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

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 Posted by at 20:48
Oct 292013
 

Before you can appeal to a benefit tribunal, you’ll need to try and resolve your dispute with the DWP. 

Introduction – What is changing 

The appeals process is changing in 2013 so that more disputes against DWP
decisions can be resolved without the need for referral to Her Majesty’s Courts and
Tribunals Service (HMCTS). DWP is committed to preventing disputes, reducing the
escalation of disputes, resolving disputes and learning from disputes. From April
2013 DWP began to introduce changes which were part of the Welfare Reform Act
2012.

What are the changes? 

DWP will reconsider all decisions before an appeal. This change will mean that if
someone disputes a decision, they will need to ask DWP to reconsider the decision
before they can appeal to HMCTS. This is known as “mandatory reconsideration”.
The change aims to encourage people to provide additional evidence earlier in the
process. Resolving disputes without the need for an appeal should also help ensure
that people receive the right decision earlier in the process.

There is no time limit to how long this can take and no payments while it happens.

Appeals to be made directly to HMCTS. This change will mean that, after DWP has
reconsidered a decision, if someone still disputes the decision and wishes to appeal,
they must send their appeal directly to HMCTS. This is known as “direct
lodgement”. It will bring the process for Social Security and child maintenance
appeals into line with other major tribunal jurisdictions handled by HMCTS.

Time limits for DWP to return responses to HMCTS. DWP has agreed with the
Tribunal Procedure Committee to introduce time limits to stipulate how long DWP has
to respond to an individual appeal. Their introduction will mean that DWP will have 28
calendar days to provide an appeal response in benefits cases, and 42 calendar
days in child maintenance cases.

When will these changes be introduced? 

DWP introduced all three changes for Personal Independence Payment and
Universal Credit in April 2013.

The changes will be introduced for all other DWP-administered benefits and child
maintenance cases from 28 Octobhttp://images.proboards.com/v5/images/bbcode/bold.pnger 2013, and DWP will begin to report against the
time limits from October 2014.

More information about Appeals Reform is available at www.gov.uk.

Background – The case for change 

Why is mandatory reconsideration being introduced? 

DWP say the main reasons for introducing mandatory reconsideration are to:

• resolve disputes as early as possible;
• reduce unnecessary demand on HMCTS by resolving more disputes internally;
• consider revising a decision where appropriate;
• provide a full explanation of the decision; and
• encourage claimants to identify and provide any additional evidence that may affect
the decision, so that they receive a correct decision at the earliest opportunity.

Mandatory reconsideration allows them to look again at their decisions again.

The mandatory reconsideration process will involve an outbound call from decision
makers, to talk through disputed decisions with claimants and invite them to provide
any additional evidence at the earliest opportunity. Then, where appropriate, they can
change their decision at the earliest possible point rather than having to go through a
long and costly appeals process.

Why is direct lodgement being introduced? 

The main reasons for introducing direct lodgement are to:

• align the appeals process for Social Security and child maintenance appeals with
other major jurisdictions handled by HMCTS;
• make sure that DWP is no longer involved in the administration of appeals, and can
focus on its key role as a party to appeals; and
• speed up and clarify the appeals process.

The current process, where people submit their appeal to DWP and it then transfers
to HMCTS, can cause delays in arranging tribunals, and confusion for people who
may not realise which organisation is responsible for their appeal at any given point.

Why are time limits being introduced? 

The aim of time limits is to improve customer service by giving people a timeframe
within which they can expect DWP to provide the response to an individual appeal.

In addition, the change will bring DWP into line with other departments that are
already subject to time limits when submitting appeal responses to HMCTS.

 

 

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 Posted by at 19:31
Oct 282013
 

 I am writing to you from a BAFTA award winning independent TV production company called Nine Lives Media and we are currently making a documentary for television broadcast about mobility scooters.  We are working with a company called Parkgate Mobility who have mobility shops based in South Yorkshire, Chesterfield and Derbyshire and are currently filming with some of their staff members and customers to reveal the stories of those who depend on their scooters to be able to lead an independent life.

One of the stories we would like to cover in the documentary is the changes in Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments.  Our aim is to follow some people who use their benefit payments in order to lease a mobility scooter and are due to be reassessed under the new PIP criteria, but are worried that if their payments are decreased they may lose their scooter.  We would like to show how these changes affect those who rely on their benefits and their scooters to be able to get around by following them through the whole process.  I believe that from October current claimants whose fixed term DLA is coming to an end will start to be reassessed.  I was wondering whether DPAC might be interested in helping us find some people who would like to tell their story on camera and are due to be reassessed for the PIP payments?

