Mar 272012
 

URGENT APPEAL

We need help to fund travel costs for people to get to the

April 18th

Regent Street II type- protest against all the attacks against disabled people, carers and pensioners.

Please either donate via paypal on the website or direct to Disabled People Against Cuts bank account Co-op bank,

Sort code 08-92-99

Account number 65454743

If everyone could donate even just £1 that would help many people to get to this protest from other places outside London.

 

 Posted by at 20:44
Mar 232012
 

FURIOUS disabled workers protested yesterday against the boss whose report led to the Con-Dem Government closing their factories.

A group of workers from Remploy picketed a conference where Liz Sayce, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, was speaking.

Remploy chief shop steward Phil Branann said:

“We think it is an insult to disabled people and society in general for her to attend that meeting.

“Employers won’t employ disabled people – they are three times more likely to be unemployed.

“If it’s so easy to find employment, why not wait until the workers have found jobs before closing the factories?”

 

read the rest at http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2012/03/23/furious-workers-hit-out-at-boss-whose-report-led-to-remploy-factories-getting-the-axe-86908-23798745/

Read also DPAC’s  London Meeting Unites Resistance to Remploy Closures

Mar 222012
 

A meeting called by DPAC on 20th March brought together Remploy workers with campaigns offering support to resist the planned closures of 36 out of 54 Remploy factories by August this year. DPAC members were joined by representatives from the Right to Work campaign, UKUncut, and Winvisible, as well as from a number of unions and local anti-cuts groups.

Remploy convenor Les Woodward who attended the meeting in London on his birthday said it had filled him with an immense amount of confidence. He said that unlike in 2007 when workers opposed the closure of Remploy factories by New Labour, this time they are not alone. Following those closures less than 6% of workers went on to find alternative employment and of those only 5% found employment at an equal or better level. Former Brixton Remploy worker Ray Ludford described how Remploy factories had been purposefully run into the ground since Michael Portillo took away their preferred supplier status.

Ellen Clifford spoke on behalf of DPAC and gave her thanks to Les for opening DPAC’s eyes to the reality of the struggle. She described it as highly irresponsible to be taking employment away from disabled people when there are no jobs for anyone and when an ever tightening benefits system is leaving disabled people destitute. She said that the government’s education policies show they have no interest in building inclusive societies and if they really cared about disabled people’s access to mainstream employment they would be removing rather than promoting segregated education and investing in Access to Work.

The meeting questioned government figures which suggest the factories are unsustainable and the likelihood of any money saved from the closures being invested in Access to Work. There was also anger at the profit charities are set to make by delivering workfare programmes supporting disabled people into non-existent jobs. Support for the closure rather than the reform of factories into user led enterprises was linked to class attitudes and the devaluation of working class industry.

The meeting called for swift action given the timescale for closures which has just been announced and which has left Remploy workers feeling shell-shocked. A national demonstration is organised for Sheffield on 20th April outside the Department for Work and Pensions office. In addition to this the meeting called for a London meeting to provide an opportunity for MPs and trade unions to come out in official support for the Remploy workers.

To contribute to the Remploy Fighting Fund send donations to Phil Davis, GMB, 22 – 24 Warpole Street, Wimbledon, London, SW19 4DD.

To sign the Save Remploy petition go to: http://www.saveremployfactories.co.uk/

For more information on how you can get involved in supporting this campaign contact: islingtondpac@gmail.com

 Posted by at 13:34
Mar 222012
 

from NCODP Press release

Disabled people and supporters will mount a protest on Friday morning (11am on 23 March) outside the Norwich premises of ATOS – a company which carries out medical assessments of disabled people who receive benefits – but which has a ‘No Entry’ policy to wheelchairs users. ATOS’s Norwich offices and other offices around the country are not accessible to wheelchair users.

Norwich Access Group and Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People (NCODP) are assisting the protest at ATOS’s premises in Duke Street, Norwich.

ATOS is employed by the government to assess whether unemployed disabled people receiving benefits are fit to work. Last year The Guardian newspaper revealed that ATOS had been set targets by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on the numbers of people to fail their assessments.  Norwich Access Group and NCODP believe some local *cases prove this cynical policy is being applied in the Eastern Region.

The Norwich protest has been called after the treatment of Norwich couple Glen and Ellie Everet at the Norwich ATOS office and an incident at the Ipswich ATOS office involving an ex-serviceman, Dene Carter. {*SEE CASE STUDIES, below IN NOTES }.

Many organisations representing disabled people believe ATOS is profiteering off the backs of some of the poorest members of society by helping the government to cut welfare benefits in ways which ignore the real conditions and needs of many disabled people.

“Our Government has awarded a multi million pound contract to a company which can’t even rent a building which their customers can access.  I think this is a real statement of the Coalition Government’s attitude towards disabled people“ said George Saunders, Chair of Norwich Access Group
“It gets worse as the public transport links are too far away for disabled people to get to the building.  How can an agency that gets this so wrong be trusted to do proper assessments of disabled people when they have no understanding of the realities of being disabled?” Mr Saunders added.

Mark Harrison, CEO of Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People said:

“This is a bizarre situation where ATOS earns its money carrying out medical assessments for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and other Government agencies.  This multinational company makes profits from disabled people and disabled people can’t even get into their premises.  Everything this Coalition Government does seems to have a negative affect on disabled people, their families and carers.  This is yet another example of our elected representatives putting the needs of private business before those of the poorest in society.”

ENDS

NOTES

The protest takes place outside ATOS at St Marys House, Duke Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 1QA this Friday 23 March at 11am:

TV/Radio: Interviews are available at the demonstration with Mark Harrison, NCODP  (07825 600195), George Saunders, Norwich Access Group (01603 413485) and Glen and Elly Everett (01603278075)

Dene Carter is only available for interviews on: 07919212014

Picture Editors:  Pictures available at the demonstration

*CASE STUDIES

1) The demonstration has been called as a result of the treatment of Norwich couple Glen and Elly Everett.  Glen and Elly are both disabled and are having to be reassessed for benefits were given 2 separate appointments and told to go to the  Duke Street headquarters of ATOS Health Care for assessment. Ellie, who is a wheel chair user and also the carer for husband went first, and although the toilets were no good for wheel chair access, she was able to attend her appointment. She then went along to support her husband for his appointment a few days later and was told she would not be allowed to enter the building, even though she had been in the previous week, as they did not allow wheelchairs in the building.  This meant the assessment was cancelled.

“We felt humiliated.  The receptionist said she has to turn people away everyday.  How do they think we feel?  We feel like second class citizen”. Glen said.

2) The demonstration has also been called to highlight the case of Dene Carter.

On 12 November 2011 Dene Carter, an ex-serviceman, was ‘assaulted’ by an ATOS employee as part of an Employment Support Allowance (ESA) assessment at the companies Ipswich office.

Mr Carter who has been granted a medical discharge from the army because of injuries sustained during his service in the Infantry was manhandled and manipulated by an ATOS staff member to the point where he was in “horrific pain”.

“The doctor asked me to bend my legs as far as they will go which I did.  She then grabbed my leg and carried on pushing them into positions they won’t go.  I was in horrific pain.  It is bad enough living with constant pain, I am on really strong morphine based painkillers and for a doctor to hurt me in this way isn’t right” Carter said.

As a result of this so-called ‘assessment’ Dene was declared ‘fit for work’.

However there is a parallel process going on with the Army and the Veterans Agency who are also reassessing him.  Mr Carter has a war pension with a top up attributed pension because of his disabilities.  He has also been on DLA since 1993.  This reassessment has shown that his condition has deteriorated from 40% to 60% disability and he has been declared ‘not capable of work’ by the ATOS medical staff, on behalf of the Army,  and is going on to their UNSUPP disability pension.

“I worked until last year when my firm went into administration.  I had been struggling for years not sleeping nights through pain but I didn’t want to go on benefits” he said.

