Dec 022013
 

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 !

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

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!

 

View the petition

Nov 282013
 

It’s been a busy few days for DPAC gathering evidence on the cumulative impact of cuts on disabled people, and on the crisis in independent living.  On the 25th we heard moving and powerful testimonies of how the Government are ruining lives through their austerity regime. Disabled people are faced with a range of cuts and so called ‘reforms’ which are contravening our basic human rights. We are faced with stark choices between eating or heating while having our dignity stripped by a range of psychological attacks at the same time as having support removed.

 Testimonies will be sent to the UN rapporteur on disability-thanks to everybody who came to London to tell their stories and to those that submitted their experiences through email. This event was originally arranged by Just Fair, however due to the rapporteur being unable to come to the UK due to illness DPAC and Inclusion London stepped in to run this at the last minute, so we could get these important stories out to the UN.

On the 26th the morning saw a hugely successful protest on fuel poverty organised by DPAC, Fuel Poverty Action, the Greater London Pensioners and UKUncut: ‘Bring down the Big Six – Fuel Poverty Kills!’ against the increase in fuel poverty deaths and increasing profits and prices of the big 6. Supporting groups included No Dash for Gas, Campaign Against Climate Change, Climate Revolution, Young Friends of the Earth, Frack Off London, Power for the People, Barnet Alliance for Public Services, Lewes Against the Cuts, SOAS Energy & Climate Change Society and Southwest Against Nuclear. There were also protests in Oxford, Lewes and Bristol.

In the afternoon of the 26th the Emergency meeting on the crisis in independent living took place at parliament hosted by DPAC and Inclusion London.  An event originally planned by Just Fair to launch their report to the UN rapporteur which DPAC and Inclusion London stepped in to run with a new focus on the crisis in independent living.  This was in response to the successful appeal outcome at the courts on the Independent Living Fund-and the continuing awareness of the crisis for ILF users, those trying to access local authority support and the Government’s apparent non-compliance with article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The afternoon launched DPAC’s report on the crisis in independent living and cumulative impacts of the cuts, one of many that DPAC is working on, as well as the film by Mary Laver an ILF user. The afternoon was complimented by speeches from John Evans and reflection on the past battles for independent living.  We heard from the brilliant Louise Whitfield (one of the solicitors in the ILF case) and were treated to an excellent DPAC theatre performance which brought to life the reality of impacts on disabled people and the different barriers we face.

Despite extremely short notice the event was well attended by MPs and those from the Lords. Kate Green , Hywell Williams, Katy Clarke, Anne Begg, John McDonnell, Jim Shannon, Andy Slaughter, Baroness  Campbell, Baroness Wilkins  and a host of others including Mary Laver’s MP.  Apologies were sent from Anne McGuire, Caroline Lucas, Lucy Powell, Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa Pierce

Mike Penning ‘our’ new minister for disability was invited but did not respond or send apologies!

Many thanks to all that attended, supported and worked so hard towards the afternoon-especially the many DPAC members and supporters that wrote to their MPs and publicised this. Some may ask why English national formal disability organisations with much more money and resources than us aren’t putting their energies into these types of activities all the time- we don’t have any answers or understanding on that.

We will have a more detailed report on the Emergency meeting on the Crisis in Independent Living event in Parliament with film and photos soon

Download DPAC report Crisis in Disabled People’s Independent Living 

See Mary Laver’s film on ILF View the movie

kljxr

Nov 282013
 

ALLFIE NEEDS YOU!

Please sign our petition calling for

Lord Nash and the Govt to put back

the guidance on Inclusive Education

into the SEN Code Practice

The Government are threatening to turn back the clock for disabled children and young people with SEN by placing them back into special schools – BREAKING AN ELECTION PROMISE to parents who were told by David Cameron that he would do all that he could to help parents who want their children included in mainstream. Disabled people know through experience that segregated education does not work if we want to live together in society as respected adults.

The Government have removed all the guidance for Local Authorities and schools on inclusive education in their revised SEN Code of Practice which accompanies the new Children and Families Bill. The Guidance helps schools to do inclusion well.

