Feb 282011
 

Description: Two disabled people in a small dingy are confronting a large super tanker with TUC written on it’s bows. The dingy has ‘disabled people against cuts’ printed on it’s side and there is a large sign above it saying ‘cuts protest’ and an arrow pointing to the side. Another sign is floating in the sea alongside with the same message. The super tanker is slowly beginning to turn in the direction of the protests as the captain shouts out from the far distant bridge: “Sorry, it just takes us a while to change direction!”

Anyone wishing to use any of my existing cartoons for their own web sites or publications are asked to make a donation to support the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)web site.Please make your payment by sending a cheque to Dave Lupton, 17 Cawsam Gardens, Caversham, Reading RG4 5JE and marked on the back DPACthe amount you pay is discretionary. Thanks for your support.


Crippen’s web site –
http://www.crippencartoons.co.uk

Crippen’s cartoon blog – http://crippencartoons.wordpress.com

Feb 272011
 

We were asked to help stop the deportation of Peter Gichura. Having met Peter at several events, I can vouch that he has been a great presence at many disability rights/equality events and we should help him – so please sign the petition.

Thank you so much for signing the petition to stop the deportation of Peter Gichura, the Kenyan disability rights activist, who was scheduled for deportation last Monday. The good news is that Peter’s solicitor filed an injunction and judicial review, which temporarily delayed the deportation – so Peter is still in London, and still volunteering, supporting fellow disabled Londoners 3 days a week.
However, the situation is still critical, and deportation is a real and urgent threat. We have over 970 signatures on the petition – please can you help us break through the one thousand mark, by sharing the link by email, facebook, twitter, with even more of your friends? We keep Peter’s MP and solicitor up to date with the totals, so it really helps.

http://www.gopetition.com/petition/43145.html

Thank you to everyone who has done so much already – here is a personal message from Peter (he would email you himself, but he doesn’t have regular access to internet at the moment, so as Peter’s friend I’m just helping out..)
“Thank you friends – you have gone the extra mile in my time of need. I am overwhelmed and humbled by the love and support that has been shown me, by so many – those of you who know me, and those of you who don’t. All of you have a special place in my heart. Your support gives me hope and strength.”
Other things you can do:

Like our page on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Urgent-Stop-the-deportation-of-Peter-Gichura/189355924432218
Leave messages of support for Peter -by leaving a message on the Facebook page above.
Blog, tweet, talk, get the message out there – see this great blog by Jody McIntyre on the Independent here: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2011/02/21/peter-gichura-human-rights-home-office-style/

If everyone gets just two more people to sign the petition, we will triple our already fantastic response.
Assante Sana (“thanks very much” in Swahili) from Peter and from all of us campaigning to stop his deportation.

from Lee Webster

Feb 272011
 

Bob Findlay DPAC joined activists in Birmingham today from  major trade unions in the city, including UNISON, GMB, CYWU, UNITE, NUT, UNITE, UCU, NASUWT, PCS, CWU as well as campaigns such as  UK UNCUT, community choirs and residents associations.

About 1,000 people marched through the city against £300 million of cuts which will devastate services and lead to 7,000 workers losing their jobs.

It was said that  there will be cuts of £50 million of adult care budget, 11,000 disabled people to lose their eligibility to funding, and £4 million will be cut off support for disabled pupils in schools.

In an interview with Central television, DPAC co founder Bob Findlay, spoke of disabled people who will “end up prisoners in their own homes”

Demonstration gathered at Birmingham Cathedral and marched through the main shopping streets. As the march reached a branch of Barclays protestors stopped and chanted ‘pay your taxes’. As they reached each of Philip Green’s shops the chant was repeated. BHS shut their doors.

At the same time as the march UKuncut protestors were targetting a number of shops for not paying tax.

Feb 272011
 

Many thanks to Sue Bott for giving us her speech to be published here.

Sue Bott

Sue Bott

SPEECH TO INDEPENDENT LIVING FESTIVAL,

GLASGOW 17TH FEBRUARY 2011

Sue Bott, National Centre for Independent Living

Thank you for inviting me to your festival and giving me the opportunity to speak to you about independent living and the current situation we are faced with.

We have come a long way in the last 30 years.  Looking at the exhibition you have of disability history you can see how much our lives have changed since the days of institutions and low expectations of disabled people.  This is thanks to the pioneering work of disabled campaigners: people like John who as part of Project 81 argued for and eventually succeeded in persuading his local authority to give him the cash so that he could employ his own personal assistants rather than have to spend the rest of his days in the Leonard Cheshire home in Lis, Hampshire; and people like Ken and Maggie in Derbyshire who were able to move out of an institution to a house where they occupied the ground floor and the people who lived on the floor above in return for living rent free provided personal assistance.

The Independent Living Committee of the British Council of Disabled People led the campaign by disabled people for direct payments so that we could arrange our own support rather than have it arranged for us.  Eventually of course we succeeded and direct payments legislation was passed in 1996.

But we know, and experience has confirmed, that realising independent living is not just about changing the law.  We have to change hearts and minds, we have to bring about a complete change in the culture of professionals working with disabled people.  What is even more important is that we have to believe and understand independent living ourselves.  I think perhaps in recent years we have become complacent and assumed there is acceptance of independent living giving us choice and control in meeting our support needs.

The last few months have taught us that there can be no such complacency.  In the battle of ideas we disabled people are being severely challenged.

The UK Government is taking our terminology and abusing it.  Andrew lansley, Secretary of State for Health takes the acknowledged term of the international disability rights movement ‘nothing about us without us’.  How dare he!  It is clear from his plans for reforming the NHS – giving all the decisions to GPs and health clinitians  – that he is not talking about the rights of disabled people.

Maria Miller, Minister for Disabled People, has claimed that her plans for abolishing the Disability Living Allowance and replacing it with Personal Independence Payments are based on the social model and yet, if you get anything at all, it will only be through a medical assessment.  We’re all going to be ‘PIPed at the post’!

I have heard it said that such an abuse of our language means that we should change it.  Personally I do not think so, rather we should seek to explain our language more widely, what it means, and what it means for our rights.

We need to explain the social model, that it is about the environmental and attitudinal barriers facing disabled people and, contrary to what you think Maria, these barriers have by no means disappeared.  Yes we have made progress but we are not there yet.

We need to explain independent living, that it is about doing what we want to do at the time we want to do it by having choice and control in how our support needs are met, and that by having such control we can be active and equal citizens.

Never has it been more important to articulate our aspirations as disabled people than now.  Just consider the attacks on disabled people that the Government have unleashed upon us: –

  • Independent Living Fund – Closed.
  • DLA to be replaced with PIP which most of us will not be eligible for.
  • The agents of ATOS assessing us and stopping our support according to some code that only they understand.

