Jun 302012
 

We’ve been involved in 3 major direct actions, plus several more minor protests this year all of which have been instrumental in raising the profile of the attacks against disabled people: the first was with UKUNCUT when we blocked Regent Street for several hours and the second saw 2 groups of disabled people blocking Trafalgar Square causing a massive backlog of traffic into the centre of London. The most recent joint action with Transport for All didn’t quite work out as planned but was very effective nevertheless and took place opposite parliament.

We protested in leafy Leamington Spa, outside DWP offices and supported the Big 6 Energy Bash with Climate Justice Collective with on-going campaigning against fuel poverty and for an accessible and sustainable public transport system we can all use.

We’re further involved in numerous anti-Olympic events being planned over the summer. These are particularly targeted at many of the less acceptable sponsors of the Olympics such as ATOS, Dow and Rio Tinto Zinc.

Many disabled people joined in with the Great British Street Party organised by UKUNCUT when we all partied outside Nick Clegg’s house. Disabled people from Islington blocked and held the road until other activists could get there.

We’ve continued to campaign against the WCA and ATOS in particular and were given an award earlier this year for nominating ATOS as the least appropriate sponsor of the Olympics by War on Want. We also have a French speaking supporter who now tweets regularly o the French media about ATOS.

Together with Inclusion London, Disability Hate Crime Network and others we made a joint-submission to the Leveson Enquiry about the negative media portrayal of disabled people. This is still being followed up as we want to be able to give oral evidence to the inquiry which is being refused. Most of the hard work for this was done by Inclusion London following on from the research they commissioned fromGlasgowUniversity. Failing this we plan to perform our own version of the Leveson Enquiry.

We collected with Anne Novis signatures from over 400 disabled people and DPOs against the loss of ILF funding. We took this to DWP and asked to see Maria Miller which was refused. We were very pleased to have Jamie Bolling from ENIL join us for this lively protest. Correspondence with Maria Miller has since been on-going over this and we expect the consultation to be launched shortly.

We have prepared two lengthy reports which we’ll be finalising and publishing shortly on the importance of ILF and cuts to care and support funding. We will be using these in our on-going campaigning around these issues.

We’re helping with two pieces of undercover research although can’t say more about that as it’s undercover.

At an international level we’ve been involved with lobbying in the European Parliament and with a working group onEurope, Disabled People and Austerity. We were also part of a European working group on disability hate crime and had the research undertaken by Anne Novis from Disability Hate Crime Network donated to us to disseminate more widely which we’ve done.

We’ve also made links with Danish activists and are helping with a Spanish research project into disability activism. Debbie has also travelled toBulgariato support a direct action against lack of funding for independent living.

We seem to be very much in demand still to speak at a wide range of events both nationally and locally. There are too many to mention each individually but a few in the past few months include having people speak at British Youth Council,  PCS, TUC disabled members conference, Right to Work AGM , Sussex LRC and GMB congress fringe meeting on ‘Defend Welfare and Pensions’, and CoR conferences. A few local events include Islington DPAC skills day and Deaf Access Bromley, and in the future SHP residential home for mental health survivors inWestminster, West Midlands Against the Cuts and Birmingham Against the Cuts.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to find anyone to speak at RMT AGM or at an NUT fringe meeting which we were also invited to speak at. Both of these were in Torquay so if anyone in Devon orCornwallcan help in the future please get in touch.

We’ve also done workshops at various events on benefit cuts and particularly on planned changes to Universal Credit. Fortunately the number of people who are willing to speak on DPAC’s behalf has increased as otherwise it would be impossible to respond to all the requests we are getting.

We also had a motion passed against WCA and welfare reform at NUT conference and NUT affiliated to DPAC.

We had a stall to advertise our work at NASWUT disabled members’ conference and have been asked to have another stall at the West Midlands NASWUT regional conference in October. We also shared a stall we were given at TUC disabled workers’ conference with allies from Transport for All and ALLFIE, and were represented at the NUS disabled students conference inManchester. We’ve also been invited to take part in a TUC conference fringe meeting with the Peoples’ Charter.

The number of local DPAC groups continues to expand and we now have 12 local groups around the country. The newest group in theEast Midlandsis being set up with input from the steering group.

We’re working with Inclusion London and  NCoDP on the launch of rethinking disability policy, a key national conference on the way forward for disabled people  and in the meantime are stimulating debate within the disabled people’s movement, eg interviews with a range of disabled people.

We’ve continued to build links with solicitors and are shortly launching a legal referral service set up with help from Inclusion London and HAFCAC. We have already been involved in supporting a landmark legal ruling on Housing Benefits and size criteria.

We’ve also been actively involved in helping to support Remploy workers whose jobs have been threatened by factory closures, including running a national meeting to build support from among disabled people and our organisations for the Remploy workers, wrote a letter in support of the workers in partnership with Inclusion London which was signed by 50+ organisations and individuals, we set up a Remploy campaign steering group bringing together the unions with the disabled people’s movement, we made a solidarity visit to the Barking factory, we continue to publicise arguments in support of the workers to counter the myths and distortions about the need to close the Remploy factories being put around by government and some disability organisations.

We’re still involved with the Right to Work steering committee, and generally try to ensure that disabled people’s rights are defended in the wider context of the welfare state but also raise awareness of disabled people’s issues within the mainstream cuts movement at every opportunity. We’re also working to ensure disabled people’s access issues are taken on board in building for the forthcoming TUC demonstration in October.

We’ve also planned and made funding applications for a disability, art and protest exhibition and are starting conversations with the disability arts movement about joint working.

Vitally we’re trying to work with people in Worcestershire to oppose the moves of the local council there to slash care and support funding and once again warehouse disabled people in care homes rather then fund independent living.

We’ve also between us written a range of articles and briefing notes available on the website or produced for specific events. We’ve also responded to numerous requests for articles for publication elsewhere.

Dutifully we’ve made submissions to a range of consultations although we are not convinced that the Coalition take much if any notice of the results of these.

One area we want to do much better in but have problems due to lack of financial resources is the inclusion of the Deaf community. We’d like to be able to provide interpreters, and BSL clips on the website. So if anyone has any suggestions about how we can do this more effectively please let us know by emailing us at mail@dpac.uk.net

As always we’ve lobbied MPs and Lords, tweeted lots and generally raised the problems people face wherever we can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 11:29
Jun 292012
 

As the Olympic torch arrives in Birmingham tomorrow, June 30th, we were asked to write a short piece about ATOS sponsorship of the Olympics. Here is what we wrote.

One might be forgiven for wondering just why and how ATOS  ( ‘Licensed to Kill Disabled People’ by the Condems) and the corporate butchers of Bhopal Dow are two of the most prominent Olympic sponsors. How can such odious corporations be given worldwide publicity and credibility?

In exchange for lucrative payments from the government ATOS happily continue to hound and harass disabled people into even further poverty and to drive many to suicide.

Over 1 million disabled people, many too ill to work face losing their benefits or have already lost them.  If you become ill or disabled in the future this could happen to you, even if you’ve worked and paid National Insurance contributions most of your life.

People with life-threatening illnesses, some with terminal cancer, and mental health conditions live in fear of their forthcoming ATOS assessments acknowledged as totally flawed by CAB, McMillan Cancer charity and a host of others. The tick-box computer assessment system takes no account of real life problems people face or the complexity of many long-term illnesses and disabilities. Yet within minutes this process which violates the fundamental medical principle of ‘first do no harm’ can strip disabled people of essential benefits and rob them of their lives.