WE KNOW INCLUSION WORKS, enabling thousands of disabled children to access a mainstream education where they can learn, make friends and feel they belong in their local communities – something which is impossible in even the best resourced special schools. Removing this guidance will waste over 20 years of painstaking development in the field of inclusion, leaving the coast clear for the rapid expansion of separate and privatised schools and colleges which is already underway. Parents will lose confidence in the ability of the mainstream to make safe and appropriate arrangements for their children and young people, and will feel they have no option but to accept segregation.

We must stop them now!

Lord Nash has responsibility for steering The Bill and the Code through the House of Lords where amendments can still be made before the final vote. ALLFIE has been trying to get a meeting with Lord Nash but he has either ignored or denied our requests – our patience has now run out! Let us take thousands of signatures to Lord Nash on the 10th December and show him that we will not accept a return to the mistakes of the past which are now threatening a whole new generation of young disabled people and those with Special Educational Needs.

PLEASE Sign the petition and say NO RETURN TO SEGREGATION!

Lord Nash, Department for Education: Government must put back all the guidance on Inclusive Education in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice so Schools and College can be better at including disabled children and young people<http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/lord-nash-department-for-education-government-must-put-back-all-the-guidance-on-inclusive-education-in-the-special-educational-needs-code-of-practice-so-schools-and-college-can-be-better-at-including-disabled-children-and-young-people?utm_source=guides&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_created>
Once you have signed it please forward to all of your networks.

Alliance for Inclusive Education

Nov 212013
 

Reflections on Doing Disability Research: An audience with Colin Barnes: Wednesday 4th December

At the University of Leeds: 5-7pm Western Lecture Theatre (no. 18 on the campus map) with a drinks reception from 4-5pm in the Liberty Building atrium (no. 16 on the campus map). http://www.leeds.ac.uk/site/custom_scripts/campus_map.php

As you are probably aware, Colin Barnes, founder of the Centre for Disability Studies, is due to retire at the end of this year. This presentation will provide an insight into the circumstances and influences that led to his involvement with the Disabled People’s Movement, the development of Disability Studies here at Leeds and his thoughts regarding its future.

This is a free event and everyone is welcome, but please can you let us know if you intend to come just so we have an idea of numbers. Please email M.Wilkinson@Leeds.ac.uk

This extra-special CDS event promises to be a highlight of our programme for UK Disability History Month!

See event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1429375020611446/

CB

Nov 162013
 

Wednesday 20th November 3-5pm

Beech Grove House Seminar Room, University of Leeds

 

Launch event for UK Disability History Month at the University of Leeds, featuring disabled activist Anne Rae (founder member of the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation, former chair of the British Council of Disabled People, and present chair of Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People) speaking about the history and significance of the UK disabled people’s movement (title tbc).

 Hosted by Leeds University Union’s Disability Action Group and Leeds Centre for Disability Studies

 All welcome!

see Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/544727545614801/

 


ar2 pic

Nov 162013
 

MAD PRIDE
Billy Blake’s Birthday Bash

THURSDAY 28th NOVEMBER
8 until 11pm
Admission FREE

The Ivy House
40 Stuart Road
Nunhead, London SE15 3BE

The Ivy House has bus stops for 484 and 343 nearby.
Nearest Stations are Nunhead and Brockley which is well-served by trains from Highbury and Islington, Dalston Junction and London Bridge.


MP Blake_Web_regular

Nov 152013
 

Don’t forget to come to the action on November 26th to protest against Fuel Poverty. meet 11.30 am at Liverpool Street station. Also here are Fuel Poverty Action’s tips to help you keep as warm as possible this winter.

Fuel Poverty Top Tips

Fuel Poverty Action has produced some resources copied below to help people keep warm. Please download and share them wherever they can be of use.

If you have stories about how disabled people are being affected by fuel poverty that you are happy to share please or would like to get involved in campaigning against the effects of fuel poverty on disabled people please contact Ellen on 07505 144371 or ellenrclifford@btinternet.com.