Bye the way I have heard that here in Scotland you had a day of action that closed all the ATOS offices.  Congratulations.  I always say people north of the border have much to teach us southerners about campaigning.

  • The frankly bullying tactics of access to work administrators on disabled people who have the temerity have support in employment
  • The draconian cuts (as much as 20 – 30%) being made to disabled people’s care packages by local authorities

If we are to assert our right to independent living, which we are entitled to under article 19 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Disabled People, we need to build allies.

We need to build allies with trade unionists.  I attended the People’s Convention in London on 12th February.  It was good to be there and have a workshop on disability rights and independent living.  The SE regional Secretary of the union Unite was clearly moved by what we had to say and referred to the attacks on disabled people in his final speech.  This is different to cuts campaigns of the past.  We are there and speaking for ourselves.

We need to build allies by signing up to like minded initiatives such as the Campaign for a Fairer Society which was launched in ‘TheTimes’ in the last few days.  I know many organisations in Scotland have already signed up.

If we don’t act what will happen?  It will be: –

  • Back to the institutions
  • Back to reliance on family and do gooding volunteers
  • Back to having no choice and control in our lives
  • Back to the invisibility of disabled people in our society

We cannot and will not allow that to happen!

If you can, join us in London on March 26th for the TUC march against the cuts.  If all goes according to plan disabled people will be leading this march which will probably be an even bigger event than the anti war march in 2003.

Watch out for the disabled people mass lobby of Parliament likely to be on May 11th.

So, go to it and do the pioneers of our independent living movement proud!

Feb 232011
 

This is first published on the Beyond Clicktivism blog by Tim Hardy
protest posterDisabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are going to take part in the TUC march for the alternative in protest against government cuts. The demonstration is taking place on 26 March 2011 in London.

“Disabled people are facing continuing attacks against their lives, living standards and basic human rights to live independently from almost every conceivable quarter and it is time for us to fight back against these cuts,” they explain.

“These savage spending cuts damage not only our lives, but our public services, and threaten economic recovery. They’re dangerous, unfair and unnecessary.

Disabled people are going to march to tell the government we demand ‘Rights not Charity’ and to show we are not easy victims of their cuts even though they may think we are.”

Follow plans for the day via the facebook event page or via twitter.

Latentexistence has written powerfully of the ways in which people can campaign online. For those who physically cannot make the protest in spite of the TUC access and disability arrangements but would like to make their presence felt, DPAC and Beyond Clicktivism are working together to bring you a way of doing so. Let’s light up a map of the UK online in solidarity with the protesters on 26 March and show our elected representatives quite how many people oppose their unnecessary, ideological reforms.

More details will be announced over the next two weeks so follow either or both sites to keep up to date. Volunteers interested in helping with coding and setting up a website are very welcome. Please get in touch with either myself or DPAC to offer your assistance.

Feb 202011
 

protest poster
We now have some access details for the 26th March –

heres the map with the assembly point for disabled people.

Arrangements for disabled people who:

  • wish to join the march at the main assembly point
  • wish to join the last part of the march for a shorter route to the rally
  • wish to go straight to Hyde Park.

Details below can be found at March for the Alternative website

Remember to let Peter Purton ppurton@tuc.org.uk know by March 14th if you need access permission.

There is a Buddies for rallies page here if you need help and want to send out a message.

Also UNITE are providing free transport for non-union members: contact your local UNITE office about this.

At Victoria Embankment assembly point

  • There will be a special assembly point in Savoy St at the start of the March for people in wheelchairs and disabled people  who wish to join the demonstration in a group. There are accessible toilets within reasonable distance of the assembly point. This will be separately stewarded and marchers will be slotted in towards the front of the march.  Savoy Street is now shown on the assembly point map. We understand of course that many people with disabilities will want to join their union or other groups in the rest of the march.
  • The size of the event means that there will be major road closures throughout central London all day on March 26th starting quite early.
  • Roads at the assembly point will be closed from around 9am and drop off times before then will be limited to 10 minutes. But it will be possible for taxis/dial-a-ride/minibus vehicles, though not coaches, to drop near Savoy St up to 11am (but not park). We will need to gather requests for such access (and we also need to arrange pick-up access after the event at Hyde Park). We will be issuing permits for this, and without them access may not be possible. Email Peter Purton at ppurton@tuc.org.uk by March 14th.

Short march assembly point

  • For those who wish to join the march for a shorter distance there is a further assembly point in St James St (off Piccadilly). It is now on the route map. There are accessible toilets that we have arranged within reasonable distance of this assembly point. This will allow people to join the march for the final stretch into Hyde Park. We would want people formed up there by 12:45, but if you are being dropped off in a vehicle it is likely that all nearby roads will be closed from 11am. We cannot arrange exceptions for this as access roads will be completely closed and other roads by this time will be heavily congested.  We will also need to know in advance about anyone coming who needs vehicle access to the short march assembly point so that we can discuss arrangements, particularly for pick-up. Email Peter Purton at ppurton@tuc.org.uk by March 14th.
  • Of course people can join or leave the march at any point along the route, and as the march will be huge it is likely to be moving along Piccadilly from 1pm to probably at least 3:30pm, so if people wish to arrive later by tube they can. Piccadilly, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner are all on the final stretch of the march.

In the march

  • We are expecting that there will be St Johns Ambulance ambulances at the front and rear of the march and there will be trained first aiders distributed along the route.
  • It will not be possible for other vehicles to join the march.
  • Stewards will be briefed on disability issues, particularly those stewarding the assembly points in Savoy St and St James St.

Coach Parking arrangements

  • As there are so many coaches coming we are allocating coach drop off and parking places in advance, and people will make the rest of their journey by public transport or under their own steam.  A number of tube stations close to the assembly point are accessible and we will allocate coaches to drop off points near to accessible stations if we know about special needs in advance.
  • All coaches need to be registered with the TUC in advance. Coach organisers should  include any access issues when they do this, or tell us later if they only become apparent later. This should be done through the contact page.
  • We are not yet in a position to allocate coach drop-off and parking points as we are still trying to gather as many options as possible. There are rumours that all coaches are going to Wembley. This is not true, although we will be using the Wembley coach park as one of a number of locations. We will be using a range of different drop-off points and parking arrangements around London for coaches. One reason for this is to make it easier for access for vehicles delivering and picking up people with disabilities to get to the march – and more importantly pick-up points.

In Hyde Park

  • There will be a signer on the giant screen(s).
  • There will be a further St John Ambulance facility, which will be joined by the ambulance at the front of the march when it arrives.
  • There will be a hard surface area accessible via hard paths that are suitable for wheelchairs.
  • There will be disabled access toilets.
  • For those who wish only to go to Hyde Park there will be some limited vehicle access taxi/dial-a-ride and minibus style vehicles either within Hyde Park (though space is very limited) or nearby. This will only be by pre-arrangement and with a permit issued by the TUC. Contact Peter Purton in advance ppurton@tuc.org.uk by March 14th.