“They treated me like a lump of meat.  I have had 4 assessments by ATOS and 2 of them have been horrendous.  I get the feeling the doctors are under pressure to test people to get them off benefits.  No matter how bad you are she forced my leg into an angle to prove I can do it.  This gives a false picture as she manipulated my leg to places it can’t go by itself.  Most days I have to be helped to dress and I can’t take a bath by myself.  I was co-operating and doing everything they asked me to do.  They need to look at the patient properly as in the NHS.  My wife was with me and she will corroborate my story”.

Mark Harrison CEO of NCODP said:

‘ This case raises wider questions than just the ethics and malpractice of the ATOS staff member.  How can an ex-serviceman be treated in this way?  How can one system declare him fit for work (knowing that medical investigation was still ongoing) and the other declare him unfit for work – which assessment would you trust?’

Mar 202012
 

Today,  Labour have forced a Commons debate on whether MPs can consider planned NHS changes for a final time before an assessment of the potential risks to the health service is published. And opponents are trying to mobilise support behind a last-ditch attempt to try and delay the bill.

Lord Owen lost his amendment this afternoon by 213 to 328 votes with the enemies of open government resorting to increasingly ridiculous arguments to defend the government’s refusal to release the risk register. Andy Burnham has made a last-minute request which will lead to a brief debate on the risk register, this time in the Commons, to be held tomorrow as first item of public business. It’s hard to see it having any effect.

Read Tim Hardy’s analysis at Beyond Clicktivism.

If you need some background, watch The Professional Case for Withdrawing The Health and Social Care Bill from Daniel Saul on Vimeo.

There is much protest which is not being reported by the main stream media.

Many thanks to Steven Sumpter for letting us repost some of this blog (from March 17th). Read the rest about how Heavy handed police threaten NHS protest and follow the links at his blog.

Several hundred people gathered today in front of the Ministry of Health to protest against the Health and Social Care bill and what it will do to the NHS. During the course of the protest riot police intimidated and grabbed at protesters, held them against their will, and broke up the protest into small groups that petered out. This was suppression of protest, something that I have written about many times before. As yet the mainstream media outlets have been silent about the protest and about the policing of it. Read on for some images, videos and tweets from the day. For a detailed personal account with many pictures and videos please read This blog post by Cai Wingfield, and see the links at the end of this post for more.

Video taken by Kate Belgrave

“Outside the department of health!” – photo by @thinktyler
"protest in Whitehall" - photo by @COPDdoc

"protest in Whitehall" - photo by @COPDdoc

————————————————————————————————————-

 

Mar 182012
 

DPAC’s ILF and Care funding campaign.

Dear all, we’d really like your help this week and next to write to your MP asking them to send this list of questions to Maria Miller and also after the questions for Maria there is a draft template letter to send to directors of Adult Services.

We want to inundate her with these over a very short period of time.

You might want to add something just about care cuts generally to either letter.

Please could you send copies of any replies you get directly to me linda_burnip@yahoo.co.uk  or to mail@dpac.uk.net

1) Further to a previous answer given by Maria Miller’s in which she states “The trustees of the ILF took the decision to close the fund to all new applicants as of June 2010″ can i refer her to the Standard note (SN/SP/5633) on the ILF dated March 2nd 2012 (Author Manjit Gheera) in which it states that ” Following a review of the ILF, the COALITION GOVERNMENT concluded that, as an independent discretionary trust for Social care, the ILF model was “financially unsustainable” and closed the trust permanently for new applications. Can she clarify who actually took the decision to close the Independent Living Fund to all new applicants?

2) It is my understanding that the ILF had asked the government to increase the trust funding to them in able to continue to provide funding to all eligible disabled people (as a Trust making organisation) but the government refused to do this. Is that true and why was that decision made by a government which claims it wishes to protect those with the highest support needs (aka  in the government’s  terminology ‘the most vulnerable’)

2) Can she show us the actual evidence from the “assessment” to say that the ILF is financially unsustainable. Was this statement based on the Henwood Report which was conducted back in 2007, which is surely now outdated and based upon a vision of social care support which never happened?

3) How does she intend to ensure that the Governments obligations in law under article 19 of the UN convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are met in relation to people with high support needs, both for people who currently receive ILF and those no longer able to apply.

4) Maria Miller has previously stated that the ILF is a post code lottery. However the ILF is both national & portable. Is it not therefore more the case that it is the Individual Local Authorities Eligibility Criteria, which is more of a post code lottery, and it is those instead which restricts those who can receive Social care & thereby access to the ILF.

The recently published JHRC report raises the issue of your government’s non-compliance with article 19 of the UNCRPD on the right to independent living and the UNCRPD overall. If as you suggest the ILF is a ‘post-code’ lottery. How far is this situation influenced and worsened by your government’s decision to cut funding to local authorities?

5) If as she appears to prefer, the full care support needs of current ILF users and potential future ILF users, were handed over completely to LA’s, how is she going to ensure that these users, who by nature are people with the highest of support needs, are fully supported to live independent lives? Bearing in mind that due to huge budget cuts, many LA’s are now restricting their eligibility criteria and are focusing mainly now on the most basic of care needs and not on helping provide people with support for Independent living as defined by article 19.

Indeed many local authorities now provide no funding for overnight care and are instead issuing continent disabled people with incontinence pads and waterproof sheets instead. Does she feel this is justifiable? If yes how? Could she please explain.

The costs of the overheads for running the ILF are 2% of their total income whereas evidence from Freedom of Information requests would suggest that local authority costs for adult care are often as high as 50% of their total income so what financial modelling is being used by DWP to support the hand over of ILF funding to local authorities and how could best value for that funding be maintained?

6) Is she aware of the Independent Living fund’s response to “caring for our future” the request from the department of Health for comments. In which they show the benefits of a second, Ring Fenced funding stream, to provide for Independent Living support over & above the more basic support which can be funded by LA’s, based on their 23 years experience of providing just that.

Is she also aware of a survey by the British Association of Social workers, which has resulted in a revised code of ethics. The survey found that Social Workers are complaining of “unmanageable and unrealistic” caseloads of service users, and that 82% of BASW members expressed concern about these high caseloads. Mr Hilton Dawson the Chief Executive has stated, ” We are concerned that Government cuts and local authority implementation of this resource rationing is making it impossible for Social Workers to practise to the standards rightly expected of them by BASW’s code of ethics. For example, we have members approaching SWU to tell us that cases are being allocated to named social workers, when crippling caseloads mean that they are sitting in a pile on someone’s desk and that no one has time to actually work on them” Expecting them to take on the additional burden of thousands of ILF care packages is surely unrealistic and would be a disaster for ILF users with even higher support needs than the LA’s are used to managing.

7) What options were examined by the Government in an effort to keep the ILF open in 2010? Also was an Equality Impact Assessment done prior to its closure to new recipients, and what were the findings?

8) What is the expected impact of the LA’s Resource Allocation Systems on those that may have previously qualified for ILF and also the expected impact to current users if it closes?

9) What measurements of the impact on applicants for social care who can no longer access ILF funding are being made? When do the government plan to carry out a legally required Equality Impact Assessment to see what the effect of the closure of the ILF to new applicants is?

10) When will the government carry out an Equality Impact Assessment together with local authorities to measure the full impact of all the cuts to care and support funding?

11) Have there been any enquiries/research carried out to examine local budget impacts on any increased admissions to residential homes since the ILF closure and are there any planned?

12) Has any research/modelling been carried out on the loss to the exchequer of any tax receipts regarding potential Personal Assistant earnings since closure of ILF to new recipients.

13) To what extent do government ministers take notice of UNCRPD when deciding policies which are likely to deprive disabled people of even their most basic human rights?

14) Does Maria Miller agree that the total distrust disabled people and their families have of her makes her position as Minister for Disabled People untenable?

Draft Letter to Directors of Adult Services

 

Dear Fred,

As a service user/ carer/disabled person I would like to know what plans x council have in place to continue providing adequate levels of care and support if the Independent Living Fund is closed from 2015.

 

If this funding is not ring-fenced how will the council ensure the money only goes to meet the needs of service users, including those over pension age?

