Jun 302013
 

University of London Union, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY

This meeting will be a chance for

– Local DPAC groups to share information and experiences and to network

– Find out more about and feed into the Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations Manifesto

– Feed into the planning of this year’s DPAC Week of Action and Freedom Drive

 

The venue is wheelchair accessible and BSL will be provided.

 

To RSVP or for other access enquiries please contact Ellen ellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.co.uk or 07505144371

  

Many thanks to Inclusion London and to University of London Union for their support and facilities for this meeting.

Jun 272013
 


Artists, DJ’s (an OCDJ indeed), bands and poets include:

Voodoo Citi, Anthony Fearweather, Frank Bangay, Tunde Busari, Dangerous T, DJ Honey, Olympic Clampdown, EFA Supertramp, OCDJ Hoffman, Wowsa from the Cardiff-based Wer 4 Real Collective – hosted by our very own MC Jason Why

Another feast at Tottenham Chances, the friendliest and cheapest venue in North London.

Mad Pride Event Facebook page is here:https://www.facebook.com/events/151433465043269/permalink/155809617938987/

Mad Pride gigs are now on the FIRST Friday of the month at Tottenham Chances up until November.

Hope to see you there.
madpride mark

8pm till Midnight – Friday July 5th 2013
£5/ £2 concessions
Tottenham Chances
399 Tottenham High Road
Tottenham, N17 6QN

Tottenham Chances is close to both Tottenham Hale & Seven Sisters tube a BR railway stations – a short bus ride or walk from both – opposite Tottenham Police Station
Buses 73, 76, 123, 149, 243, 259, 275, 312, 476

Jun 262013
 

At the end of this month, the Department for Work and Pensions will be releasing their Annual Report, and Iain Duncan Smith and his henchministers will no doubt be touring the TV studios to deliver more propaganda about worklessness and disability.

We’ve decided to celebrate the release of the DWP Annual Report by releasing a report of our own.

It is a report into how the DWP and DWP Ministers have made claims which are simply untrue. We’ve selected 35 claims and and found clear evidence that these claims have no basis in the facts.

So when you next see Iain Duncan Smith on the TV News, ask yourself, is he lying? or is he simply making it up out of thin air again?

You can read the full report here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/149776210/DPAC-Report-on-DWP-Abuse-of-Statistics-Final-22-June-2013

Jun 192013
 

While recognizing that there is a real need and desire for a movement which mobilizes activists , unions and communities onto the streets together, we are disappointed that the People’s Assembly looks unlikely to bring it about…
at least while it has an entry fee and a cursory nod to inclusion and accessibility. 

Any attempt at bringing together all those sickened by this Governments shameful and harmful policies to fightback, should include those who have been fighting this fight in the streets, not just in the broadsheets. Those who have led the resistance have earned the right to be part of any movement worthy of the name.

An assembly of this nature can only work if it’s :
Brought about by a collective of workers, activists, communities together:
With a shared vision of what we are trying to achieve:
Working in an inclusive way:
Using every possible means at our disposal:
In a strategic attack on Governments ability to carry out its work,
And bring about its end.

Members attending will not be offered an opportunity to achieve any of these aims. Without grassroots street activists being part of driving this initiative from the outset, any decisions or outcomes are likely to be repeats of tried and tested failures of the past. Without the risk of radical action, the Government is unlikely to be concerned by another march, petition or one day strike. 


DPAC/Black Triangle members will attend the event in an individual capacity to engage with attendees, and encourage others to join us in our call for sustained mass, widespread civil disobedience from every section of society until this Government falls. 

DPAC SG
Johnny Void
Taxpayers against Poverty
Black Triangle
Beat on the Street

DPAC wishes to add that despite trying to feed in to ensure adequate access for the event we have not been listened to by the organizers

Jun 192013
 

The fight against the Bedroom Tax and benefit cuts is spreading to new areas, as rent arrears and eviction threats sharpen the pressure. 

