ellen

Sep 082014
 

Tory welfare reform is in crisis. Last week 70 Conservative MPs ignored a three line whip and stayed away from Westminster for the vote on Andrew George’s bedroom tax bill. Protests have beaten back government attacks on benefits but we need to keep fighting to see off the hated bedroom tax once and for all and to stand up against sanctions, which remain a vicious plank in the government’s punitive policies, whose use is rocketing and which are still supported by Labour in Parliament.

Join protests happening in the areas below or hold your own. Send pictures and updates to benefitjustice@gmail.com and/or mail@dpac.uk.net.

 

Barnet

9.00am: Jobcentre Granta House 1 Western Rd London N22 6UH. Go to Barnet Housing Action Group on facebook for more information.

 

Birmingham

12 noon: Broad Street Job Centre, Centennial House,100 Broad St, B15 1AU.

1.15pm: Centenary Square, Broad Street.

Sandk123456@aol.com

 

Huddersfield

12 noon: Upper Head Row, Huddersfield, HD1 2JL. (near main entrance to bus station) juneholmes@btopenworld.com

 

Leeds

12 – 2pm: Street meeting on benefits and sanctions: Briggate, LS1 6JX (near the Body Shop). ellenrobottom@hotmail.com

 

London

11am Old Palace Yard Westminster SW1P 3JY
and 1pm DWP HQ Tothill St SW1
(Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign will be meeting 10.30am outside Metropolitan Tabernacle opposite Elephant and Castle tube station to go up to Parliament)
Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Gig: Starring: THE WICKED VENETIANS + PARVA HINTON + SEBASTIAN MELMOTH + MYLAS: New Cross Inn, 323 New Cross Road London SE14 6AS: http://newcrossinn.com/?p=1&m=09&y=2014

Milton Keynes

12 noon – 1pm outside Milton Keynes Jobcentre Plus, Midsummer Blvd, MK9 3BN. E.kate.hunter@googlemail.com

 

FRIDAY 12th SEPTEMBER

 

Brighton

11am: Brighton station forecourt: brightonbenefitscampaign@gmail.com
Witney

Paupers Picnic outside David Cameron’s Witney Conservatives event at Witney Lakes with tax-dodging, expenses-grabbing MP Nadim Zahawi. Coaches leave Oxford at 5.30pm. For more info contact: mail:dpac.uk.net

Aug 262014
 

Thursday 11th September 2014

End Bedroom Tax; No Sanctions for Claimants – No Targets for Staff

On 11th September the Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Campaign is holding a day of protest: say no to claimant sanctions, bedroom tax and benefit cuts

Government attacks on benefits mean hunger, debt and fear. Ex-soldier David Clapson died hungry and destitute after his benefits were stopped, the latest in a string of deaths and suicides related to sanctions and benefit cuts.  The overwhelming majority of referrals to food banks are due to  claimants being sanctioned.

Sanctions cutting benefits of disabled people on Employment and Support Allowance, rose by nearly 580 percent between March 2013 and March 2014, and total sanctions rose to over a million last year, from 100,000 in 2010 (DWP figures).
PCS union is supporting the 11 September protests.  Research by PCS members working in the DWP revealed that 82% of members felt ‘pressured’ into sanctioning claimants, and 62% said they had made ‘inappropriate’ sanctions decisions.Protests have forced Government to promise changes: see Review report. But sanctions remain a vicious plank of the Government’s punitive welfare reforms, and are still supported by Labour in parliament.

Join us on one of protests below or organise your own.  Demand an end to the Bedroom Tax and link it to the slogan: ‘No sanctions for claimants, No targets for staff’. Build links with local PCS members – contacts for local PCS in DWP and PCS regions.The Bedroom Tax is almost dead – we will demand MPs kill it now  and up the pressure to beat the sanctions regime too. Let us know any actions you are planning so we can promote them.

End Sanctions, Bedroom Tax and benefit cuts11am Old Palace Yard Westminster SW1P 3JY
and 1pm DWP HQ Tothill St SW1

Other protests planned in
Leeds, Sheffield, Oxford, Manchester/Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow


Jul 032014
 

 Hello comrades 

ALLFIE  (the Alliance for Inclusive Education) would like to put together some short and snappy videos on disabled peoples experiences of having Disabled Students Allowance and the impact it has had in helping them benefit from higher education on our lovely website – 

In particular we would like to focus on inclusion and participation whilst recognising that for some disabled students having the DSA means the potential of getting higher grades or getting a qualification whilst studying at university.  Also it be great to hear how DSA has supported disabled students who benefited from higher education even if they have not ‘passed’ their course.  

We would like to interview disabled people (young and old!) who  are thinking twice about going to university as a result of Government’s DSA reforms.

If anyone wants to know more about the DSA reforms please follow the link – http://www.allfie.org.uk/   Please scroll down to ALLIFE’s june briefing. 

If you are going to be around for the ILF tea party on Friday  – please let me know as I will have a small video camera to do the interview with.    I will be wearing an ALLFIE teashirt.     If you want to have a chat please ring me on 0207 737 6030 during Tuesday and Thursday.

 See u there, Simone Aspis.

Mar 252014
 
Behind the promotional gloss of the Department for Work and Pensions’celebrity-backed ‘Disability Confident’ roadshow lies the reality of how current government policy is actively undermining employment opportunities for Deaf and disabled people. Deaf and disabled people will gather outside the conference at London Hilton Canary Wharf from 9am on Tuesday 25th March to protest against the most urgent threats to employment we are facing. For those unable to attend the protest in person there will be a twitter storm.
 
On Tuesday 25th March an event will be held in Canary Wharf which the DWP is describing as “the first ever conference of its kind to showcase the talents of disabled people” and which aims to dispel the myths of the complexities of employing disabled people. The event is being marketed as a chance to boost employment rates for 350,000 disabled people in London without a job.
 
Deaf and disabled campaigners are concerned that the Disability Confident programme is a cynical attempt by government to deflect from the fact that its own policies are undermining the ability of Deaf and disabled people to find and retain employment at a time when benefits and are being cut and life out of employment being made unbearable.
 
The closure of the Remploy factories in 2012 and 2013, pushing 1,800 Deaf and disabled people into unemployment, was justified on the grounds that money saved would be invested in the Access to Work scheme which provides financial help towards the extra costs of employing Deaf and disabled people and which will be promoted through tomorrow’s roadshow. Despite the fact that the scheme has been shown to make a profit of £1.48 for the state from every £1 invested in it[1], increasing caps and restrictions on what the scheme can be used for are severely limiting its usefulness and numbers accessing the scheme have dropped since 2009-2010.
 
Changes to Access to Work are having such a detrimental impact on the employment of Deaf BSL users that a campaign has been started fronted by Jenny Sealey, artistic director of the Paralympic Games opening ceremony whose ability to continue her acclaimed work is directly affected. Jenny says, “Without that provision I couldn’t do my job. It’s fundamental to me being Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre Company.” Many Deaf people are now finding their employment futures uncertain as the result of changes to the scheme are introducing an expectation on employers to make up the difference between the cost of suitably qualified interpreters and the caps being introduced on what Access to Work will now pay.
 