 

What proportion of the ILF funding monies would be used to meet the overheads involved in supporting disabled people from this funding? Are there any additional resources you feel your department would need to meet these needs?

 

Finally I would like to know how you are currently supporting the needs of and monitoring the numbers of disabled people who would have been eligible for additional funding from ILF but who have been excluded from this funding either by the closure of ILF to new applicants or by changes to RAS.

Yours etc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 20:46
Mar 162012
 
Dear All,
I am writing to let you know that DWP have today confirmed plans to introduce Personal Independence Payment in stages so that they can learn from each stage and get the whole process right.
The Department have also announced how the Disability and Carers Service will organise itself internally to deliver the new benefit.
New claims to Personal Independence Payment
Bootle Benefits Centre will administer the first new claims from spring 2013, from areas including Merseyside, North West England, Cumbria, Cheshire and North East England. People in these locations will be the first to claim the new benefit.
This region has been chosen for a number of reasons. Primarily because Bootle handles about the right number of new claims to provide a meaningful test of Personal Independence Payment processes and IT functionality without overloading new systems.
Bootle is also a high performing unit, and has a good track record on implementing innovative ways of working.
The remaining network of benefits centres currently administering new claims for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will start to take on new claims for PIP from summer 2013, once evidence is in place that processes are working as intended. In addition, this network will handle continuing DLA claims for children.
However the Department is currently reviewing operational structures in readiness for Personal Independence Payment and the existing regional boundaries for the benefits centres may change. We will let you know the outcome of the review.
Reassessing existing DLA claimants for Personal Independence Payment
If a person is already getting DLA they will need to make a claim for the new benefit. DWP will write to them to let them know when they can make a claim to Personal Independence Payment and how to do that.
If a person’s DLA award becomes subject to change after autumn 2013, for example if they have a change in their condition, or new evidence comes to light which means that we may need to look at that their entitlement again, DWP will ask them if they want to claim Personal Independence Payment. It will not be possible to review their DLA award. If they decide not to claim PIP, their DLA award will end.
All current DLA claimants of working age will have been contacted about assessment for Personal Independence Payment by spring 2016.
Blackpool Benefits Centre (formerly known as the Disability Contact and Processing Unit) based at Warbreck House, Blackpool, will administer all reassessment activity.
DWP expect to publish a further policy briefing document on reassessment shortly.
DWP will be consulting on these arrangements and other features of Personal Independence Payment. We will also begin to draft Regulations under the powers we have in the Welfare Reform Act 2012.
ODI Communications Team 
 Posted by at 00:35
Mar 162012
 

Unanimous support was offered to Remploy workers resisting the closure of their factories by the Right to Work AGM on 11th March 2012. The pledge followed the announcement by government last week of the implementation of the findings from the Sayce Report, the review of disability employment support published last year.  The report was commissioned from the disability charity Radar for allegedly as much as two million pounds.

In her speech to the AGM, Linda Burnip, DPAC, emphasised the devastating impact of current government policies on disabled people. DPAC is not satisfied that enough will be done to protect the futures of more than 1500 disabled workers who will be left without employment.  Of those Remploy employees made redundant from previous closures only 6% have gone on to find further employment. At a time of recession it is irresponsible to push large numbers of disabled people onto the mercy of the ever restricted welfare system. Moreover as local authorities tighten their eligibility criteria and cut back on front line services disabled people are being increasingly left socially isolated and alone. Remploy workers facing the closure of their factories face the loss not only of their options for paid work but also of vital social networks. DPAC does not support segregated employment but we believe that starting to end this practice by   throwing people who’ve worked in sheltered workplaces for 20-30 years is wrong. The place to start an end to segregation is in the education system and disabled children must have a legal right to mainstream education.

The Right to Work campaign have called on anti-cuts groups to show solidarity with and support local actions called by Remploy workers to resist the government’s decision. Mark Dunk of the Right to Work campaign said, “The Tory government’s plans to close Remploy will throw thousands of disabled people onto the growing unemployment scrapheap. Those who had some independence and security as Remploy workers now face having their lives dictated to them by multinational corporations operating government workfare schemes. The Right to Work campaign will do all it can to support Remploy workers fighting back against this disgraceful attack.”

Remploy closures have been justified by claims that money saved in this way could be reinvested in Access to Work, the government scheme which provides support to disabled people in mainstream employment. This was the recommendation of the Sayce Report. However, whilst implementing the finding to close Remploy factories, adversely affecting thousands of disabled people, there is little hope that the government will be so diligent in implementing the finding to invest in Access to Work. A statement by the Office for Disability Issues last week said that the Government aims to focus  money on disabled people themselves rather than institutions “by recycling monies freed up from Remploy over time into more effective and proven employment programmes such as Access to Work“. The language is clearly worded not to create any expectation of investment any time soon.

Disabled people are therefore going to lose and lose again as  thousands more are set to join the ranks of those currently living in fear, dependent on a benefits system that is disappearing before our very eyes. Yet again the government has shown how ruthlessly it is willing to exploit the social model and the language of inclusion to ease through its vicious and unrelenting attacks on disabled people. Whilst preaching integration, the government is snatching away yet more and more of the support that disabled people need not only to participate equally within society but to live at all. This is being done with the complicity of the big charities, profiting from the government’s calculated lip service to inclusion while the lives of disabled people are cast aside.