Pick up points

  • We will be able to arrange pick-up points for taxi/dial-a-ride and minibus style vehicles either within Hyde Park (though space is very limited) or nearby. This will only be by pre-arrangement and with a permit issued by the TUC. Again you need to contact Peter Purton in advance ppurton@tuc.org.uk by March 14th.
Feb 192011
 

Mothers MarchInternational Women’s Week & Mothering Sunday

MOTHERS MARCH

Sat 12 March 2011 w All welcome

Assemble 12 noon: Trafalgar Square (north side)

Speak-out 2pm: Room G2, SOAS, London
School of Oriental & African Studies, Thornhaugh St, WC1H OXG

Invest in caring not killing


For Everyone’s SURVIVAL & WELFARE

End Cuts, Poverty & Discrimination

WOMEN, MEN, YOUNG, OLD BRING YOUR DEMANDS!

Why a Mothers March? Because:

Mothers produce and care for the world’s people, while brutal market forces destroy us and our planet.
Mothers’ basic contribution to survival and welfare is unrecognised and unpaid.

·    Governments invest in weapons of war, banks and corporations. Feeding, housing, health, support, education, the environment – they couldn’t care less.

Our young people are victimised for defending everyone’s right to education.
Everywhere people are risking their lives to bring change – from Palestine to Egypt, from Haiti to Colombia, from Kashmir to Congo and Nigeria …

Why march with us? Because:

Most women do caring work, whether we’re mothers or not.
We’re all being robbed of benefits and services our labour and taxes paid for.
We’re thrown out of jobs or made to work harder for less.
Mothers can help bring together all who stand for life, against war & exploitation.
Everyone’s contribution and struggle must be counted and supported.
Fathers, sons, brothers, partners . . . it’s time to show your support.

Mothers March in Guyana, Haiti, India, Peru, the US.
ASK ORGANISATIONS TO ENDORSE THE MARCH

The Global Women’s Strike is an international network for recognition & payment for all caring work, and for military spending to go back to the community starting with women the main carers.

Why I’ll be marching:

  • ‘My daughter has a life threatening disability. Mothers like me get no respite. They are even pushing us to go out to work. We are heading for disaster.’

  • ‘It’s frightening to raise children in a world where they are not valued.’

  • ‘Asylum seekers were cut first. No recourse to public funds, food vouchers, destitution. That’s what they intend for everyone.’

  • ‘We run a small health food shop. Times are hard. My oldest child is losing his EMA. I don’t know how we’ll manage.’

  • ‘We use the library all the time, for revision, books and films for holidays.’

  • ‘Women are not believed. I was raped, accused of lying and jailed.’

  • ‘Legal aid enabled me to sue the police for assault and wrongful arrest. Without it only the rich can afford justice.’

  • ‘Mums of young children are treated as “workless”. When I was on Income Support I could be available to my son.’

  • ‘After a life of labour, pensioners are told living longer is an economic crisis.’

  • ‘Grandparents are expected to step in. We’re also expected to retire later.’

  • ‘After school clubs are closing. Children are “collateral damage” for the cuts.’

  • ‘I was tortured and claimed asylum. My children weren’t allowed to join me. I worry about them terribly.’

  • ‘My partner was violent. I reported him and social services took my children. Why punish us?’

  • ‘We share our house with others to reduce costs. Cuts in housing benefit will make it impossible, especially in London.’

  • ‘I went into sex work to support my kid and pay for my degree.’

  • ‘People are told to blame “others” for the cuts. Racist attacks go up, bullying, against immigrants, disabled people, lesbians, gays, trans. It’s scary.’

  • ‘Child Benefit should be universal. Kids should see they and their mums are valued. Means testing stigmatises; many kids hide they’re on school meals.’

  • ‘Young people want to find their own way to activities. Without out-of-school clubs, sports, music . . . we are impoverished.’

  • ‘Flooding, drought. Now they want to take our forests. They don’t respect anything.’

Global Women’s Strike international demands:

Payment for all caring work – in wages, pensions, land & other resources. What is more valuable than raising children & caring for others? Invest in life & welfare, not military budgets & prisons.

Pay equity for all, women & men, in the global market.

Food security for breastfeeding mothers, paid maternity leave and maternity breaks. Stop penalizing us for being women.

Don’t pay ‘Third World debt’. We owe nothing, they owe us.

Accessible clean water, healthcare, housing, transport, literacy.

Non-polluting energy & technology which shortens the hours we work. We all need cookers, fridges, washing machines, computers, & time off!

Protection & asylum from all violence & persecution, including by family members & people in positions of authority.

Freedom of movement. Capital travels freely, why not people?

Access on the day

Sign language interpreters – Leah Hall and Sue MacLaine

Meet 12 noon at Trafalgar Square WC2 (north side by the National Gallery).   Accessible loos and a café in Trafalgar Square.

Wheelchair accessible minibus along the march route – please let us know if you require a wheelchair space or seat on the minibus.

Parking near Trafalgar Square: the disabled bays by Trafalgar Square are likely to be suspended but can be used as a drop-off point.  The Blue Badge is not recognised in Westminster for yellow line parking, restrictions apply. http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/transportandstreets/parking/disabledparking/

Room G2 SOAS: Main entrance has ramp.  Room G2 is on ground floor.  Platform lift inside G2 down to floor of hall.  Accessible loo on ground floor and other floors.

Parking near SOAS: We hope to arrange some parking on the university campus. Blue Badge holders get one hour free in Pay & Display bays if you pay something to start it off.  The Blue Badge is not recognised in Camden’s Green Badge zone south of Euston Road.  Parking restrictions are in force until 8.30pm.

Please contact us for more info 020 7482 2496 (voice and minicom) or win@winvisible.org

disabled mothers

Feb 192011
 

protest poster

To Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) believe it is imperative that disabled and older people are afforded the opportunity to support the TUC ‘March for the Alternative’ demonstration on 26 March in central London. At the latest count it was found that disabled people were facing fourteen separate attacks against our lives and living standards as a result of the Coalition government’s policies. What we are witnessing is our human rights, supposedly guaranteed under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, being violated by regressive and draconian cuts to benefit and care funding. Increasing numbers of disabled people are being driven to contemplate suicide; with others actually going the whole way. Members of our community are living in daily terror that they will become further scapegoated, demonised and subjected to hate crime violence.

Against this backdrop DPAC demand the right to be fully included in this march and rally as our non-disabled peers would take for granted. As it currently stand the initial planning for the March is creating unnecessary disabling barriers which will both exclude and marginalise disabled people’s ability to participate. So far however the TUC have not responded to any requests from us for support for accessible transport to attend the march and now we have been told that the TUC have agreed (for anyone who can access coaches) that the coach dropping off point will be at Wembley or some other outlying part of London.