 

  • SOME TIPS ON HOW TO BRING DOWN YOUR FUEL BILLS
  • STRUGGLING WITH HIGH FUEL BILLS?
  • TEN THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE ENTITLED TO FROM YOUR ENERGY SUPPLIER….

 

SOME TIPS ON HOW TO BRING DOWN YOUR FUEL BILLS

Produced by Fuel Poverty Action

fuelpovertyaction.org.uk | Twitter: @FuelPovAction | Facebook: Fuel Poverty Action

1.            Switch supplier

Consider switching your energy supplier, or switching your tariff from your current supplier. An easy way to do this is through consumer rights advocates uswitch. You can find the cheapest deal through uswitch online at www.uswitch.com or by telephone on 0808 178 3492.

2.            Warm Homes Discount

This is a discount of £120 off your annual energy bill. People who get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit are the core group that is eligible, receiving the discount from the government automatically. But the energy suppliers also have broader schemes for other people, each with slightly different criteria. Contact your supplier to find out whether you qualify.

3.            Insulation

•             Insulating your home is an important way to save money on your bills. Several of the energy companies offer free insulation schemes. Get in touch with your supplier to find out if you could qualify.

•             The government’s ‘Warm Front’ scheme also offers free grants to people to fund insulation and other home efficiency measures, including loft insulation, draughtproofing, cavity wall insulation and more. The government have just broadened the eligibility criteria for Warm Front- whether or not you’re eligible depends on which benefits you receive. To find out if you qualify, go to http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/Energyandwatersaving/DG_10018661, call the Warm Front advice line on 0800 316 2805 or contact your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau. NB the Warm Front scheme expires at the end of October 2012 so apply as soon as possible!

•             You can try out DIY insulation-measures: insulate cold walls on the inside with special insulating wallpaper, available from DIY stores.

 

4.            Draughts

•             Fill the gap between the floor and the bottom of the wall with draught excluder strip (buy this from the DIY store) or, if you can’t get hold of it, strips of rag or rolled newspaper.

•             Fill up gaps in the floorboards with ‘plastic wood’ filler that you can buy from a DIY store or sawdust mixed with glue.

•             Buy an inside letter-box flap from a DIY store to stop draughts getting in through your letter box. Or make your own with a cloth bag fixed around the inside of the letter-box (with a hole in the bottom to retrieve the post!)

•             Fit draught excluder strips round doors and windows.

5.            Don’t overheat your homes

•             If you have gas central heating, use your room thermostat to control the heating so that you have temperatures of 18°C in most areas and 21°C in the living room.

•             Turn your heating off in the summer.

•             Set your central heating timer to switch the heating off half an hour before you leave the house or go to bed (if it’s warm enough to sleep without heating.)

•             Don’t heat rooms that you’re not using – turn the thermostats in these rooms off, and keep the doors closed.

•             Service your boiler every year – this will increase the efficiency of your heating system.

 

6.            Keep doors/windows closed

Keep doors and windows closed when you are heating your home. When you need to ventilate, for example when cooking or bathing and the room gets steamed up, close the kitchen/bathroom door so the rest of the house does not cool down and moisture does not spread and cause condensation.

7.            Think about your curtains!

•             Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows.

•             Don’t let curtains overhang radiators as this funnels heat out of the room via the glass.

•             Don’t put heavy furniture, such as sofas, in front of radiators as this traps warmth and stops it from circulating round the room.

•             Open your curtains during daylight to get the heat from the sun.

8.            Hot water…

•             Take short showers not baths. Showering uses about two-fifths of the amount of hot water needed for a bath. This saves about £45 per year.

•             Don’t overheat your water. Setting the hot water cylinder thermostat to 60°C is adequate for bathing and washing.

•             Repair dripping taps and make sure taps are turned off properly.

•             Use the plug to save on hot water.

9.            Electical Applicances…

•             Buy energy efficient appliances. An energy label must, by law, be shown for most electrical appliances, with ‘A’ rated appliances the most efficient and ‘G’ rated the least efficient.

•             Turn appliances off at the socket.

10.          Cooking

•             When boiling the kettle, only boil the water that you need to use. This will save you around £25 per year.

•             Cooking with gas or in the microwave is cheaper than an electric cooker.

