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Apr 252014
 

For the first time in 16 years Starbucks UK (who STILL don’t pay their tax!) saw their sales fall last year after occupations, direct action and boycotts all over the UK.  Click on the link for more details: http://news.sky.com/story/1249095/starbucks-sales-fall-for-first-time-in-16-years

November 2012 saw Uncutters occupy over 40 Starbucks stores to say NO to cuts whilst Starbucks doesn’t pay a penny of tax.   Click the link to see a video of what happened in Sheffield: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1sCKRvSwSQ

Their pride and their sales might have been hit but until Osborne and his cronies stop tax avoidance then stop the cuts WE WON’T STOP!

See you on the streets of Sheffield soon…
 
P.S Don’t forget The Freedom Ride 5 on Monday 28 April as featured on BBC Look North

sheffield

source: Sheffield Uncut

Apr 242014
 

We Own it logo

How do you feel about billions of pounds of public money (your money) being handed to Serco? Serco gets paid to run public services even though it is under criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for defrauding the taxpayer. The company has hired Winston Churchill’s grandson (Rupert Soames) as new chief executive to try to repair its shattered reputation.

If you’re sick of Serco (and other outsourcing companies), we’d love to see you at our first action ever, outside Serco’s AGM on Thursday 8th May. Let’s tell Serco they can’t paper over the cracks. Outsourcing is failing the public. The government needs to give Serco and other dodgy dealers the boot. We’re calling for all parties to give you a better deal by signing up to our Public Service Users Bill (we blogged about how this could happen yesterday on Left Foot Forward).

Join us at Serco’s AGM:
10.30am – 11.30am, Thursday 8th May
Outside the offices of Clifford Chance LLP, 10 Upper Bank Street, London E14 5JJ

Sign up to the event on facebook or reply to this email to let us know you’re coming.
If you can’t make it (we know it’s difficult on a weekday), please help spread the word! Share this picture on facebook or twitter (#SickofSerco), or share this blog with family and friends.

serco

We are also delighted to support Fuel Poverty Action’s protest at the British Gas AGM on Monday 12th May – ‘Bin British Gas: Put Power in Public Hands’. We want to see affordable, democratic, sustainable energy – people before profit. Sign up to join the event on facebook and tweet #BinBritishGas.

It would be great to see you at one of these actions! If you can’t make it but you’d like to help out, perhaps you could spread the word or consider signing up to be one in a thousand?

Many thanks for your support

From Weownit.org.uk

Mar 192014
 

1000 mothers march for justice

with families, carers & supporters
11am Saturday 29th March 2014
Assemble at Bruce Castle Park,
Lordship Lane N17 8NU
Move off 11.30 – march down Tottenham High Road to Tottenham Green East, N15 4UR for a
PUBLIC SPEAK-OUT
Follow up meeting: Haringey benefit claimants and supporters
11 am – 1 pm Saturday 12th April
North London Community House, 22 Moorefields Rd, N17 6PY
MOTHERS OF LONDON SAY
MARCH TO DEMAND living incomes and decent, affordable homes to rent or buy for waged & unwaged
MARCH TO REJECT bedroom tax, housing benefit caps, unfair taxes, hunger and cold homes – austerity hurts vulnerable people, the rich get richer
The £500 overall benefit cap forcing families to pay rent out of the income they need for food, utilities, clothes and transport or be evicted and deported away from their extended families and vital support to anywhere in England or Wales; cap rents not benefits.
The bedroom tax hits disabled people who have one or two spare bedrooms. It also hits 50 to 60 year old adults who become unemployed and are expected to survive on £71.70 a week minus £24 pw bedroom tax and £5 pw council tax. People evicted are forced out of London – this is social and ethnic cleansing.
20% of the council tax has added to the misery of residents. Last year Haringey Council started court proceedings against 23,000 households adding £125 court costs and in over 9000 cases bailiffs’ fees, which have already been increased by 42% this year.
Sanctions imposed by jobcentres punish people for little or no reason leaving them penniless for up to three months.
Freezing increases in benefits at 1% a year while prices escalate inflict hunger and cold on thousands of households.
Food banks as an alternative to social security; the three days food does not end hunger for adults or children.  Supply food by right, not by charity.
The activities of ATOS inflict poverty on disabled people with inappropriate fitness for work tests carelessly administered.
All African Women’s Group, Barnet Alliance for Public Services, Day-Mer Turkish & Kurdish Community Organisation, UCU at CONEL, Global Women’s Strike, Haringey Alliance for Public Services,
Haringey Defend Council Housing, Haringey Federation of Residents Associations, Haringey Green Party, Haringey Housing Action Group, Haringey Solidarity Group, Haringey Trades Council, Haringey UNISON, Holy Cross United Reformed Church,
Unite the Union/Community, London Region National Pensioners Convention,
Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, Socialist Women’s Union, Socialist Workers Party,
Somerford Grove Community Centre, St. Paul’s C-of-E Tottenham,
WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities),
Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike
Contact Rev Paul Nicolson, Taxpayersagainstpoverty@gmail.com
Mar 172014
 