Meanwhile the closure of the Independent Living Fund, which provides support to disabled people with the highest levels of support to live in the community, is also limiting opportunities for disabled people to participate in employment. Whereas Access to Work will only cover support directly associated with an individual’s job tasks, the ILF currently supports disabled people with areas of personal support essential for being able to work, for example maintaining personal hygiene, using the toilet, getting ready for work. Social care support provided by local authorities is not able to meet the same outcomes and disabled people face futures where they can no longer retain their employment once the ILF transfers to local authorities in 2015.

The employability of disabled people is also being undermined by attacks on disabled people’s access to education. The ILF provides essential support enabling disabled people to participate in further and higher education that is not available through for example the Disability Support Allowance. The growth of free schools and academies alongside the government’s failure to protest a presumption for mainstream education in the newly passed Children and Families Act are restricting disabled pupils’ educational opportunities. When the government shut the Remploy factories they said there was no place for segregation in modern society. If they were really interested in building inclusive workplaces the place to start would be with inclusive education.

According to the DWP press release the majority of employers attending the event other than Southwark Council seem to be in the private sector. With the Access to Work scheme being adapted to increase the level of contribution expected of employers, employers will literally be paying to employ disabled people. The press release makes the argument that investing in disabled employees pays off because we stay in the same job for longer and have lower rates of absenteeism. Many disabled workers do over compensate and have fewer chances of job progression but these are not things to be celebrated or promoted and fall outside any true disability equality agenda. The reality of employing disabled people requires a level of flexibility and added expense that are simply not compatible with a competitive workplace. That’s not because of any inadequacies on our part, and certainly not because, as this rhetoric of overcoming personal challenges in order to be ‘successful’ suggests, because we don’t try hard enough. It’s the faults in the construction of a profit-focused workplace.

 
Ellen Clifford from Disabled People Against Cuts said, “Deaf and disabled people continue to face attitudinal barriers and discrimination which exclude them from the workplace and all attempts to remove stigma and dispel myths are welcome. However a far more urgent threat is currently being posed by the government’s own policies which are undermining the ability of those Deaf and disabled people who are in work to stay in work and which is limiting opportunities to employment more savagely than any initiative like Disability Confident can possibly make up for.”
 
 
For more information or case studies of Deaf and disabled people affected by either the changes to Access to Work, the closure of the Remploy factories or the closure of the Independent Living Fund contact Ellen: 07505144371.
 
Information about the Stop Changes to Acess to Work campaign and for an interview with Jenny Sealey:
http://stopchanges2atw.wordpress.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk0i6vd305o
 
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 
1) The Work Programme is projected to cost £3-5bn over five years, yet is not working for a core group: people living with disability or long-term health conditions. According to data released at the end of last year, more than 93% of disabled people on the Work Programme are failing to find long-term work. Just 6.8% of those referred to the programme in the latest three months have found long-term work.
2) 1,800 disabled workers at the Remploy factories have been laid off over the last couple of years with the promise that the Access To Work scheme would help them all back into the workplace.  According to The Mirror in October 2013 just 535 of them have found jobs.
3) Around 18,600 disabled people with the highest level of support needs are currently supported through the Independent Living Fund. In November 2013 a Court of Appeal judgment pointed to the potentially very grave impact of closing the Fund and quashed the government’s decision to do that. In February 2014 Mike Penning, Minister for Disabled People announced that the government had retaken the decision and that the Fund will now close in June 2015.
 Posted by at 07:35
Mar 122014
 

In 2012 not long after the government passed the welfare reform Act John McDonnell MP warned the House of Commons: ““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, 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.” And we have been ever since. With Atos on the run, the bedroom tax on the ropes and the ongoing fight for the Independent Living Fund we are seeing the results of disabled people’s co-ordinated grassroots campaigning.

 
A model of campaigning that responds to the direct lived experience of disabled people is not popular with everyone. Too often it rocks the boat in questioning entrenched positions within the disability sector such as the need to close the Remploy factories at the earliest opportunity whatever the cost and the wisdom of local authority administered social care support. Disabled people have looked beyond disabled people’s organisations and disability ‘professionals’ to gain support for grassroots led disabled people’s campaigns, making alliances with the broader anti cuts movement and the various, often conflicted groups within that, from trade unions to UKUncut.

 
The model has proved successful and disabled people’s protest has succeeded in punching holes in austerity, as the Government and private companies like Atos are strongly aware.  DPAC co-founder Linda Burnip remembers: “Our first protest against ATOS was January 2011 in Triton Square and few people had heard of the WCA or ATOS. Our continued national days of action against ATOS from then on helped very much to change that and bring the atrocities being inflicted on disabled people to the forefront of public awareness. After the DPAC actions against ATOS sponsorship of the paralympic games and the spontaneous booing of Osborne by 80,000 disabled spectators our campaign against ATOS gained international attention. Our early intervention in targeting protests at ATOS recruitment fares has eventually paid off and particularly after Joyce Drummond and Dr. Woods spoke out about their experiences of working for ATOS the WCAs and ATOS are now so toxic that they are unable to recruit enough staff to carry out assessments and the whole system is in melt-down. Any firm considering taking over the ATOS contract should be aware that disabled people will do the same to them as they have done to ATOS.”

 

While the bedroom tax is being held aloft as an example of the effectiveness of framing theory we should not forget that co-ordinated community action put the real pressure on. It may not have changed the government’s mind but the audacity of two wheelchair accessible bus-loads of disabled people turning up at Iain Duncan Smith’s mansion to serve an eviction notice and picnic in the lavish grounds last April set the tone for a determined campaign that has placed disabled people at the centre of community action on estates across the country. Disabled campaigner Robert Punton says, “Disabled people have been at the forefront of both this despicable tax and the resulting campaign. A by-product of the campaign has been that we as a disabled people’s pressure group have come into a working relationship with unions and other community campaigns strengthening everyone’s position and resolve.”

 

The campaign to save the independent living fund (ILF) led by ILF recipients and supported by DPAC and Inclusion London among other disabled people led groups has gained real traction despite the consensus among national charities and disability organisations that transfer to local authorities was the way forwards. Without a grassroots material basis from which to develop, theoretical rights will remain forever in the abstract. Disabled people are experiencing ever diminishing packages of support increasingly delivered on a ‘clean and feed’ model, with a rise in administration by in-house local authority services and prepayment cards. Yet, while, through continuation of the ILF, we have a layer of disabled people who regardless of their level of support need are enabled to enjoy a quality of life and level of choice and control that affords an ordinary life, we prevent a full scale roll back and the loss of aspiration for independent living for disabled people. Kevin Caulfield, disabled activist and Chair of Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition Against Cuts says “The campaign has been really important to draw attention to the government’s suffocation of disabled people’s right to independent living and equality. Every disabled person who needs support should have the right resources to live a full life which is why the ILF should be protected and re-opened so that everyone who needs it can apply. The campaign exposed the light touch of the government in relation to enforcing equality legislation and we can see why they are desperate to restrict disabled people’s access to justice by excluding us from legal aid and the right to take judicial review”.

