While Harriet Harman’s Department of Social Security has former BBC
correspondent Martin Sixsmith to help convince people that changes to
disability allowance are fair, the disability movement itself has rather
scant resources. However, in addition to a number of in-house teams it
can also rely on the services of one consultancy PR man, cerebral palsy
sufferer Ben Furner.
Furner, a senior account manager at PR firm the Grand Design and a
former in-house man at Age Concern and Scope, is acting as a spokesman
for cerebral palsy sufferers in the wake of Harman’s plans to cut back
on disability allowance for those in work.
Furner has already appeared on the Nine O’Clock News describing how
proposed cuts in allowances for the working disabled would affect him.
He reckons it taught him valuable PR lessons: ’Every PR person should
have to do put themselves in their client’s place. It’s never as easy as
it looks,’ he says.
So what chance does Furner give himself and his cause against the might
of the Government information machine? ’The Government puts up Harriet
Harman to explain welfare reform, the disability movement has me. An
unequal battle, she’s not got a chance!’