Protestors with placards
Requesting solidarity and support for people with complex mental health needs who are fighting to save Cambridgeshire’s last Complex Cases Service in the community, Lifeworks at 128 Tenison Road, Cambridge.
A small, brave group of the disabled people have occupied Lifeworks round-the-clock since 4 March after being told the centre was being closed, and they would be discharged back to their GPs as of 25 March. There has been no consultation with them or their GPs, no Equality Impact Assessment, despite these being cuts that may well cost lives.
The occupiers and supporters held a peaceful protest in Cambridge market square on Saturday.
—-
This morning various ‘men in suits’ with clipboards tried to enter the building on ‘official’ biz. Serco security turn up fairly regularly too. It’s intimidating. Unfortunately Complex Cases Service staff haven’t been allowed to continue working there during this period, so there are no mental health support workers on site. The first meeting the occupiers have been offered with a representative of either CPFT or CCG is tomorrow ….
The stress is really beginning to show on the  occupiers, and exhaustion is setting in, so please could you help boost morale and show solidarity by
They would warmly welcome visits in person too. If it’s your first visit, it might be a good idea to let them know you’re a ‘friendly’ in advance – you can message them directly via the Facebook page. They make a mean cuppa!
– from Annie Galpin
Mar 012014
 

sisters of frida s logo

Sisters of Frida (an experimental cooperative of disabled women) is lucky enough to be one of the chosen 8 women organisations for a space at the WoW (Women of the World) Parties at the Royal Festival Hall http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/wow-parties-81651

WOW Parties celebrate the work of charities and organisations supporting women in the UK and internationally. We start by joining the other organizations on The Clore Ballroom floor at 6pm and then a private party at 7 30 in the Yellow Room.

We will be celebrating disabled women with Winvisible (Women of visible and invisible disabilities) and UKDHM (who has kindly provided the refreshments) will be joining us. We have the pleasure of Jean Lambert MEP (London), Vivienne Hayes (Women Resource Centre), Anne Lawson (Committee on the Status of Women), Tracey Lezard (Inclusion London) among our guests.  Charlotte Gage will also be speaking about the impact of the presence of Sisters of Frida at the 55th session of CEDAW (The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) in  Geneva. Other speakers will be Sisters of Frida – Anne Pridmore on social welfare reform, Zara Todd as a young disabled woman and Eleanor Lisney on intersectionality and disability.

Eleanor will also be on two panels Friday 7th March Austerity – Who Benefits? / Fri 7 March / 1.30-2.30pm / Queen Elizabeth Hall Front Room (located in the foyer) with Rosie Rogers (UK Uncut) and Kira Cochrane  (Guardian)

Tickets can be booked for the day

friday7thMarch

And Sat 8 March /3.30-4.30pm Feminism and Privilege / Queen Elizabeth Hall Front Room (located in the foyer). With Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (chair) Nan Sloane (Centre for Women and Democracy), Reni Eddo Lodge (writer and contributing editor of Feminist Times).

Tickets can be booked for the day (might be sold out)

sat8thmarch

Pass for all 3 days

WOW2014-web-with-LOGO

Feb 242014
 

Poster Save Legal Aid 7th March, Old Palace Yard

Demonstration Grayling DaySave Legal Aid

Friday 7th March 10am Old Palace Yard SW1

Training event between 1-4pm at Methodist Central Hall

www.iccsa.org.uk/lcssa-training-day-07032014

Sign the petition for legal aid www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/david-cameron-uk-government-save-legal-aid-to-protect-tojustice-for-all

Followed by march to Ministry of Justice

Speakers include:

Paddy Hill (Birmingham 6)

Shami Chekrabarti,

Ian Lawrence (NAPO)

Feb 092014
 

Next week, there is a unique and valuable opportunity for us to question and confront the NSFT Board members, management and local commissioners over the decision to close another 25 beds and the on-going cuts and chaos.

We want to overwhelm the Trust and the commissioners not only with our arguments but also with our numbers. The public meeting is taking place between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday 13 February at The Sanctuary, North Lowestoft United Reformed Church, London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1HB (click the link for a map). We are also hoping to arrange our own public meeting afterwards – we will let you know by email and social media if we are able to secure a suitable venue.
We need a great turnout for this important event. This isn’t just a local issue – more than one quarter of these beds are used by people from the rest of Norfolk & Suffolk and we need to support each other. Please forward this email to people and groups who might be willing to support us and do go if you possibly can – and take people with you.
Our initial response to the consultation, with links to the CCG/NSFT closure consultation document, is here. There is a forum topic for arranging and offering lifts here. The venue is only about ten minutes walk from Lowestoft train station for those who will be using public transport. We can also help with reasonable transport costs for those suffering genuine financial hardship.
email enquiries to dpacsuffolk@yahoo.com
Jan 162014
 

PRESS RELEASEholocaust day 2014

Mad Pride Holocaust Memorial Poster

‘Lest We Forget’

THURSDAY 23RD JANUARY 2014-

@TOTTENHAM CHANCES

399 Tottenham High Road

Tottenham N17 6QN

8pm – Midnight

Admission £5 /£ 2 concessions

THE SEA ENEMIES / KATHERINE TOY / THE BONNIE SISTERS SOCIAL

CLUB / FIONA BRANSON & COLIN MALONEY/ BARNEY FLOORBIRD

/ LUCY LYRICAL & MAGGIE SWAMPWINO / JESSICA LAWRENCE / DJ

HONEY.