 

It is interesting that the impact of disabled people’s campaigning at this pivotal point in history is so much better recognised outside the disability sector than within. This is for a number of reasons. Mainstream media bias means that most activity is only communicated through social and independent media and to those already linked in. Then there also seems to be a misperception in some quarters that because disabled people are allying ourselves with mainstream movements that it is not disabled people setting the agenda. This misses some really exciting developments where disabled people are influencing a wider understanding and application in practice of disability equality and inclusion. DPAC activists were for example central to last summer’s anti-fracking protest in Balcombe having worked with Reclaim the Power to build an accessible protest camp and a direct action of which disabled activists were at the forefront.

 

The point is not though to gain recognition, the point is to continue to effect concrete social change. Atos may be looking for an exit strategy but disabled people need abolition of the Work Capability Assessment itself, the bedroom tax may have lost all credibility but disabled people and their families are continuing to build arrears and to suffer under its implementation, the Independent Living Fund may have been at least temporarily saved for those existing recipients but the crisis in social care grows ever more desperate. What we have shown over the last few years is that we do have agency when we co-ordinate and campaign. Now there is more to do.

 

For more information about Disabled People Against Cuts national conference on 12th April 2014 contact dpacfightback@yahoo.co.uk. Please note due to limited capacity places are prioritised for signed up members.

Mar 072014
 

photoThe Tory Government’s callous decision to continue with the closure of the Independent Living Fund, announced today by Mike Penning represents a further ideologically driven attack on the quality of life of all but the richest UK citizens.

For those people who rely on the fund for their care and support, the prospect of the devolution of such care to Local Authority adult care provision is harrowing indeed.

One ILF recipient, Mary Laver, made a video about what her life would be like without the ILF. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLPA96k1oaE

What is most illustrative about this video, to me, is not her condition as presented in the video, nor the fact that a woman like Mary could not possibly have been an Olympic Torch Bearer without the help of the fund, but a single sentence she uttered after watching the video of herself in the Houses of Parliament last November. It spoke volumes. She said “I never realized how disabled I am until I saw that.”

Another, perhaps better known ILF recipient is actor and comedian Liz Carr who plays Clarissa Mullery in BBC’s Silent Witness. She says  “The closure of the Independent Living Fund will inevitably lead to the erosion of  independence, inclusion and freedom for disabled people who have high levels of need.  I am one of the 18,000 people in the UK who receive support from the ILF and it is this funding to pay people to do the things I physically can’t do which enables me to get up in the morning, work and have the same kinds of opportunities as everyone else.  I don’t think I’m being overdramatic when I say that today’s news is devastating to those of us whose lives and existence owes a great deal to the Independent Living Fund.  How can already strapped for cash Local authorities take up the slack when the Fund closes in the summer of 2015?  How many of us are going to lose our independence as residential care provides a more cost effective option?  A future without the ILF is terrifying.”

Merry Cross of DPAC and Left Unity says that the decision is “the worst example of the hypocysy asnd lies that Cameron has come out with since he took office in 2010, claiming that he would be protecting ‘the poorest, the most vulnerable, the elderly, the frail’. The intention is to destroy Local Authorities as part of the privatisation agenda. I can’t think of a single reason why any disabled person would be reassured by that statement at the end of the press release that the government “‘want to make sure that disabled people are given the support that allows them to fulfil their potential’” and I can’t think of a single reason why any disabled person would feel anything other than terror and horror. I’d say the governmentt commitment to disabled people is as shallow as its commitment to the pockets of its rich friends is deep.”

That is the truth at the heart of the matter. Withdrawing this lifeline from those of us who need it is sentencing us to a life inside the sterilized walls of a local authority Care Home, or imprisonment within the no less confining walls of our own homes, granted “care” in such meager doses as to deny us the dignity of choosing our own time of rising, sleeping, eating or even the voluntary usage of such necessities as the toilet.

The Court of Appeal found the decision of the Tory Government to close the Independent Living Fund unlawful last November on the grounds that the duty of the government to promote equality had been neglected. The judges found that the DWP had failed to fulfil its duty, under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, to have “due regard” to the need to promote equality of opportunity between disabled and non-disabled people in its decision to close the fund. It was found that briefings given to then disability minister Esther McVey by officials did not adequately make clear “the potentially very grave impact” the closure of the ILF could have on service users and that whereas responses to the consultation indicated that “independent living might well be put seriously in jeopardy for a large number of people”, this was not conveyed to the minister in clear terms.

To callously strip disabled people of their most basic freedoms cannot by any reasonable person be considered a promotion of equality.

We would thus urge persons of conscience, politicians, and organizations concerned with any and all human rights to join us in the condemnation of this policy and to support the next steps in challenging the manifest sadism of a government bent on imposing destitution and despair on the populace.

Campaigners will continue to fight the closure. DPAC’s Ellen Clifford said, “The fight continues. We are seeing the impact of the closure on 2010 and how local authority support is failing to meet the needs and rights of disabled people under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The strength and resolve of grassroots disabled people got us this far and we are not giving up now. This has never just been about protecting support for existing ILF recipients, however important that certainly is, but it is also about the fundamental right to independent living for all disabled people.”

Article by Conan Doyle

Photo from Rockinpaddy touring with Graeae’s Threepenny Opera

 
Mar 052014
 

12th April 2014 – 11am until 5pm

London Met University, Tower Building, 166 – 220 Holloway Road, London, N7 8DP

Since we started in October 2010 Disabled People Against Cuts has been at the forefront of the fight against austerity. With Atos on the run, and the bedroom tax on the ropes  we are seeing the results of hard campaigning. But there is much more to do to ensure disabled people’s rights to live independently and with an adequate income.
The national conference is a chance for DPAC members to come together, to share experiences and discuss your ideas for moving forwards.
DPAC are working hard to bring to conference a surprise guest, a person who, if anyone has, has been the catalyst for the re-emergence of disability activism in the last few years, someone DPAC has enjoyed a close relationship with from visiting him at home to donating underpants to supporting his select committee appearances.
Workshops will look at: –  Where Now for the Independent Living Fund campaign,  – Developing a Social Model of Distress,  – Winning the Argument,  – Disability, Art and Protest,  – Building a National Network of Disabled People’s Organisations and Direct Action practical skills among others.

 

Please note places are limited so priority will be given to DPAC members. For information about joining please contact mail@dpac.uk.net

The venue is wheelchair accessible. BSL and a note taker will be provided. For access information go to: http://www.disabledgo.com/access-guide/islington-council/london-metropolitan-university-tower-building

For access queries including booking parking please contact DPACfightback@yahoo.co.uk
To book places or for more information please contact DPACfightback@yahoo.co.uk

 Posted by at 12:41
Jan 182014
 

 

Sanity in an era of rabid capitalism?

 

Date: Friday 7 February, 2014

 

Time: 6.30 doors open for 7pm start

 

A F.E.E.L. (Friends of East End Loonies) occasional event todiscuss abuses within the psychiatric system, what a humane asylum would be like and the wide range of alternatives.

 

SPEAKERS

 

 

Denise McKenna, Mental Health Resistance Network

 

 

Towards a social model of mental distress

 

 

A Local Trade Union activist

 

 

The impact of local authority & NHS cuts on

 

mental health services

 

 

Questions/comments from the floor

 

 

Venue:Kingsley Hall, corner Powis and Bruce Roads, E3 3HJ,

 

(Nearest tube stations: Bow Church and Bromley-By-Bow)

 

 

There will be an interval with music, poetry and refreshments.No entrance fee but donations will be welcome to cover costs.