As I am sure you are aware the London underground system is one of the least accessible in the world, only one wheelchair is allowed on each bus at any one time, and disabled people cannot afford to pay extra travel costs from an outlying suburb to reach the centre of London. To agree to this as a dropping off point will therefore exclude us from exercising our right to protest.

It is possible to park in central London without bringing London to a grinding halt. When 2 million marched against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, coaches were parked all around Hyde Park and there were no major problems with people arriving or departing from this historic demonstration. Further we are certain that there must be at least 500 or more tourist coaches entering London on any day which does not seem to cause any traffic problems at all.

We have also asked TUC to organise with the police for us to have a static protest in central London for those unable to march but so far have had no response regarding this. We were able to do this very successfully with forward planning at the Tory Party conference protest in Birmingham.

Further we would wish to be kept updated with details of where the march will be going so that we can check its accessibility for our members with a range of impairments.

Both disabled Trade Unionists and other disabled people who attended The People’s Convention last Saturday asked conference to support a motion that the TUC march would be fully inclusive to all disabled people and that all of the required reasonable adjustments would be put in place by yourselves to fully include all of us.

We are willing to work with you to ensure that our full inclusion can be achieved and to assist you in any way practicable. We look forward to your response which we will pass onto disabled people.

We are still waiting for a response!

Feb 182011
 

Transcript with many heartfelt thanks to Liz for agreeing to speak for disabled people at the People’s Convention.

Thank you… I can only dream of being on the platform.  One day… One day we’ll make it.

Disabled people make up 20 % of the population.  That’s a conservative estimate.  We are hidden impairments, we are visible, we are old, we are gay, we are lesbian, we are black, we are white, we are all sorts of people, that’s who we are.

But what we are not is… We are not victims.  We are not scroungers or frauds.  We are not vulnerable or work shy.  We are not charity cases or burdens or ‘unsustainables’ or useless eaters.

We are fighters, survivors, leaders, comrades, brothers & sisters in arms, campaigners, citizens and equals.

This, like for many of us, is not a new struggle.  Our history is littered with disabled people being scapegoated, demonaised, discriminated against and oppressed.  It is also a history of disabled people fighting back against this.

From the League of the Blind who unionized in the 19th Century to fight for their rights, to the war veterans who marched on Whitehall for the jobs and respect they were due, to disabled people fighting to escape residential care in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s forming the Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation, to those of us in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s who chained ourselves to buses to secure equality in public transport and in law… We have been here before.

However, we are faced with a horrific onslaught of attacks from all directions.  The cuts that we’re all talking about today, we encounter those cuts too – whether it’s the increase in VAT, privatization of our basic services, of the NHS, of cuts effecting the public sector – we experience them too as disabled people but on top of that we’re having our benefits whipped from us, we’re being assessed by bastards at ATOS, people in care homes are having the mobility component of their DLA (Disability Living Allowance) removed, we’re being charged for the basic right to have a wee, our Independent Living Fund money that allows us to be independent within the community is being removed in 4 years time, Incapacity Benefit is being scrapped and replaced by the unforgiving ESA (Employment Support Allowance), on top of that there is hate crime, limits to housing benefit, Access to Work, to transport and if we want to challenge it, to Legal Aid too.  That’s fucked as well.

Disabled people are living in fear.  We are living in poverty.  We are going to be living in the Dark Ages where they decide between the deserving and the undeserving poor.

But, we will not let this happen.  Because through our history, what we have learnt is that the media, the policy makers and the Government will try to separate us into our different groups.  They will try to weaken us.  They will try and make us compete against each other for whatever crumbs are on offer, fighting amongst ourselves, individualizing this struggle, dividing us so that they may conquer and change the balance  of society in favour of financial capital rather than social capital and equality.  That’s what happening.  We cannot afford to let this happen.

We are fighting for our lives, for our freedom, for our existence.  That’s how important it is to disabled people and for everybody here today.  It is about our basic liberty, our basic right to life.  We will not be hidden away.  We will not be hidden away behind close doors, out of sight out of mind, in our homes or institutions.  We will not settle for charity rather than rights.  We will not be forgotten.  We will not be silenced.

We must mobilise and in doing so not forget those who cannot take to the streets in protest but who can through virtual protesting.

We must politicise.  We must educate ourselves and others in what’s happening in our own and wider campaigns.

We have to radicalise.  This is about revolution not reformation anymore.

We must unite.  As disabled people, as disabled people and allies, as everyone – we must unite.

Together we are stronger.

Thank you.

Feb 172011
 

Something to celebrate for a change: our fellow campaigners from the Birmingham demo on 3rd October, Cardiff People First, are having a showcase week in a shop in the Capitol Centre, Cardiff on the corner of Queen Street by Newport Road, opposite Sainsbury’s.

Cardiff People First banner

Monday 21st Feb till Friday 25th Feb 10am till 3pm

Cardiff People First is run by people with a learning disability. We stand up for our rights and campaign to change attitudes, get better services and enjoy more opportunities.

For more information contact
Cardiff People First
Canton House
435 Cowbridge Road East
Cardiff
CF5 1JH
cardiffpeople1st@btconnect.com
029 2023 1555
www.cardiffpeoplefirst.org.uk

They are also at Facebook

Feb 162011
 

On Saturday, we as disabled people, stated we wanted Rights not Charity at the People’s Convention.

Here there is an instrument where we can exercise our rights – the UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

According to the Joint Committee of Human Rights published 4th January 2009

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was agreed in December 2006 and came into force on 3 May 2008. The Convention builds on existing international human rights instruments to “promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities”. The UK wasclosely involved in negotiating and agreeing the UNCRPD and was one of its first signatories.
We see clear benefits in UK ratification, particularly because it sends a strong signal that the Government takes equality and the protection of human rights for people with disabilities seriously.

Disabled people celebrated this protection of our human rights. Two years down the line before our first report back to the UN, we have a Call for Evidence on Article 19 – the Right to Independent Living by the Joint Committee.

Please do read the Call for Evidence and respond where you can. This is important because we can show how our rights have been violated and calls attention to it.

(www.parliament.uk/jchr.)

JOINT COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS

CALL FOR EVIDENCE

The Joint Committee of Human Rights, chaired by Dr Hywel Francis MP, today announces an inquiry into the implementation of the right to independent living for disabled people, as guaranteed by Article 19, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Committee invites interested persons and groups to submit evidence on this issue and would welcome written submissions by Friday 29th April 2011.  Further information about the Committee’s inquiry is set out below, together with questions the Committee intends to address.  You do not need to answer all of these questions in your written submission.  The Committee particularly welcomes submissions from disabled people and their families about independent living and how Government policies, practices and legislation or the activities of public authorities and others can implement the right to independent living in practice.

