Disabled asylum seekers as experimental subjects in a broader systemic agenda of inequality

Rebecca Amani Yeo

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


The reduction in public services since 2008 has undoubtedly affected some
groups, such as disabled people, more than others. Many of these cuts,
ostensibly imposed in response to recession, bear similarities to measures
previously tried and tested on disabled asylum seekers. I argue that the
perception of national crisis was used by government as a smokescreen to
expand the population affected by such policies, thereby asserting a predetermined neoliberal agenda of public expenditure cuts.

The inequality of this situation is compounded by the entitlements granted to
people deemed exceptionally worthy. The Vulnerable Persons Relocation
Scheme for Syrian nationals includes disability among the eligibility criteria,
offering considerably greater entitlements than available to asylum seekers.
If the response to certain people is markedly different to that offered to
others, then negative consequences can be anticipated, as from any other
example of inequality. Furthermore, this scheme promotes a significant shift
in migrant entitlement. The UK government has no legal obligation towards
this group; therefore, those people who are selected are recipients of gifts
rather than people claiming their rights. I explore the nature and implications
of such differences in entitlement, arguing that inequality in all its manifestations must be challenged to reduce deprivation and to avoid negative consequences for the wider population.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInequalities in the UK
Subtitle of host publicationNew discourses, evolutions and actions
EditorsDavid Fee, Anemone Kober-Smith
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
ISBN (Print)9781787144804
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2017


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