As a company, we regularly make programmes for the BBC, Channel Four and Channel Five.  Our most recent documentary for BBC One was called ‘Pound Shop Wars’, and followed two family run pound store chains as they compete against each other to rule the high streets.  The documentary attracted ratings of 4.5 million making it one of the highest rating new factual programmes of the year.   Another hit documentary, which we made for BBC Three was Small Teen Big World.  The documentary followed a teenager called Jazz who has restricted growth and was so popular that we also made a four part series following Jazz’s life.   The series was rated in BBC Audience Research as the most inspiring, most entertaining, most innovative and most ‘fresh and new’ factual series to be broadcast on BBC Three that year.

We also won a BAFTA for one of our latest documentaries for CBBC called ‘Me, My Dad & His Kidney’ which followed the story of a 9 year old boy called Raphael who developed a one in a million medical condition which left him fighting for his life.  The programme followed his journey as his dad donates his kidney to him and received the biggest audience ratings for the strand, showing we have a track record of making popular and engaging films.

If you can help contact kayleigh.smith@ninelivesmedia.co.uk

cid:image001.png@01CBD1DE.1DD95B80  KAYLEIGH SMITH  I  Assistant Producer

NINE LIVES MEDIA

INVICTA HOUSE, 2-4 ATKINSON STREET

MANCHESTER, M3 3HH

TEL:          +44 (0)161 832 2007

FAX:         +44 (0)161 832 2003

TWITTER:  @NineLivesMedia

www.ninelivesmedia.co.uk

kayleigh.smith@ninelivesmedia.co.uk

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 Posted by at 13:32
Oct 282013
 
Have you brought extra medical evidence to your WCA only for the assessor to refuse to look at it? I’m a severely disabled person hoping to write an article about this for Disability Now and would love to hear from you if you’ve had this experience. I’d also be grateful to hear from any Atos employees who have refused evidence for whatever reason. You can contact me, Anoushka,
at  anoushka.alexander@yahoo.co.uk
I won’t use any details you don’t want me to.”

 

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 Posted by at 13:26
Oct 272013
 

Essex Benefit Justice &Bedroom Tax 

Harlow Benefit Justice & bedroom Tax Lobby Rob Halfon MP 13 Dec.@ Harlow Surgery.

Essex Benefit Justice & Bedroom Tax Meeting 7.30 26th November at Quaker Meeting House, Rainsford RdChelmsford,CM1 1QL

Telephone 07792208695for further information

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 Posted by at 17:06
Oct 272013
 

Suffolk Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

10,000 cuts and counting

A day of protest at the Job Centre and ATOS Assessment Centre, St Felix House, Silent Street, Ipswich, IP1 1TF

Tuesday 5th November 2013, 11.30am – 1pm

Suffolk DPAC is demonstrating today to highlight  the deaths of 10,000 sick and disabled people who died during and after taking the Work Capability Assessments carried out by ATOS and the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Assessment is degrading and sets up people to fail – even when they have serious illnesses and major disabilities and it results in people having their benefit stopped.  Most succeed when they challenge the findings but this can take many months and people’s health is damaged by the experience.

The government is trying to turn the clock back to Victorian times by encouraging inaccurate and offensive attitudes towards disabled people.  Labelling us as scroungers while doing nothing to address the real problems like the lack of proper jobs, high housing costs and the reluctance of employers to employ people with a disability.

The Work Capability Assessment is just one of many attacks on people on benefit and which are causing hardship and misery.

We demand the Coalition Government:

·         Scraps the Work Capability Assessment

·         Scraps the wasteful and punitive Work Programme which also pays millions to private companies.

·         Stops unpaid work for benefit claimants – if work needs doing, people should be paid for doing it.  Unpaid work takes away work from workers and undermines wages.

·         Stops unjustified, deliberate sanctioning of benefit claimants.

·         Stops further cuts in benefits.

·         Benefit claimants did not cause the financial crisis or the public spending deficit.

“The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped”.Hubert H Humphrey . Former US Vice President.

Contact : dpacsuffolk@yahoo.com or  suffolkpeoplesassembly@runbox.com

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 Posted by at 17:04
Oct 272013
 

Just Fair Consortium Independent Living Event

House of Commons, November 26th 4-6pm.

This event will be attended by the UN special rapporteur for disability Mr. Shuaib Chalklen who will give a keynote address to MPs and Lords.

Plus the new minister for disabled people, Mike Penning and shadow minister Kate Green will be attending.