Real-life horror stories of assessments and outcomes now abound and can be read in papers on an almost daily basis yet still the government refuse to halt or change these vicious tests. Some of the reports are little short of torture. A woman forced to try to walk to prove she couldn’t who fell onto the ground and had to be helped up again crying by her mother. Another woman forced to try to walk down a long corridor also to prove she couldn’t walk. People waiting for major heart surgery or those who have had numerous heart attacks killed by the stress of the assessments and being told they are fit to work.

A Grimsby Fisherman suffering from horrendous blood clots and open ulcers and struggles to walk who has been told by specialists at two hospitals he would be risking his life if he went back to work lost his disability benefits.

A more recent case is that of aDundeeman found fit to work who is deaf, blind and tube-fed and who needs 24 hour care. How could anyone with such profound impairments be found fit to work?

Yet this is how ATOS treats disabled people.

The BMA Local Medical Committee Conference recently voted unanimously for an end to these notorious Work Capability Assessments as Scottish GPs did earlier this year.  Dr Stephen Carty has likened the UK Government’s welfare reform crackdown on disabled people to the “barbarism” of the Nazis.

The cost of these sometimes murderous assessments to the taxpayer are enormous as appeals rocket costing a predicted £50 million in tribunal costs in 2012 alone. The backlog of cases has reached epidemic proportions with tribunals sitting even on Sundays to try to reduce the 10 month backlog of cases. Yet even if a claimant wins their appeal against their assessment, and most do, the treadmill experience of  being retested can start again immediately for no justifiable reasons.

As the blood of disabled people continues to drip steadily from the hands of our Olympic sponsors they should hang their heads in shame at the terror they are causing to those who deserve support not victimisation from our welfare state.

If you would like to join us in expressing your disgust at ATOS and its sponsorship of our Olympics then please email their CEO at  Thiery Breton at  thierry.breton@atos.net (http://www.ceoemail.com/se.php?id=10159)

 Posted by at 19:05
Jun 282012
 

So far it’s only a suggestion from Camermoron but before his idea becomes any more of a reality if you can get to this protest at short notice please come and support it.

A few days ago, an official Olympics volunteer spoke for millions when he

told David Cameron at a media event for the games – “you’re crippling the
poor”.

At the start of the week, Cameron proposed the abolition of housing
benefits for the under-25s. Already there are more than a million young
people out of work, this vicious toff wants to see young people sleeping
on the streets as well.

For more see here…

http://righttowork.org.uk/2012/06/cardboard-city-never-again-protest-tory-homelessness-plans/

Right To Work have called a protest against Cameron’s proposals:

Cardboard City – Never Again
Wednesday 4 July
Assemble 11am – Opposite Downing Street, City of Westminster, London SW1A

Bring sleeping bags, cardboard boxes and your best slogans.

 Posted by at 14:07
Jun 272012
 

Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage. We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact. We expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare; encourage organisations to pledge to boycott it; and actively inform people of their rights.
Making Welfare Work: A One-Day Conference
Posted: June 27th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

As the Tories continue their attack on our welfare system, Boycott Workfare and welfare activists in Birmingham have come together for a one day conference, called as a counter to the Welfare to Work conference happening just down the road at the ICC.

Making Welfare Work
Tuesday 10th July, 9:30am – 5:30pm
Unite the Union Building, Transport House, Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 2AY

Whether you are unemployed, disabled, retired, low paid or in a caring role, the past 2 years of government have seen an unprecedented attack on our standards of living and rights. It is no surprise that this has come alongside a rise in hate crimes being reported by disabled people.

Those who have inherited millions from their parents talk of ending a culture of entitlement, and deride claimants as scroungers and cheats whilst letting their rich mates get away with paying no tax.

The £5bn work programme is reducing people’s chance of finding work, with just 22% getting jobs, compared to 28% of those who aren’t forced onto this scheme. Mandatory Work Activity does no better. The government’s response is to extend these failing schemes, at a huge cost to the taxpayer, benefit claimants and workers whose jobs are threatened by the free labour provided by workfare.

For disabled people, the Work Capability Assessment run by ATOS is failing to properly identify who is able to work, with 32 people dying every week whilst waiting for their appeal, after being assessed as fit to work. The £100m cost of employing ATOS is increased by around £50m when you take into account all the appeals to their decisions – of which 70% succeed when advocates are involved.

The low paid are facing cuts in tax credits which will leave millions of families who are in part time work thousands of pounds out of pocket each year. Cuts to housing benefit combined with the £500/week cap on total benefits will see many people losing their home, forced to the streets or moving hundreds of miles away to find affordable housing, whether there are jobs available or not.

Pensioners – who claim 2/3rds of the total welfare bill – have lost £50 to £100 in winter fuel allowance and a pension that has been reducing in real terms for many years.

The introduction of Universal Credit presents an attack on everyone who relies on the welfare system to keep their heads above water, whether you are unemployed, disabled or in work.

It is clear that this government, in line with previous ones, are attacking claimants and using the financial crisis as an excuse to strip away hard fought for welfare rights and send us back to victorian times and the workhouse for the poor.

This conference will look at how we bring welfare groups together and fight back in our communities against this government’s attack on the vulnerable and low paid, and to move towards a welfare system that works for all of us.

Timetable for the day:

9:30am: Conference opens / registration

10:00 – 10:30am: Update from Public Interest Lawyers about the judicial review & legal challenge to workfare schemes.

10:30am – 11:30: Organising amongst benefit claimants. A discussion session about how claimants can organise themselves, with people from London Campaign Against Poverty (LCAP), Boycott Workfare, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Unite the Union and more sharing experiences and best practice.

11:30 – 12noon Break

12 – 1: Universal Credit, Linda Burnip (DPAC). An introduction to and discussion about the changes in the benefit system to Universal Credit

1pm-2pm: Lunch – we hope to be able to provide a vegan lunch for free and will confirm this as soon as possible.

2:00pm – 3:30pm: Practical workshop to secure Workfare, Work Programmes & Welfare Rights run by www.Consent.me.uk. Learn about your rights on workfare & welfare programmes and how to exercise them to avoid forced work and other issues.

3:30pm-4pm: Break

4pm – 5:30pm: How do we break the Work Programme? Discussion session led by Boycott Workfare examining the largest workfare scheme, which pays £5bn to private workfare profiteers.

Accessibility Information:

The Unite building is wheelchair accessible. Children are welcome but we are unable to provide a creche service. If you have any accessibility requirements please contact us for information.

The venue is approximately 1 mile from New Street and Moor Street train stations, and 0.9 mile from Snow Hill Train Station. Five Ways train station is about 0.5 miles away. Please note Five Ways station is not wheelchair accessible.
Please see www.centro.org.uk for details of bus routes that stop along Broad Street.

If you need accomodation to attend this conference, please email us and we will do our best to arrange for you to stay with people in Birmingham.

 Posted by at 13:41
Jun 252012
 

 On Friday 29 June there will be a hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, London, where a judge will decide whether to grant permission for a judicial review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) as it affects people with mental health problems. The WCA is being used to harass and remove benefits from people in mental distress, leading many to contemplate suicide: some, we believe, have already taken their own lives.