 

FEEL is a democratic anarchic group in which people are encouraged to share what they need to say and to contribute what they can. It meets the 3rd Monday of the month at 6.30 pm at the LARC centre, 62 Fieldgate St E1 1ES. For more information call:

 

David: 020 7790 0269 or Myra on 020 7780 9038 email: f.e.e.l.campaign@googlemail.com

 

 

Humane Therapy not Drug Tyranny

 

 

 

Joanna Moncrieff says in her book, The Myth of the Chemical Cure, “My thesis in this book is that the disease-centred model of drug action has been adopted, and recently widely publicised, not because the evidence for it is compelling, but because it helped promote the interests of certain powerful social groups, namely the psychiatric profession, the pharmaceutical industry and the modern state.” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009 London)

 

 

 

We need a liberating movement to transform hospitals and Mental Health Units into humane asylums and to demand the full range of complementary and natural therapies including arts therapies (which a study has indicated is more effective than drug therapy) and talking therapy, and an end to pharmaco-custodial control.

 

 

 

F.E.E.L. – Friends of East End Loonies

 

Believe in empowering all people in the mental health system

 

Ending the chemical cosh

 

Supporting community mental health services

 

Encouraging more holistic therapies

 

HUMANE THERAPY – NOT DRUG TYRANNY

 

 

 

Jan 182014
 

Having become aware that there seems to be some confusion about People First groups operating in England Disabled People Against Cuts invited People First (Self Advocacy)’s Director Andrew Lee to set the record straight:

People First (Self Advocacy) is a national, user-led self-advocacy organisation, run for and by people with learning difficulties.  People First has been operating for 27 years.  The constitution says that the number of members of the company is unlimited, and can be individual members – any person with learning difficulties, 18 years or over, and group members, which will be organisations run by people with learning difficulties.  People First has a national membership of 101 self-advocacy group members and 150 individual members; the spread of members is national, covering every region.
The Charity Commission entry for People First states:
Activities
PEOPLE FIRST IS AN ORGANISATION RUN BY AND FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES TO RAISE AWARENESS OF AND CAMPAIGN FOR THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES AND TO SUPPORT SELF ADVOCACY GROUPS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
Where it operates
THROUGHOUT ENGLAND AND WALES

Having set the record straight, some people may say it is easy to say People First is a national organisation, but ask where is the proof?  People First’s response would be the we have a long history of working nationally with groups and individuals, and we would really like to share with you and your readership the detail, depth, quality and impact of our work, both in terms of campaigning with and on behalf of our national membership, and in supporting self-advocacy groups to build their capacity and become strong groups.
This is a summary of our current work:
1. Policy and Campaigning
We are working with a large range of organisations to make change happen for people with learning difficulties on all of the key Government changes affecting our members.  This includes local self-advocacy groups, SCIE, Inclusion London, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, DPAC, ALLFIE, The Mayor’s Office and many other national and Government organisations.  As well as this many other organisations come to People First for advice and support, For example, this week we have carried out some work on behalf of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, to make sure that people with learning difficulties can give their views to the United Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons, about the most important areas for the Government to work on; we worked with York People First and Bristol and South Gloucestershire People First, as well as our national Board of Trustees.  We work with organisations, but as well as this we make sure that we are in touch with our membership and that we are campaigning out on the streets.

2. Cuts Impact Action Now Project
We have also set up the Cuts Impact Action Now Project (CIAN).  The CIAN project, funded by Trust for London, is an evidence collection project looking at what impact both local authority and national cuts and changes are having on people with learning difficulties in Barnet.   This project is a pilot project starting in borough of Barnet.  We are working in partnership with People’s Choice at BCIL.  We are piloting a way of collecting evidence that can then be used in other London Boroughs and nationally.
The reason that we are running this project is because there are lots of national and local changes and cuts happening at the same time.  There has been no research or evidence collected about what impact all of these changes together will have on people with learning difficulties.  We are worried about what this will mean for people and we want to make sure that the voices of people with learning difficulties are heard.  We want to make sure that any cuts or changes do not have an unfair impact on people with learning difficulties.
We want to pilot a way of collecting evidence so that eventually all self-advocacy groups can use this to collect their own local evidence.  We know that cuts and changes are very different in each local authority as a result of the Localism Bill.  This is why a project like this will support local self-advocacy groups to campaign with solid evidence in their local area.  We will also support them to campaign nationally.
3. Supporting Self Advocacy Groups
Our work was very public during the years that we ran the National project and when we were part of the Disability LIB project.  During this project we capacity built 30 organisations.  These organisations were all members of People First (Self Advocacy), but they were not all called People First.  They included Speak Out groups, SHOUT groups as well as other local self-advocacy organisations that had completely different names.  To be a member of People First (Self Advocacy), a group does not need to have the ‘People First’ name.  It just needs to be a self-advocacy organisation run and led by people with learning difficulties.
Since this Big Lottery funding ended, it has been very difficult to get funding for this “second tier” work.  We therefore offer a more low key type of support, such as training, consultancy and research. During the past year we have supported 6 local self-advocacy groups with things such as Management Committee training, consultancy on the future of organisations, fundraising and support with other issues that groups have been having.
4. Advocacy Signposting and Advice
We offer a telephone service to all people with learning difficulties and their carers and supporters.  With all of the cuts to advocacy services and support services happening many people that are going through very difficult issues do not have anyone to turn to.  We offer this service so that anyone going through an issue can come to us and we will support them to get the information and support that they need to move forward.  People have come to us with issues around debt, benefits, getting support, getting advocates, problems with local authorities, hate crime and many other areas.  For this project we have been included on the SCIE Find Me Good Care website, as an organisation offering support and advice to people with learning difficulties, their carers and supporters.  We use our core funds to cover this work.

5. Easy Read
We have a long term campaign of making Easy Read more well-known and better used.  With the support of the Facilitation Fund from the Office for Disability Issues we putting together a service to make sure that there are no excuses for not using Easy Read.  This is so that anyone can have the tools they need to put something into Easy Read.  We have already put together Easy Read training and we are now using the fund to design a new and improved Easy Read Picture bank.  We also provide an Easy Read translation service for a range of Government, local authority, and voluntary sector organisations.
In Conclusion
With the change in the political climate, and funding priorities, like many charities we have had to review our position and develop new strategies and plans.  Our new BIG PICTURE approach to how we move forward is that all the work we are now doing could be described as taking a strategic approach, that is not just being out there strutting our stuff, but putting plans in place to make sure:
The work we do takes into account the need for major structural change, that means in the way systems and policies work at a local and national level, which will make a real difference to the lives of people with learning difficulties
The work we do takes into account the Localism Bill, and will put information, power and control back into the hands and voices of local people with learning difficulties
The work we do has a major impact to benefit the lives of people with learning difficulties who are often excluded from the debate and that’s why our organisation has led the Self Advocacy Movement for 27 years.