Manchester had a first victory last week, when protests outside Court headed off a Bedroom Tax eviction – see report and photo

Barnsley will be outside Court on Thur 20th when 700 people are summonsed for Council Tax arrears.  They are asking other groups to come with banners – details here (scroll down the page)

In Birmingham 300 people marched on Saturday despite pouring rain, in memory of Stephanie Bottrill – see BBC and ITV Central News report

Campaigns and growing rent arrears are upping pressure on Councils and landlords. Tenants are demanding to address landlords at this year’s big Housing Conference 2013 and will join a big Bedroom Tax protest when Lord Freud and other ministers speak to the conference 27 June in Manchester details here

Councils oppose Bedroom Tax:  36 local authorities met at Manchester Town Hall 7 June and called on the Government to abolish the bedroom tax – see report. This is a welcome beginning – we will continue to campaign and call for councils and landlords to agree “No Evictions” due to benefit cuts, as at least 15 councils have so far, and fight to ensure no one loses their home.

The first steering group meeting of the Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation on 8 June (see broadcast here) heard reports from round the country and agreed the following:

Campaigning:

  • Produce more material including a guide on how to fight the bedroom tax
  • Feed the website, twitter and facebook with reports and stories: email benefitjustice@gmail.com
  • Frequent press releases

Organising:

  • Try to co-ordinate a network of local and national politicians against the bedroom tax
  • Start discussions about date for national demonstration
  • Next steering group meeting – early September – venue tbc

Diary:

  • Saturday 22 June: Help leaflet and talk about benefit cuts at the People’s Assembly – London
  • Thursday 27 June: Lord “Spare Mansion” Freud Protest –  Manchester
  • Saturday 27 July: National Day of Protests against the Bedroom Tax and Benefit Cuts – leaflet here

Keep in touch – let us know your plans for 27 July Protests – and if you have suggestions, want speakers or help.

Eileen Short

for Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Fed

Follow the campaign: www.antibedroomtax.org.uk     facebook: The Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation Twitter:  @benefitjustice   

 

 

Jun 162013
 

Action for Rail Burton-Upon-Trent

Wednesday July 3rd 1500-1730

@ Burton Station

Highlighting the effects Rail Cuts will have on Disabled and Older Passengers

Featuring

Peter Pinkney RMT Presient

Paul Walker RMT National Executive Midlands

Ken Usher RMT Regional Officer

Jon Wheale Burton’s Labour Parliamentary candidate in 2015

Disabled People Against The Cuts

RMT  UNITE  TSSA  ASLEF  TUC  DPAC  BURTON LABOUR

Protest on Rail Policy Brings Political Turmoil to Small Town

Action For Rail is a campaign group set up by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and its rail affiliated unions as a direct response to the governments proposals to cut up to 20 000 staff across the rail network. The campaign involves leafleting passengers at railway stations across the country informing them of the governments proposals and the affects they will have on their journeys. Within the leaflet there is a section for the passenger to fill in and send off to their respective local MP.

The government plans to close hundreds of ticket offices across the country and reducing the opening hours at even more. These ticket offices are likely to be replace by ticket vending machines a move that would have a devastating impact on disabled passengers, elderly passengers or anyone who needs help and support with a very complex system. There is also plans to cut platform staff, track maintenance and signalling staff, on train  none driver staff and even the frightening prospect  of driver only operations. In 1963 Dr Beeching took away railway lines and stations. In the present day this government is taking away the background the very people that make the service. Not only is this an attack on peoples jobs it is an attack on a important service which so many people rely on every day.