•             You can save on gas by cooking two or more things at once in the oven and by putting lids on saucepans.

11.          Washing…

•             Washing at 30 degrees means less money spent heating the water in the washing machine.

•             Make sure you wash full loads of clothes if possible.

•             Use the economy setting on your washing machine if you have one.

•             Tumble dryers use a lot of energy. If possible. dry clothes outside or on drying racks.

12.          Lighting…

•             Use low-energy light bulbs.

•             Make sure you turn lights off when they’re not being used.

 

 

STRUGGLING WITH HIGH FUEL BILLS?

A short guide to government schemes that could help you out…

Produced by Fuel Poverty Action.

 

The government offers several schemes that can help you with heating your home and bringing down your bills. This guide has been made to help you work out what you’re entitled to. You can find all the info online at direct.gov.uk. See the end of this guide for a full list of useful contact details.

 

There are four different government schemes to be aware of:

 

a) Warm Homes Discount Scheme – page 1-2. (Only available for older people)

b) Cold Weather Payments – page 2. (Only available if you live an area that has just experienced seven consecutive days of very cold weather).

c) Winter Fuel Payments – page 3-4. (Only available for older people)

d) Warm Front Scheme – page 4-5. (For those on low-incomes living in homes that are poorly insulated and/or do not have a properly funcitoning heating system).

 

 

WARM HOMES DISCOUNT SCHEME

The Warm Homes Discount Scheme helps some pensioners with their energy bills. In winter 2012/2013, the scheme will give those who qualify a £130 discount from their energy bills.

 

The scheme applies to pensioners who receive pension credit, which is an income-related benefit to top up a state pension. Pension credit is made up of two separate parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. You might receive just one of these or both. If you’re not sure whether you receive pension credit or which parts you receive, or if you do not already receive it but want to find out if you are entitled, call the pension credit helpline on 0800 99 1234 or visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Pensionsandretirementplanning/PensionCredit/

 

If you are under 80 years old, You are entitled to this discount if :

 

a) You receive the Guarantee Credit aspect of Pension Credit

AND

b) You DO NOT receive the Savings Credit aspect of Pension credit.

AND

c) Your name, or your partner’s name is on your electricity bill.

AND

d) You get your electricity from one of the following energy suppliers: Atlantic, British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Equipower, Equigas, Manweb, M&S Energy, npower, Sainsbury’s Energy, Scottish Gas, Scottish Hydro, ScottishPower, Southern Electric, SSE, Swalec and Utility Warehouse.

 

If you are over 80 years old, you are entitled to this discount if:

 

a) You receive the Guarantee Credit aspect of Pension Credit (if you are over 80, you can receive the discount even if you receive Savings Credit as well)

AND

b) Your name, or your partner’s name is on your electricity bill.

AND

c) You get your electricity from one of the following energy suppliers: Atlantic, British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Equipower, Equigas, Manweb, M&S Energy, npower, Sainsbury’s Energy, Scottish Gas, Scottish Hydro, ScottishPower, Southern Electric, SSE, Swalec and Utility Warehouse.

 

If you meet the conditions above you do not need to do anything now to get your discount in 2012/2013. The Government will write to all those potentially eligible for the discount in autumn 2012.

 

NB Several energy suppliers offer Warm Homes Discounts to a broader range of people beyond pensioners. To find out whether you could qualify, contact your energy supplier.

 

 

COLD WEATHER PAYMENTS

If there is a period of very cold weather in your area you may be able to get a Cold Weather Payment. A period of very cold weather is classed as when the temperature is an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days in a row. The value of the payment is £25 for each seven consecutive days of cold weather.

 

You don’t need to apply for a cold weather payment – if you’re entitled, you will automatically receive this.

 

To receive a payment, you have to receive certain benefiits:

 

– If you get Pension Credit, you will usually receive a Cold Weather payment.