Jan 182014
 

Sign the petition to Scrap the Cap NOW, get your organisation to endorse it, like it to you friends on Facebook and Twitter – we need as many signatures as possible.  Endorsers include the Black Women’s Rape Action Project, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, John McDonnell MP, WinVisible.

Women Against Rape was among the groups demonstrating at the High Court in October.  We heard in court what the mothers and children have gone through, including living for years in rundown housing.   They are represented by Rebekah Carrier of Hopkin Murray Beskine, who describes the Cap as catastrophic, cruel and arbitrary:

“Two of the families have fled domestic violence in circumstances where they were financially reliant upon their abusive partners, and they now face a stark choice between descending further into poverty and risking losing their homes, or returning to their abusers in order to escape the imposition of the cap.”

Even Child Benefit, and many refuges and hostels for vulnerable women are not exempted from the Cap.  Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape says:

       “We call on the government to put the safety of women and children first by lifting the Benefit

        Cap so no one is trapped in a violent a relationship where they risk injury, trauma and even death.”

Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 January

Appeal vs the total Benefit Cap

In defence of families affected & impoverished by it.  The Cap is even more drastic than the bedroom tax and is trapping women and children in violent relationships.

9.30am Join the protest outside the court

called by Women Against Rape

Royal Courts of Justice, Strand (off Kingsway), London WC2A 2LL

Dec 012013
 

Saturday 7th December  10am – 5pm

Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW

www.southlondonpa.org

Speakers include Francesca Martinez, Owen Jones and Josie Long.

There will be workshops on How we Can Save our NHS, The Housing Crisis, The Battle for Education, Building Unions to Fight Austerity and Environment and Energy as well as Austerity and Rascist Scapegoating, Alternatives to Austerity, Explaining and Fighting the Benefit Cuts and EU-US Free Trade Agreement.

There will also be a showing of protest films by Reel News and Kate Belgrave in the cinema and workshop sessions on banner making, leaflet design and performance and songs.

London DPAC will be running a workshop on disability, austerity and resistance. Disabled people have been at the forefront of the fightback against the Coalition government for the past three years. Our rights and freedoms are facing an ideological attack of unprecedented magnitude under the excuse of austerity that is resulting in misery, poverty and death. Disabled people are not letting this happen to us without a fight. This workshop will explore the range of campaign tactics and alliances that have been built and what more we need to do in our struggle for an alternative to austerity founded in social justice and fairness.

roger lewis 2-1

Chair: Roger Lewis,London DPAC

267683_10150237146049690_544729689_7488154_6718546_n

Ciara Doyle, Disabled People Against Cuts

Unites Sean McGovern on defending disabled peoples rights-1411-13127

Sean McGovern is TUC disabled workers’ committee co-chair and Unite EC and national disabled members’ committee chair

Picture 2

Denise McKenna is a long standing campaigner against psychiatric abuses.

Tickets are free if you are unwaged, £5 if bought in advance, £10 on the door.

For any access requests please contact contact@southlondonpa.org

Nov 242013
 

The eight Labour MPs who attended the lobby meeting were perhaps somewhat discomforted by the level of hostility, and indeed rowdiness that occasionally erupted from the floor of Meeting Room 12. It was obvious from the chair, Ian Lavery’s, comments and opening address, that the MPs involved, and their offices had hoped for a reassurance of votes won from grassroots bedroom tax campaigners. The assembled activists, who had come from as far afield as Glasgow and Kent, were not so keen on patting any MP on the back, and the most obvious complaint voiced from the floor was that, despite Labour opposition to the Bedroom Tax policy, Labour held local councils are nonetheless proceeding with evictions against council tenants.

The MPs present, in the order in which they spoke, included the chair of the meeting: Ian Lavery MP for Wansbeck [http://www.ianlavery.co.uk/], Margaret Curran, MP for Glasgow East, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland [http://margaretcurran.org/], Kate Green, MP Stretford and Urmston, Shadow Minister for Disabled People [http://www.kategreen.org/], Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton, Shadow Housing Minister [http://www.emmareynolds.org.uk/], Jack Dromey, MP for Erdington, Shadow Home Affairs Minister [http://www.jackdromey.org], Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West, Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions [http://www.rachelreeves.net], Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham, Shadow minister for Employment [http://www.stephentimms.org.uk/], and Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly [http://www.waynedavid.labour.co.uk/].

The MP heckled the most was, without a doubt, Rachel Reeves, whose comments on welfare as reported in the Observer came under fire. There seemed to be a general consensus among the MPs on why the bedroom tax must be scrapped, most obviously that it’s implementation is actually more expensive than any possible saving, Stephen Timms mentioning the research of Prof. Rebecca Tunstall. [http://www.york.ac.uk/chp/people/tunstall/, Full report here: http://www.york.ac.uk/media/chp/documents/2013/Testing%20DWP%20Assessment%20of%20Impact%20of%20SRS%20Size%20Criterion%20on%20HB%20Costs%20University%20of%20York.pdf], where other MPs such as Mr Lavery and Mr David mentioning the human cost of the policy, and Emma Reynolds and Rachel Reeves mentioning the infrastructural cost of the policy, namely that housing associations facing reduced rental income cannot afford to invest in new housing stock at a time of great housing shortage.

Having found the audience less welcoming than they had perhaps expected, the chair and assembled MPs went to great lengths to point out that the bedroom tax lobby meeting was occurring just before an opposition day devoted entirely to fighting the Bedroom Tax in the commons. Needless to say, the motion to end the Bedroom Tax was defeated 252:226 [http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2013/november-/mps-debate-abolition-of-the-bedroom-tax/]. The aspect of this timing that the chair, Mr Lavery in particular, was keen to impress on the assembled activists was that this motion was only brought forward because of the vociferous nature of our campaigns against the Bedroom Tax, which are now gaining the attention of such papers as the Guardian [http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/oct/20/protests-grow-over-benefit-cuts]

Shaun O’Regan from Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign, among others, also viewed the related debate in the commons, mentioned above. He noted that the lobby meeting ‘surprised the Labour politicians about how angry we are, not just about the bedroom tax, but all the other cuts’. He added that the ‘shameful Lib Dems and Tories’ who spoke in favour of retaining the Bedroom tax in the Commons debate ‘made us more determined to go aay and build for the Southwark Benefit justice demonstration on the 25th of January 2014.’ Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign have also been instrumental in lobbying Harriet Harman, whose fierce opposition to the Bedroom Tax has recently been reported by the Independent [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nick-cleggs-promise-of-bedroom-tax-review-is-a-sham-says-harriet-harman-8930911.html]

The Southwark campaign have also obtained the following response from their local council. [link to file]. The following Guardian Article published on the 18th of October illustrates the injustice of Southwark Council, who had issued 5,800 summonses. [http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/oct/18/thousands-court-council-tax]

Councillor Richard Livingston issued a response (text below), in which he explains both his abhorrence for the ‘particularly brutal’ Bedroom Tax, and explains how he is helping effected households in his Livingston ward, ‘using all the Discretionary Housing Payment money we receive to keep families in their homes by bridging the gap created by the Bedroom Tax, we are also finding extra money from other tenants through the Housing Revenue Account.’