DPAC will also be involved in supporting this and we hope providing some work through Theatre of the Oppressed plus we hope some film linked to the loss of independent living and ILF. (tbc)

Information about the theatre presentation is in this link.

http://dpac.uk.net/2013/10/dramatic-presentation-at-report-launch-dignity-and-equal-opportunity-securing-the-human-rights-of-disabled-people-in-an-age-of-austerity/

As the UN special rapporteur will be at this event we hope as many of you as possible will come along and also speak out about how your right to independent living whether through closure of ILF, local authority care and support cuts or other aspects of welfare reform are or will affect you. This is your chance to get your voices and fears heard and to help show what the government attacks are doing to disabled people in the UK.

You will need to arrive at the House of Commons around 30 minutes before the start to get through security and if necessary to a committee room although I am assuming the event will be in the Central lobby due to the theatre event.

This is what Jonathan has said about the event to the rapporteur.

On behalf of the Just Fair Consortium, it is my pleasure to invite you to present a keynote address at the launch of the Just Fair Consortium report on “Securing the Right to Independent Living in the Austerity Era” in the Houses of Parliament (Westminster, London) on Tuesday November 26th 2013 at 4pm. (Please see below for further information on the Just Fair Consortium)

The report will focus on the UK’s realisation of the rights contained in the UNCRPD, and will put forth a series of recommendations to the UK government, which will enable them to better protect the UNCRPD in the UK. Following on from the report, the Just Fair Consortium will engage with the upcoming UNCPRD UK review by drafting a civil society parallel report, to be submitted to the UN in 2015.

Disabled people are leading on all elements of the research, including selection of the report theme and sub-issues, submission of real-life case-studies, contribution of statistical analysis and presentation of testimony evidence at the November report launch. The event will enable disabled people’s organisations, MPs, Peers, the media and sick and disabled people to discuss the challenges and opportunities for better securing the right to independent living in the UK.

As the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Disabled People, and the world’s leading expert on equality and the rights of disabled people, particularly the right to independent living, we feel that your keynote address will offer essential and timely guidance for the UK Government, Parliament, members of the media and civil society more generally. In light of this, the Consortium are very keen to work closely you in order to better realise the UNCRPD in the UK.

Please do let us know if you require any further information with regards to the event, and we look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. Please reply to Jonathan Butterworth (Just Fair Director) at jbutterworth@just-fair.co.uk

 

 

 

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 Posted by at 17:01
Oct 262013
 

A new harrowing but unsurprising report by the Citizens Advice Bureau on sanctions found that:

 –60% of those sanctioned had been receiving JSA, but a further 33% were unfit for work and were receiving ESA.

-40% of respondents said they had not received a letter from the Job Centre informing them of the sanction.

 –Almost a quarter of respondents did not know why they had been sanctioned. 29% of respondents said they had been sanctioned because they had not done enough to look for work. However, many people commented that the sanction had been applied unfairly, when they had in fact looked for work or attended an interview as required, because of a very narrow interpretation of the rules or for reasons that were beyond their control.

-More than half the respondents said they had not received any information about how to appeal against the sanction. Nonetheless, three-fifths (62%) of respondents had appealed. One third of these appeals had been successful and a further 23% of those who had appealed were still waiting to hear the outcome. Administrative delays in receiving formal notification of the sanction meant that a number of people had been refused leave to appeal because they were out of time, adding further to the perception that they had been treated unfairly.

-The majority of respondents had been sanctioned for four weeks or less, but almost one third had been sanctioned for 10 weeks or more. The average duration of the sanction was 8 weeks.

-Two-thirds of respondents had been left with no income after the sanction was imposed. Those with children reported they only had child benefit and child tax credits.

-Just under a quarter (23%) of those sanctioned were living in households with children. More than 10% of respondents were lone parents.

-Respondents coped with the loss of income by borrowing money from friends and family (80%), from the bank or on their credit card (8%) or from a pay day loan company (9%).

-They also cut down on food (71%), heating (49%) and travel (47%). Almost a quarter (24%) had applied for a food parcel. Some respondents had been left to scrounge for food from skips or bins, or had had to resort to begging to feed themselves.

 –The sanction had a severe impact on the mental and physical health of many respondents. Existing health conditions were exacerbated because of poor diet and stress, and a number of respondents said they had attempted suicide or that they felt suicidal.

 –There were also serious effects on the wider family, particularly children, because of the loss of income. There were stresses also on adult relationships: one respondent said ‘the strain has quite literally smashed our family to pieces’.

-Many respondents felt they had been unjustly treated because of the Job Centre’s own administrative errors or because a sanction had been imposed unreasonably given their circumstances.