 

– If you receive Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will get Cold Weather Payments if you also have any of the following:

a) a disability or pensioner premium included in your benefit

b) a child who is disabled

c) Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element

d) a child under five living with you

 

– If you receive income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), you will usually receive Cold Weather Payments if you also have any of the following:

a) the support or work-related component of ESA

b) a severe or enhanced disability premium included in your benefit

c) a pensioner premium included in you rbenefit

d) a child who is disabled

e) Child Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element

f) A child under five living you you

 

If you think you are entitled to a Cold Weather Payment but have not received one within 14 working days of a very cold period, then contact your local pension centre or Jobcentre Plus.

 

 

WINTER FUEL PAYMENTS

The Winter Fuel Payment is paid to all households with an occupant aged over 60. The amount a household is entitled to depends upon  your personal situation, but is between £100 and £300 per winter. The payment is paid regardless of your income and you can get it if you’re still working or claiming a benefit.

 

Your household will receive this payment in winter 2012/2013 if you (or someone else living in your house) were born on or before 5 July 1951 and NONE of the following applies for the week of 17-23 September 2012:

 

– you were in hospital for more than 52 weeks previously, getting free treatment as an inpatient

– you were in custody serving a court sentence

– you were subject to immigration control and did not qualify for help from the Department for Work and Pensions

– you lived in a care home, an independent hospital or Ilford Park Polish Resettlement Home (and had done so for the previous 12 weeks or more) and you were on Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance

– you move to another European Economic Area country or Switzerland and didn’t qualify before you moved.

 

If you are eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment and receive any of the following, then you do not need to claim and will be paid automatically:

 

–             State Pension

–             Employment and Support Allowance

–             Income Support

–             Jobseeker’s Allowance

–             Pension Credit

–             Attendance Allowance

–             Bereavement Benefit

–             Carer’s Allowance

–             Disability Living Allowance

–             Graduated Retirement Benefit

–             Incapacity Benefit

–             Industrial Injuries Benefits

–             Severe Disablement Allowance

–             War Pension

–             Widow’s Benefit

 

If you do not receive any of the above benefits but you are eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment, then you need to claim. You can do this by downloading a claim form online at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Pensionsandretirementplanning/Benefits/BenefitsInRetirement/DG_198331  or by requesting a claim form by calling 0845 9 15 15. If you need to claim, make sure that you have sent your claim form in to arrive on or before September 21 to get your payment before Christmas.

 

 

WARM FRONT SCHEME

The Warm Front scheme provides heating and insulation improvements to households on certain income-related benefits that are having problem with their house’s insulation and/or heating system. The scheme can provide improvements of up to £6000.

 

NB: The Warm Front Scheme is due to expire at the end of 2012, so apply for a grant as soon as possible!

 

Grants are available for improvements such as:

•             loft insulation

•             draughtproofing

•             cavity wall insulation

•             hot water tank insulation

•             gas, electric, liquid petroleum gas or oil heating

•             glass-fronted fire – the Warm Front scheme can convert your solid-fuel open fire to a glass-fronted fire

You won’t have to pay anything as long as the work doesn’t cost more than the grant available. If the cost of the work is more than the grant available you’ll have to make a contribution to enable work to go ahead. Work will not start without making sure you are willing and able to pay the difference.

 

The first condition of being eligible for a Warm Front grant is that you must live in a property that you own or rent that is poorly insulated and/or without a working central heating system.

 

Secondly, to qualify, you must receive one or more of the following benefits:

 

1. Pension Credit (Guaranteed Credit and/or Savings Credit)

 

2. Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance with any of the following:

•             Parental responsibility for a child under 16 who ordinarily resides with that person, or a child that is 16 or over but under 20 and in full time education.

•             Child Tax Credit (which must include a disability or severe disability element for a child or young person)

•             Disabled Child Premium

•             Disability Premium (enhanced disability or severe disability element premium)

•             Pensioner Premium (higher pensioner premium or enhanced pensioner premium)

 

3. Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA IR) that includes a work related activity or support component.

 

4. Child Tax Credit with an income of £15,860 or less.

 

5. Working Tax Credit with an income of £15,860 or less and any of the following:

•             parental responsibility for a child under 16 who ordinarily resides with that person. (16 or over but under 20 and in full time education)

•             disabled worker element

•             severe disability element

•             are aged 60 years or over

 

If you are eligible for a grant, then you need to apply. You can apply online at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/Energyandwatersaving/Energygrants/DG_10018661, or apply over the phone by calling 0800 316 2805.