In the East Staffordshire Town of Burton-Upon-Trent  Action For Rail held its first protest at the towns railway station in December 2012. Burton is a station that will be hit by the governments proposals. So Last December members of the Burton branch of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) joined forces with anti cuts campaigners and members of the local Labour party to protest against the governments pans. . After the protest the local Conservative MP Andrew Griffiths wrote to the managing director of East Midlands Trains the company that runs the station at Burton to ask for reassurances that the ticket office at Burton was not threatened with closure. The RMT had suggested that Burton ticket office was threatened with closure based on previous example and stated that if it was not going to close completely then the opening hours would be reduced.  EMT’s managing director David Horne gave the campaign a minor victor by confirming that the ticket office would not close. However  he dismissed Action For Rail as making ‘spurious accusations based upon a union assertion.’ This was backed up by the MP who suggested that Action for Rail was using ‘scare tactics in order to score cheap political points.’ He then had the arrogance to suggest that those involved should come forward and apologies.  Since then the campaign has been involved in several rounds of sparing with the local MP. Action For Rail has pointed out to him that  the campaign is based on opposing the facts of the governments rail policy and is only informing the public of the threats they cause as well as campaigning for the preservation of rail workers jobs. Mr Griffiths has refused to recognise that it is government policy to cut up to 20 000 rail workers jobs and has also refused to accept that to broken rails on the East Coast Mainline of over five inches are a direct results of cuts to track maintenance staff. Since then Action for Rail have returned to Burton on the campaigns national day of action on March 27th. Members of the RMT again linked up with political activists, the local Labour Party including the parliamentary Candidate in 2015 and the highly popular last Labour MP who retired from politics in 2010. They again mentioned with evidence outlined by the TUC and even the governments own legislation that Burton was set to have the opening hours of its ticket office reduced as well as all other cuts that are to be made. Neither EMT or the MP have made any further comment.

It is for that reason that an impromptu protest on July 3rd has been called to try and bring about a response. The aim is to make the protest as big as possible in order to show the MP and EMT that the public are on our side and it is hoped that the more people at the protest the more likely it is to get a response. The protest will be taking place on Wednesday July 3rd from 3pm. In attendance will be.

Paul Walker RMT National Executive Midlands

Peter Pinkney RMT President (subject to availability)

Ken Usher RMT Midlands Regional Officer

Jon Wheele (Labour) Parliamentary Candidate in 2015 (subject to availability)

Local Labour Party Members and councillors

Bill Upton RMT Burton branch secretary

Members of Disabled People Against The Cuts

William Walker (NUS) Anti Cuts campaigner and left wing political activist and Historian. Un-official political officer for Burton branch of the RMT

I would like to express my personal thanks to the RMT president and Disabled people Against The Cuts who are both coming from London for this event.

For further information please visit www.actionforrail.co.uk or visit the TUC’s website or www.rmt.org.uk www.unitetheunion.org.uk www.aslef.org.uk or www.tssa.org.uk

Solidarity to you all

William Walker

 

 Posted by at 13:35
Jun 142013
 
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.

Boycott Workfare call for sanction stories

Posted: June 12th, 2013 | Author:  | Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Boycott Workfare outside Policy Exchange after "ruining" their event

Boycott Workfare outside Policy Exchange after “ruining” their event

In return for supporting the passage of a retrospective law to steal £130 million from claimants who were illegally sanctioned, the Labour party were promised by the government that there would be an independent investigation into the sanction process. Of course, we expect little from an investigation that came at the price of justice for claimants. With no space for claimants to actually submit their concerns and experiences, the views of claimants will be not be represented.

With your help, Boycott Workfare would like to highlight the devastating impact that benefit sanctions are having on people’s lives. Collecting together your experiences of benefit sanctions we will be putting together a sanctions zine. Email us your words, however many or few you want to use. Things you may want to include may be:

– the length of the sanction

– the ‘reason’ the Job Centre gave for imposing the sanction and how they told you this ‘reason’

– how it affected your life, including its impact on your physical and mental health, your family and friendships

– how you coped during this time

– and how you are doing now e.g. still claiming JSA, stopped signing on, signing on to a different benefit, stress/worry about further sanctions etc.