Comments included:

I had no income, and had to borrow from my parents (who are also on benefits and don’t get much income. It has affected me mentally, and I am severely depressed and having anxiety attacks

Starved and lived off what I had. Scrounged food from bins and only left the house after darkness fell. Had no electric or gas. Struggled and went without nothing for 3 days

I’m worried benefit won’t be sorted in time for rent as this could make us all homeless yet again. Last time we were homeless was a result of fleeing domestic violence and me and my children were put in B&B.

Read the full report at https://skydrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=CB5ED957FE0B849F!350&app=WordPdf&authkey=!AJTbB-gzwsSCayQ

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Oct 262013
 

Part of the ‘Disowned and Disabled’ series: with Anne Rae, Judy Hunt (wife of Paul) and Kevin Donnellon -this is a great start- Anne and Judy will have the angle on disability history and the rise of the disabled peoples’ movement

The TV blurb tells us:

Part two of the series tells the largely unknown story of disabled people’s battle for equality in the decades following the second world war. It was a battle led by people who as children had found themselves rejected by society; stigmatised and traumatised by years of patronising care and forced segregation.

Before the 1940s, society had always assumed that children with physical and learning disabilities would not amount to anything. Care for physically disabled children was largely based on trying to make them appear ‘normal’; children with learning disabilities were often housed in institutions for ‘idiots’ and ‘imbeciles’, and received little to no education.

In the late 1960s, the first generation of post-war disabled children came of age. Inspired by the civil rights movement and the sixties spirit of liberalization, disabled young people founded a new movement to fight for equal rights. Over the next two decades, the disabled peoples movement grew in strength, putting increasing pressure on the government to improve the lives of disabled people and to end the discrimination many continued to experience.

Change was slow to come, but in the 80s and 90s a huge shift in policy and attitudes began to take place. This had a profound effect on the lives of future generations of disabled children, an effect which continues to be felt to this day. Using the powerful stories of individuals such as Kevin Donnellon and Anne Rae, who tell the moving and uplifting stories of their lives and how they fought for change, this film sheds light on the often harsh reality faced by disabled children in the late 20th century. It is also a story of empowerment

More from Anne can be read at: http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2013/09/reclaiming-our-futures-movement-needs-recognisable-voice/

And http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2013/09/reclaiming-our-futures-social-model-still-has-crucial-role/

Let’s hope the BBC can manage to commission a program about the current onslaught on disabled peoples’ rights and lives in the 21st century very soon-but we won’t be holding our breath

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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/

 

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Oct 242013
 
Following the Reclaiming Our Futures action we have set up a meeting with the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The aim of the meeting is to promote the DPAC manifesto.
To complement this there are lots of issues related to fuel poverty, energy and climate change which affect disabled people, and we wanted to have DPAC members’ and other disabled people’s input into exactly how these issues affect you.
Please contact us with your experiences and concerns on this subject, by 31st October if at all possible -you can do this direct by email to lani.parker@gmail.com

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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

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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

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Oct 222013
 

Save staff on London Transport

The Mayor of London is enthusiastically supporting government cuts to the budget of Transport for London by planning to:
  • Close all ticket offices on London Underground
  • Cut other tube staff
  • Remove guards from London Overground trains

There could also be cuts to tube maintenance and he even supports driverless trains. The Mayor wants an automated London transport system with fewer staff around to help us passengers.

Surveys consistently show that passengers want to see staff on their tubes, trains and stations. This is particularly true for passengers with mobility, access and personal safety and security needs, like disabled passengers, women and older people.

Despite fares rising, Boris Johnson wants to close ticket offices, cut other tube staff and remove guards from London Overground trains, hurting you the passenger and customer.

Help us fight these proposals.

You can email Boris Johnson and Peter Hendy from Transport for London using the link on Action fo Rail website and let them know that you want staff on London transport. http://campaign.actionforrail.org/page/speakout/save-staff-on-london-transport

And show your support by joining us on Wednesday 23 October at the following London Underground stations:

  • Oxford Circus – 8am and 2pm
  • Baker Street – 8am
  • Tottenham Court Road – 8am
  • Leytonstone – 8am
  • Euston – 12noon
  • Finsbury Park – 5pm
  • Stratford – 8am
  • Elephant and Castle – 8am
  • Wembley Park – 3pm
  • Morden – 9am
  • Liverpool Street – 8am
  • Kings Cross -12pm

– See more at: http://actionforrail.org/save-staff-on-london-transport/#sthash.cpLTh4Eg.dpuf

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 Posted by at 14:06
Oct 202013
 

As many of you know the DWP are appealing against the decision that the WCA is detrimental to those with mental health issues. DPAC wants to be there to support the Mental Health Resistance Network who originally won the case

The vigil will happen outside the front entrance, Royal Courts of Justice (The Strand, London, WC2A 2LL) on Monday 21st October at 12 noon until 2 pm.