If your application form is succesful, you will then be visited by a Warm Front surveyor, who will measure the energy efficiency of your home. The surveyor will then make recommendations on which energy efficiency improvements are most appropriate for your home. The surveyor may find that the energy efficiency of your home is above the threshold required to benefit from the scheme. If this is the case you will not be provided with any recommendations and you will be left with details of where else you may be able to get energy advice and help. However, if the surveyor finds that the energy efficiency of your home is below the required threshold, you will receive a grant.

USEFUL CONTACT INFO.

Government advice: www.direct.gov.uk

Home Heat Helpline: useful advice service for people struggling with fuel bills. Find this online at http://www.homeheathelpline.org.uk/  or ring their free advice line on 0800 33 66 99.

Citizens’ Advice Bureau: find advice online and search for your local advice centre at http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ or call 08444 111 444.

Energy Supplier helplines:

British Gas: 0800 072 8629

EDF: 0800 096 9966

EON: 0345 301 4875

RWEnpower: 0800 073 3000

Scottish and Southern Electricity: 0845 026 0658

Scottish Power: 0845 026 0658

This guide was produced by Fuel Poverty Action. Fuel Poverty Action are a group of people fed up with high fuel bills, rising energy company profits, government cuts, negligent landlords and dirty, polluting forms of energy. We believe that everyone has the right to affordable, clean energy and warm, affordable and secure housing. We aim to support community action to defend these rights. Get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more.

Email: fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com

Website: fuelpovertyaction.org.uk

Twitter: @FuelPovAction

Facebook: Fuel Poverty Action

 

 

TEN THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE ENTITLED TO FROM YOUR ENERGY SUPPLIER….

Produced by Fuel Poverty Action

 

1) Get compensation for wasted time

You don’t have to wait in all day for a meter reader or engineer. If your energy firm needs to visit you at home, you are entitled to a two-hour appointment slot – and, should they not turn up, you are entitled to compensation of £22 for a gas or electricity appointment or £44 for both.

 

2) Know the backdate limit

If you have had your bills recalculated because of a mistake by the energy provider, there is a limit to how much they can ask you to pay up. If your usage has been underestimated, the supplier can backdate your bills for only up to 12 months. However, to avoid even a year’s worth of charges, get into the habit of providing regular meter readings to ensure you always pay the right amount.

 

3) Know your rights with price rises

If your energy provider is putting up its prices, it is required to give you 30 days’ notice and cannot implement the increase if you tell it within 15 working days that you’re leaving. And despite what the name suggests, those on fixed-rate tariffs cannot be charged an exit penalty if they switch within this time.

 

4) Payments for power cuts

If consumers lose power, they can claim compensation for power cuts from their energy distributor, rather than the supplier. If your power is out for more than 18 hours you are entitled to £54, and £27 for each additional 12 hours without power. Similarly, those who have four or more power cuts lasting three hours or more in a year should receive £54. To get your refund, contact your energy provider.

 

5) Get extra help

Pensioners and people who are disabled or chronically ill can get extra help through their supplier’s Priority Services Register. This includes free quarterly meter readings, bills in large print or Braille or bills sent to a friend or relative, and a free annual gas safety check for those in receipt of means-tested benefits.

 

6) Know the switching timetable

If you switch energy supplier in order to ensure that you are on the most competitive tariff, it should take no longer than five weeks from start to finish. This includes the two-week cooling-off period and three weeks for the switch. Keep in mind that suppliers have also committed to make switching hassle-free, so if there are any problems it is their responsibility to sort it out, not the customer’s.

 

7) Compensation for being misled

If you have had your energy supply switched to another provider without your permission, you are entitled to compensation of £250. You are also entitled to compensation if you can prove you were deliberately misled by a sales person.

 

8) Know where to get help with debt

If you get into debt, your supplier must agree repayments that are affordable for you. Some suppliers, such as British Gas, EDF and npower, also have trust funds that can help you to settle debts or other essential costs.