 The MHRN is supporting the application for judicial review and is organising a vigil outside the court on the day. The vigil will be peaceful and will serve to show our solidarity with all people living with mental health difficulties who are in the firing line of Tory brutality.   

 We won’t know until the day before what time the case will be heard so we are asking people to arrive outside the courts at 11.00am on the 29th. Bring banners if you wish, but the vigil will be conducted in a spirit of respect for the court. 

 Please spread word of the vigil as widely as possible.

 MHRN Vigil

Date: 29 June

Time: 11.00am

Venue: Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London

Jun 252012
 

Disability Support and Benefits was the subject of an Opposition Day Debate introduced by Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Liam Byrne on 21st June 2012. The Debate put the issue of the closure of Remploy factories announced by Government into the context of wider benefit and support cuts and highlighted the disproportionate level of cuts targeted at disabled people:  over the course of this Parliament £3.5 billion is being cut from disability benefit yet only £2.5 billion net is being taken from Britain’s bankers. Opposition MP’s called on Iain Duncan Smith to apologise or resign over disparaging remarks he made about Remploy workers but it was mainly Maria Miller, Minister for Disabled People, who responded on behalf of the Government rather than the Secretary of State as the Government continued its misappropriation of the language of the social model to justify its oppressive policies.  In the same week the Guardian published a leaked memo from Jobcentre Plus to operational staff warning about the risks of disabled claimants attempting suicide as a result of benefit losses. Although Labour lost the vote, the Condems were warned  by John McDonnell MP that the issue and disabled people are not going to go away.

Labour’s motion for the Opposition Day Debate stated a belief that “cuts to support for disabled people and carers pose a potential risk to their dignity and independence and will have wider social and economic costs”. He accused the Department for Work and Pensions of dropping the aim of achieving disability equality and expressed concern that taking the DLA from 500,000 disabled people and contributory employment and support allowance from 280,000 former workers will take vital financial support from families under pressure. In both the letter and the motion for the debate he cited the mismanaged closure of Remploy factories and noted the pressing need for continuing reform to the work capability assessment (WCA) to reduce the human cost of wrong decisions. Finally Byrne stated agreement “with the eight Carers’ Week charities on the importance of recognising the huge contribution made by the UK’s 6.4 million carers and the need to support carers to prevent caring responsibilities pushing them into ill-health, poverty and isolation”.

In the motion that Labour lost by 236 votes to 298 the Opposition called on Government to:

–          ensure welfare reform promotes work, independence, quality of life and opportunities for disabled people and their families;

–          restore the commitment to disability equality in the Department for Work and Pensions’ business plan;

–          conduct a full impact assessment of the combined effects of benefit and social care cuts on disabled people and carers;

–          to reform WCA descriptors as suggested by charities for mental health, fluctuating conditions and sensory impairment; and

–          re-run the consultation on the future of Remploy factories.

Liam Byrne opened the debate, giving figures to evidence how disabled people are being unfairly and disproportionately impacted by government policy. In n the debate he cited research showing how over the course of this Parliament disabled people in our country will pay more than Britain’s bankers, with disabled people in the final year of the Parliament paying 40% more than the banks. He went on to explain how Universal Credit will hit disabled people 30% harder than other people. He pointed to the unfairness of the arbitrary decision to cut Disability Living Allowance by 20% with an assessment designed to achieve that target rather than a fairer system of assessment first, and savings calculated after. Atos and the notorious Work Capability Assessments were criticised citing the figure of £50 million a year of tax-payers money being spent on an inefficient system where 40% of decisions are over-turned on appeal.  He stated that 1 billion has been cut from local budgets for social care since this Government came into power, meanwhile 1,000,000 unpaid carers have given up work or had to reduce their hours and four out of ten have fallen into debt.

Opposition MPs supported the motion expressing concerns about Atos in particular and citing examples from their own constituencies of the devastating impact of benefit losses and cuts on individual disabled people. Tom Greatrex referred to his difficulties in finding out information about the government’s contract with Atos which he has been told cannot be disclosed for commercial reasons. Sheila Gilmore MP gave examples of cases where individual disabled people currently in receipt of DLA would not be eligible for PIP and the impact this would have on them. Karen Buck MP described the situation in Westminster where her constituency is based, where one quarter of the 52 million savings the local authority are looking to make is coming from adult and social care. She said that any gains disabled people would make from having their Council tax frozen is more than outweighed by the amount they must now spend on travel after cuts to taxi-card.  Geraint Davies MP described government policy on disability as “asset stripping of the most vulnerable people in our society”; he said “it stinks”.

The Opposition took up the issue of the announced closure of 36 out of 54 Remploy factories following recommendations in the Sayce Review. Remploy workers are currently on a 90 day notice consultation period which ends on 25th June. Opposition MPs railed against what they described as a shambolic consultation on an impossible timetable where the rules had changed halfway through, where disabled workers had been bamboozled and where the whole process had been set against giving Remploy staff the chance to move onto creating new social enterprises. They called for a re-run of the whole consultation. The Condems attempted to use the segregation argument to support their current policy with the disabled Conservative MP Paul Maynard describing Remploy factories as “apartheid for the disabled”. He asked “Are the disabled community not full members of society too?” Opposition MPs in constituencies with Remploy factories were able to describe the skilled work that goes on in the factories and to challenge the perception of the factories as segregated workplaces. They were also able to point to the higher than average unemployment figures in those areas.

Byrne said “disabled people have the same right to a job as everyone else but at present the choice of where to work is being taken from many of them” and cited how the Government’s Work Programme is failing to meet its target for disabled people by 60%. He called on Government to:

–          honour the Sayce report for example in setting up independent panels to evaluate the expressions of interest

–          restart the 90 day consultation process

–          draw together extra work that could be available for the factories, for example under Article 19 of European regulations on procurement

–          a more flexible approach to how each and every factory is dealt with

–          a review of the subsidy available to the workers

In response to reports of Iain Duncan Smith’s comments that Remploy workers are “not doing any work at all. They are just making cups of coffee”, Byrne invited Smith to join him and the Sunday Express for a day working in one of the factories.

No acceptance to the invitation or apology to the workers was forthcoming from the Secretary of State. Miller defended the Government’s position explaining how the £320 specialist support budget is protected and that any money coming from Remploy will be reinvested in it. No one challenged how ineffectively this money will be spent under current Government plans, whereas at least through the Remploy factories disabled workers receive a wage. More could also have been made about the £25,000 given in the Sayce Review and widely cited by Condem MPs in the debate as the amount that it costs the State per worker employed in a Remploy factory as opposed to the average figure of £2,900 per person supported through Access to Work: this figure would be much lower if the inefficiencies and top heavy management structures of the current Remploy set up were reformed. The increasing restrictions on what Access to Work will fund, and its consequential irrelevance to being able to support many disabled people into work were also not raised.

John McDonnell MP concluded his contribution by warning the government about the consequences of continuing their current course. He said:

“Finally, the Government should not think that this issue or these people are going to go away because they are not: these people are mobilising. We now have a disability movement in this country of which we have not seen the equal before. Black Triangle occupied Atos offices in Scotland; members of DPAC—Disabled People Against Cuts—chained themselves in Trafalgar square. These people are not going to go away. They will be in our face—and rightly so. I will support them, including if Remploy workers opt to buy their factories.”