– perhaps you have not been sanctioned, but have been bullied and threatened with sanctions

Email us at info@boycottworkfare.org

Feel free also to submit drawings and get in touch if you have any other ideas or suggestions. We also welcome submissions from those who are indirectly affected by benefit sanctions, such as welfare activists, welfare advisors and those involved in the Civil Service Rank and File Network.

We look forward to reading your submissions!

 Posted by at 16:22
Jun 102013
 

Monday, June 10th -2pm Dean’s Yard, Westminster with delivery of Birthday Card and photo opportunity at DWP office, Tothill Street.

 

Disabled people will gather tomorrow to celebrate the twenty fifth birthday of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) which was set up to support disabled people with the highest levels of support need to live in the community instead of being confined to residential care. The silver jubilee of the ILF follows the government’s announcement in December 2012 that the Fund will be permanently shut from April 2015 leaving disabled people in despair about their future.

 

Since it was established on 8th June 1988 the ILF has supported thousands of disabled people to live active and meaningful lives enjoying choice, control and independence and being able to participate in employment and volunteering, education and training and family, social and public life.

 

Local authorities do not and cannot provide the same level of range of support as the ILF. Even for disabled people found eligible for adult social care services, support packages are ever diminishing as funding for local authorities is slashed. Since the closure of the ILF to new applicants in December 2010 there has been a marked increase in inequality and oppression with support packages that do no more than feed, water and maintain disabled people effectively trapped in their homes. This is inhumane and in clear breach of disabled people’s fundamental human rights.

 

The permanent closure of the ILF signals the end of disabled people’s right to independent living. A spokesperson for Disabled People Against Cuts said, “It is shameful that in one of the richest countries in the world, disabled people should be left to live this way and that independence and inclusion should be sold out in favour of inequality and oppression.”

 

Protesters will gather to share birthday cake and celebrate the lives that support through the ILF has enabled us to live before presenting a birthday card to the Department for Work and Pensions.

 

contact –

Anne 0787 2038370

Jenny – 07966 132 523

 

 

Jun 082013
 

2.25 Million -But Why so many?

2.25 Million Jobseeker’s sanctioned
since Coalition came to office!

Are they serious?

These figures are truly earth shattering.

DWP figures which you can access here show that since May 2010 an astonishing 2,257,000 claimants on Jobseeker’s Allowance have had their benefits referred for a decision on whether to cut their benefits for a fixed length period.  The numbers of sanction referrals has rocketed from around 5,500 to 6,000 per month since 2000 right the way up to 2007, since then they have slowly increased but it is only since the Coalition took office that sanction referrals have sky rocketed to levels we have never seen before.  A study conducted by the DWP in 2006 showed that around 130,000 claimants in total were subject to sanction referral in a year.  These latest figures are seeing figures of over 110,000 in a single month.

From April 2000 to October 2012 there has been a total of 3,192,910 sanctions where a decision has been made over whether the claimant’s benefit should be stopped for a fixed period.  The fact that two and a quarter million of those sanction referrals have been recorded should be cause for serious concern as to the vigour at which they are being applied.

The DWP’s statistical footnote explains that ‘prior to April 2010, a Failure to Attend Advisory Interview attracted an entitlement decision. Since then, it has attracted a fixed length sanction of between 1 and 2 weeks.’  It is this kind of sanction which accounts for 1,150,670 of all sanctions – by far the largest number, this category has only come in to play since the Coalition took office.  487,980 reported failures to participate in the Coalition’s Work Programme are recorded since July 2011.  The fixed length sanction regime can last a longer than two weeks but the period of 1 to 2 weeks is what is recorded in the DWP’s notes.

These figures raise serious questions over the validity of the sanction regime.  It is simply incomprehensible that the rate of sanction should increase from 5,000 per month to over 100,000 purely because new conditionality has been built in to the claims regime. It should be remembered that these figures only relate to those claiming Jobseekers Allowance, the DWP has yet to publish full figures for the Employment & Support Allowance.