This Call for Evidence has also been prepared in an Easy Read version which is available on the Committee’s website: www.parliament.uk/jchr.  Copies can also be obtained by contacting the Committee on 020 7219 2384.

Background

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Disability Rights Convention) builds on existing human rights treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.  Its purpose is to:

“Promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”

The Disability Rights Convention is the newest treaty in the UN human rights framework.  The United Kingdom ratified the Convention on 8 June 2009.   The Convention has at its heart the principles of equality and independent living, which are designed to ensure that disabled people enjoy their rights on an equal basis to others.  The first principle of the Convention provides that there shall be:

“Respect for the inherent dignity, individual autonomy, including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons.”

Public authorities have specific duties to promote equality for disabled people in the Equality Act 2010.  These duties broadly reflect the obligations of the Government in the UN Disability Rights Convention..  That Convention recognises that disabled people have a right to access community life without discrimination.  For example, Article 19 provides:

“State Parties to this Convention recognise the equal right of persons with disabilities to live in the community with choices equal to others, and shall take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the Community”

The right to independent living

Independent living is described by the Office for Disability Issues as follows:

Independent living is about disabled people having the same level of choice, control and   freedom in       their daily lives as any other person.

Independent living was placed at the heart of the last Government’s policy on disability.  Each of the three main political parties expressed their approval of the Independent Living Strategy published in 2008, which sets out actions aimed at improving the choice and control disabled people have over the services they need to live their daily lives.[1] The aims of the strategy are that:

  • disabled people (including older disabled people) who need support to go about their daily lives will have greater choice and control over how support is provided; and
  • disabled people (including older disabled people) will have greater access to housing, education, employment, leisure and transport opportunities and to participation in family and community life.

In June 2010, the Government explained that it was looking at further ways of taking the Independent Living Strategy forward.[2]

In December 2009, the Scottish Government, the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and the Independent Living Movement in Scotland signed up to a shared Vision for Independent Living in Scotland.[3] No similar national strategy exists in Northern Ireland or in Wales.

• Should the right to independent living continue to form the basis for Government policy on disability in the UK?

• Do existing policy statements, including the Independent Living Strategy, represent a coherent policy towards the implementation of the obligations in Article 19 of the UN Disability Rights Convention?  Could current policy be improved?  If so, how?

• What steps, if any, should the coalition Government, the Scottish Government or other public agencies take better to meet the obligations in Article 19 and to secure the right to independent living for all disabled people in the UK?

• If you consider changes to policies, practices or legislation in the UK are necessary, please explain.

Impact of funding on the right to independent living

The impact on the right to independent living of restricted funding, including proposals for cuts in the emergency budget and in the Comprehensive Spending Review, is not yet clear.  A number of changes have recently been announced which may impact positively or negatively on the ability of disabled people to “have the same level of choice, control and freedom in their daily lives as any other person”.

The Committee would particularly welcome evidence on these recent developments:

the decision, announced in the CSR, to remove the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance for all people living in residential care;

changes to the Independent Living Fund;

“the Big Society”;

restrictions on local authority funding, social care budgets and benefits reassessments;

increased focus on localisation and its potential impact on care provision, and specifically, on portability of care and mobility for disabled people.

• What impact does funding have on the ability of the UK to secure the right to independent living protected by Article 19 of the UN Disability Rights Convention?

• How will recent policy and budgetary decisions impact on the ability of the UK to meet its obligation under Article 19 to protect the right of all persons to independent living?

Participation and consultation

The Disability Rights Convention is based on inclusion of disabled people in policy development and decision making.  Article 4(3) of the Convention specifically provides that State Parties shall “closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities…through their representative organisations” in any decisions concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities.

•What steps should the Government take to meet its obligations under the Disability Rights Convention to involve disabled people in policy development and decision-making, including in budget decisions such as the Comprehensive Spending Review?

•Are the current arrangements for involvement of disabled people in policy development and decision-making working?

Monitoring the effective implementation of the Convention

The UK is required to submit its first periodic report on the implementation of the Convention to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in summer 2011.  This report is being coordinated by the national focal point in Government required under the Convention, in the UK, the Office for Disability Issues.  The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) -together with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) and the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) – has a responsibility under the Convention as part of the national implementation mechanism to promote the effective implementation of the Disability Rights Convention (Article 31).

• What steps should Government take to ensure that disabled people’s views are taken into account when drafting their reports to the UN under the UNCRPD?

• As part of the national monitoring mechanism, what steps should the EHRC, NIHRC and SHRC take to ensure that the Convention is implemented effectively?

You need not address all these questions. Short submissions are preferred. A submission longer than six pages should include a one-page summary.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to jchr@parliament.uk and marked “UK extradition policy”. An additional paper copy should be sent to: Greta Piacquadio, Joint Committee on Human Rights, 7 Millbank, London SW1A 0AA.

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the Joint Committee on Human Rights will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm

Please also note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed, placed on the Internet or circulated by the Committee at any stage. You may publicise or publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. Evidence published other than under the authority of the Committee does not attract parliamentary privilege. If your evidence is not printed, it will in due course be made available to the public in the Parliamentary Archives.
  • All communications to the Committee about the inquiry should be addressed through the clerk or the Chairman of the Committee, whether or not they are intended to constitute formal evidence to the Committee.
  • The members of the Committee Are:
    Dr Hywel Francis MP (Labour, Aberavon) (Chair)
    Lord Bowness (Conservative)
    Dr Julian Huppert MP (Liberal Democrat .Cambridge
    Baroness Campbell of Surbiton (Cross-Bencher)
    Mrs Eleanor Laing MP (Conservative, Epping Forest)
    Lord Dubs (Labour)
    Mr Dominic Raab MP (Conservative, Esher and Walton)
    Lord Lester of Herne Hill (Liberal Democrat)
    Mr Virendra Sharma MP (Labour, Ealing Southall)
    Baroness Morris of Bolton (Conservative)
    Mr Richard Shepherd MP (Conservative, Aldridge-Brownhills)
    Lord Morris of Handsworth (Labour)

Feb 162011
 

Man in bed reading bookDescription: David Cameron is sitting up in bed, partially lit by a candle on a bedside cabinet. He is wearing blue striped pyjamas and his bedding is also blue. In his hands is a copy of the book ‘Brave new world’ by Aldous Huxley. He is thinking: “That’s the answer – we just clone more Tories!”

Visit Crippen’s latest blog where he attempts to penetrate the fog surrounding Cameron’s big society … you can also leave a comment

http://crippencartoons.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/the-big-society/

Feb 132011
 

Organised by Disabled People against Cuts (DPAC), Right to Work, Labour Representation Committee

Over 800 people came together on Saturday 12th in London to talk about the cuts and the way forward for the TUC march on the 26th March. Disabled people were there and the stage sported a big DPAC banner in the middle. The day was videoed and the DPAC workshop was also videoed. The report of the day overall will be elsewhere. Here we look at the great turnout by disabled people and celebrate the central place we had in this day.