Nevertheless the vote was lost and none of the Opposition Day Debate demands will be implemented. George Hollingbery MP described the motion as “not so much something to be debated but a press release in search of an audience”. The timing conveniently coincided with the publication on the Guardian website of a memo from Paul Archer, head of Jobcentre Plus contact centres supporting ESA customers, sent to all staff in operations and stating that “The consequences of getting this wrong can have profound results” following the attempted suicide of one unsuccessful claimant. Just last week DPAC told a Labour Representation Committee meeting that disabled people have not forgotten that it was New Labour who introduced ESA, Work Capability Assessments, Atos and even Lord Freud. It is very easy to say what people want to hear when you are in Opposition but it will take more than words to eclipse the memory of how disabled people argued for years against the use of bio-psycho-social model approaches underpinning employment assessments without being heard by New Labour when they were in power.

 

 Posted by at 11:40
Jun 242012
 

The Prime Minister is proposing denying  under-25s  any housing benefit after the next election.

The National Private Tenants Organisation warn: ‘This could lead to poverty, hardship and homelessness and a generation of
young people trapped at home. This would hit those struggling on a minimum wage in areas of inflated rents and where there is competition for accommodation, particularly hard. Estimates put the number of people under 25 claiming housing benefit at around 380,000.’

Following our meeting with the Housing Minister’s office, they are asking for evidence on how landlords are consulting about the Localism Bill.  They want examples of council and housing association landlords failing to consult tenants fully on any proposed changes in tenancy strategies – eg use of fixed term tenancies and up to 80% market rents; changes to who can go on the waiting list and rehousing for homeless etc.  They also want evidence that 2-year minimum tenancies are being proposed or used other than ‘exceptionally’.  Send any evidence to Housing Emergency: mitchellav@parliament.uk or by post: Austin Mitchell MP, House of Commons London SW1A 0AA

 Can you help?

Tue 26th June      at Brighton Conference Centre   Leafletting Unite union conference – call Eileen 07432 098440  to help

Wed 27th            lobby National Landlords Association in London  Meet 8.30am Vauxhall tube  email housingforthe99@gmail.com to confirm

Sat 30th              Defend Council Housing national meeting 12-4pm Trades and Labour Club 200 Duke St Sheffield  – all welcome

 And let us know if you are organising meetings, protests or lobbies

Eileen Short

for Housing Emergency

Jun 242012
 

Disabled people and their allies in the East Midlands are invited to the launch of East Midlands Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), a disabled people led group bringing to the East Midlands the campaign to stand up for the rights of disabled people against the vicious attacks being perpetrated by the Condem government.

Date: 30th June 2012

Time: 2 – 4pm

Venue: New Walk Museum & Art Gallery Café, 53 New Walk, Leicester LE1 7EA

Speakers include Linda Burnip and Debbie Jolly, co-founders of national DPAC, whose hard work and determination have built up a campaign that together with our sister organisation in Scotland, Black Triangle, has been described by John McDonnell MP as representing the highest point in disabled people’s activism.

Recent actions include blocking traffic in Oxford Street and Trafalgar Square and creating gridlock on London’s streets with a mass wheelchair assault on the buses as well as a number of protests outside Atos headquarters in Euston.

DPAC also works closely with allied campaigns and protests to ensure the inclusion of disabled people, including the Right to Work campaign, UKUncut, and Climate Justice Collective. We ran a virtual protest alongside the TUC’s March for the Alternative on 26th March 2011 to ensure that disabled people who could not physically attend the protest were able to be involved and this model has now being adopted and copied by mainstream protest groups.

East Midlands DPAC will be for disabled people in the East Midlands to set your local campaigns agenda and the launch meeting will be a chance to discuss what issues are most important to you and how you want to go about raising them.

The venue is wheelchair accessible and any papers used will be provided in easy read format. Please let us know any access needs in advance and we will do our best to meet them.

Please let us know if you are coming by emailing mail@dpac.uk.net  or leaving a message or texting to 07502022077.

For more information about DPAC go to www.dpac.uk.net or contact the above number and leave your name and address for information to be sent out to you. 

Travel and directions: There is a small car park situated next to the museum including two parking bays for Blue Badge holders, though due to demand, availability of parking cannot be guaranteed, particularly on event or concert occasions. On street pay and display parking is also available at the back of the museum. The nearest major car park is the NCP situated on East Street, next to the Y Theatre.

More details here: http://www.leicester.gov.uk/your-council-services/lc/leicester-city-museums/museums/nwm-art-gallery/#Opening-Times

 

Jun 242012
 

What follows is a personal account of the experience of one person and what it is like to be unemployed and disabled in Tory Britain. It shows the contempt that people are treated with by some so-called work program providers engaged by their Tory friends and paid for by the taxpayer.

This example shows quite clearly what we all knew: that people are not being supported under this Tory regime, rather they are being belittled humiliated and having legal rights under the Equality Act ignored. At the same time they are being driven towards new or further mental health issues resulting in suicidal tendencies for some.

The fact that this example features the A4e Company run by disgraced multimillionaire Tory darling Emma Harrison speaks volumes.  Ministers ended the A4e contract for the Welfare to Work scheme in May this year under the shadow of a range of accusations, arrests and resignations within the company.

Karen wrote to DPAC so that her story could be shared –we believe this inhuman treatment and worse is happening to many people under this Tory regime. She says:

Background

I finished University in 2002 and was sent toQueenAlexandraCollege. I signed on in 2004, before that I had long term problems with health and eyesight. I had specialist help from Action for Blind People who were instrumental in getting me a voluntary placement at aBirminghamCollege. Although it was two years before I got a paid contract there. I was supported in furthering my skills and gaining more qualifications as well as experience. In 2009 government cuts meant I was unemployed again. Action for Blind People got me some courses under the advisors discretionary fund. However, I was summoned to the jobcentre and informed I was to be put on flexible new deal with A4e in 2010. I was stopped from seeing Action for Blind People and the placement they were arranging fell through as a result.

A4E and the constant threat of sanctions

I informed A4e that I needed large print documents, but they continued to send out small print documents which were illegible to me. The first contact given for at A4e was not contactable so I went to my job centre and asked for someone else. A4e said they’d send someone out but I had already arranged a lift to their offices. When I got in the office they presented me with a form to fill in, in small print. I told them I couldn’t see it and asked them to photocopy it, but they didn’t enlarge it. I was then taken to a very public area where there were other clients and I was asked humiliating personal questions. For example: are you a drug user? What medication do you take? and so on, at no time was I informed that I didn’t need to answer these questions.

I was then called over to see a woman, let’s call her Ms Harris. The first thing she said was:

If I were you I’d go on the sick.

This would have meant that I was off their books. I told her I wanted to work, at which point she became very rude and then refused to reimburse my travel costs. I explained that I needed large print documents, Ms Harris and her manager barked at me that they didn’t need to provide me with anything! Then they amazingly proceeded to threaten me with sanctions.