9) Find free insulation

Loft insulation can save you an average of £120 on your annual energy bill, but costs as much as £300 to install. Many suppliers will offer free loft and cavity wall insulation with cash incentives. For instance, E.On and EDF are offering incentives of £100 and £200 respectively to those on low incomes who register for free insulation. Contact your supplier to find out, or check out the deals that other suppliers are offering…

 

10) Remember your cooling-off period

Have you switched your tariff only to have a cheaper one launched just days later? Or maybe you felt pressurised or put on the spot by a telesales agent? Not to worry, it is not too late to change your mind. All consumers who switch energy supplier are entitled to a 14-day cooling-off period during which they can switch back without incurring any charges.

 

 

 Posted by at 18:06
Nov 152013
 

Join Fuel Poverty Action, UK Uncut, the Greater London Pensioners’ Association and Disabled People Against Cuts for an outrageous, creative and inclusive protest against fuel poverty deaths on November 26th at 11.30am in Central London. Meeting point – well it’s a secret, for now.

On November 26th, the number of people who died last winter from cold homes will be announced. But we won’t stand for any more unnecessary deaths caused by price-hiking, polluting, profiteering, tax avoiding energy companies. So …join us as we take to the streets in central London to target one of the main energy robbers driving fuel poverty.

As the Big Six energy companies hike up prices we are told the only answer is to put on a jumper, leaving millions of us to choose between heating and eating. While the energy companies spread the lie that ‘green taxes’ are to blame, we know that the real problem is the privatisation of our energy for profit and the skyrocketing cost of dirty fossil fuels.

So bring your kids, neighbours, grandparents, your warmest jumper and your latest energy bill — and come join the fightback for the alternatives: warm, insulated homes and clean, affordable energy. It’s time to bring down the Big Six and put power back in people’s hands.

Meet outside Royal Exchange by Bank Station for short march to destination target.

See you on the streets.
#justicenotjumper

fuel poverty pic

Nov 112013
 

A fabulous night of comedy, commotion, composition and cash on the 16th of November 8pm till late at Tottenham Chances 399 High Road N17 6QN It is £7 on the door or £5 with a flyer and all the money goes to a brilliant cause Unspoken!

Unspoken brings together the world of performing arts and the world of not speaking uniting them with creative communication. Unspoken aims to raise awareness of means of communication other than speech this is called augmentative and alternative communication by people in the know by using performance.

2014 is looking busy for Unspoken and we have so much we want to achieve in the next 2 years including a professional production of one young persons coming of age story with a unique (electric) voice, running inclusive drama performance workshop in the community to raise awareness of augmentative and alternative communication. However, to see our dream come true we need significant funds to do the work we want to do so we are holding variety nights to raise funds and awareness.

The first one is the 16th November and we have for your delight and delectation • Rosie Vachat – a musician who uses a communication aid • Justin Mason – a fantastic comical actor • Sam Sillars – a young campaigner and student using AAC • Tina Linsey – beautiful singing voice • Actability – a theatre company • Cazz Regan comedienne and song writer • Dectalk Diva  • Lucia Bellini

All we need now is a brilliant audience and it could be you!

Oct 292013
 

You are invited to the launch of UK Disability History Month 2013

Celebrating Our Struggle for Independent Living: No Return to the Institution or Isolation.     

Tuesday 19th November 2013

 5.30 (6pm start) – 8pm

Abbey Community Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, London SW1 P3BU

                                                                       Speakers

Christine Blower, General Secretary NUT

                                                          Liz Carr, Comedian

Jackie Downer, CEO The Quality Company

Kirsten Hearn, Chair Inclusion London

Prof.Mike Oliver, Writer

Prof. Jan Walmsley, History of Learning Difficulty

Chair-Richard Rieser, Coordinator UKDHM

Light refreshments will be provided.

Launch Co-sponsored National Union of Teachers

Please RSVP to info@ukdisabilityhistorymonth.com or call 07907346273

 Posted by at 20:48
Oct 242013
 

The Action for Rail campaign joined forces with transport, disabled and older people’s campaign groups to condemn plans by London Mayor Boris Johnson to shed hundreds of staff across London’s transport.