Morning

The morning open floor brought great comments from some disabled participants, including, Richard Rieser, Adrian Whyatt and Sasha Callaghan on the effect of the cuts for disabled people, including the human rights abuses and the closure of poverty pimps ATOS offices across Scotland on the national day of protest against cuts.

DPAC Worksho
p

The DPAC workshop was held in the afternoon. It was great to see so many people at this with 50 or 60 people, some attendees from as far as Scotland. Speakers on the panel were Richard Rieser, Debbie Jolly, Sue Bott and Kevin Caulfield. The workshop was chaired by Eleanor Lisney. There were many comments and questions at the workshop, these included:

We are being sent back to Victorian times: we should all be involved in local anti-cuts groups, emulate DAN protests, disabled people need to be at front of things and be united

We are incensed by the coverage in newspapers against disabled people

Need to make sure we include Deaf people and those with invisible disabilities, but not impairment based- we cannot go back to arguing about impairments- we must all fight together, must be inclusive

Mental health resistance network couldn’t all get to London today but want to support and be included: facing difficult times being given ‘talking treatment’ but they (the government) concentrate on getting us ‘well’, but they just want to get us into work

Participant remembers Richard speaking at European Social Forum; there are many more people here and comments that Sasha did a brilliant job when speaking this morning about ATOS

We need to come together and find common ground, not just disabled people but across the board. We all need to fully support the campaign and get the trade unions behind this too

There are not many disabled millionaires and certainly none at the convention. This is an attack on working class people. We need to get joint campaigns with all anti-cuts campaigns. Disabled people need to link up, need to unite: Every single local group should make contacts with disability groups in the area

We need to stop people from the Charity sector taking over: Rights not Charity

Issues were raised with the dropping off of people from buses at Wembly for the 26th March TUC London march. Right to Work have sent a statement to Brendan Barber not to drop in Wembley because of access issues and cost of getting to central London for the march. Disabled people need to email too.

John McArdle of Black triangle reminded us of the story of Paul Reekie.

It was noted that sometimes people aren’t getting messages re demos and protests, but also that the police always seem to know where we are going to be.

It was suggested that a boycott of newspapers following the government line and producing rhetoric on disabled people as scroungers are boycotted including the Scottish Mail, Daily Mail and others.

A video of the workshop will be available soon

Afternoon

The afternoon was made up of invited speakers, feedback from the workshops and debate. The highlight of the afternoon was Liz Carr’s speech which received a standing ovation from the audience.

Video of Liz Carr’s speech

A full list of actions proposed by Disabled People against Cuts and accepted by the Peoples’ Convention

The protest on 26th March needs to be fully accessible with disabled people involved in the planning. There needs to be representation of disabled people with and without visible impairments on the platform.

We propose a day of national demonstrations against ATOS.

We propose a month of action over the month of July to coincide with the second anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention.

We propose that every local anti-cuts movement has an autonomous disabled people’s sub group.

We propose support for UKDPC’s day of disabled people’s protest proposed for 11th May.(to be confirmed)

We propose that we speak to our colleagues at Unison about how the cuts are being implemented.

Debbie Jolly

Feb 092011
 

Yesterday I attended an event, ‘Future for Civil Society’ where voluntary sector and trade union speakers warned that the Conservative lead government funding cuts delivered under the heading of the “Big Society” are helping to undermine charitable organisations in the country.

Around 150 representatives from charities and unions were there and at this TUC-organised event in London, with speakers unconvinced that the Big Society is anything other than a farce.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the conference was part of ongoing efforts to build “the widest possible coalition” against the cuts, involving unions, charities, community groups and faith organisations.

He called on people from across Britain to join a “march for the alternative” in London on March 26 “to send a clear message to ministers that they must find another way.”

The event is focused on service providers and third sector organisations with TUC, DPAC, as representative for service users, does not seem to quite fit into the flow of the discussions.

The term ‘ the most vulnerable’ and protecting ‘the most vulnerable’ was touted quite a bit and the question of volunteering – it is not a free resource and needs much support. Cuts in short term may be more expensive in the long run.

A report of the event and feedback from the workshops would be available from the organisers later.

More info about the event at the TUC website

Feb 092011
 
Liz Carr

Liz Carr

We are very happy that Disabled comedian and activist Liz Carr will be speaking at the People’s Convention on Saturday February 12th at the Friend’s Meeting House opposite Euston Station in London.

We are also running a workshop in the afternoon ‘At the Forefront of Resistance’

This workshop’s panel –

Sue Bott, Director of National Centre for Independent Living

A disabled person with visual impairment from birth, Sue has been active in the disability movement in the UK for many years.

Richard Reiser, co ordinator for UK Disability History Month

Richard is an expert disabled international equality trainer, consultant and teacher.

Kevin Caulfield, Chair of Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition Against Community Care Cuts (HAFCAC)

Kevin is an active campaigner for all disabled people’s rights to equality and equal citizenship from a social model perspective at a local, regional and national level.

We would like as many disabled people as possible to come to this to tell us what you think. It starts at 10.30- 5 pm but the afternoon workshop if anyone is unable to come for the whole day should start at 2pm. Please support us.

The venue is Friends Meeting house near Euston Station. You need to book tickets from www.righttowork.org.uk £2 unwaged £5 waged to cover the costs of putting on the conference.

Access of venue – Friends Meeting House is accessible for wheelchair users. Accessible Parking can be found at Euston Station (£25 per day). Frequent buses stop at Euston station.

BSL We have requested for BSL interpreters. tbc.

Easy Read worker will be available at workshop.

Lunch is NOT provided – there is a vegetarian cafe en site at the venue. Eateries and food available at Euston Station including Nandos, Harry Ramsden Fish and Chips, and Marks and Spencers.

Feb 092011
 

DPAC had told Disability News Service that they planned to occupy the EHRC’s London offices sometime in March, although they said they would not be announcing which day the protest would take place.

They believe the EHRC should be challenging councils that are failing to provide adequate support for disabled people, and backing more legal actions on behalf of disabled people.

They have also pointed to the commission’s failure to speak out on cuts and reforms to disability living allowance (DLA) – and particularly the loss of the mobility component for most people in residential care – as well as problems with the controversial work capability assessment; the closure of the independent living fund to new members; and cuts to housing benefits.

They say all these policies could be challenged as breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, particularly as the commission is monitoring its implementation.

Members were particularly angry at the commission’s failure to fulfil a pledge to contact DPAC to discuss its plans to support disabled people.