 

A great deal of credit for the occurrence of the meeting on Tuesday 12th must be offered to the grassroots groups who seem to have caught the ear of the Labour shadow cabinet, not least Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign. Here is what some of those activists contributed:

Much of the ire voiced in the meeting was eloquently summed up by Mr Robert Punton of DPAC, who described empty promises as ‘wind in the air’ and whose standing ovation was reported by the Morning Star: [http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-7614-bedroom-tax-provokes-stormy-scenes-in-Parliament#.UoYhXXBK8-c]

‘Robert Punton DPAC activist and advocate of Birmingham Anti Bedroom  was infuriated by the crass disregard in which the panel of Labour MP’s quoted that they where here to listen to the people suffering under this bill, but spent 90% of 2 hour preaching party rhetoric at an increasing angered impassioned audience.

 

Once Mr Punton got the opportunity to speak he told the greatly decreased panel, (because contrary to their promised to listen once they delivered their speeches they flooded out of committee room on mass) until the Labour Party turns it’s words into actions, then all their promises of post 2015 are just hot air on the wind!  They must demand their Labour Council colleague who told Councils to refuse evictions and tear up arrear bills.  Labour MP’s oho are true Socialists must join campaigning groups such as DPAC OCCUPY. UK UNCUT, ANNONYMOUS, UNIONS & PEOPLES ASSEMBLY  on the streets to demand Social justice for all.  The sentiments expressed throughout Mr Punton where echoed and expanded upon from other speakers from floor from all sections of society and communities the length the country.

 

Until Labour wash away “new” Labour ideals and return to the true principles or grandparents generation a free NHS welfare rights not charity and a playing level field which treats all equal, they need to bring the Party back to the people NOT expect the so titled underclass to move to them.  Until they do they will remain unelectable as far the targets of the Coalition are concerned

The actions of the Labour Party over next two weeks months will determine the true credentials and prospects of whether they truly deserve the chance and responsibility to govern us in 2015.  If they honestly support the growing unrest being represented by Grassroot groups such as DPAC, UK UNCUT & OCCUPY they will turn their hot air into action.

Will they prove to us they are part of Solution or just collaborators in the problem which is the Coalition.  Will they cut back or join us fighting back!

They need to realise that the peoplesunrest escalating and desperately cornered people will vote for change not in the ballot box but in the street and on the road.

The people are doing community advocacy through DIRECT ACTION!’

The fact that the motion to end the hated bedroom tax was defeated in the commons is a disheartening blow to all of us, but on the other hand, the fact that it took place at all means that the opposition are listening to at least some of our cries. Moreover, the media coverage of the day gives us some small consolation that our voices will be heard.

 

It is difficult to know even whether Mr Lavery’s response to one question, that he desired an end to the Work Capability Assessment, and not just the replacement of ATOS, was something which actually reflects the thinking of his entire party. One thing is certain, they want our votes, and the energy and enthusiasm of our grassroots campaigning to back them in 2015. Whether the Labour party deserves our support perhaps remains to be seen.

Postscript: Media Coverage

Here’s Alan Wylie’s blog about the day: http://diaryofaloonyleftie.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/bedroom-tax-meeting-in-parliament.html

Also present was Ros Wynne Jones, who live tweeted throughout the event

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ros-wynne-jones-bedroom-tax-2785516

Coverage of the commons debate

–          http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/live-bedroom-tax-protest-debate-2783462

–          http://www.channel4.com/news/bedroom-tax-labour-lib-dems-vote-commons

–          http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-7614-bedroom-tax-provokes-stormy-scenes-in-Parliament#.UoYhXXBK8-c

–          http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/12/ed-daveys-speech-to-energy-firms-telling-them-not-to-be-greedy-politics-live-blog

–          http://www.itv.com/news/2013-11-12/iain-duncan-smith-to-miss-bedroom-tax-debate-in-commons/ (describes us as “a number of protesters!)

Letter to Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign from Councillor Richard Livingstone

I am sorry I cannot be with you today. As you know the fight for benefit justice has many fronts and so this morning I am at a meeting alongside the Citizens Advice Bureau and other voluntary organisations in Southwark to lobby Job Centre Plus about the explosion in the number of benefit claimants who have had the totality of their benefits removed through sanctions, in what often appears to be an arbitrary way.

The Bedroom Tax is a particularly brutal piece of legislation that fails to understand the realities of, and pressures on, social housing.  As a local Councillor I have had to deal time and time again with cases of families with disabled members whose needs are ignored in how the Bedroom Tax is applied, with separated families where the access rights of the children to one of the parents have been compromised as the room that they stay at the weekend has been declared surplus by the DWP. Or the cases where Southwark Council has decided that a family needs three bedrooms, that family is suddenly being hit by the Bedroom Tax as a result of the DWP applying a new set of harsher criteria.

Government talk about the Bedroom Tax being in incentive for families to downsize their homes to the minimum that they need. But where are these homes going to come from? Like the rest of London, we have acute housing problems in Southwark. The waiting list for a council home in Southwark has 20,000 families on it. We estimate it would take ten years to move every family affected by the Bedroom Tax to a new home that government deems to be the right size. And all this, of course, is before you consider the physical and emotional upheaval of having to leave the family home for something smaller.

We are trying to help families caught up in this as much as legally possible. In particular, we are not only using al the Discretionary Housing Payment money we receive to keep families in their homes by bridging the gap created by the Bedroom Tax, we are also finding extra money from other tenants through the Housing Revenue Account. Once again, the government is making sure that it is the poor that have to pay for the poorest.

 

The Bedroom Tax is an obscenity. I welcome the commitment of Rachel Reeves an our next Labour government to repeal it and wish you all well in the Lobby today.

 

Councillor Richard Livingstone

Cabinet member for Finance, Resources and Community Safety

Labour councillor for Livesey Ward

Sep 122013
 

Last week on 4th September disabled people and our supporters took to the streets of Westminster as the finale to the DPAC week of action: Reclaiming Our Futures.

Download and sign up to the UK Disabled People’s manifesto through www.inclusionlondon.co.uk

You can watch Reel News’ film from the day here:

http://

Sep 122013
 

SAVE OUR PUBLIC TRANSPORT

DEMONSTRATE OUTSIDE THE TORY PARTY CONFERENCE

Tuesday 1 October (13:00 – 14:00)

Meet: Lower Mosley Street (in front of Water Bridge Hall)

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/514362975322019/

SEND A MESSAGE TO THE TORIES!

• No to cuts in public transport
• Stop cutting vital services
• Affordable Fares for all passengers
• Investment in PUBLIC Transport, not subsidising Private Profits

Since coming into government, the Tories have continued to attack our public
transport

Make sure their visit to Manchester doesn’t go unnoticed

CONTACT:

• Vic Paulino: paulinov@tssa.org.uk
• Vic Walsh: walshv@tssa.org.uk

transport

 

Download leaflet here: Amended leaflet for Manchester

Sep 112013
 

Demonstration at the Labour Party Conference:

Sunday 22nd September

Meet on the Level – 10.30am

For more info contact brightonbenefitwscampaign@gmail.com

LABOUR! STOP SUPPORTING TORY POLICIES

When a Labour government swept to power in 1997, it could have restored those rights which had been under attack since the 1970s. Instead it chose to ally itself with corporate tax-shirkers, company bosses, grasping landlords and rich investors, to turn Britain into a paradise for the privileged.