MC’s JASON WHY & RAZZ.

PRESS RELEASE holocaust day 2014

Dec 182013
 

Want to improve your campaign skills, and get away for a week?

campaign bootcamp logo
DPAC and the Campaign Bootcamp are offering aspiring up and coming activists a unique and exciting opportunity to take part in a residential campaign training course in Spring 2014. The course; Campaign Bootcamp (www.campaignbootcamp.org) will run from:
 
Monday 9th March 2014 – Friday 14th March 2014
 
at a venue (TBC) in the outskirts of London. The venue will be fully wheelchair accessible.
 
Campaign Bootcamp is a new organisation which ran its first course in June 2013, to address the lack of opportunities young campaigners get to access quality, relevant training across all forms of campaigning. The course covers, amongst other topics; The Theory of Change, Campaign Strategy, Politics & Power and Working in Coalition. Attendees will also be matched with session facilitators to receive 12 months mentoring and support.
 
Course organisers promise ‘a week of experiential and practical training, using the best digital tools’. Previous attendees of the course include Aaron D’Souza (Deputy Field Organiser for Barack Obamas re-election campaign) and Rebecca Hay (formerly 38 Degrees & Love Music Hate Racism). Supporters include Action Aid, Friends of the Earth and 38 Degrees. Sessions were facilitated by amongst others Liberty, Greenpeace and Change.org.
 
Applications for the course close at 09.00am on:
 
Saturday 21th December 2013 (this Saturday)
 
and can be made by following the link below. (Application are processed by Campaign Bootcamp. Final allocation of places are made by Campaign Bootcamp and  successful applicants will be notified by Monday morning; DPAC plays no role in either process and simply acts as a link between organisers and disabled activists).
 
Campaign Bootcamp will support disabled activists through scholarship places to attend the course, i.e. costs will be covered. The exact number of scholarship places has yet to be decided.
 
Apply here:
http://www.campaignbootcamp.org/apply-to-campaign-bootcamp-2014-london/
 
The course will be a 5 day residential (applicants are expected to attend all 5 days). This means you will be living and learning at the same site. To make sure organisers can work with you and address any potential barriers, you will also need to let organisers know the following:
 
What support works for you in a learning environment (e.g. aids/equipment such as specialised seating or wheelchair accessible desks; or maybe support such as a PA or a scribe),
 
and 
 
What support works for you in a living environment (e.g. accessible accommodation, PA support for daily routine). Please let organisers know if you already have or can arrange your own PA support.

Campaign Bootcamp organisers said ‘Campaign Bootcamp is for any aspiring campaigner who wants to learn from the best about how to run internet-speed campaigns, so we’re delighted that DPAC is able to let your activists know about it.  It’s hard work but lots of fun – just like a real campaign. We hope that you not only come away with the confidence to run a campaign but a network of campaigners who can support you.

Linda Burnip from DPAC said ‘we are delighted to be able to offer our members the chance to take part in a new venture which can offer so much. There has been a real lack of quality training at a time when activists need it most, when their appetite for action is strongest. This course offers a programme which will prepare activists for every aspect of campaigning. Knowing that accessibility isn’t an issue means activists can get on with the important work – sharpening their skills for the fights to come’.

Dec 102013
 

 

From University and College Union –

UCU has produced this film as a contribution to Disability History Month (22 November to 22 December). We have aimed to make this film accessible to all members and welcome any feedback. Please use this film to commemorate Disability History and as a trade union and teaching resource to raise awareness of the importance of the social model of disability. Please send any comments to: hcarr@ucu.org.uk

Dec 052013
 

Crippen Gove is in bed with the ghosts of segregation past  and future

ALLFIE WILL BE VISITING THE DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION on the 10th DECEMBER TO DEMAND THE GOVERNMENT BANISHES THE GHOSTS OF SEGREGATION PAST BY WARNING ABOUT THE NEW GHOSTS OF SEGREGATION FUTURE

CALL FOR ACTION on the 10th DECEMBER!  

WHERE & WHEN:

Date:      10th December @ 1 pm

Meeting place: the Café in Abbey Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, Westminster London SW1P 3BU

Contact:  Simone/Tara at ALLFIE – 0207-737-6030                               simone.aspis@allfie.org.uk / tara.flood@allfie.org.uk  / www.allfie.org.uk

ALLFIE logo

THE FACTS:

Since 2010 the numbers of disabled children and young people being forced into segregated education is on the increase, despite the Government’s UNCPD Article 24 (Right to Inclusive Education) obligations to develop a fully inclusive mainstream education system. This year the Government is pushing through SEN reforms that will increase, even further, the numbers of disabled children and young people being forced into segregated education – this is despite David Cameron, in 2010, promising parents of disabled children he would do all that he could to support their choice of inclusive education.

Time and time again, the Government have refused to listen to disabled people and our allies about the damaging impact the SEN reforms will have on the rights for disabled students and pupils to be included in mainstream education –
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!