Questions should be asked as to whether it is the DWP’s privately contracted Work Programme providers who have simply become too ‘sanction happy’ in a bid to cover up their badly performing rates of placing the most ‘difficult to place’ claimants in to the workplace.  Claimants stand to lose their benefits for 1 to 2 weeks for failing to attend an advisory interview, in many cases their appeal rights are limited or not explained to them.  I can recall cases where claimants were sanctioned for the most bureaucratic of reasons.  In one case a claimant attended the Jobcentre for a full hour and a half in the morning happily going through all of his return to work options and was told he did not need to return in the afternoon to sign on at a desk which was a matter of a few metres away in the very same Jobcentre from where he was in the morning.  He was assured his signing details would be passed to the claims adviser and thought no more about it.  he later learnt he had been sanctioned for not turning up in the afternoon.  He ended up having to appeal – a process which took months.

One has to wonder if these sanctions are being imposed as a way of reducing the numbers who appear on the DWP’s payment database; which is needless to say closely linked to the data collected for Government unemployment statistics. Once a claimant has been removed from the payment database there is no telling how long it will be before the claimant reappears as a statistic – despite it being only a matter of weeks without benefit it can take months to adjust government statistics. 

Here’s the DWP figures:

 

 

Month                    

Claimants sanctioned 

May-10
Jun-10
Jul-10
Aug-10
Sep-10
Oct-10
Nov-10
Dec-10
Jan-11
Feb-11
Mar-11
Apr-11
May-11
Jun-11
Jul-11
Aug-11
Sep-11
Oct-11
Nov-11
Dec-11
Jan-12
Feb-12
Mar-12
Apr-12
May-12
Jun-12
Jul-12
Aug-12
Sep-12
Oct-12

61.020
80.410
84.870
84.170
89.180
88.490
87.250
67.670
73.500
80.080
89.130
62.540
58.970
54.260
48.830
51.000
50.740
52.700
61.930
52.140
65.390
75.520
86.310
80.560
98.220
88.840
110.470
96.270
97.040
79.500

Total 


2,257,000

A further DWP report issued in 2012 tells us how the sanction system operates in practice:

“If a claimant fails to undertake any activity required as a condition of their participation on the Work Programme without good cause, then a doubt may be raised against their claim. These doubts are referred to the DWP Sector Decision Makers (SDMs). Once the SDM has made a decision on whether to sanction or disallow/allow a referral, they enter their decision on a system called DMAS (Decision Making and Appeals System). The decision is also sent back to the Jobcentre Plus office for entry to LMS (Labour Market System) and JSAPS (JSA Payment System) which then makes the appropriate changes to the actual payment to the customer. ”

So it would appear the LMS records are updated upon sanction and will will have the effect of quickly ‘adjusting’ the unemployment figures – very handy.

Now lets compare those sanction figures with previous years using the same DWP data sources:

Month                    

Claimants sanctioned 

May-00
Jun-00
Jul-00
Aug-00
Sep-00
Oct-00
Nov-00
Dec-00
Jan-01
Feb-01
Mar-01
Apr-01
May-01
Jun-01
Jul-01
Aug-01
Sep-01
Oct-01
Nov-01
Dec-01
Jan-02
Feb-02
Mar-02
Apr-02
May-02
Jun-02
Jul-02
Aug-02
Sep-02
Oct-02

5.760
5.540
5.190
5.900
5.570
5.980
6.400
5.090
5.860
6.190
6.830
5.440
5.630
5.940
5.950
5.910
4.970
6.110
6.080
4.700
4.920
5.630
6.050
5.940
6.500
5.200
7.140
6.150
5.760
6.130


Total


174,460

Isn’t it astonishing that under the Coalition sanctions have soared to two and a quarter million compared with 174,460 over the same time period between 2000 and 2002? Yet the Coalition are always telling us how they’re reducing the numbers claiming Jobseekers Allowance with figures of approximately 1.5 million – they’ve seemingly sanctioned more than are currently claiming!

