

The demonstration was part of the "Hardest hit" campaign in cities across the UK.

Protesters say they fear cuts to disability living allowance and other benefits.

The UK government says the welfare system is failing people and reforms will see benefits go to those who need them.

The Cardiff protest was the largest of similar events in London, Edinburgh, Leeds, Nottingham and Manchester.

The demonstrations were organised by the UK Disabled People's Council and the Disability Benefits Consortium.

'Very concerned'

Disability Wales Chief Executive Rhian Davies said: "People feel very passionate about this issue, they are very angry.

"A lot of people are already being called before the employment and support allowance assessment panels about whether or not they are regarded as fit to work.

"A lot of people are getting letters from the DWP [Department for Work and Pensions-] - they are very concerned about their benefits.

"People are genuinely frightened about what will happen if they lose their benefits and lose their services, and what's going to happen to them.

'Absolutely committed'

"For all the people who are here, there are hundreds and thousands of disabled people who will be willing this day on and are very concerned about what's happening."

Demonstrators called on ministers to ensure changes to disability living allowance - which helps many to live independently - do not make disabled people worse off.

Image caption The protesters are worried about the effect of benefit changes for disabled people

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said: "This government is absolutely committed to supporting disabled people and we continue to spend more than £40bn a year on disabled people and their services.

"However, the current benefit system is not always reaching those who need it most, which is why we will introducing the new Personal Independence Payment to ensure people get the right levels of support.

"And our reforms are more than just changes to benefits.

"The Sayce review is looking at how we can use the protected budget for disability employment services more effectively, to get an extra 35,000 disabled people into work".

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