Linda Burnip, a founding member of DPAC, said: “Following a threat to occupy their offices, they suddenly got in touch with us. We have postponed [the occupation] pending a meeting. They have given me a list of things they are planning to do.”

She said the EHRC had told her that they were “limited in what they can do and how they do it”.

Before the EHRC’s intervention, Burnip had said: “We expect them to be helping uphold disabled people’s human rights and the UN convention and they are not. They basically might as well not exist.”

An EHRC spokeswoman said: “Our disability programmes director has had a positive discussion with Disabled People Against Cuts about their concerns and we’re planning to meet with them to discuss this issue further.”

Watch this space!

First published at Disability Lib

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Feb 012011
 

Dear  Margaret Curran,

We are writing to you as an organisation of disabled people concerned with what seems to be a sustained, unjustified and vicious attack against disabled people.

As shadow minister for disabled people we seek reassurances from you that you will support disabled people to be able to continue to live independently in the community and that you will work to prevent more and more disabled people being thrust even further into poverty.

We feel that these aims are fully in line with the United Nations Convention of Rights of  Persons with Disabilities which has been ratified by the UK government.

Our main concerns are

•    there should be a continuing commitment to provide the additional financial support disabled people need to meet the extra costs of their disability provided through Disability Living Allowance. We note with grave concern plans by the coalition government to arbitrarily remove one in five DLA claimants and that even for those disabled people who currently have been awarded DLA for life there will now be an expensive, unnecessary, and bureaucratic reassessments.

•    Plans to remove the mobility component of DLA from 80,000 disabled people living in residential care homes can only be described as heartless and as you are aware will deny disabled people their convention rights to a family life. Removing this benefit amounts to a reduction in income for residents of 60%. We would also like the government to explain to us what will happen to those disabled people who use this money to purchase decent wheelchairs that meet their needs. Will anyone who has the mobility component removed from them also have their wheelchairs repossessed?

•    Of particular concern in relation to independent living is the loss of funding from the Independent Living Fund which will be removed from 21,000 of the most severely disabled people by 2015 in spite of the fact that the coalition government promised they would protect this group of disabled people from cuts. Together with the unprecedented reductions to social services budgets this will result in independent living being impossible. In Warwickshire it is estimated that one-third of disabled people will lose their entitlement to free care, yet since only substantial and critical care needs are met these will be disabled people with the highest care needs. Failure to provide the care such people need is ultimately likely to result in them instead needing more complex and expensive health care. The admission of disabled people into inappropriate residential care due to lack of funding for independent living would further be much more expensive for the state to provide than to continue to adequately fund care in the community through the Independent Living Fund and social care provision.

It is totally unacceptable to us that any disabled person as is now the case in Kensington and Chelsea should be refused night-time care and instead be issued with incontinence pads and waterproof sheets. This is a total and utter abuse of disabled people’s right s and dignity.

•    The continuing lack of transportability of care packages across county boundaries further makes it virtually impossible for disabled people to move, either to seek employment, to find more suitable, or even cheaper accommodation or to move nearer to family and friends who may be able to offer support. We would therefore welcome a commitment from you to support a national care service where an individual care package would be easily transportable.

•    While we welcome some of the moves to help disabled people who are able to seek work to find suitable employment we remain concerned that there are no real mechanisms in place to remove any of the considerable barriers disabled people face in being able to find and keep employment. Certainly the recent cuts to Access to Work funding will in no way contribute to facilitating getting more disabled people into sustainable employment.

Moving 1 million disabled people from Incapacity Benefit onto JSA in the midst of a recession and rising unemployment predicted in both public and private sectors while doing nothing to remove any of the barriers that exist and prevent disabled people gaining work is unacceptable to us. For most disabled people Incapacity Benefit is a contributory benefit which they are entitled to through having paid National Insurance contributions whilst working.

We are further very concerned that no consideration seems to have been given to how fluctuating impairments can effect disabled individuals and that they may as a result of this find themseleves subjected to having their benefits sanctioned if they are unable to meet the conditions imposed on them in seeking work. While we welcome any support we therefore feel that sanctions should not be used against disabled people.

The emphasis on ‘working’ means the needs of those disabled people who will never be able to work are not being fully met. The considerable input from disabled people into the voluntary sector is further ignored.
Heavily criticised ESA assessments which ignore GP and consultant views are earning Atos healthcare £100 million a year, how can this amount of money be justified?

•    Already 30% of disabled people live in poverty yet the bulk of the plans outlined by the coalition government in relation to Housing Benefits will exacerbate these levels of poverty further.

There is a continuing dire shortage of accessible social housing throughout the UK with one in four disabled people living in properties they are unable to get into and out of.

In Stratford-on-Avon constituency there is such a shortage of social housing that people are helped to rent in the private sector yet the reduction of Local Housing Allowance to the 30th percentile rent from October 2011 will mean that poverty amongst disabled people renting in this sector will soar, as is the case elsewhere in the country. In many London boroughs the waiting list for social housing is over 10 years.

Further no consideration is given to the difficulties faced by disabled people in finding suitable accommodation to meet a range of needs. For example a wheelchair user may need a larger and therefore more expensive property to meet their needs, someone with a visual impairment would find moving elsewhere very difficult, anyone with a learning disability may take several years to learn to find their way around an area and needs to have continuity of care and support.

All of these additional difficulties mean that for disabled people it is impossible to move to the cheapest properties in an area. Since disabled people are more likely to suffer disability hate crime living in the most deprived areas of towns and cities these actions are also likely to result in an increase in such crimes. Yet another breach of human rights under UNCRPD.

The plans to remove disabled people from social housing that is larger then their current needs dictate from 2013 is flawed. From a financial point of view since many disabled people who are currently living in a social housing property with an extra bedroom have had extensive adaptations made which in order for them to be able to continue living independently would then need to be done and funded yet again if they are forced to move by Housing Benefit being restricted to a one bedroom rate.

Further plans to extend the single room rate to anyone under 35 years of age unless they are in receipt of the higher or middle rate of DLA will affect many younger disabled people with Mental Health conditions, neuro-diverse conditions, and learning difficulties, Precisely those disabled people who need secure accommodation with a reasonable level of privacy. These cuts according to a recent DWP select committee report will result in a difference of an average £47 a week between the HB rates for a one bedroom flat compared to a room in multiple occupancy.

The same DWP select committee has expressed concerns over plans to reduce Housing Benefit for claimants who are out of work for over 12 months. As the select committee point out it is not until you have been out of work for 12 months that people are able to even try to access additional support to find work. Given the additional and substantial barriers that disabled people face in finding work at all this proposed change will impact very badly on them.

The coalition government have said that they have increased the amount of money available through Discretionary Housing Payments to help with such costs however a report by the Mayor of London shows that demand for DHPs will be 4 times higher than the extra amount of money made available to claimants, Further many councils do not pay DHPs for longer then 13-26 weeks and there is no right of appeal against being refused one.