 Posted by at 00:00
Mar 142012
 
These MPs are happy to let our NHS be destroyed. Shame on them.
The NOES
Adams, Nigel
Afriyie, Adam
Aldous, Peter
Alexander, rh Danny
Amess, Mr David
Andrew, Stuart
Arbuthnot, rh Mr James
Bacon, Mr Richard
Baker, Norman
Baker, Steve
Baldry, Tony
Baldwin, Harriett
Barclay, Stephen
Barker, Gregory
Barwell, Gavin
Bebb, Guto
Beith, rh Sir Alan
Benyon, Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Berry, Jake
Bingham, Andrew
Binley, Mr Brian
Birtwistle, Gordon
Blackman, Bob
Blackwood, Nicola
Blunt, Mr Crispin
Boles, Nick
Bone, Mr Peter
Bottomley, Sir Peter
Bradley, Karen
Brady, Mr Graham
Brake, rh Tom
Bray, Angie
Brazier, Mr Julian
Bridgen, Andrew
Brine, Steve
Brokenshire, James
Bruce, Fiona
Buckland, Mr Robert
Burley, Mr Aidan
Burns, Conor
Burns, rh Mr Simon
Burrowes, Mr David
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Lorely
Byles, Dan
Cable, rh Vince
Cairns, Alun
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair
Carmichael, Neil
Carswell, Mr Douglas
Cash, Mr William
Chishti, Rehman
Chope, Mr Christopher
Clark, rh Greg
Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth
Clegg, rh Mr Nick
Coffey, Dr Thérèse
Collins, Damian
Colvile, Oliver
Cox, Mr Geoffrey
Crabb, Stephen
Crockart, Mike
Crouch, Tracey
Davey, rh Mr Edward
Davies, David T. C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Glyn
Davis, rh Mr David
de Bois, Nick
Dinenage, Caroline
Djanogly, Mr Jonathan
Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen
Dorries, Nadine
Doyle-Price, Jackie
Drax, Richard
Duncan, rh Mr Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain
Dunne, Mr Philip
Ellis, Michael
Ellison, Jane
Ellwood, Mr Tobias
Elphicke, Charlie
Eustice, George
Evans, Graham
Evans, Jonathan
Evennett, Mr David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, Mark
Foster, rh Mr Don
Fox, rh Dr Liam
Francois, rh Mr Mark
Freeman, George
Freer, Mike
Fullbrook, Lorraine
Gale, Sir Roger
Gauke, Mr David
Gibb, Mr Nick
Gilbert, Stephen
Glen, John
Goldsmith, Zac
Goodwill, Mr Robert
Gove, rh Michael
Graham, Richard
Grant, Mrs Helen
Gray, Mr James
Grayling, rh Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, rh Justine
Griffiths, Andrew
Gummer, Ben
Gyimah, Mr Sam
Halfon, Robert
Hames, Duncan
Hammond, rh Mr Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, Matthew
Hands, Greg
Harper, Mr Mark
Harris, Rebecca
Hart, Simon
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr John
Heald, Oliver
Heath, Mr David
Heaton-Harris, Chris
Hemming, John
Henderson, Gordon
Herbert, rh Nick
Hinds, Damian
Hollingbery, George
Hollobone, Mr Philip
Hopkins, Kris
Howarth, Mr Gerald
Howell, John
Hughes, rh Simon
Huhne, rh Chris
Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy
Hunter, Mark
Hurd, Mr Nick
Jackson, Mr Stewart
James, Margot
Javid, Sajid
Jenkin, Mr Bernard
Johnson, Gareth
Johnson, Joseph
Jones, Andrew
Jones, Mr David
Jones, Mr Marcus
Kawczynski, Daniel
Kelly, Chris
Kirby, Simon
Knight, rh Mr Greg
Kwarteng, Kwasi
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lancaster, Mark
Lansley, rh Mr Andrew
Laws, rh Mr David
Leadsom, Andrea
Lee, Jessica
Lee, Dr Phillip
Leigh, Mr Edward
Leslie, Charlotte
Letwin, rh Mr Oliver
Lewis, Brandon
Lewis, Dr Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian
Lilley, rh Mr Peter
Lloyd, Stephen
Lopresti, Jack
Lord, Jonathan
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Lumley, Karen
Macleod, Mary
Main, Mrs Anne
Maude, rh Mr Francis
May, rh Mrs Theresa
Maynard, Paul
McCartney, Jason
McCartney, Karl
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick
McPartland, Stephen
McVey, Esther
Mensch, Louise
Menzies, Mark
Metcalfe, Stephen
Miller, Maria
Mills, Nigel
Moore, rh Michael
Mordaunt, Penny
Morgan, Nicky
Morris, Anne Marie
Morris, David
Morris, James
Mosley, Stephen
Mowat, David
Munt, Tessa
Murray, Sheryll
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr Brooks
Newton, Sarah
Nokes, Caroline
Norman, Jesse
Nuttall, Mr David
O’Brien, Mr Stephen
Offord, Mr Matthew
Ollerenshaw, Eric
Opperman, Guy
Ottaway, Richard
Parish, Neil
Patel, Priti
Pawsey, Mark
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Percy, Andrew
Perry, Claire
Phillips, Stephen
Pickles, rh Mr Eric
Pincher, Christopher
Poulter, Dr Daniel
Pritchard, Mark
Raab, Mr Dominic
Randall, rh Mr John
Reckless, Mark
Redwood, rh Mr John
Rees-Mogg, Jacob
Reid, Mr Alan
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, rh Mr Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Rogerson, Dan
Rosindell, Andrew
Rudd, Amber
Ruffley, Mr David
Russell, Sir Bob
Rutley, David
Sandys, Laura
Scott, Mr Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, rh Grant
Sharma, Alok
Shelbrooke, Alec
Shepherd, Mr Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr Keith
Skidmore, Chris
Smith, Miss Chloe
Smith, Henry
Smith, Julian
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, rh Nicholas
Soubry, Anna
Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline
Spencer, Mr Mark
Stanley, rh Sir John
Stephenson, Andrew
Stevenson, John
Stewart, Bob
Stewart, Iain
Stewart, Rory
Streeter, Mr Gary
Stride, Mel
Stuart, Mr Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Sturdy, Julian
Swales, Ian
Swayne, rh Mr Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, rh Mr Hugo
Syms, Mr Robert
Tapsell, rh Sir Peter
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Timpson, Mr Edward
Tomlinson, Justin
Tredinnick, David
Truss, Elizabeth
Turner, Mr Andrew
Tyrie, Mr Andrew
Uppal, Paul
Vaizey, Mr Edward
Vara, Mr Shailesh
Vickers, Martin
Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa
Walker, Mr Charles
Walker, Mr Robin
Wallace, Mr Ben
Watkinson, Angela
Weatherley, Mike
Webb, Steve
Wharton, James
Wheeler, Heather
White, Chris
Whittaker, Craig
Whittingdale, Mr John
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, rh Mr David
Williams, Mr Mark
Williams, Roger
Williams, Stephen
Williamson, Gavin
Wilson, Mr Rob
Wollaston, Dr Sarah
Wright, Jeremy
Wright, Simon
Yeo, Mr Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Zahawi, Nadhim

 Posted by at 13:58
Mar 142012
 
London DPAC/Remploy workers meeting on:
TUESDAY 20th march
6.30-8pm
SCOPE OFFICES
6 MARKET RD
ISLINGTON
LONDON
N7 9PW
the offices are fully accessible, and are almost on the junction of market rd/caledonian rd. (NO BSL interpreters for this meeting -notes will be made available afterwards).
buses
274 – market rd      & 259, 91 and 17 – caledonian rd
nearest tube
caledonian rd (piccadilly line)       
5 mins walk.
parking is available by arrangement
room is booked under the name STEPHEN HODGKINS (thanks stephen) so please give his name on arrival.
Les Woodward (national organiser Remploy) will be speaking.
 Posted by at 13:20
Mar 122012
 

Here are details of UK Uncut’s demo on budget day at Downing St, 11am, Wednesday 21st March:

https://www.facebook.com/events/321251107937780/

The idea is to wipe the smug grin of George Osborne’s face by getting as many people as possible to re-create the iconic ‘Labour Isn’t Working’ dole queue image, but under an ‘Austerity Isn’t Working’ banner.

As this is a static protest on the pavement, I’m hoping it might be a more widely accessible event.

Please promote this within your networks if you can, and share with friends.

It would be great to see you if you can make it!

 

 Posted by at 16:33
Mar 092012
 

The standard response of the disability movement (whatever that is these days) has been to say no to segregated employment – they’ve said that since the 70s. The government mantra which insists that ‘work is good for you’ now seems to sit in an even more unbelievable place than it did a week ago after the closing 36 of the 54 Remploy factories. What’s more a set of formal disability organisations seem to think it was a good idea for up to 2,000 disabled people to join the current regime of trying to claim benefits in one of the worst ever social and economic periods to become unemployed. So now they’re doing the government’s dirty work for them. Is unemployment preferable to segregation?

This is not the 70s- its 2012. Those not in work are being pursued by a regime of Atos testing repeated assessments and loss of income, or  being put on JSA and workfare placements, all are labelled scroungers and frauds.  Organisations take up more and more church halls  every day to provide food parcels,  people are being left without any income, suicide rates amongst disabled people are increasing, unemployment is at an all time high, many disabled people have lost jobs and rates of unemployment for disabled people, like those of every other group, are increasing. The difference for disabled people is that when the employment market is good we have half of the rate of non-disabled people in employment. It is more difficult for disabled people to find employment and very little has been done to change that. So how can any disability organisation ‘back’ more disabled people being thrown into this situation-who are disability organisations working for?

It’s down to the Sayce report and review. In a nutshell this said that Remploy factories cost too much for the government to run and if the government closed the factories, then it could put more money into Access to Work and support more disabled people-many were sold on this but isn’t it all a bit too simple?

Access to Work have been restricting and changing criteria since 2010, making employers pay more for changes, reducing the list of items that could be claimed from AtW and have hounded those on AtW in an effort to get them off it. Will we see charges for employers reduced? The list of items that can be claimed for under AtW increased? Or a lessening of the hounding of those with learning difficulties and others by AtW?

We don’t think so either – neither will we see the itemised cost of this ‘independent’ Sayce review rumoured to be 2 million pounds. In its response to the ‘independent’ Sayce review in September 2011 DPAC said:

DPAC proposes that the costs of the reports, individual payments, meetings and committees attached to the Sayce report are made transparent, the current rumour is a cost of 2 million pounds– DPAC suggests that this figure may have been of more use if half was put into Remploy factories with the remainder making up for the increasing cuts being administered to AtW which is curtailing disabled peoples’ opportunities to work.