Now we have a Coalition intent on breaking open every last part of our public services for private profit, and threatening millions of us with homelessness and destitution. Yet Miliband and Co. just stand on the side-lines or actively cheer it on, because Labour still agrees with every cut, every sell off, and every assault on the rights of working people.

Labour supports cuts in the name of austerity. Despite the fact that the financial crisis was due to the gambling of greedy unregulated bankers and that trillions of pounds was spent on bailing them out, it has been used as an excuse to launch a vicious attack on the public sector. Since the crisis the income of top earners has rocketed while the rest of us face frozen pay, crippled services, and job and housing insecurity.

Labour scorns those reliant on benefits. It was Labour that introduced US-style workfare schemes, which it still approves of, and employed Atos to force the sick and disabled off benefits through the iniquitous work capability assessment. No wonder Liam Byrne is promising to help the Tories salvage the shambles of Universal Credit, which is planned to punish all those on low incomes.

Labour supports privatisation. Hardly surprising, after all it introduced academy schools, tuition fees, NHS foundation trusts and the Private Finance Initiative. Labour talks of saving the NHS in 2015 – but there won’t be anything left to save.

When will Labour stop embracing Tory policies and remember who it is supposed to represent. We already have one major party for the wealthy and privileged, we don’t need another.

LABOUR IS CALLED ‘THE OPPOSITION’
TIME TO ACT LIKE IT!

labour demo flyer

Download demo poster and leaflet:

LPdemoleaflet

LPDemoPosterFullC

Sep 112013
 

British tenants and disabled people who gave evidence to a United Nations mission welcome the recommendation from Raquel Rolnik, the UN special rapporteur on housing, to abolish the bedroom tax.

In a special evidence session held in Manchester on Saturday, Rolnik, who was in the UK to investigate the housing situation in the UK, heard graphic first hand evidence from carers, sick and disabled people, a grieving widow, grandparents, separated parents and a former soldier all struggling due to the Bedroom Tax.

‘The Bedroom Tax is an abuse of my right to a family life and to our human rights,’ one tenant said in evidence.

The Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation invited Ms Rolnik to hear first hand the indiscrimate and unjust impact of the Bedroom Tax and why we are demanding it must be abolished.

Eileen Short of the Anti Bedroom Tax Federation of which DPAC is a founding member says:

‘The Bedroom Tax must be repealed, arrears written off and landlords repaid for this crass injustice.  A growing movement of defiance will resist any evictions, and demand an end to this war on tenants.’

The Tories have responded with anger to the UN recommendations with Grant Schapps, according to reports, incandescent with rage. The DWP have questioned Ms Rolnik’s ability to make findings on the basis of “anecdotal information and meetings”.

Evidence that the bedroom tax is unfair and discriminates against disabled people is so well established, Ms Rolnik, the UN’s housing expert, did not need long to see that it breaches human rights.

A judicial review earlier this year found that the government’s ‘under-occupation penalty’ did discriminate against disabled adults but the judge was not prepared to ‘micro manage’ government policy and found that under the letter of the law the government had discharged its duty in carrying out an equalities assessment irrespective of the outcome of that assessment.

Numerous reports have evidenced the impact of the bedroom tax on disabled people and the ineffectiveness of Discretionary Housing Payments in mitigating the harm. (http://www.aragon-housing.co.uk/about-us/news/100-days-of-the-bedroom-tax/http://www.papworth.org.uk/news-detail.php?aid=438).

Some of the most compelling evidence heard by Ms Rolnik came from those tenants, many of them disabled, who are personally affected. The callous way the Tories and the DWP can disregard this evidence shows just how nasty this government really is.

Watch the powerful testimonials:













Aug 302013
 

Media links on Paralympic legacy

Penny Pepper @PenPep on BBC London: http://bbc.in/1bx7a3s 
Maria Nash on BBC: can only find links to simpering Paralympians spouting government propaganda

Fabulous ISLINGTON local protest

We were Absolutely Fabulous @rockinpaddy @e_lisney @PenPep @disabilitydiva #DAII #SaveILF @SEPartridge #BecauseWe_R_WorthIt #NastyCut

islington ILF protest

islington ILF protest 2 islington ILF protest 3 islington ILF protest 4 islington ILF protest 5

Aug 292013
 

Last year during the ATOS Games over 30 local actions took place around the UK. They were really important for getting the message to members of the public and raising awareness about what this government is doing to disabled people.

This year you get to choose the target of your choice. You could take the Reclaiming Our Futures manifesto to present at your local MP’s constituency office, spread it through social media, protest on the streets  against segregated education, the proposed ILF closure or show solidarity at your local Remploy site (for those few factories in their last weeks of operation). Alternatively, you might want to lobby your local Council on the Bedroom Tax and cuts to local services/support. Oh, and  as we know  ATOS offices are still around too….

You could decide to hold an arts event or a debate to raise awareness about disabled people’s rights. There are a number of films listed below showing disabled people’s protest or the brilliant work of Katherine Araniello providing a wry insight into prejudice and the social model discussion event on 1st September will be live streamed for virtual particpation.

How you organise your local actions is entirely up to you but there is a set of resources to download below that might be useful to ensure you get as much local publicity as possible and could give you more time to concentrate on building bigger protests.

Thanks to the local groups who have shared these with us and if you have any resources that other actions and campaigns might find useful please do send them in.

We can help promote your actions on the DPAC website to build as much support as possible so send us information that we can publish about when and where local actions are taking place.

 

Resources to download:

– Template press release:  ROF template PR

– Flyer promoting grand finale of the week of action on 4th September: flyer 3

– Letter to send to your MPs inviting them to the lobby in Parliament and  launch of the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto: Dear MP

– Flyer for the lobby and launch: flyer – lobby (3)

– Easy read information about the week of action: DPAC easy read (2)

– Reclaiming Our Futures graphic: graphic

– Films list: Films

– Guide to organising a local action: How to Guide 

–  Easy read ‘Planning a Campaign’ information: campaigns (DPAC)

And of course, back this year by popular demand…. Barbie shows us how to organise a demo….How to do a demo

Don’t forget to make sure your friends, family and fellow campaigners have information about the week of action and armchair activism guide and let us know how you get on.

Together we can reclaim our futures!

Aug 242013
 

Join us for a day of creativity, fun and disability pride.

Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, London, N17 6QN

Exhibition: 12 – 7pm: A range of grassroots disabled people’s work  exploring disability and protest

 Banner  making workshop: 1-3.30pm: come together for a fun afternoon  of banner and placard making for the Freedom Drive on 4th September

Sharing of Work: 4 – 6 pm: disabled performers and writers will put on a range of work exploring  disability and activism. With spoken word performance from Ju Gosling, scenes from Kate Cryer’s new play ‘Unspoken’, poetry, songs and open mic, prepare for a powerful afternoon.

Fundraising gig: 7.30pm till late: Madpride compere Jason Why introduces an all star line up with films from Katherine Araniello, comedian Laurence Clark, singer/songwriterAngryfish, live performance of the DPAC Anti Atos anthem ‘Condem Love’ by Kevin Robins and headlining will be Rockinpaddy.