We must ACT NOW to tell Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Education) and the Coalition Government that there must be no return to segregation!!

Today we are presenting the following DEMANDS to Michael Gove and the Coalition Government:

  • Disabled children and young people MUST have a right to be included in mainstream education.

 

  • Disabled children and young people MUST have a right to receive support to participate in mainstream education in accessible buildings.

 

  • The Local Offer of services MUST support disabled children and young peoples’ access to mainstream education.

 

  • Local Authorities MUST continue to have a strategic duty to promote and develop the capacity of mainstream schools to deliver inclusive education practice as set out in the Inclusive Schooling Guidance.

    Join ALLFIE’s “EDUCATE DON’T SEGREGATE” Campaign now!
     
Oct 222013
 

Draft Call-out for Dramatic Presentation at Report launch:
“Dignity and Equal Opportunity: Securing the Human Rights of Disabled People in an
Age of Austerity”
Houses of Parliament – Tuesday 26th November 4pm

 

• Welfare reform: Are you being affected by welfare reform and austerity measures?
• Tell your story: Would you like the opportunity to tell your own story to MPs and media in Parliament?
• Dramatic presentation: Would you like to take part in a small action group that will put together a
dramatic presentation in Parliament highlighting the impact of austerity on the rights of disabled people?
• Training: Do you live in London, or are you able to travel to London during November, for two planning
workshops (9th and 16th November) and the main event (26th November)?

If so, please take part in our “Theatre of the Oppressed” presentation in Parliament!10 places are available – contact DPAC via ciaradoyle@yahoo.com

What commitment is involved?

We will meet for two planning days in November and bring together a short dramatic presentation using Theatre of the Oppressed methods. We would ask that people who want to take part, check that they are available for the following dates:

• 1st planning workshop: 3pm, 9th November (Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London, N76PA)
• Second planning workshop: 3pm, 16th November (Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, N76PA)
• Dramatic Presentation: 26th November from 4pm to 6pm (Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London)

Do I need any specific experience or skills?

The only experiences you need to bring are your own stories of how you have been affected by welfare reform and austerity measures. This event is open to all disabled people and carers who are being affected by
government cutbacks. You do not need to have ever done any acting or storytelling before. The workshops will explore how we can explore the inner creativity that exists in ALL people.

What will happen at the workshops?

At the workshops we will start by using some Theatre of the Oppressed activities to tap in to our own
creativity. We will then take some time to explore our stories and experiences. We will bring together a short
action-drama which then tells the collective story of the group and which can be presented in Parliament as
part of the event which will launch the report.

What will happen on the evening we go to Parliament?

The Just Fair consortium will be launching the report “Dignity and Equal Opportunity: Securing the
Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities in an Age of Austerity” to an audience of MPs, Peers, and
media, and our drama or creative story-telling will be part of this launch

Who is organising the event?

This event is being organised by the Just Fair Consortium with the support of Disabled People Against Cuts.
The workshops will be facilitated by DPAC.

Where will the planning sessions take place?

2nd and 16th November at Resource for London – 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA

How do I get there?

By London Underground – take the Piccadilly line to Holloway Road station. On leaving the station turn left and walk under the railway bridge for 5 minutes. Resource for London is on the opposite side of the road and
can be reached by using the pedestrian crossing. By bus – buses 4, 17, 29, 43, 153, 253, 259, 271, 279 and X43 stop within a short walk of Resource for London. Also there are mobility buses available in the area, these are numbers 920, 921, 923 and 927.

What will I get out of taking part?

By taking part in this event you will have the opportunity to tell your story directly to a group of MP’s in parliament. You will also get to take part in the Theatre of the Oppressed workshops which will give you a
set of skills that can be used for planning actions and events in future on issues you care about.

How much will this cost?

All of these activities are free of charge, including the training sessions and the presentation itself.
Also, ten travel bursaries will be available for each of the three sessions, for those who cannot afford to pay for travel, each providing a subsidy of £20 per person (i.e. overall 30 bursaries are available – 10 will be
allocated per each session).

How can I get Involved?

Please contact Ciara Doyle of Disabled People Against Cuts on ciaradoyle@yahoo.com in order to apply totake part in the training sessions and the main event. As mentioned above, 10 places are available so pleaseget in touch ASAP

Sep 132013
 

Demands outside the Department of Health

Outside the Department of Health with banner Reclaiming Independent Living Save the ILF

Outside the Department of Health

You can see more photos from the event here from Dave Swinnerton

Outside the Department of Work and Pension (DWP, Caxton House)

Outside the DWP - crowd of people with placards

Outside the DWP

More photos from the event here from Pete Riches

chris photos

 

More photos from the art event and Freedom Drive here from Chris Ball

 

 

 

Sep 052013
 

Video of DPAC protestors outside BBC Portland Place with many thanks to Kate Belgravethegoldengirlk8.

Text:

Protestor: Please understand why we’re doing this
Security officer offscreen: I do. I understand

Protestor: We’re licence payers and they need to do more proper reporting. They need to stop blocking our voices. They’ve got to get our message out. They blocked the NHS protests. Our NHS. Everybody out here uses it and they stopped people from getting the
story out. The people out there need to know what is happening in this country and people are dying.