Three months passed. I decided that if they couldn’t provide reasonable alterations, equipment etc.   I wasn’t going to sign it or do it. They threatened me with their sanctions again and put me through a psychometric test. Once again, no attempt was made to provide for my reasonable alterations. In the end I showed the A4e worker how she could enlarge the screen this for others that might need it, after I’d worked it out for myself-they didn’t have a clue nor care. I think I skewed the results so badly that they didn’t bother me for a while, until I received a call from Ms Harris, she informed me about a teaching job. However, when I told her that I didn’t have a teaching qualification, she got aggressive. I later learned that she had immediately got in touch with the benefits office in an attempt to impose sanctions again. To be fair they did provide training in CV writing-that was great as they told me to leave my degree off the CV! In the end they submitted the CV I had done while at Action for Blind People and claimed credit for it.

More months passed and I was transferred to Beacon Centre for the Blind. It was not taken into account how I would get there, I got lifts mostly, but trying to get travel costs reimbursed was still made as difficult as possible. At this time my mental health issues had been worsened by the treatment at A4e. I told A4e I couldn’t use buses (I had had some training before going to A4e but it was a bad experience and really didn’t work). A4e thought this was an opportunity to belittle me and humiliate me, telling me I was missing out. By the next meeting they made their contempt even clearer:

Look you’ve been sent here, you’re better off than others: stop complaining!.

If you don’t like it, don’t sign on-nobody is forcing you to claim JSA are they!

I was then sent to the Job Centre. They told me to sign for the work program, if I didn’t …then – you guessed it: I would be sanctioned.

I am now with Action for Blind People again, the people I have had a ten year relationship with, they saw the mess I was in and helped me loads. I am also now seeing a specialist mental health nurse and psychiatrists for the suicidal feelings.  I avoid signing anything and am terrified of going to the job centre now, after my experience.  In fact, I am starting to be scared of going out at all. Sometimes, I’ll pretend to be sick so I don’t have to go out of the house. For example I live with my parents and they often go to see my nephew-I just can’t face leaving the house. It’s the same when I have the chance to go to my brothers.

Complaint

I put a formal complaint in to the Independent case examiner. They believed that it was acceptable for A4e NOT to provide large print documents, despite the Equality Act. The job centre still doesn’t provide large print documents. I have to ask each time and explain again and again. I’m close to the end of my tether with it all. I finally got my travel expenses 12 months after that first meeting with A4e, after my formal complaint. They were paid on the 1st April.

 

Jun 202012
 

DPAC and Transport for All would like to thank all activists, campaign groups, MPs & DPOs who took part in the Right to Ride lobby and demonstration.

The day was a fantastic success, and that was 100% down to those who turned up to make their contribution.

We asked DPAC/TFA members to attend a meeting with MPs at the Houses of Parliament, and request that their MP then join us on a short bus-ride from there to the Confederation of Passenger Transport to present a letter.

We commend MPs Lisa Nandy, Maria Eagle, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell who responded to constituents and came to the meeting.

The strong message from across their speeches was that we have what we have by campaigning, and to keep up the good work. We welcomed the very supportive comments of MPs John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn in particular who have consistently supported DPAC and their campaigns.

We would also like to thank Inclusion London, and their CEO Tracey Lazard for their contribution and support on the day and their ongoing commitment to this and other campaigns.

We began the day by moving the MP meeting to a larger (though not more accessible) room- such was the turnout, and we still couldn’t fit everyone in! Following on from speeches by MPs and DPOs, lots of activists spoke about their (wholly negative) experience of using public transport. The anger and disappointment in the room was almost tangible.

As activists left H.O.P to go to Abingdon St bus stop, more and more people gathered from all around the country. Eventually hundreds of disabled activists and their campaigners were lined up, queuing for the number 87 bus. Again we heard from more activists, and more political support came in the form of London Assembly Member Navin Shah, and MP Julian Hubbard, who both addressed the gathering.

Once the speeches were done it was time for action! And in DPAC terms action means ACTION. The first ‘lucky’ 87 to come along made the fatal mistake of (illegally) denying disabled people access to the bus. So, if you can’t get on a bus – get in front of it. No doubt empowered by recent high profile Central London DPAC actions activists from Disabled Peoples Direct Action network and DPAC blocked and occupied 2 buses outside H.O.P. for almost an hour.

Activists held court, gave interviews and basically turned the bus lane into a wheelchair/scooter lane for the afternoon.

Once again, those on the sharp end of the action and those supporting agreed to end the action and leave together in solidarity.

After all that contingent from DPAC – TFA actually did make it to CPT to deliver our letter.

This action demonstrated once again, the power disabled people have they mobilise and take action together. We have never backed down as a movement – and we don’t intend to start now. We said after the Oxford Street action that we could continue to create spaces for disabled people to come and have their voices heard.

We especially give a big ‘thumbs up’ to the ‘Old School’ DAN members who led the charge. We welcome their return to the arena and look forward to working together of over the coming months.

A special mention and HUGE thanks to the volunteers from other campaigns (ye know who ye are), who turned up to provide support for those disabled activists that were supposed to travel on the buses. We appreciate their strong ongoing support and hope ye will turn out again.

Thanks to the volunteers from UK Uncut, Occupy London, Right to Work, TUSC, Drop Dow Now, Hands Off Our Public Services, Climate Justice Campaign, Fuel Poverty Action.

Video from Channel 4 –

 

Please read as well  Report from TFA on the action and photos
Community channel report

Report from Johnny void 

c opy of our letter to CPT

 

 

 

 

14th June 2012

Dear Mr Posner

 

Today, disabled people have travelled to your offices from throughout the country. We have come here today because we have had enough of being denied access to buses in the UK; of being treated like second class citizens.

 

The sad truth is that almost every disabled person who has used buses has a story of a journey that was exhausting or difficult because of poor service by the bus company. Almost every wheelchair user has a story of being denied access to a bus, of waiting in the rain as bus after bus drives past. Of broken ramps or of bus drivers refusing to enforce wheelchair priority in the wheelchair space.

 

Almost every blind or visually impaired passenger has a story of non-existent or broken bus audio visual systems, of buses stopping metres away from the stop, too far away to ask what bus number it is.

 

Almost every ambulant disabled person has experienced buses pulling up leaving a chasm to leap between kerb and bus; or almost been thrown off their feet when buses pull away from the stop without time to sit down.

 

A 2009 survey by Trailblazers, End of the Line, found on more than half of all journeys on buses there were problems with the accessible facilities at the station or bus stop, on the bus or a poor service from members of staff. In one in three of the journeys made by Trailblazers, the survey respondent was unable to board the first relevant bus to arrive at their stop. This was a consequence of the access ramp being unavailable, the accessible space being unavailable or the driver failing to stop at a location which was accessible to the passenger.

 

This isn’t just about access to buses. We rely on transport to see friends and family; to get to work; to volunteer and enjoy sport and culture. When inaccessible buses stop us from getting out and about, we are excluded from public life. At worst, we become housebound. We become invisible.

Transport for All and Disabled People Against Cuts recognise that there have been improvements to accessibility in the bus industry. We welcome the commitment to meet the 2020 PSVAR regulations. And the introduction of wheelchair ramps to more and more buses around the country has transformed independent travel for thousands of wheelchair users.

And amongst the horror stories of disabled people denied access to buses, there are some examples of good practice. In London, TfL recently held the first ever training session for bus drivers which involved disabled and older people. In Brighton, buses are so spacious they can accommodate wheelchair users, those with shopper trolleys, buggies and guidedogs.