One also has to wonder how the rushed off its feet DWP is physically able to deal with this many sanctions, especially with all the appeals and reclaims it has to process – it all points to systematic chaos within the Department.

with thanks to the continously brilliant Nick for more go to

http://ilegal.org.uk/thread/7123/work-programme-working

Twitter: @Mylegalforum

Jun 042013
 

Riot police wielding batons beat and dragged disabled workers in the Egyptian provincial town of Zagazig last week. Hundreds of disabled people who are employed by the Education Department in Sharqiyya province on poverty pay are continuing their sit-in on the steps of the local government buildings despite the attack.

 

Umran al-Khalifa, a law graduate who works as a teacher said: “The sit-in is because we have only temporary contracts. The government of Kamal al-Ganzouri made a decision in 2011 to offer disabled employees like us permanent jobs across the country, but the new local governor has refused to implement the decision.” Umran believes that the change of policy reflects the priorities of the new administration in Cairo. He added “the deputy told me, ‘if you join our party, I’ll make sure you get a permanent job.”

 

Between 100 and 250 disabled workers are taking part in the protest, sleeping out in tents on the steps of the governors’ offices. 

 

The riot police moved in to try and end the sit-in late last week, another activist, Fatima Musa Halim added. “We were just sitting there peacefully when we were attacked. Some thugs came and broke things and said we caused the damage. Then the Central Security Forces troops hit me and they dragged us away from the sit-in. We can’t survive on our wages, as prices are so high, but we are paid only 70 Egyptian pounds a month (7 UK pounds)

 

Mohammed, an administrator in the Sharqiyya Education department, sums up the mood of many on the sit-in: “I want to put the Minister of the Interior to trial for what the police did to us.” He also says he is frustrated and angry with the official representatives of disabled people, who have done nothing to help him and his colleagues in the fight for basic dignity. “The head of the National Council for People with Special Needs should resign. We have no confidence in this organisation.” 

 

Six of the protesters began a hunger strike on Sunday. Mahmud Manazm and Samah Attiyya spoke to reporters by phone from inside the governor’s office. “There are six of us inside,” said Mahmud. “Some of us have heart disease, some high blood pressure. We want the world to know that the Egyptian police attacked disabled people, beat them on the head and dragged them in the street.” 

 

“No one is listening to us” added Samah, “There is no freedom and no democracy here.” 

 

Youth activists from Zagazig’s revolutionary groups, including the Revolutionary Socialists, Egyptian Democratic Party, the Popular Socialist Alliance and the Constitution Party visited the sit-in with messages of support and food. Revolutionary activists were also planning to bring some of the protesters to Cairo for a press conference to get their message out to a wider audience. 

 DPAC have sent a message of support and solidarity to the workers

 

Jun 042013
 

Last Saturday saw thousands on the streets again against the Bedroom Tax. Reports and photos are still coming in – see http://antibedroomtax.org.uk/ and Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation on facebook

 

Reminder:

This Saturday 8 June, 12.30-2.30pm
is the first Steering Group meeting for the Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation
at Somerstown Community Centre 150 Ossulston St London NW1 1EE (beside St Pancras and Kings Cross rail and Underground station and very near Euston station)

All Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice groups, and other campaigns fighting benefit cuts, plus supporting trade unions and organisations, are invited to send reps.  Get in touch for details or directions.

 

Hull is the latest Council considering tenants’ demands not to evict due to Bedroom Tax. Councils agreeing not to evict is a big boost to campaign confidence. Even when they continue to threaten eviction, this promise helps to galvanise resistance and keep up the pressure.

Barnsley are already threatening court action and campaigners are preparing protests at court hearings.