We would be happy to brief you further on any of these issues and would like to leave you to consider a message from one of our members.

“Yes you, and you and you, all of you who stand by and say nothing or encourage such vicious and undeserving attacks are just as responsible for what is happening.

Those who stand by and allow this are equivalent to those who stood by when disabled people and Jews were targeted by the Nazi’s for annihilation.

Too harsh for you?

Its our lives we are fighting for, our very lives, some have already killed themselves due to what is happening, many more are considering it.

Will you stand by?”

Anne Novis MBE

We look forward to receiving your response which we will publish for our members.

Linda Burnip
DPAC

mail@dpac.uk.net

Historically, disabled people have been excluded from or marginalised within mainstream social activities. As a result we are often viewed as passive and dependent receivers of charity and services. Disabled people believe we have a right to self-determination and therefore need to take the leading role in decisions that directly affect our lives. This is why we insist on there being

“Nothing about us without us”.

Growing evidence
Disabled people are providing growing evidence that councils across the country are cutting the support they need to live independently. A disabled man in Dudley said the council had been cutting people’s support after moving them from direct payments to personal budgets. He said: “People who were on direct payments and are now on personal budgets are talking about a 33 to 50 per cent cut, but probably closer to 50 per cent. That is based on what a lot of disabled people are telling us.

In another urban borough, a disabled man, David has been given a package of four hours a week over four visits, plus one night visit a week. Another man in the same borough with a similar level of support need, who died earlier this year, had been receiving 24-hour support. David’s partner said she was told by a social worker: “If it had been so many months earlier he would have got it [24-hour care], but they have cut the packages and at the moment this is what we can offer…because of the cuts.”

A manager working for the borough’s centre for independent living said: “ It is looking like it is going backwards from community care. It could be that people will be going into nursing homes.”

Disabled people in the London borough of Brent say they have also been told by their council that they will have their hours halved from next November. She said “They are scared, they are really scared. They don’t know what is going to happen.”

Anthony from Camden faces a range of environmental barriers which mean that he needs someone available to support him 24 hours per day whereas his local authority alleges that he can manage with just 11 hours per day support.  When he was at university he was able to get the kind of support he needs, whereas now his local authority are effectively telling him to “cope” in an unsafe and highly restrictive environment.

Meanwhile, the Coalition on Charging has pointed to evidence that disabled and older people and carers are being hit disproportionately by spending cuts in local authorities, with some councils planning to restrict access to support and raise service charges.

30 September 2010 News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Meanwhile we are hearing of more and more disabled people who are thinking of killing themselves because they feel that their lives will no longer be worth living.

“I am in receipt of DLA, without which I could not survive. I have severe allergies, home bound, mostly bedridden.  I have carers, and have to pay for extra hours not subsidized by social services. My utility bills are extremely high, and I have to contribute to the rent, which is not met by housing benefits. I also suffer from malnutrition!! Being chronically ill is costly, being depending on carers for everything.
Cutting DLA would mean, that I have to find housing within the Housing Allowance which is much much lower than rental market. There are pockets of housing, in undesirable areas, with mould and cockroaches, and no amenities, no lift, or if on the ground floor, simply not safe.
I could go on and on, about the misery it would cause, to remove DLA.
It would lead to a slow death painful death. Worth adding here, I have spoken to many in my situation, who are discussing mass suicide, rather than suffer more health miseries, for which there are no cures! They are not depressed, but pragmatic about what awaits all of us.” October 11, 2010

“I am disabled with both physical and mental health problems. For months now, I have been worried sick about all the benefit cuts due to happen, wondering how I will live and survive and sinking further and further into depression so severe, I am one of those who feels suicide would be the only way out.

Having heard David Cameron’s speak about protecting the sick, old and vulnerable, I could feel my jaw drop to the floor in sheer disbelief at the lies coming out of his mouth. Not only am I worried about meeting my bills, the medical re-assessments despite being awarded DLA indefinately, but I have now after 7yrs of having direct payments been told I must pay £200 per month towards my care. The government are now doing a complete u-turn and as mentioned above, this will kill people.”

Feb 012011
 

This is from a DPAC workshop given by Linda Burnip and rendered into Easy Read by Kevin Clifford – please do not use without asking first. A Word document can be downloaded here.

Planning your campaign


  • Decide what you want to achieve


  • Decide HOW you can do this

  • Decide your time scale for action (how long you have got)

  • Think about who you can work with to help you get what you want, for example local councillors,local groups, other groups of disabled people. Normally the more of you there are,the stronger you should be.

  • Decide on a name for your campaign and group


  • Make a logo for letterheads


  • Give jobs with powerful sounding titles to a few people, for example Chairperson,Equalities Officer, National Secretary.


  • Think about publicity. There are 2 main ways to get publicity:

stories about what you do in the press/media/local radio

writing letters to local papers. If you can get a group of about 6 people who take turns responding to any letters in the press that helps lengthen the publicity you can get.

Here are some ways to campaign:

  • Taking a case through the legal system

  • Protests

Direct Actions – these are not legal

For both legal protests and direct actions you need to:

  • Decide on your target and it is best to have a second one in case you are unable to use the first one. For a direct action it is best to keep this secret and arrange to meet nearby.

  • Decide what to do, for example are you going to march to town hall and have a rally there?Are you going to take over an area of a building and all sit on the floor and refuse to move until your demands are met? Do you want to be chained or tied to something or together?


  • If you can, have a gimmick to attract attention and publicity, for example dress up as something, fake blood, nativity play and free mince pies.

  • Send a press release to the media in advance saying what you are doing and how they can meet up with you

  • Speak to a local criminal solicitor and make sure their firm offer a duty service in case anyone is arrested.

What you need on the day:

  • Leaflets saying what you are protesting about

  • Placards

  • A press release for the day to hand out to any media people.

  • Banners and t-shirts

  • Ideally have someone who can video everything that happens. This is also good to advertise your action afterwards

  • Contact details of local criminal solicitor who can help if anyone is arrested.

Other Ways to campaign

  • The internet

  • Email Campaigns

  • Petitions

  • Consultations

  • Submissions to Select Committees

  • Working with charities
Feb 012011
 

Birmingham City Council are implementing £320 million of cuts which will have a drastic and very negative impact on provision of care and support for disabled people.

The eligibility criteria are to moved again to extra-critical only which will exclude huge numbers of disabled people in Birmingham from receiving the support they need to live inclusive and independent lives. We have submitted a FOI request to get more idea of numbers this would involve.

This protest is only a few days before the council meet to vote through the cuts. It is vital that we as disabled people have a presence at this demonstration.

Assemble Victoria Square,  noon Saturday February 26th

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