We would like to work with the CPT to ensure that accessibility is put at the heart of the bus industry. Ideally, we’d like to see a staff lead working exclusively on equality and inclusion – just as ATOC (the Association of Train Operating Companies) has a Head of Disability and Inclusion.

We also welcome CPT’s interest to meet and discuss this further and look forward to speaking to you.

Regards

Lianna Etkind                          Linda Burnip

Transport for All                     Disabled People Against the Cuts

 

 

 

Jun 192012
 
Next national day of action..

CELEBRATE NHS 64th BIRTHDAY
BY ORGANISING TO KEEP VIRGIN OUT OF IT!
SATURDAY 30 JUNE
After 64 years of the NHS its very future is threatened by privatisation now the Health & Social Care Act is law.
Richard Branson’s Virgin is one of the companies looking to make massive profits by taking over more and more of our health service.
We are asking you to celebrate the NHS 64th birthday by telling Virgin to keep out of it!
We said our last action when we picketed and closed Virgin stores and gyms was just the start
Send Branson and Lansley a message that we are not going to let the NHS be destroyed this year or any other.
Local groups are asked to pick a Virgin store or Gym and organise a protest.
Let us know when and where.
POSTERS / LEAFLETS/ BALOONS/ MASKS
If you want leaflet, posters, Richard Branson masks or balloons we can help if you email us at londonkeepournhspublic@gmail.com

WHERE TO FIND YOUR VIRGIN STORE
Virgin media store locator: http://shop.virginmedia.com/store-locator.html

Virgin Active club finder: http://www.virginactive.co.uk/en/club-finder

THE ACTION LAST TIME
Virgin media stores were closed and picketed round the country.

IS VIRGIN COMING TO A HOSPITAL OR CLINIC NEAR YOU?
Before the new Health Act is even in force, Richard Branson’s Virgin Care is already taking over whole parts of our health services. They already run:

* £500million contract for community health services in South West and North West Surrey
* Sexual Health Service for Milton Keynes
* Dermatology service in the Isle of Wight
* Shortlisted as potential providers of integrated children’s services in Devon

RICHARD BRANSON AND DAVID CAMERON 
“You scratch my back – I’ll scratch yours”
It is not surprising “Virgin Care” is doing well out of the NHS.

Just before the 2010 election Richard Branson was photographed supporting David Cameron’s election bid. A month later he bought loss-making Assura private health company for the knock down price of £4m, saying Virgin had been waiting to find “the right entry point” into the health market. That put Virgin in pole position to have influence in the government’s new commissioning arrangements. A year later Virgin was the private health company with most links on the shadow commissioning boards.

BRANSON DOESN’T LIKE CRITICISM – SO LET’S GIVE HIM MORE!
Branson obviously doesn’t like bad publicity. An article appeared in the Telegraph mildly critical of Virgin’s takeover of NHS services. Virgin tried to stop the publication applying for a high court injunction. So lets get as much publicity as possible for the way Virgin aims to make profits out of the NHS.

Jun 192012
 

THE private firm behind controversial sickness benefit tests have been slammed for awarding their chief executive almost £1million in bonus payments.

International company Atos are contracted to reassess people claiming sickness and disability benefits.

Heart attack and lung-disease victims are among those the firm have assessed as being well enough to look for jobs.

According to Atos’ annual report, chairman and chief executive Thierry Breton received £1.95million in 2011.

Half the amount was his salary and the other half was a bonus. He received £1.83million the previous year.

Rutherglen and Hamilton West Labour MP Tom Greatrex said: “People will find it hard to believe that the boss of Atos sees fit to reward himself with millions in bonuses, while thousands of sick and disabled people in Scotland suffer.

“It will sicken those who have been through the Atos process to hear the company crow about their expertise in healthcare.

“Thousands of people have suffered because, time and again, incorrect decisions have been made on the back ofAtos assessments.”

Atos declined to comment on Breton’s bonus.

Story – The Daily Record

With thanks to Atos Vicitms Group News for letting us repost: see http://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/2012/06/17/fury-over-1m-bonus-for-chief-exec-of-controversial-sickness-benefit-test-company/

For more

 

Jun 142012
 

John McDonnell, MP who has always been very supportive of DPAC and who we work closely with has asked for help to try to get legislation through parliament to allow job-sharing for MPs.

For many disabled people being an MP full-time would never be a viable option and the only way more disabled people with a range of valuable life experiences, and knowledge of disability could contemplate becoming an MP would be for there to be a job-share system for MPs.

The UNCRPD article 29 is specific in stating that persons with disabilities should have the right to participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others. Unless job-sharing for MPs is introduced this is yet another area of the UNCRPD where the government continue to fail to adhere to the convention.

This would of course not just encourage more disabled people to become MPs but would also be an advantage to women especially those with children and so would facilitate also encouraging another under-represented minority group to take amore active role in politics.

Please could we ask people to email John to say they would be interested/more likely to consider standing as an MP if they could job-share. He needs to be able to say he’s been contacted by lots of disabled people about this to try to make it a reality.

His email address is john.mcdonnell.mp@parliament.uk  

If your email bounces back please resend it another time.

Please watch the videos at www.disabilitypolitics.org.uk – John’s
asks for people to contact him if they can be a job share MP and Caroline’s asks people to write to their MPs in support. There is also the e-petition on the site too.

 

 Posted by at 20:26
Jun 102012
 

Climate Justice Collective, a grassroots network of UK groups and individuals set up to support and take action against the root causes of climate change and for a clean, affordable and democratic energy system,  have formed a Fuel Poverty Action campaign group.

Fuel Poverty Action (www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk) are a campaign group that aims to support communities that are struggling with rising energy bills, to expose and undermine the way that the Big Six energy companies and the government are colluding to prioritise private profits and welfare cuts over our rights to warm homes, and to help work towards a community-controlled renewable energy system that provides democratic, green and affordable energy.

Disabled people are at particular risk of fuel poverty.  Government figures published last year showed that 2.75 million households living in fuel poverty were classed as “vulnerable” under a definition of vulnerable which could include an older person, a child or a disabled person within the household. Fuel poverty disproportionately affects disabled people: disabled people spend a greater proportion of their income on fuel because they are less likely to be employed and they also face additional costs of services, such as social care or mobility aids; through having less opportunities to be in employment disabled people spend a greater proportion of their time at home whilst cold environments can aggravate impairments, exacerbate respiratory problems and increase stress. The double suicide in November last year of disabled couple Mark and Helen Mullins was linked to fuel poverty as without income for heating the pair were forced to live in just one room of their home under increasingly worsening conditions. Fuel poverty affects the poorest; often the poorer you are the higher the fuel prices people tend to be as a result of unscrupulous landlords hiking up meter prices for personal profit.

Our energy is controlled by six giant companies: Centrica (British Gas), EON, EDF, NPower, SSE and Scottish Power. The Big Six decide how our energy is produced and priced. We don’t have a say. ¼ of UK households froze in fuel poverty last winter. But the Big Six’s profits soared to a five year record high. The government is in the pocket of the Big Six. They’re making the bills bite harder with brutal welfare cuts. Our energy system is driven by private profit at all costs. It’s killing millions through fuel poverty and climate change.

The Big Six and the government want to keep things this way. We say: things have to change.