Get some of your staff out here and see what’s going on, because they could be next.

Protestor 2: The government are churning out proven lies and they’re being caught out over and over again telling lies, Iain Duncan Smith is supposed to be talking to a parliamentary committee for grossly misusing statistics and misrepresenting benefit claimants in this country.

Sep 052013
 

manifesto

You can download the manifesto below.

Full manifesto, summary of manifesto and Easy Read versions are available in both PDF and Word version.

UK Disabled People’s Manifesto – Reclaiming Our Futures. PDF

Download Easy Read versions below

Easy Read versionas are below in both PDF and Word versions.

UK disabled people’s manifesto – Easy Read. PDF

Sep 042013
 

ALLFIE logo

DISABLED PEOPLE DEMAND INCLUSIVE EDUCATION NOW

Today Disabled People will be launching their “Reclaiming Our Futures” manifesto including a demand for a fully resourced inclusive education system and an end of segregation. The launch will be followed by a mass lobby of parliament.

The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) will be at the Department for Education from 1.00 pm on Wednesday 4th September reporting to Michael Gove and the Coalition Government on their failure to support our demand for inclusive education.

Since 2010 the Coalition Government have consistently failed to deliver on their commitment to provide choice of mainstream education provision for disabled learners despite their  international obligation under the UNCPD Article 24 to build the capacity of mainstream providers to become more inclusive of disabled children and young people

The Government’s failure to provide disabled learners with a right to participate in mainstream education and to provide the necessary resources and assistance that mainstream education providers need to make inclusion a genuine choice is a national disgrace.”  Says an ALLFIE spokesperson    

The SEN provisions in the Children and Families Bill will  mean that children and young people with SEN will no longer have a right to attend a mainstream school – the Bill is due to be debated in the House of Lords during October.

ALLFIE is the only disabled person led organisation working on the Children & Families and after being denied a meeting with Lord Nash to discuss out concerns, ALLFIE and the Disabled Peoples Movement are taking our inclusive education demands to him at the Department for Education.

Editors notes

Press contacts Tara Flood (CEO) 02077376030/07932750667 and Simone Aspis 0207 737 6030/07795 142 108

Alliance for Inclusive Education website www.allfie.org.uk

Children and Families Bill http://www.allfie.org.uk/pages/work/childrenfamsbill.html

Photo Opportunity: Michael Gove receiving his education report card outside the Department for Education.

 

Aug 072013
 

a4-flyer

The Mass Sleep Out (TMSO) is a national day of action being held on August 24th, 2013. On this day people will gather in towns and cities across the UK and sleep on the streets, to raise awareness of the impending mass homelessness brought on by the bedroom tax and other government cuts.

What started off as an idea has now captured the hearts, minds and interests of more than 2000 people across the UK who wish to stand against the cruel measures being imposed by the coalition government.

Whilst the highest earners in the country are awarded tax breaks and big business invariably gets away with not paying it’s fair share – or in some cases paying no tax at all – the ConDem coalition is targeting some of the most vulnerable in society to pay for the financial crisis. Many of these people are now facing eviction proceedings as they are simply unable to meet the financial demands being made of them. This cannot be allowed to continue – now is the time to show your disapproval!
There already events planned as part of our national day of action on August 24th in over 40 towns and cities across the UK, but we would like to see this spread further!
If you are able to start up an event in your area we would love for you to do so. We can offer support, including help & advice from other event organisers, promotional material to raise awareness of your event and important documents/statistics relating to the bedroom tax.

If you don’t wish to organise an event yourself – and even if you are unfortunately unable to attend on the 24th – there is still plenty you can do to help. We are relying on word of mouth to spread the message of this campaign, so please talk about it to people you see and share on your social media accounts to publicise the campaign as much as possible.

With regards to those that will be unable to attend, we are looking to get something setup for people to be able to show their support by proxy.

Jul 152013
 

logo ” It is essential that disabled women are represented in processes like CEDAW reporting as too often our experience as disabled women is invisible, this is an opportunity to change this and show how the cuts and legal changes are affecting us”

says Zara Todd, Sisters of Frida steering group member.

For the first time, disabled women (Sisters of Frida) will take part with other women’s groups from the UK in Geneva to address the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) so as to highlight the problems impacting on women’s equality in the UK and what our Government must be examined on, and held to account over, by the UN. This is a unique opportunity for women to raise the key issues they are facing with the UN and the eyes of the world will be on the UK and their progress on women.

On July 17th the UK’s record on women’s rights will come under the spotlight internationally as the UK Government report to CEDAW on their progress. (They were last examined by the UN Committee in 2008. )

Women’s rights in the UK have come to a standstill and in fact some are being reversed. Government policies and austerity measures are disproportionately impacting on disabled women and the rights that were fought so hard by disabled people for are now being reduced. CEDAW is as an important instrument to disabled women as CRPD is important to disabled people and they are inter related.

The Women’s Resource Centre has coordinated a network of organisations across the UK who have produced a detailed shadow report which reflects on the Government’s report to CEDAW which was submitted in 2011. In October 2012 the CEDAW Working Group sent a list of key issues and suggested questions for the Committee to ask the Government to highlight the extent of discrimination against women in the UK which the Government gave a piecemeal response to in February 2013.