Campaigners were protesting as they believe passengers could be faced with significantly fewer staff to assist them as a result of a cocktail of cuts being proposed across London transport services. They include plans to:

 

•             Close ticket offices at stations across London Underground

•             Cut other tube staff and,

•             Remove guards from trains on London Overground.

 

Campaigners also fear the cuts could have an impact on staff employed in maintenance work across the network.

 London Underground is due to release further details of the proposed cuts next month. In his Spending Review earlier this year, the Chancellor announced a 12.5 per cent cut to the Transport for London (TfL) budget, to take effect from June 2015. Action for Rail fears that this cut could result in further job losses.

Polling recently commissioned by the RMT showed that more than two-thirds (71 per cent) of passengers oppose ticket office closures in London. A survey of passengers jointly commissioned by Action for Rail, Transport for All, Disabled Passengers Against Cuts (DPAC) and the National Pensioners Convention shows that:

•             Four in five (81 per cent) of respondents said the loss of staff at stations would make travel difficult

•             More than two-thirds (71 per cent) said they require assistance from staff at stations and on trains

•             More than half (54 per cent) said they needed help buying tickets

•             Nearly half (45 per cent) needed help with accessing ticket gates and platforms; and,

•             More than a third (34 per cent) said it would deter them making some journeys or make train travel difficult.

 

Campaigners also highlighted that under the Mayoralty of Boris Johnson fares have risen three times faster than average earnings, contributing to the living standards crisis in the capital.

Director of disabled and older people’s passenger group Transport for All Faryal Velmi said: “Underground staff play a key role in assisting disabled and older people to use the London Underground including accessing the platform and the train, particularly at stations with complicated access routes, or manual boarding ramps.

 “We are very concerned that if these staff cuts go ahead then access to the entire London Underground network will be restricted for disabled and older passengers”.

transport pic2

dpac transport

– Action for Rail is the joint campaign of the TUC, ASLEF, RMT, TSSA and Unite, which campaigns against cuts to jobs and services and for a national integrated railway under public ownership that puts passengers and public first.

– The RMT survey is available at www.rmt.org.uk/news/new-survey-shows-londoners-want-ticket-offices-to-stay-open/

– Full details of the survey by Action for Rail, Transport for All, DPAC and the National Pensioners Convention are available at www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/tucfiles/TUC_Future_of_Railway_Staffing_disabled_older_passengers.pdf

– Information about fare increases rising faster than average earnings is available at www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-exposes-full-extent-of-london-tube-fares-rip-off/

 

Oct 242013
 

‘My Voice Matters, Listen to My Demands’

Come and have your say on the issues that matter to you Talk about: Access and Transport, Education, Welfare Support & Housing, Employment and More Share your experiences and present your demands to your local councillor and MP

Date: Tuesday 19th November 2013
Time: 10.30pm to 4pm
Venue: Morden Assembly Hall, Tudor Drive, Lower Morden SM4 4PJ

If you are a deaf or disabled person or supporter living or working in Merton, then this event is for you.
To book your place or to get help organising transport on the day contact us on:

p: 020 3397 3119
w: www.mertoncil.org.uk
f: Mertoncil
t: @MertonCIL
s: merton.cil

A map and agenda is available on our website www.mertoncil.org.uk (easyread coming soon)

see My Voice Matters Flyer

see: CIL Matters Autumn 2013 Newsletter

Sep 172013
 

On the 14th October, five ILF users will appeal against the previous court decision that the ILF consultation was carried out fairly at the Royal Courts of Justice. DPAC will be there again and, again have a vigil outside the courts to show support-we will update with further details as they become available.

The initial court case showed that the funds for ILF when transferred to local authorities will cover just one year, something that local authorities did not appear to be made aware of by this Government. A write up from those documents can be found here: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/summary-of-secret-correspondence-from-the-dwp-to-mcvey-on-the-ilf-closure/

In the meantime you might like to see some of the stories from those at risk of losing the support to independent living at http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/independent-living-fund/