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Protesters rally against proposed disability cuts with festive theme

PUBLISHED: 10:59 17 December 2015 | UPDATED: 10:59 17 December 2015

Parkinsons Protest

Parkinsons Protest

Archant

Gravesend Parkinson's Support Group protested outside the Houses of Parliament

Ann and Alan outside the Houses of ParliamentAnn and Alan outside the Houses of Parliament

Gravesend Parkinson’s Support Group protested outside the Houses of Parliament against planned cuts to disability benefits.

The group rewrote traditional Christmas songs with lyrics describing the potential impact the cuts will have.

One in 500 people have Parkinson’s, which can cause physical and mental issues, robbing people of their independence.

A proposed bill would see people with Parkinson’s receive £30 less a week, totalling almost £1,500 a year.

Among the songs sung outside the Houses of Parliament, was:

Welfare cuts, welfare cuts,

Cuts are on the way

Oh how hard

The axe will fall

And disabled people will pay

Alan Lander, 72, Meopham has had Parkinson’s for 10 years, he and his wife Ann travelled from Gravesend to London to join the protest.

Mr Lander said: “As a co-ordinator of a support group with nearly 40 members, I have spoken to several of our members who rely on disability benefit.

“They are extremely worried as to how they will cope with the financial stress of the cuts to their benefits alongside living with Parkinson’s.

“This will also put additional pressure on their already overworked carers.

“Clearly the government has no idea of what it is like to have Parkinson’s, or looking after a loved one with the condition.

“I am singing in solidarity with those who are affected who are unable to live as they want due to their condition.

“I think it is wrong that people with Parkinson’s will have the benefits they need to survive cut.”

Steve Ford, chief executive at Parkinson’s UK, said:

“What on the surface looks like a jolly Christmas carol recital, is, in fact, a powerful and defiant protest against proposed disability cuts that, if passed, will have a devastating impact on people with Parkinson’s in Gravesend, and across the UK.

“With serious changes afoot to the benefits system, there hasn’t been a more crucial time to make sure people with Parkinson’s are heard.

“By singing in solidarity this Christmas Alan and his wife are making sure the whole Parkinson’s community is standing up for those who will be hit the hardest.

“The cuts would push people with Parkinson’s who are struggling to make ends meet even closer to the edge, and will cause enormous suffering and anxiety. The Government needs to halt plans to cut disability benefits now, before these Christmas carol lyrics become a reality.”

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