DPAC also said:

The ‘independent’ Sayce consultation is a remarkable volt face from the government and a shameful collusion by a disability charity in an agenda that will do very little, if anything to aid disabled peoples’ employment, conversely it appears to seek backing to make more disabled people unemployed through the closure of Remploy factories

Of course as we have seen with other consultations and reviews the formula of ‘they ask and do it anyway’ applies. The decision had already been made. The Sayce report also claimed that 100% of disability organisations said Remploy should close, DPAC said:

It is ironic that the ‘independent’ Sayce report seeks to remove the specialist or segregated employment in Remploy factories (backed by the rather dubious claim that 100% of disability organisations said Remploy factories should close), while at the same time the coalition government seeks to substantially increase levels of segregated schooling.

In the recent press releases from Miller and RADAR we have seen nothing of one part of the review : a question that asked: Do you agree that Remploy’s Employment Services should be sold and transformed into a mutual, social enterprise or other model? DPAC said:

Remploy workers and their unions should be consulted on this; they should have been consulted from the first…Remploy factories should continue to be subsidized, it is the management and board structure that should be removed with control going to disabled people as workers and their unions.

So why aren’t the formal disabled peoples’ organisations all calling for this and backing disabled people at Remploy?

Only one person from a formal disability organisation mentioned this:

 Julie Newman, acting chair of the UK Disabled People’s Council, said the idea of sheltered, segregated workplaces belonged in the last century, but disabled Remploy workers should be supported to take control of factories themselves, setting up user-led social enterprises.

If the formal disability organisations cannot start to wake up to the reality of life under this government for most disabled people then they should at least pay some attention to the criticism of Les Woodward who said:

I cannot see how making the best part of 2,000 people redundant is going to advance the disability agenda one iota.

He called on them to visit and talk with Remploy workers. We call on them, and especially Liz Sayce to do so too. We also call on them to challenge the government on the proposal of Remploy workers developing their own social enterprises run and controlled by disabled people, because the words and actions they’ve issued so far do not suggest that they are on the side of disabled people anymore




The e-petition to save Remploy factories is at: http://www.saveremployfactories.co.uk/

 

Mar 092012
 

DPAC was formed by a group of disabled people after the 3rd October mass protests against cuts in Birmingham,England. The 3rd October saw the first mass protest against the austerity cuts and their impact on disabled people-It was led by disabled people under the name of The Disabled Peoples’ Protest.

DPAC co-founders are the original Disabled Peoples’ Protest organisers.

DPAC is for everyone who believes that disabled people should have full human rights and equality. It is for everyone that refuses to accept that any country can destroy the lives of people just because they are or become disabled or sick. It is for everyone against government austerity measures which target the poor while leaving the wealthy unscathed. It is for everyone who refuses to stay silent about the injustices delivered by wealthy politicians.

DPAC has several hundred formal members and over 3,000 disabled people and carers subscribed to our facebook and website. We campaign together with an increasingly wide range of other disabled people’s campaign groups and other organisations.

We have collated our response to this consultation by using information that has been given to us by our supporters and consider it to be a factual response based of how disabled people feel and how afraid they are at the current time.

Realising aspirations

  1. What ideas do you have that could make a difference to you in getting an education, getting a job or being able to live independently?

Education

Adequate funding to meet additional needs of pupils in schools, colleges and universities is essential to allow disabled children and young people to get an education. Cuts to local authority budgets is having a negative impact on this funding.

All disabled children should have a legal right to have a mainstream education. Due to the continuing emphasis on exam results and league tables Academies and free schools are not including disabled children in schools. It is essential that local authority funding can be used by such schools to fund the additional needs of disabled children and that they can access local authority services for SEN education.

As many families with disabled children already live in poverty the removal of Education Maintenance Allowance is stopping disabled children from being able to afford to stay on in schools.

The closure of the Independent Living Fund and cuts to local authority care budgets also means that young disabled adults are not getting the care and support funding they need to go to university. There is also no adequate funding available to meet the costs for any disabled person going to university who needs an additional bedroom in halls of residence for 24 care.

University fees of £9,000 a year make it difficult for disabled students who also have other additional costs to study being able to contemplate going to university, especially with the barriers they will then face trying to get and keep work in an economy with rising unemployment. Unlike non-disabled peers disabled young people are often not in a position to even move from one county to another as care funding is not transportable, let alone consider working in another country.

 

Jobs

Without an adequate education getting a job will become more difficult and more disabled young people will be excluded from the labour market.

Many aspects of Access to Work funding have been slashed eg. Some assistive technology which also affects job opportunities as smaller firms, including many of our own Disabled People’s Organisations will no longer be able to afford to make the reasonable adjustments that might be needed in workplaces. The loss of local authority and central government jobs in which the majority of disabled people currently work also means that the likelihood of disabled people being able to get employment will shrink.

The closure of Remploy factories and other sheltered workshops such as Shellforce inBirminghamwill further have a negative effect on disabled people’s ability to find and keep work. In the last round of Remploy factory closures only 5% of those made unemployed were able to obtain alternative employment.

Even paid jobs stacking shelves in supermarkets will become harder and harder to get as the numbers of non-disabled people forced onto still mandatory, unpaid work schemes will mean that companies no longer need as many paid staff for such vacancies.

The plans to send disabled people who possibly have multiple impairments or those who are dying from cancer on workfare schemes for indefinite lengths of time leaves little for anyone to say but can only be viewed as an absolute disgrace. Surely to force someone to work during the last few months of their lives and to remove benefits from them if they re unable to do so amounts to torture.

The scrapping of Disability Living Allowance and the arbitrary removal of half a million disabled people from  entitlement to PIP is a further factor that is likely to increase unemployment amongst disabled people. Currently many disabled people are only able to work because they receive DLA and without it they will no longer be able to work. DPAC have already come across several disabled people who have lost DLA and because of this their jobs. Whilst their DLA was re-instated at appeal. Over 10 months later this has not helped them regain employment.

The new PIP assessment must not create a disincentive to using aids and adaptations and should be independently reviewed with the involvement of disabled people’s organisations before being rolled out nationally. Entitlement to this benefit must continue to be based on the principle that this is a benefit based on the additional costs of impairment, and not based on a biopsychosocial model of disability. Changes to PIP should not start with the aim of removing 20% of disabled people from entitlement to the new benefit. DPAC also feel that the cost of this change £675 million could better be spent retaining DLA and continuing to support the 20% of disabled people who will lose entitlement.

 

Come 2015 if there is no replacement for ILF funding, which local authorities have said they can’t make up, then many more disabled people who currently are working will not have the support they need to continue to do so. I’m sure several members of Equality 2025 will agree with this.

Living Independently

As said above the loss of DLA and ILF funding will prevent independent living, and put this government in breach of its obligations under article 19 of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Further the lack of an adequate stock of affordable, and accessible properties will also prevent many disabled people from living independently. The cumulative effect of Housing Benefit changes and changes to DLA particularly for anyone under 35 years of age could well result in catastrophic levels of homelessness for disabled people. There has been no Equality Impact Assessment of any cumulative effects of benefit changes, or of how such changes will effect passporting via DLA for other benefits.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) carried out an inquiry into the implementation of the right to independent living as set out in Article 19 of the United Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (Disabilities Convention). The Disabilities Convention sets out the steps that governments must take to ensure disabled people enjoy their human rights. It was ratified by the UK Government in June 2009.

 

This inquiry concluded that the government is not taking the Convention seriously enough and  current mix of human rights, equality and community care law is not sufficient to protect and promote the right to independent living. DPAC would add that this is particularly true in relation to funding cuts.

 

Summary

All the current cuts will increase unemployment and homelessness amongst disabled people and make them more dependent on benefits which is exactly the opposite to what the government say it wants.

Cuts to ILF,care funding and benefit levels will mean that pressure will increase ultimately on the NHS which will be much costlier in the end than helping to keep disabled people in reasonable health, out of poverty and living independently.