  

The venue has its own carpark and has wheelchair access. BSL will be provided for the workshop and sharing of work.

             

For access requests please contact:   ellenrclifford@btinternet.com.

31st Aug flyer -1- copy

Aug 242013
 

National protest to defend disabled people’s rights and freedoms and demand equality and inclusion

Last year we shamed Atos and occupied the Department for Work and Pensions in opposition to the injustice and distress caused by the Work Capability Assessment. A year later and the only Paralympic legacy most disabled people have seen is one of more cuts and more anger.

Research has shown that cuts are targeting disabled people. Meanwhile government and the media misrepresent figures and statistics to label disabled people as benefit scroungers.

We say this isn’t right.

We say we need to unite and fight against injustice.

 Join us for the final day of the Reclaiming Our Futures Disabled People’s week of action as we protest in Westminster.

 Four themed ‘blocks’ will meet at 4 Government departments, central to the lives of disabled people. After handing over our demands, blocks will then move towards Parliament where we will formally launch the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto and present our demands to our elected representatives.

 Choose your ‘block’ and meet at 12.45pm at one of:

 Department for Education to oppose government attacks on inclusive education and a return to segregation

(SanctuaryBuildings, 20 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT)

 Department of Energy and Climate Change if you’re angry about the numbers of disabled people living in fuel poverty while the energy companies rake in ever growing profits

(3 Whitehall Pl, City of Westminster, SW1A 2AW)

 Department for Transport to challenge inaccessible transport, the opening of new inaccessible stations for Crossrail and proposed cuts to rail staff further reducing customer assistance

(Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Rd, London SW1P 4DR)

 Department of Health to defend our NHS and demand our right to levels of social care support enabling choice, control, dignity and independence

(Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS)

LOBBY OF PARLIAMENT:

5 – 6pm – launch of the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto

#dpacrof

reclaiming our futures

 

Aug 212013
 

7.30pm til late

Saturday 31st August

Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, Tottenham, N7  6QN

Madpride compere Jason Why introduces an all star line up with films from Katherine Araniello, comedian Laurence Clark, singer/songwriter Angryfish, live performance of the DPAC Anti Atos anthem ‘Condem Love’ by Kevin Robins and headlining will be Rockinpaddy.

Tickets on the door (£2 unwaged, £5 waged and £10 solidarity) but please RSVP to say if you are coming: ellenrclifford@btinternet.com

31st Aug flyer -1- copy

 

Aug 212013
 

Sunday 1st September, 12.30 – 4.30pm

Venue: 128 Theobalds Road, Holborn, London,  WC1X 8TN

 Key speakers: Anne Rae: former UPIAS and current chair of the Greater

Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP), Colin Barnes: Professor of Disability Studies at Leeds Centre for Disability Studies

 As government and the private sector increasingly use a so-called ‘modern understanding of disability’ to redefine who is and who isn’t disabled it is more important than ever that we understand, defend and promote the social model of disability. This isn’t helped when the social model is not fully supported within our movement.

This event will be a chance to hear from a range of speakers and to discuss why the social model is still relevant today to our lives and our futures and to map out what we need to do to fight for it. The event will be live-streamed with the opportunity for people to participate in the discussion virtually.

We want everyone to be included in this -livestream link for the day  http://bambuser.com/channel/Bencavanna

You can also tweet questions/comments to: @Dis_ppl_protest (hastag #dpacrofsm) or email: mail@dpac.uk.net throughout the event.

Bus number 243

Nearest tube Holborn (not wheelchair accessible)

Directions Google maps https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=directions+to+unite+house+128+theobald%27s+road+holborn+london+wc1x+8tn&ie=UTF-8&hl=en

 Please note we are unable to provide any food or drinks- please bring your own if wanted: tea and coffee machine by meeting room

Places are limited so please book to guarantee entry or for access requests:

Ellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.co.uk

 

theory (Small)

May 142013
 

Wednesday 15th May, 9.30am

Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, WC2A 2ll.

Please join us outside the Royal Courts of Justice to show solidarity and support to the claimants taking a challenge against the Government’s ‘Bedroom Tax’ that came into force on 1 April this year. The ten claims, made by a range of people affected by the Bedroom Tax, will be heard together over three days starting on Wednesday 15 May.

The ten claims, made by a range of people affected by the Bedroom Tax which came into force from 1st April this year, will be heard together over three days starting on Wednesday 15 May.

Jacqueline who has spina bifida is not able to share a bed with her husband and as there is not enough space in her bedroom for a second bed he sleeps in a second bedroom. The couple have been awarded a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the 14% under-occupation penalty on their housing benefit that came in from 1st April but this payment will only last 6 months and they do not know how they will meet their rent when it ends.

Richard is a wheelchair user whose disabled stepdaughter lives in university halls of residence during term time. He uses his third bedroom to store equipment including a hoist, power chair and shower seat. He has had his housing benefit reduced by 25%, on the basis that he is under-occupying by two bedrooms but there are no suitably adapted properties for him to move to in either the social rented or the private sector.

The challenge comes less than a week after the Sunday People told the story of how disabled mother Stephanie Bottrill tragically took her own life after being ordered to pay an extra £20 per week under the government’s vicious bedroom tax.

The vigil is being called by Camden United for Benefit Justice, Disabled People Against Cuts, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, Taxpayers Against Poverty, and WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities).

For more information about the hearing:

http://wearespartacus.org.uk/bedroom-tax-hearing-starts-15-may/

http://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2013/March-2013/Government-lose-Bedroom-Tax-challenge-decision

 

 

May 012013
 

A question of independence: What is the future for

disabled people?

11.00am to 2.30pm, Wednesday 8th May 2013

London Lighthouse, Lancaster Road , W11 1QT

Changes to disability benefits which came into effect this month have affected hundreds of thousands of claimants. In this seminar we will be asking ‘What is the future for disabled people?’ We will consider if the the current welfare changes are fair and look at ways we can support people locally who have been affected by the changes.

The keynote speaker will be Debbie Jolly a disabled activist, writer and co-founder of DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts). The seminar is open to both the statutory and voluntary and community sector, and is hosted by the Social Council and Action Disability Kensington & Chelsea.

Please register here.

Apr 092013
 

action for rail

Meeting for MPs and campaigners
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF RAILWAY STAFFING MEAN FOR DISABLED AND OLDER PASSENGERS?
24 April, 1.30pm–3.30pm, Grimond Room, Portcullis House
With government and shadow transport representatives
The government and rail industry’s plans to find savings of up to £3.5bn will place up to 20,000 jobs at risk and entail the de-staffing of a large proportion of our trains and stations. Disabled passengers may suffer as a result.
Speakers from Transport for All, the National Pensioners Convention, Disabled People Against Cuts, rail unions and others will be invited to discuss their experiences of rail travel and the role that staff play in meeting their needs and to raise their concerns with MPs and government representatives.
RSVP actionforrail@tuc.org.uk

Download the flyer here: Action for Rail – Disabled and Older Passengers – 24 April 2012-1

 

Please also be aware of:

 Keep Staff on our Railways

Kings Cross Station Protest

4.30pm – 6.30pm

Wednesday 24 April 2013

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