The shadow report – Women’s Equality in the UK: A health check – brings together issues impacting on the realisation of women’s rights under CEDAW in the UK in order to support the Government to make positive changes in the future.  These are the recommendations put forth in the shadow report on disabled women’s rights

  • Take into account the intersection of gender and disability and mainstream disabled women in all Government policies
  • Implement an effective data collection system which is disaggregated by sex, age, disability and region, which can inform the developmentof policies and programmes to promote equal opportunities forwomen and girls with disabilities
  • Specific strategies are needed to target disabled LBT women as they experience multiple discrimination through homophobia within disabled communities and services, and negative attitudes to disabled people in LGB&T communities and services

On health and social care

  • Take steps to address the poor health conditions of women withpsychosocial disabilities. Disabled women typically receive healthservices that are targeted at women in general or at disabled people in general, services need to be targeted specifically for them
  • Improving access to mental health services for disabled women must be accomplished by services that respect the right of disabled womento make their own choices, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Allocate more financial resources to Social Service Departments,requiring them to use the interpretations of the social model of disability when assessing disabled people’s support needs for a ‘care package’
  • Ensure women and girls with disabilities are educated about sexual and reproductive health, including Sexually Transmitted Infections and maternal services and adopt reforms to improve healthcare services and facilities, including in respect of sexual and reproductive health

Political and public life

  • Educate media about the discrimination disabled people experience, and encourage them to report the ‘real’ stories including monitoringthe portrayal of women with disabilities in the media alongside industry self-regulation
  • The UK Government should offer extra support for disabled womenwho want to become MPs, councilors or other elected officials totackle their under-representation in public policy

Economic and social benefits

  • Simplify the application process to the benefits system. Most importantly, the system should recognise that disabled people are experts on their needs and the difficulties they face. The benefits should allow for them to remove the barriers they experience on a daily basis

Disability hate crime and violence against disabled women

  •  Ensure steps are taken to address the heightened risk for girls and women with disabilities of becoming victims of violence, abuse,exploitation and harmful practices, such as forced marriage, in thehome, community and institutions
  • Effective legislation and policies must be put in place, including Women – focused legislation and policies that include disability, to ensure that instances of exploitation, violence and abuse against women with disabilities are identified, investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted
  • Ensure that both services and information for victims are madeaccessible to women and girls with disabilities which guarantee their access to redress and protection, including training of police and others and increasing the number of accessible domestic abuse refuge services

Rural women

  •  Increase accessibility in public transport, and train bus/train staff to assist disabled women travelers

We believe that the way the UK Government is implementing welfare reform is having a significant and vastly disproportionate effect on disabled women. These policies on welfare reform are failing to ensure the rights of disabled women and impact assessments are not carried out properly resulting in erosion of the rights which they currently have. The regression of human rights being conducted against UK citizens in the name of welfare has a disproportionate and exponential impact on disabled people. The changes to legal aid means that disabled women have no recourse to support against the discriminations further compounded by gender, race, sexual orientation, the class system, and underlying social deprivation,”

says Eleanor Lisney, Co-ordinator of Sisters of Frida, together with the Glasgow Disability Alliance (who also submitted a report to CEDAW )

The Appendix 36: General Recommendation 18 – Disabled women is at http://thewomensresourcecentre.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Appendix-36_General-Recommendation-18_Disabled-women_FINAL2.pdf (PDF)

Word doc Appendix-36_General-Recommendation-18_Disabled-women_FINAL2

The full shadow report Women’s Equality in the UK: A health check is at http://thewomensresourcecentre.org.uk/our-work/cedaw/cedaw-shadow-report/

For more information or interviews contact Zara Todd : zaraltodd@hotmail.com 0044 (0) 07952185958 and follow @FridasSisters (twitter), information about other groups from

Women Resource Centre Policy Officer Charlotte Gage,  charlotte@wrc.org.uk or charlotte.gage.uk@gmail.com 0044 (0) 7841508231 @womnsresource

Notes to editors

Sisters of Frida (sisofrida.org) is an experimental co operative of disabled and allied women seeking a new way of sharing experiences, mutual support and relationships with different networks.

The delegation to Geneva is made up of a variety of women’s organisations from around the UK who will be highlighting specific issues relevant to their work and the women they work with as well as bringing issues from organisations in the UK who are unable to attend.

Members of the delegation include:

  • Committee on the Administration of Justice (Northern Ireland)
  • Engender (Scotland)
  • National Alliance of Women’s Organisations
  • North East Women’s Network
  • Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform
  • Older Women’s Network Europe
  • Sisters of Frida
  • Southall Black Sisters
  • Wales Assembly of Women
  • Women’s Resource Centre

There are also representatives from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Scottish Human Rights Commission and Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission attending to provide evidence in their roles as National Human Rights Institutions.

 

 

 

May 272013
 

On Wednesday 22nd May the Judge Upper Tribunal handed down a historic judgement which officially confirms what survivors and disabled people have been saying for years now, that the hated ATOS tests are unfair. Individual survivors brought the case supported by the Public Law Project, the Mental Health Resistance Network, MIND, Rethink and the National Austic Society.