We feel that there is no real understanding of disability issues shown in current policies and that this government need urgently to start talking to real disabled people and our real organisations before even greater numbers of disabled people start to commit suicide as they see no future for themselves.

Individual control

4. What helps you to have choice and control over your day-to-day life and the support you get?

The right levels of benefits for those who are unable to work, the right level of care and support for all disabled people, including older disabled people and children. Without these things being right and most are outlined in question 1 above then choice and control does not exist for disabled people.

5. What else would help you to have more choice and control over your day-to-day life and the support you get?

Disabled people already face persistent, significant disadvantages in relation to choice and control and levels of participation in economic and social life, however the cumulative effect of reductions in social care funding, restricting eligibility for social care and welfare reform measures form a significant risk of retrogression of independent living and a breach of Article 19.

 

The scrapping of cuts to benefits and services which are being proposed will breach disabled people’s rights under the UNCRPD.

Access to well-funded and responsive NHS and Mental health services. Private health insurance will not be of any help to disabled people who have pre-existing medical conditions even if they were able to afford it.

The right to independent living should be added as an outcome in any forthcoming adult social care bill inEngland.

The Disability Strategy should include measures to monitor the impact of restrictions on eligibility for adult social care on disabled people’s access to independent living. Although ILF funding has been stopped to new applicants from 2010 there are no figures or information available about how this has affected disabled people who would previously have been able to access ILF funding but who now cannot.

This is unacceptable and the ODI, devolved administrations and local authorities must monitor the impact of reform and spending cuts on the right to independent living and report on the extent to which reform to the ILF, DLA and housing benefit are preventing the government and local authorities to deliver their Article 19 obligations.

Being forced to work, and forced to move homes to ever cheaper areas will also mean that disabled people lose access to the health and other vital services they rely on. For some eg. Those with visual impairments and learning difficulties this will be very difficult to cope with. For anyone with a care package they are likely to end up with a greatly reduced care package as the new Resource Allocation System does not appear to work well.

6. What would help you to access services and activities which suit your needs? For example education, transport, health, social care, and sport, social and recreational activities.

Education

More funding for mainstream education. Fewer ‘special’schools. A legal right to a mainstream education for all disabled children

Transport

More accessible transport, an end to Boris’s replacement buses froLondonas they are not sufficiently accessible for wheelchair users.

No cuts to mobility allowance as the environment is still far from being fully accessible to people with a wide range of impairments.

Changing attitudes and behaviour

8. What works well in changing the way other people treat disabled people?

Not having DWP ministers portray disabled people as frauds and benefit scroungers would go a long way towards making non-disabled people treat disabled people less badly. They have distorted fraud rates and not made it clear that the figures they have quoted include much higher rates of error. This is either totally dishonest or totally incompetent on their part.

This type of behaviour has resulted in rising numbers of hate crimes.

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/legal-and-policy/inquiries-and-assessments/inquiry-into-disability-related-harassment/hidden-in-plain-sight-the-inquiry-final

9. What else is important in changing the way other people treat disabled people?

Due to the lies told by ministers media coverage of disability and disabled people has often been very negative and this too must change.

http://www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/bad-news-for-disabled-people-report-reveals-extent-of-media-misrepresentation

Inclusive education would allow disabled children to be seen by others as ‘normal’ and not in need of being segregated from society.

10. What can we do to make sure that everyone recognises the contribution that disabled people can make?

Provide adequate funding to meet the rights guaranteed to disabled people under the UNCRPD, stop ministers lying about them and challenge negative media coverage.

Work out a way for real ‘joined up thinking’ to become a reality. There seems to be a total lack of coordination between Government and other public authorities to meet their obligations under the Convention.

 

11. Do you have any suggestions for how we should implement and monitor the Strategy once it is developed?

It should be monitored independently by an NGO of disabled people which is funded by government but which otherwise has complete independence from it.

12. Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

Any government policies on disability issues should make sure that disabled people’s rights under the UNCRPD are not only upheld but strengthened. This is clearly not the case at present and urgent steps must be taken to address this failure of government.

http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml

DPAC believe that current government policies are breaching not only Article 19 – a right to independent living but also

Article 16- freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse

Article 25 – Health

Article 27 – Work and Employment

Article 28 – Right to an adequate standard of living

Given the vicious attacks against disabled people by this government which are leading nearly every disabled person we have contact with to live in abject and daily fear we feel a consultation like this about future aspirations is perhaps badly timed and inappropriate as so many disabled people do not feel they have any future.

 

We believe that the extremely high levels of distrust disabled people hold for Maria Miller makes her position as Minster for disabled people untenable and call for her immediate resignation.

 

We’d like to say finally that we share the concerns expressed by Countess Mar (Vice Chair of the APPG for ME): At a recent APPGD meeting Countess Mar said she is receiving emails every day from disabled people worrying about the assessment system and how they are likely to fall underneath the net because they are not considered sick enough.  She is also getting e mails from people who say that they are beginning to be publically discriminated against.  “I hate to speak the unspeakable… gbut may I remind you of what happened in 1930s Germany when disabled people and elderly were regarded as being a burden on the state, and may I remind you what happened to them.  We don’t want to sleep walk into that situation”.

 

What we think ODI need to do

 

  • We need a base-line on the poverty of disabled people setting up-This would be based on
  1. disabled peoples’ income against non-disabled people.
  2.  their housing situation and in particular whether lack of accessible housing is preventing independent living, whether the changes to Housing Benefit legislation are leading to more homelessness amongst disabled people and whether people are being evicted from adapted properties because they can no longer afford the rent.
  3. access to representation in benefit issues.
  4. the type of educational establishment disabled children attend ie. segregated/mainstream and whether this has ben forced on them or is their families choice
  5. how many young disabled people are being denied an adequate level of care and support funding to allow them to go to university or college, and lead independent lives.
  6. This data should be monitored and updated annually by a user-led organisation funded for that purpose or a DPO university consortium in which all partners have equal status.
  7. Any strategy must have milestones and targets for the implementation of recommendations. At the moment there are many recognised areas where disabled people and children are not being supported to attain their human rights as guaranteed in UNCRPD, and EcHR.
  8. There must be a set of proposed actions by each recommendation in this strategy with defined timescales to achieve set targets to improve the situation, targets must be measurable and comparable that is X number of people/children must be removed from the negative situation within X months and a record should be kept of the successful/failure of targets in order to monitor the government/local authority effectiveness on key issues affecting disabled people and children
  9. We know that the Independent Living Strategy is failing due to cuts at both national and local levels particularly with the failure of the Resource Allocation System and thought must be given to how the aims of this strategy can be implemented and progress towards meeting its targets can be properly measured.

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 20:47
Mar 082012
 

London’s transport system is not a public transport system: much of it remains inaccessible to older and disabled Londoners.
Along with other disability and pensioner’s organisations, Transport for All will be taking our demands for accessible transport direct to City Hall on 20th March and launching our manifesto. Together, we’ll call for the next mayor to upgrade London’s transport, so that older and disabled people can travel with the same freedom and independence as everyone else.

Our five key demands:
Implement penalties for bus companies which regularly fail to meet minimum standards in relation to access; broken ramps; pulling into the kerb and giving passengers enough time to sit down.
Ensure that at least a third of London’s Tube stations are stepfree by 2018, including from platform to train
Lift the cap placed on TfL’s contribution to the Taxicard service
Commit to a target of 100% of bus stops to be accessible by 2018
Restore all staff axed from the Underground and ensure assistance is reliably available at every station, including on London Overground.
This demonstration, following directly after our Mayoral Hustings, will be the official launch of our manifesto for an accessible London transport system.
Meet outside City Hall (nearest station, London Bridge, which is stepfree) at 2:30pm. Bring banners, placards and a thirst for change!

Lianna Etkind
Campaigns and Outreach Co-ordinator

P.S. There are still some spaces left at the Mayoral Hustings – email libby.oakley@inclusionlondon.co.uk to register.