For more information go to www.fuelpoverty.org.uk

 Posted by at 23:26
Jun 082012
 

The closure of the Remploy factories has ignited a wealth of media attention and strong feeling as well as differences of opinion between disabled people, and Disabled Peoples’ Organisations (DPOs) on the position of disabled Remploy factory workers. The now infamous Sayce report called for closure of the factories in the ironically titled: ‘Getting in, staying in and getting on: disability employment support fit for the future’. This was followed by a consultation exercise in July 2011 to which DPAC responded outlining the impact of the closure of the factories and urging that they remain open.

Since then, DPAC, DPOs, Unions, disabled workers, disabled and non-disabled people have been active on the proposed closures in a number of ways which have been publicised on the DPAC site. DPAC have invited Liz Sayce to comment, but she has not responded to our request.

Most recently the Sayce report has been accused of doing the Governments ‘dirty work’, as elitist and a part of the cuts agenda at the TUC Disabled Peoples’ conference. 

There was overwhelming support at the annual TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference for the campaign to fight the planned closure of the Remploy factories.

The government announced in March that 36 of the 54 remaining Remploy factories across the UK would close by the end of 2012, with the loss of more than 1,500 disabled people’s jobs, while there would be further consultation over the future of the other 18 factories.

The announcement was part of the government’s response to a consultation on last year’s review of employment support by Liz Sayce, chief executive of Disability Rights UK (DR UK).

Sayce called in her report for funds currently used to subsidise the factories to be ploughed into more personalised forms of employment support for disabled people, including the Access to Work (AtW) scheme.

But Mandy Hudson, from the National Union of Teachers, told the conference that the Sayce report had “gone about doing the government’s dirty work”.

And she criticised “the completely cavalier way that Liz Sayce’s report sets adrift a whole set of disabled workers”.

The disabled peer Lord [Colin] Low also criticised Sayce’s report, and said its “highly individualised approach… seems to smack of elitism”.

Read more of the article by John Pring including the Remploy protest outside the offices of DR UK by Remploy workers and UKUncut here  

 Opening up the debate

Since the government announced the closures, some DPOs have backed its plans, arguing that the move was one towards the inclusion of disabled people.

But Tracey Lazard, chief executive of Inclusion London, said:

This is a cut. It isn’t about inclusion. We shouldn’t let the government justify this in the name of inclusion.

She accepted that the disability movement has been divided on whether to support the closures, but she said:

What we need is a dialogue. This is us putting an alternative view forward which hopefully will get a debate going. That’s what we need. Read more

Letter to the Guardian

The publication of a letter against Remploy closures was published in both on-online and print versions of the Guardian on May 10. The letter was composed by Inclusion London, DPAC and unions. Many DPOs and disabled people signed in support of the Remploy workers. The letter was shortened and some names and DPOs were reduced due to space restrictions by the Guardian. This link  will take you to the letter with a link to the original letter’s wording. DPAC will be updating the names and DPOs that were left off the printed and online versions shortly. We asked Liz Sayce to comment, but she did not respond.

However, a response article to the letter was issued by DPO Breakthrough UK claiming that while they agreed with many aspects of our letter they could not join other DPOs in signing it and wanted to open up debate on the Remploy issue.

We agree with opening the debate, and provide a link to the thoughtful piece by disabled activist and comedian Laurence Clark published in the Independent: Remploy Closures: right in theory but where does it leave disabled employees?

Sean McGovern a former Remploy factory worker responded directly to the Breakthrough article

and Les Woodward a GMB convener and worker at the Swansea Remploy factory said of the Breakthrough article:

This article, unfortunately is typical of the “Politically Correct” brigades attitude to Supported Employment and the language they use to try and justify their positions…

Another unfortunate slant of this article is that it totally fails to take into account the effect on the workers themselves or indeed other disabled workers who given the present economic climate would give their eye teeth for a job any job. They would sell their soul for a job in Remploy that can provide skilled work, training and other support that employment in Remploy offers.

 I have said it many times and I will say it a lot more. No-one ever forced a gun to my head to work in Remploy, over the 28 years I have been employed by the Company, I have been free to leave at any time I wanted, just like any other worker in any other workplace.

 Of course whether or not I exercise that choice to leave is dependant not least on economic circumstances that I have found myself in and whether or not the alternative employment was viable in terms of remuneration or terms and conditions. No employment opportunities that can match those that I am on in Remploy have presented themselves as yet.

 No one would disagree with the aspirations of a fully inclusive society, and I for one would absolutely love to see the day when Remploy really was old fashioned and there would be no need for Remploy because we would have a fully inclusive society that caters for everyone. Unfortunately we live in a rather different world which is going further and further away from inclusion and equality of opportunity over the last 18 months or so rather than moving more towards inclusion and equal opportunity. The reason for this is that we are now governed by the rich for the rich and of the rich, while we get poorer and poorer.

 The ultimate shame in all this is that organisations such as the one who authored this article are wittingly or unwittingly collaborating with this Government in implementing cuts in the living standards of some of the very people they purport to support.

 Thanks a million to everyone that signed the letter, we really appreciate it and appreciate the support that you give us.

 Les

 We will provide more responses soon….

Previous pieces from DPAC and others

DPAC has always been transparent in its connections, actions and thoughts on the Remploy closures, which have been published on the DPAC web site, some of which we list here. We also include pieces by other groups

Remploy Closures: no segregated employment translates to unemployment for up to 2000 workers

DPAC Remploy Workers meeting London March 20th

Right to Work Pledges Support for Remploy workers

London meeting unites resistance to Remploy Closures

Furious workers hit out at Boss whose report led to Remploy factories getting the Axe

Demo for Remploy workers April 20th

Independent: Betrayed Disabled Workers protest against Remploy Closures

Fight the Remploy Closures

Remploy Public Meeting Thursday 26th April

Government accused of Hijacking Disability Equality Language to Justify Remploy Closures

The closure of Remploy factories is about cuts and cannot be justified by a misguided language of inclusion in a time when disabled people are facing the worse attacks on their inclusion, human rights and equality in UK history. Disabled people and DPOs need to support the Remploy workers rather than engaging in forms of ideological bullying that refuse to take into account the impacts on disabled peoples’ lives. Nor should they be so arrogant as to suggest that these workers shouldn’t have choice in where they chose to work. Less than 5% of Remploy workers in the last set of closures found alternative jobs, with some committing suicide-is this really something that we want to support for up to 2000 more disabled people under a flimsy Tory rhetoric of inclusion?

 

Jun 072012
 

whose Games? Whose city flyer

Whose Game? Whose City?

