A ‘Scrounger’ is a person who borrows from or lives off others, according to the Oxford English Dictionary and disabled people are being labelled as ‘benefit scroungers.’

By Jade Reid

Mencap is a charity that works with people with learning disabilities. A new survey shows that benefit-related discrimination has got worse over the last year, while television programmes reveal injustices in work assessment processes. For example, 46% of disabled people feel that attitudes towards them have worsened in the last year and disabled people feel that the small number of people falsely claiming disability benefits is the main cause of public hostility.

A spokesperson for Scope stated: “We work to ensure more successful disabled people mentor and develop disabled leaders of the future. We would like to ensure disabled people are more visible in mainstream media and entertainment”.

Scope produced a report in May 2015 suggesting that “despite this progress, negative public attitudes and awkwardness about disability prevail”. Two thirds (67%) of the British public feel uncomfortable talking to disabled people. Over a third (36%) of people tend to think of disabled people as not as productive as everyone else. Over four fifths (85%) of the British public believe that disabled people face prejudice and a quarter (24%) of disabled people have experienced attitudes or behaviours where other people expected less of them because of their disability. One fifth (21%) of people aged 18 – 34 admit that they have actually avoided talking to a disabled person because they weren’t sure how to communicate with them. Disabled people and their families tell Scope that negative attitudes affect every area of their lives – in the playground, at work, in shops, on the street.

Jade Reid is a freelance journalist.