London Underground’s experiment in minimal staffing on the Tube has failed.
Have you had experience of empty stations or lack of assistance? Let us know:
http://www.transportforall.org.uk/news/disabled-londoners-hard-hit-by-tube-staff-cuts-tube
Transport for All
336 Brixton Road
London
SW9 7AA

Visit our website:
www.transportforall.org.uk

Tel: 0207 737 2339
Fax: 0207 737 2231

 Posted by at 15:56
Mar 032012
 


Disability Works UK is a not-for-profit consortium of eight national disability charities that have come together to provide tailored employment support to disabled people. Disability Works UK is not involved in the delivery of the government’s Workfare scheme.

Disability Works UK has secured a number of sub-contracts to delivery the Work Programme; the government’s employment initiative aimed at supporting long-term unemployed and disabled people into work. This programme is not related in any way to the Workfare scheme.

Through the Work Programme, Disability Works UK provides tailored support and training, including interview practice, skills development, help with job applications, CV writing and in-work support. We also work with employers to ensure that people are well supported in their roles.

Given the combined expertise of our members, we feel that we are ideally and uniquely placed to be able to offer disabled people high quality support that meets their individual needs. We are engaging with the Work Programme to ensure that people receive this tailored support, which we know works; and to give disabled people the best possible chance of success of securing a job.

DWUK believes that sanctions do not incentivise disabled people to look for work, nor do they give them the confidence to do so. DWUK will not be directly involved in delivering sanctions. This will continue to be the role of the DWP via Job Centre Plus.

Disability Works UK includes: SCOPE, MIND, MENCAP, Leonard Cheshire, Action for Blind People (RNIB)

http://www.disabilityworksuk.org/

Mar 032012
 

Save the Date – Save our NHS – 7 March 2012

Join the mass day of action to save our NHS – Wednesday, 7 March from 1pm, Houses of Parliament, London.

Find out the latest transport details and coordinators from Unite’s regions.


In less than three months the government’s Health and Social Care bill will be law. This is a national emergency.  Unite says that if you want a NHS that is fair, where treatment depends on need and not the ability to pay then the bill must be dropped. Our NHS is a national treasure that we should all be proud of. It has cared for generations of working people. It places fairness at the heart of our society. The bill puts profit before patient care and will destroy the NHS that we know and love.

You need the NHS – now it needs you

Please pledge to be part of this key lobby of parliament
When: Wednesday 7 March from 1pm to 5pm.
Where: The Library, Central Methodist Hall, Westminster, London SW1H

Later that day… Join the TUC SAVE OUR NHS mass rally – from 6pm to 7.30pm, in the Great Hall, Central Methodist Hall, Westminster, London. Make sure you register online for the TUC NHS mass rally.

If you can’t attend the rally you can send a message of opposition to the bill by texting the word NHS and your message to 86888. Download a leaflet and tell us why you support the NHS.

Your help is needed to kill this bill

 

Mar 022012
 

Protests against workfare will be taking place in 35 (and counting) locations tomorrow as part of a National Day of Action called by Boycott Workfare.  For the latest details of protests visit their website at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=359

Despite Chris Grayling’s humiliating climbdown on workfare this week, the battle is far from over.  The government have not scrapped workfare sanctions. They have removed some sanctions from one of the five schemes.

Just like before, we need to show that companies profiting from forced labour that is not acceptable.  Under the Work Programme claimants can be forced to work in private companies for up to six months or face the poverty and possible homelessness that benefit sanctions bring.

We need to stop this now.  Please contact the companies concerned, flood their facebook pages and twitter feeds, email them and make sure they know that we are just as angry as ever about their used of forced labour.

The government refuses to tell us which companies are profiting from unpaid labour on the Work Programme, and has removed any information from the DWP’s website.  How, due a now ‘disappeared’ Freedom of Information Act request, we know for sure that the companies and charities below have taken on workfare staff under the Work Programme scheme.

Remember to tell them if are are planning to boycott them or withdraw donations unless they pull out of workfare immediately.

ASDA – on twitter @asda and facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/Asda  Their facebook wall is locked down but you can leave comments.  Or you can contact them direct (Freephone no) at: http://your.asda.com/contact-us

Savers – on twitter (but not very active) @saversstore or facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Savers-Health-and-Beauty/102022502083? Contact them direct at: http://www.savers.co.uk/contact-us_19.html

Barnados – on twitter @Barnados  They have said they will not take young people on work experience who face sanctions but have remained silent on the workfare staff in their shops.  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/barnardos#!/barnardos?sk=wall  Contact page at: http://www.barnardos.org.uk/what_we_do/who_we_are/contact_us.htm

Holiday Inn – on twitter @holidayinn on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/HolidayInnUKIreland#!/HolidayInnUKIreland?sk=wall

Pizza Hut – on twitter @pizzahut  There UK page is @pizzahut_uk but is barely active.  They are busy on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/PizzaHutUK?sk=wall  Contact page at: http://www.pizzahut.co.uk/restaurants/faqs.aspx

Poundstretcher – on twitter @poundstretcher1 (barely active) and not active on facebook email them at: ed@poundstretcher.co.uk – website at: http://www.poundstretcher.co.uk/

British Heart Foundation – on twitter @thebhf on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/bhf   Contact page: http://www.bhf.org.uk/contact-us.aspx

Wilkinson – Barely active on twitter.  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/WilkinsonPlus#!/WilkinsonPlus?sk=wall  Their wall is locked down but you can leave comments or contact them at: http://www.wilkinsonplus.com/page/contact_index/

99p Stores – Can’t find them on twitter.  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/99p-Stores/49590173920  or contact them at: http://www.99pstoresltd.com/contactus.asp

Salvation Army – believed to be involved in Mandatory Work Activity and the Work Programme.  On twitter @salvationarmyuk or facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/salvationarmyuk Contact page at: http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/contactus

Booker Wholesale – on twitter @bookerwholesale and facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/BookerWholesale  Contact page at: https://www.booker.co.uk/help/contactus.aspx

Jamie Oliver – Jamie has been whinging this week that he hasn’t been sent a workfare slave yet even though he signed up to the Work Programme months ago.  Why not tell this multi-millionaire what you think of him using forced labour on twitter @jamieoliver

______________________________________________________________

It is unclear whether the following companies will remain involved in the Work Experience scheme or the far more draconian Work Programme.  Ask them and demand they do not profit from forced labour.

Argos – on twitter @argos_online and facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/argos  Contact page at: http://www.argos.co.uk/static/StaticDisplay/includeName/ContactUs.htm

McDonalds – very busy international page on twitter @mcdonalds  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/McDonaldsUK  Contact page at: http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/ukhome/Aboutus/Contact-us.html

Primark – on twitter @primarkjobs Seemingly impossible to get in touch with any other way.  Visit your local store instead!

Holland & Barrett – inactive twitter page @holland_barrett  Contact page at: http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/contactus.asp

Cancer Research UK – on twitter @CR_UK  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/cancerresearchuk  Contact page at: https://aboutus.cancerresearchuk.org/contact-us/?secure=true

Age UK – on twitter @age_uk   On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/ageuk  Contact page at: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/contact-us/

______________________________________________________________

Many other companies and charities are using workfare.  Very little has changed despite Chris Grayling’s announcement.  According to the trade industry for workfare providers,  only Boots have told them they are pulling out so far.  Oxfam and Shelter have made clear statements distancing themselves from workfare and the Work Programme.  Sainsburys, Tesco and Waterstones have all said they are not involved in the scheme.  Poundland has pulled out of Work Programme but will continue to take work experience placements as long as they are not subject to benefit sanctions.

Please list contact details of all known workfare exploiters in the comments.

The following charities are part sub-contractors for Work Programme as part of the Disability Works consortium.  Several of them have also used workfare in their charity shops.  Contact them and demand they pull out of workfare.  More importantly, with government plans revealed to force sick and disabled people into permanent work for no pay we urgently need a statement from all these charities that will they not play any part in such a crueland abusive scheme.