Survivors, mental health service users, the mental health voluntary sector and the wider Disabled People’s movement are celebrating a famous victory in the Courts. This is at a time following the Banking and Corporation Tax Crisis, when everything seems stacked against them and the odds seemed insurmountable.

MHRN Press Release

Mental Health Resistance Network Facebook Page

Huffington Post Article

Guardian Piece by Amelia Gentleman

BBC Piece

 

 

May 272013
 

Mad Pride poster

Yes folks, Mad Pride Midsummer Madness is on Friday 7th of June 2013 – 8pm till late.

The Family of Cats collective are a very tuneful and accessible combo who play a varied set from slow moody lilting ballads to rousing jazzy, Latin, Lounge and “psychedelic funk”.

They can sing! I mean really sing – and the musicianship is what I think they would call “sophisticated”. Fronted by songsmith’s Josh and Sarah, and backed by harmonium among others, Mad Pride is pleased and proud to have them come down.

Do check them out on Reverbnation http://www.reverbnation.com/thefamilyofcats

For those who missed Bad Moth at a recent Mad Pride soiree, this unique duo are back. Stanley Bad and St Moth will be delivering their astounding blend of opera, gypsy jazz, East End music hall and Zappaesque Byzantine tunes. They will be nothing if not unpredictable. Prepare to gawp open-mouthed.

Also we welcome the Australian poet Cathy Flower, comedy stylings of Luke Gretton, Broken Biro and an acoustic set from folk songstress HeartsSong. Also added is Jazzman John Clarke!

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

Mad Pride Event Facebook page is here: http://www.facebook.com/events/154231091415639/?ref=ts&fref=ts

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 June 7th 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

Poster and attached – Higher quailty pdf can be downloaded here: http://madpride.org.uk/forum/download/file.php?id=24

Apr 242013
 

R (Bracking) and Others v Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions

The legal challenge to the Government decision to close the Independent Living Fund

 

This claim for judicial review was brought by five disabled claimants to challenge the decision of the DWP to close the Independent Living Fund in 2015. The fund has been in existence since 1988 and provides grants to severely disabled people to enable them to live independently.  The ILF enables disabled people to control the way they use the funds and currently provides support to almost 20,000 of the most severely disabled adults in the country. Many ILF users receive some support from local authorities to help with their basic care needs but also receive funding from the ILF that enables them to live more independently.  Some only receive funding from the ILF.

 

In 2010 the fund was temporarily closed to new users and in December 2010, without any consultation, the Government announced that the fund would remain permanently closed to new applicants. It also announced that it would carry out a formal consultation on the future of the ILF in 2012.

 

The consultation ran from July to October 2012. This claim was started before the consultation ended. The Claimants argued that the consultation itself was unlawful. The main reasons were: (1) that the consultation paper did not give enough information for people to be able to comment fully; and (2) that the DWP had not properly assessed the impact of closure on those disabled people who were currently receiving ILF support.

 

The consultation paper proposed that ILF funds would be ‘devolved’ to local authorities after 2015 so that the people currently receiving ILF support would, in future, be assessed and supported by social services departments and only receive funding for care from them.  However, it did not say how much funding would be ‘devolved’ or if the funding would be ring-fenced (to ensure that it was spent on supporting adults with care needs).  Further, it did not give enough information about the way social services assess and support disabled people.

 

The DWP also said that it could not assess the impact on disabled people until after the consultation had ended.  It said that it would publish a full impact assessment when it made its final decision.  The Claimants argued that this was unlawful and that the DWP had enough information to carry out a broad assessment of the impact and to set this out at the beginning of the consultation.

 

Under the Equality Act 2010 public bodies, including government departments, must have “due regard” to certain equality principles when it makes decisions and develops policies. This is the “public sector equality duty” and it applies when decisions and policies are likely to affect a group of people with a protected characteristic.  Disability is a protected characteristic.   Under this duty, public bodies

 

must have due regard to the need to advance equality of opportunity for disabled people. This duty has three elements: the need to remove or minimize disadvantages suffered by disabled people, the need to take steps to meet their special needs and the need to encourage disabled people to participate in public life.

 

Because of how important the ILF has been in the lives of those it has supported, and particularly the way it has enabled severely disabled adults to live independent lives and to undertake education and training, to work and to play a full part in their communities, the Claimants argued that there was a very strong duty on the DWP to take steps to find out how the proposal would affect ILF users and other disabled people. The Claimants’ case was that the DWP had acted unlawfully in failing to do this.

 

After the claim had been issued the Government announced, in December 2012, that it had decided to close the fund.  It also made clear that whatever funding may be ‘devolved’ to local authorities would not be ring-fenced.1 The claim was therefore amended to challenge not only the consultation process but also the decision to close the fund. The challenge was still focused on the process of the decision- making: the failure to consult lawfully and the breach of the public sector equality duty when making the final decision.