DEMONSTRATE AGAINST THE CORPORATE OLYMPICS

Assemble: 12 noon, Saturday 28 July,
Mile End Park, East London (nearest tube Mile End)
March to Victoria Park for Peoples Games For All

Called by: Counter Olympics Network Supported by: Brent Trades Council, Hackney Trades Council, Haringey Trades Council, Islington Trades Council, Lewisham Trades Council, Waltham Forest Trades Council, Coalition of Resistance, Disabled People Against Cuts, Drop Dow Now, Stop the Olympic Missiles, Save Leyton Marsh Campaign, Wanstead Flats Campaign, G4S Campaign, UK Tar Sands Network, London Mining Network, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Counterfire, Defend the Right to Protest, Blacklist Support Group, Games Monitor, Our Olympics, ALARM and more

www.counterolympicsnetwork.wordpress.com

PLEASE CHECK CON WEBSITE FOR FINAL DETAILS AS THE POLICE HAVE REFUSED PERMISSION FOR VICTORIA PARK TO BE USED>

 

Jun 052012
 

JUBILEE: It has been exposed that the Queen’s Jubilee was staffed by
security and stewarding staff on workfare in the worst imaginable
conditions: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1039

You might like to write to the CEO of the security firm involved and
circulate the email address here: molly@close-protectionuk.com

ARGOS: We’ve also heard from someone made to work at Argos without pay
that his store was taking workfare on a massive scale. Read his story
here: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1049

And join the people giving Argos a really hard time on their Facebook
page: http://www.facebook.com/argos

IT WORKS! Last week we exposed Body Shop as profiting from workfare and by
the end of the week they had pulled out!
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1025

Help uncover more workfare exploiters on your high street! Top tips here:
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1017

GROWING A UK-WIDE NETWORK: On Saturday 26th May, Brighton Benefits
Campaign hosted a meeting to bring together all those actively fighting
workfare. Lots of action plans came out of the day including:

A regular online forum for groups and individuals to share ideas and
co-ordinate. The first meeting is this Thursday 7th June at 7.30pm on
Skype. Download instructions for how to take part here:
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Setting-up-a-Skype-account.doc

A week of action on 7-14 July kicking off with a day of action against
Holland & Barrett. More to follow as plans develop but put the date in
your diary!

ALSO COMING UP THIS WEEK:

* Combat Workfare action in Liverpool this Saturday 9th June, 12.30pm:
http://www.facebook.com/events/241340275974402/

* Come along to the London Boycott Workfare meeting on Wednesday, 7pm, 11
Goodwin St, Finsbury Park, N4 3HQ.

Our campaign is growing and gaining support – congratulations everyone!

Boycott Workfare

P.S. Don’t forget you’re welcome to take part in the UK-wide skype
discussion this Thursday evening. It’s easy to set up skype if you don’t
already have it. Details here:
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Setting-up-a-Skype-account.doc

Jun 032012
 

To book please email to info@ncdn.org or fax to L&LL, 01668 219220
LIVE & LET LIVE NORTHUMBERLAND
HATE CRIME PROJECT
NETWORKING EVENT
13TH JUNE, 2012
STANNINGTON HALL NE61 6EL
11am to 3pm
*Forum Theatre with
The Lawnmowers
Diversity groups & Hate crime
Survivor & victim perspectives
Keeping safe & promoting awareness
Building a support & help network
Building skills & capacity
Working with police, the County
Council & other agencies
ALL WELCOME
LIVE
&LET
LLIIVVEE

To book please email to info@ncdn.org or fax to L&LL, 01668 219220
The Live & Let Live Project is for organisations and groups who want to work
together to improve the quality of community living for people who are likely to
experience anti-social behaviour or hate crime. A small group has started the
work during 2011-12, following on from a conference in Alnwick in 2010, and
includes members of various diversity groups with experience of hate crime on
the grounds of race, sexual orientation, youth and disability:
Aspire 2B
CAB Gypsy and Traveller Support
Homes for Northumberland
Northumberland Community Development Network

Northumberland Disability & Deaf Network

SpLinter Group

Twhist
Victim Support
Wansbeck Disability Forum
WHAC
WoWi LGBT Youth Group
The group has been supported by the police and community safety officers as
well as social housing providers.
Why a Networking Event?
At the event on the 13th June, we would like to widen the network of
community-based groups and organisations who can work together to create a
patchwork of advocacy and support; and to hear from people who have
experienced hate crime in Northumberland about how they can be supported in
staying safe and open. The programme will also explore how to support the
police in raising awareness about hate crime and encouraging people to report
it; how to support the Council in achieving its equality objective on tackling hate
crime.
LIVE
&LET
LIVE
LIVE

 Posted by at 15:17
Jun 012012
 

June 19th – DPAC –  RIGHT TO RIDE 

National Day of Action around lack of Accessible Transport 

In London DPAC and Transport for All will be holding a day of action around transport on 19th June.

We hope others will organise similar protests that day wherever they live as we’d like to highlight the problems nationally.

We will be trying to highlight the failings of the transport system as is and saying it wont be fit for purpose in the future when hundreds of thousands more people lose their benefits, and maybe also their right to passported services like motability cars, taxicards, blue badges etc and therefore are forced to use public transport.

Ian Duncan Smith is stripping people of their essential benefits and at the same time saying we should work. We want to highlight how difficult it is for disabled people to get to work using public transport. We want to show why DLA is still essential to disabled people.

We will be asking activists to attend a lobby at the House of Commons in the afternoon at 2pm in Committee Room 21, Upper corridor Houses of Parliament and then travel by bus to the Confederation of Passenger Transport, the umbrella body for all European bus companies in Covent Gardenarea.

As it takes a while to get through security and be taken to the committee rooms we suggest people should arrive around 1.30pm if possible.

To cause maximum but legal chaos we need as many wheelchair users, visually impaired, deaf and other disabled people to all need to use the same buses at the same time. We welcome support from non-disabled people for this as well. We will be starting to travel from a bus stop where we know bus ramps will not go down to let wheelchair users onto the buses.

We would like you to invite your MPs to the lobby and ask them to travel with us on the short ride to experience first hand the issues facing disabled passengers every day. The press will also be invited to attend with us.

However we also know many of you will not want to lobby your MP or go to House of Commons so if you prefer just to help us bring one of London’s bus routes to a grinding halt simply by getting on and off the buses along a specific route then please met us at 4pm either outside House of Parliament visitor entrance or at Abingdon Street bus stop, next to Victoria Tower and more or less opposite College Green.

We have invited Maria Miller and Iain Duncan-Smith to join us but so far they have not replied to our request.

 

Template letter for MPs.

Dear [insert name of MP]

On 19th June at 4pm, I’m joining Transport for All and Disabled People Against Cuts for an action to highlight the barriers that older and disabled people face using public transport. I’d like to invite you to join me on a short bus journey (half an hour) from outside Parliament, to hear and see firsthand some of the problems that disabled people face when travelling.

{insert some of your experiences about using transport here}

I have a number of concerns about the accessibility of public transport. As you will know, the Government is expecting that 500,000 people will lose their DLA (Disability Living Allowance) from 2013. Disability Living Allowance is, for many people, the passport to a Motability car or door-to-door services like Taxicard that allow people to get out and about, even when the local public transport is not easily accessible.

If the proposed reduction to the number of people set to lose DLA eligibility goes ahead, thousands of disabled people will be left dependent on a bus and train system which, despite some important improvements, remains difficult or impossible to use for many older and disabled people.

So this is a crucial time to ensure that accessibility is put at the heart of theUK’s transport system.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of disabled people say they have had to turn down a job because of inaccessible transport (Mind the Gap, Campion et all, 2003). At a time when millions of pounds are being spent on schemes to get disabled people into work, it’s scandalous that foot-dragging by transport providers means that thousands of disabled people are missing out on jobs.

As a supporter of the Right to Ride campaign, I believe that when bus and train routes are tendered, there must be clear accessibility demands written into the contract.

I would really appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and talk about my concerns, and to explain how Government procurement processes could ensure that older and disabled people are able to travel with the same freedom and independence as everyone else. I look forward to hearing from you to arrange this.

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

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