SCOPE – on twitter at @scope  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/Scope  Contact page at: http://www.scope.org.uk/contact-us

Mencap – on twitter @mencap_charity  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/Mencap  Contact page at: http://www.mencap.org.uk/contact-us

MIND – on twitter @mindcharity  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mindforbettermentalhealth  Contact page at: http://www.mind.org.uk/contact

Leonard Chesire Disability – on twitter @LCDisability  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Leonard-Cheshire-Disability/77071765498  Contact page at: http://www.lcdisability.org/?lid=108

Action for Blind People – on twitter @action4blind  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/actionforblindpeople  Contact page at: http://www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/other-pages/contact-us/

Advance – not active on twitter or facebook.  Contact page at: http://www.advanceuk.org/index.asp?m=6&t=Contact+Us

Pluss – on twitter  @plussaddtolife  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pluss/257795488431  Contact page: http://www.pluss.org.uk/contact

United Response – on twitter @unitedresponce  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/UnitedResponse?ref=ts  Contact page at: http://www.unitedresponse.org.uk/get-support/contact-us/

And if you’ve still got time after all that then why not give disability deniers Atos a kick, the company responsible for the flawed health and disability benefit eligibility tests testing which have driven some people to suicide.  They’ll only feel left out otherwise.  On twitter @atos  Not allowed on facebook.  Contact page at: http://www.atoshealthcare.com/index.php?option=com_enquiries&Itemid=226

If you ring companies please remember you are probably speaking to a low paid receptionist, and just as importantly that communications can be easily traced.  It is an offence to make malicious or abusive phone calls.

Mar 022012
 

Two leading Scottish disabled people’s organisations have accused the minister for disabled people of lying about their involvement in a UK government consultation on welfare reform.

Three organisations – Inclusion Scotland (IS), Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living (LCIL) and Independent Living in Scotland (ILiS) – were so angry at Maria Miller’s claims that they boycotted a meeting with her that should have taken place last week.

Miller had written in the Guardian: “I have personally met with over 60 disabled people’s organisations in the development of personal independence payment [PIP, the benefit due to replace working-age disability living allowance]and visited disabled people around the country to hear their views.”

A list of 50 of those disability organisations, obtained by Disabled People Against Cuts through a Freedom of Information Act request, included the names of IS, ILiS and LCIL.

But two of them – IS and LCIL – have told Disability News Service that they have never met with Miller.

They are also the latest organisations to express anger at how Miller has “misrepresented” the views of DPOs by implying that the government’s welfare reforms are backed by the disability movement and other disability organisations.

The meeting they boycotted was to take place in Edinburgh last week and was intended to discuss their response to a consultation on the government’s disability strategy.

Inclusion Scotland said it attended two meetings about the development of PIP with Department for Work and Pensions representatives last August, but Miller was not at either of them.

Bill Scott, manager of Inclusion Scotland – a national consortium of DPOs and disabled people – said: “It was a lie and there is no doubt about that. She shouldn’t have said that.

“She then went on to say there was a consensus in favour of welfare reform. There is no such consensus. On welfare reform, we are just implacably opposed to what they are doing.”

Scott added: “We just wanted to make a point last week that we were not going to be misrepresented. We have been very, very vocal opponents of welfare reform.”

He said IS would now have to examine its future involvement with the UK government on a “case by case basis”.

Catherine Garrod, information coordinator for LCIL, also said Miller had lied about meeting personally with her organisation.

She said: “We thought we had been misrepresented by the minister for disabled people. We are strongly opposed to what is happening with the welfare reforms.

“Everybody knows they have consulted, but they have not listened to what the response has been.”

Because of Miller’s actions, she said LCIL would now probably refuse to take part in any future meetings with the minister, although it would continue to provide written responses to UK government consultations.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “The minister for disabled people was not referring to a specific meeting attended by 60 disabled organisations but was intending to make a more general point about the extensive consultation in which she and officials have been engaged since May 2010.”

1 March 2012 – News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

 

 

Mar 012012
 

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) today publishes its Report on the implementation of the right of disabled people to independent living in the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which was ratified by the UK in 2009. The Report draws attention to a number of significant human rights issues, including:

 

  • the need for freestanding legislation to protect the right to independent living in UK law,
  • the effect of current reforms to benefits and services on the ability of disabled people to enjoy independent living,
  • the role played by the UNCRPD in policy development and decision making at all levels of government,
  • the use of equality impact assessments,
  • the effects of devolution on implementation of the UNCRPD, and
  • hate crime

 

The right to independent living does not exist as a freestanding right in UK law. Although it is protected and promoted to some extent by a matrix of rights, the Committee believes that this is not enough. It argues that the Government and other interested parties should immediately assess the need for, and feasibility of, legislation to establish independent living as a freestanding right. In addition, the Committee concludes that the UNCRPD is hard law, not soft law, and that the Government should fulfil their obligations under the Convention on that basis, and counter any public perception that it is soft law.

 

The Committee finds that:

 

  • reforms to benefits and services risk leaving disabled people without the support they need to live independently;
  • restrictions in local authority eligibility criteria for social care support, the replacement of the Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment, the closure of the Independent Living Fund and changes to housing benefit risk interacting in a particularly harmful way for disabled people;
  • some people fear that the cumulative impact of these changes will force them out of their homes and local communities and into residential care.

 

It also finds that:

 

  • the Government had not conducted an assessment of the cumulative impact of current reforms on disabled people. The Report urges them do so, and to report on the extent to which these reforms are enabling them and local authorities to comply with their obligations under the UNCRPD.

 

  • the UNCRPD did not appear to have played a significant role in the development of policy and legislation, as is required by the Convention. The Committee therefore argues that the Government should make a commitment to Parliament that they will give due consideration to the articles of the Convention when making legislation.

 

Further, the Committee deprecates changes to the duties of public authorities in England under the Equality Act 2010, which no longer require the production of equality impact assessments of changes in policy, nor the involvement of disabled people in developing policies which will affect them.

 

The Committee finds variations in the manner in which the devolved administrations have implemented the Convention, and uncertainty as to the role the UK Government should play in ensuring implementation. The Report notes with disappointment the lack of a strategy in Northern Ireland to promote independent living and reminds the UK Government to acknowledge their responsibility to ensure implementation.

 

The Committee also considers a range of other issues relating to independent living. It recommends that the Government should take further action to ensure that assessments for care needs are portable across the country in order to ensure disabled people’s right to choose their place of residence. It also expresses concern over a growing incidence of hate crime against disabled people and urges the Government take action to foster respect for the rights and dignity of disabled people.

 

 

Dr Hywel Francis MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “We are concerned to learn that the right of disabled people to independent living may be at risk through the cumulative impact of current reforms. Even though the UK ratified the UNCPRD in 2009 with cross-party support, the Government is unable to demonstrate that sufficient regard has been paid to the Convention in the development of policy with direct relevance to the lives of disabled people. The right to independent living in UK law may need to be strengthened further, and we call on the Government and other interested organisations to consider the need for a freestanding right to independent living in UK law.”

 

 

The members of the Committee Are:

Rehman Chishti MP (Conservative Gillingham and Rainham) Baroness Berridge (Conservative)
Mike Crockart MP (Liberal Democrat Edinburgh West) Lord Bowness (Conservative)
Dr Hywel Francis MP (Labour Aberavon) (Chair) Baroness Campbell of Surbiton (Cross-Bencher)
Mr Dominic Raab MP (Conservative Esher and Walton) Lord Dubs (Labour)
Mr Virendra Sharma MP (Labour Ealing Southall) Lord Lester of Herne Hill (Liberal Democrat)
Mr Richard Shepherd MP (Conservative Aldridge-Brownhills) Lord Morris of Handsworth (Labour)

Clerks to the Committee:

Mike Hennessy (House of Commons) 020 7219 2797 John Turner (House of Lords) 020 7219 6772

Enquiries: 020 7219 2467        Fax: 020 7219 8393        E-mail: jchr@parliament.uk

Homepage: http://www.parliament.uk/jchr

Media Inquiries:  Liz Parratt: 07917 488978.

56 queries in 1.496 seconds.