 

Other Dates
15 June Birmingham protest march – No more deaths from Bedroom Tax. March has support of Stephanie Bottrill’s family, and all local groups are asked to come with a banner/placards.
25 June Manchester – Lobby the Housing Providers 12-1pm CIH conference http://www.cih.org/housing2013

Jun 032013
 

As more and more people are finding that they go from hours to minutes of support from their local authorities, as ILF users are threatened with being passed into a local authority system that cannot serve the aims of independent living, and as independent living is becoming more of a mirage every day, despite article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons (UNCRPD) – we look at Angela’s story. Angela contacted DPAC several months ago when it was clear that her local authority were carrying out practices that appeared to be against protocol -legal representation was found. However, this could not stop the real threats to the reduction of Angela’s support or to her right to independent living:

Angela’s Story
I’m 28 years old – but if they take away my social care it’ll be the end of my life.

I’m disabled but I want to enjoy life the way any other young woman can.  I have two volunteer jobs.

 Now they’re threatening to take this support away – leaving me isolated at home, forcing me to go to bed at 9.30 every night, not even able to go to the toilet.

I did a degree in psychology and criminal behaviour. It was interesting but nothing like CSI! During one of the seminars, I met a representative from Headway, the spinal brain injury charity and I’ve been volunteering there for the last two and a half years. I won Luton’s Volunteer of the Year Award last year.

I’m constantly looking for paid work. I don’t sit around watching TV, I never have, I don’t believe in that. I would love to get a paid job. I have tried. I’ve been for interviews for customer services and as a support worker. Even though we are supposed to have equal opportunities, people still look at my wheelchair.

I was hit by a car when I was two. I have a spinal brain injury which has affected my left side. I can’t walk because I have no balance, so I use an electric chair.

When I turned 18, Social Services helped me find a place to live and be independent. Social care gave me total freedom to get up, go to bed, go to the toilet and settle into my new home and life. With decent social care I’ve been able to do whatever I want. I can go out and enjoy life the way any other young woman can. I have two volunteer jobs, and I can go shopping and see my friends.

Suddenly, out of the blue recently they’ve tried to cut my care from 20 hours a day down to three. I was shocked, upset and angry. I tried to negotiate with the woman at the Council and was told “life’s not perfect for anyone”.  I don’t expect it to be perfect – I want to have a life like any young woman.

I’d have no freedom. I’d have to be in bed at 9.30pm and get up at 7.30am, with no way to go to the toilet in the night either. My carer wouldn’t have time to cook me fresh food (microwaved horsemeat lasagne here I come!).

Imagine living this life for the next 50 years. If I was stuck with that forever, I would give up and lose my passion for living. I would find a way to end my life.

What I’m asking for isn’t unreasonable. I just want flexibility and freedom and a little support. I’m not asking for the world. But I do want dignity and I do want freedom. If I wasn’t in this wheelchair I would have those things, so why shouldn’t I.

What’s worse is it isn’t just me. It isn’t just about reducing how much support people get. They’re taking away all support for some disabled people. Every disabled person who needs support should get it – this is about the basic dignity and freedom to live our lives.

The government has what they call a spending review coming up – it’s when George Osborne decides: How will he spend our money? What do we care about as a country?

Will you sign the petition I’ve started and send George Osborne a message loud and clear that we want adequate support for disabled people to live independently?    They spent more than a billion pounds just on the Olympics village where the athletes stayed last year, surely they can put at least that much into social support for us? We only have a few weeks!
Angela Murray

Petition: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/george-osborne-save-social-care-let-me-and-all-disabled-people-live-with-freedom-and-dignity

Please sign the petition and write to us at mail@dpac.uk.net with your stories. We are also looking for stories from people who were stopped from applying for Independent Living Fund support in 2010 when the Coalition closed it to new applicants.

This is not just about ‘care’ it is about independent living, the right to independent living and support for all. It is about the UK breaking its own signed commitment to the UNCRPD. It is about the impact on real lives like Angela’s. It is fundamentally wrong!

DPAC is continually gathering evidence of the impacts of the cuts, their effects on independent living and quality of life for disabled people and those with long term health issues. Unlike some other organisations we are keen to bring this Government to task through every route we can, including the legal system.

 

 

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