 

During the proceedings, the Claimants discovered a number of things that had not been made clear in the consultation:

 

  • other options, such as postponing closure until after 2015 had been considered;

 

  • the DWP had estimated the costs of closure at £39 million;

 

  • that one, central, reason for recommending the closure of the ILF was that the money currently spent by the ILF on the support packages for its users would be unlikely to be available to the DWP after 2015.

 

So, although the DWP had presented the decision as being purely about reform and streamlining the way funding was to be distributed, in reality, this was about cutting the funds available to support disabled people. The Claimants argued that this should have been made clear in the consultation.

 

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission intervened in the case to advise the court on how the public sector equality duty should have been discharged by the

 

 

1 In the Government’s published response to the consultation it was stated that “in their response to the consultation, most local authorities said they would be strongly opposed to a ring fence around this funding” but this was completely untrue. Not one of the local authority responses obtained by the Claimants under the Freedom of Information Act expressed opposition to ring fencing; 33 out of 80 were in favour of ring-fencing or suggested it should be considered and several authorities expressing qualified support indicated that their position depended on whether the funding would be ring fenced. The rest made no comment about ring fencing.

 

DWP.  In their submissions, it was pointed out that the public sector equality duty is part of how the Government meets its international obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

 

The judge heard argument for one and a half days and decided that the DWP had carried out an adequate consultation and had not breached the public sector equality duty: he dismissed the claim.  A written copy of the judgment is available on the websites of the solicitors instructed: Deighton Pierce Glynn at www.deightonpierceglynn.co.uk and Scott-Moncrieff & Associates at www.scomo.com.

 

The judgment fails to explain the judge’s reasons for reaching the conclusions he did or to set out the evidence he relied on to reach those conclusions.  The judgment is therefore hard to follow.  In relation to the consultation process, the judge specifically found that there was enough information for people to engage in the process in a meaningful way.  He also decided that the information that had not been provided (about the costs and reasons for closing the ILF) did not make a significant enough difference to the consultation exercise to make it unlawful, though these would have been important issues for people to comment on.

 

In relation to the public sector equality duty, the judge decided that this had been brought to the attention of the Minister for Disabled People and therefore the duty had been met. He referred to a number of documents and information available at the time the Minister was making the decision.  However, none of these explained the duty properly or gave the Minister enough information to consider the specific elements of the duty set out above.

The Claimants are therefore seeking permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. The Claimants are not just seeking to preserve the ILF for the existing users but want

the ILF to continue and for all young disabled adults to be able to apply so that they

can be supported to live independent lives.  It is with this goal in mind that they wish to pursue their legal challenge further: to ask the Court of Appeal to quash the decision that the ILF should close and to force the Government to think again about how it funds care for severely-disabled people so they can maintain their independence throughout their lives.

 

 

 

For further information (solicitors representing the Claimants): Deighton Pierce Glynn (Louise Whitfield)

8 Union Street

London SE1 1SZ                                   Tel:  020 7407 0007

 

Scott-Moncrieff & Associates (Diane Astin/Kate Whittaker) Office 7, 19 Greenwood Place

London NW5 1LB                                Tel: 020 7485 5588/ 07792 700825

Apr 242013
 

The Court of Appeal will be asked to over-turn the decision of the High Court in the judicial review brought by five service-users of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) of the Government’s decision to close ILF in March 2015. In its judgment handed down today, the court held that the consultation process concerning the closure had been lawful and that the DWP had met the public sector equality duty when deciding to go ahead.  All five claimants have begun an appeal against this ruling.

 

ILF provides vital support and funding to some 20,000 severely-disabled people in the UK to enable them to live independent and fulfilling lives.  The closure of the Fund will threaten their right to live with dignity and in many cases, their ability to work. The Claimants, represented by Deighton Pierce Glynn and Scott-Moncrieff & Associates, fear that without ILF funding and support, they may be forced into residential care or may end up unable to leave their homes.

 

The Claimants’ concerns over the consultation process relate to the failure by the DWP to explain the proposals properly: there was insufficient information to enable consultees to respond in a meaningful way. In addition, further information came to light as a result of the claim which revealed the DWP had not been open and candid in its approach to the consultation exercise.  The judge dismissed these points as having no impact on the lawfulness of the consultation exercise.

 

The public sector equality duty required the Minister for Disabled People to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity for disabled people but there was no evidence that she had specifically considered these issues when deciding to close the ILF and the impact this would have on disabled people. In its ruling, the court did not explain how it reached the conclusion that the Minister had met the statutory duty in the specific way required.

 

The Claimants therefore intend to pursue their appeal on the basis that the judge’s conclusions did not reflect the evidence before the court and that the reasons for ruling that the process was lawful were not properly set out. All five are adamant that the process was flawed and that the impact of closure will be devastating for very large numbers of severely-disabled people.  They see it as vital that the decision is quashed and the matter reconsidered on a fair and lawful basis.

 

Contact:

Solicitors representing the Claimants: Deighton Pierce Glynn (Louise Whitfield)

8 Union Street

London SE1 1SZ                                 Tel: 020 7407 0007

 

 

Scott-Moncrieff & Associates (Diane Astin/Kate Whittaker) Office 7, 19 Greenwood Place

London NW5 1LB                              Tel: 020 7485 5588/ 07792 700825

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