The appeal will be heard in courtroom 72 Royal Courts of Justice, the case starts at 10.30 am.  

The WCA is detrimental to everyone, but the obvious added stress, anxiety and lack of Atos professionalism in gaining supporting evidence is particularly severe for those with mental health issues.

This system is breaking and we must keep up the pressure for the inhumane WCA to be scrapped completely, as DPAC has always argued.

Please check www.tfl.gov.uk for more travel information 

Accessible toilets around the royal courts:

–         There is an accessible toilet outside Embankment tube station and inside Charing Cross station.

–         There are toilets opposite the Royal Courts but these are not accessible

–         There are also accessible toilets inside the Royal Courts themselves – see page 10 of this booklet: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/courts/rcj/facilities-and-access/Facilitiesservicesleaflet2011.pdf

 

 

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Oct 162013
 

We learned yesterday that the bedroom tax may not save as much money as the public were told. In fact it seems that savings were likely to be £160m less than the official projections of £480m for the first year, according to real data collected by four housing associations since April through a model used in 2012 by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to assess the likely impact of the policy.

But we are missing the real story here. What the report written by Professor Rebecca Tunstall at the University of York’s Centre for Housing Policy tells us is that the projected savings were only possible if none of the affected 660,000 households responded to the policy by moving to a smaller home http://www.york.ac.uk/media/chp/documents/2013/Testing%20DWP%20Assessment%20of%20Impact%20of%20SRS%20Size%20Criterion%20on%20HB%20Costs%20University%20of%20York.pdf.

In other words, the bedroom tax was only going to be cost-effective and produce savings if none of the affected households moved. Why did the government make the assumption that nobody would move? Because it knew that there were not enough 1 and 2 bedroom houses to move into.

But let’s look at the implications of this assumption:

·         The government knew there was a shortage of one and two bedroom houses

·         The government knew that most affected households included a disabled person

·         The government knew that people would fall into arrears or cough up their £14 per bedroom because they had no choice

·         And the government knew that when it talked about fairness and overcrowding it was being disingenuous.

The bedroom tax had nothing to do with fairness as claimed, because the government knew the policy would hurt the poorest and those least able to defend themselves, nor did it have anything to do with helping overcrowded families move into bigger houses, because the government assumed that was never going to happen.

This has to be the most ruthless, manipulative, callous and mendacious government of all time.  

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Oct 152013
 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is engaging with disabled people and disabled people’s organisations on the key issues under the Disability Convention (UNCRPD).

You can find the questionnaire here http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/human-rights/our-human-rights-work/international-framework/un-convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities/the-un-disability-convention-participation-questionnaire/

DPAC is calling on disabled people to tell the EHRC about the impact of this stigmatising government and the concerns we have about the replacement of the social model of disability with the bio psycho social model.

see for more on biopsychosocial model: http://dpac.uk.net/2012/04/a-tale-of-two-models-disabled-people-vs-unum-atos-government-and-disability-charities-debbie-jolly/

 

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Oct 142013
 

TV interested in Atos experiences deaths/suicides/impacts

 

Lucia Ring-Watkins (China TV) is looking to interview the family of somebody who passed away shortly after an ATOS exam and/or a disabled person who has been affected by the ATOS exam for a short news report. Interview will be paired with one from Dr Simon Duffy to look at impact of welfare reform on disabled people.

 

Please call Lucia direct on 07531417686

Or email

luciacctv@hotmail.com

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Oct 142013
 

15th October

ILF judgement will be given ‘soon’ 4-6 weeks.

Big thanks to the 5 brilliant disabled people who took the case, to the solicitors who have done a fantisitic job, and all that supported this- this is about all our futures and its not over yet…

14th October

It was never made clear if we have been given permission or not for the appeal to go ahead (had that confirmed by our solicitors!) But they are letting our barrister go through our arguments and have scheduled our side to finish off tomorrow morning and DWP barrister to present from twelve tomorrow.

The judgment could be not giving us permission to appeal or it could be to uphold our appeal or to dismiss it. …

As you may have seen from tweets, judges’ comments did bring up the whole issue of the courts not being there to micro manage government policy and really questioning our barrister about what evidence there is that the minister did not have due regard (it doesn’t matter that the outcome of the policy is to the detriment of disabled people, what matters for the case is proving she didn’t have all the information when she made the decision).

Our solicitors are pleased so many people being present there today as made a very good impact having so many disabled people in court so many many thanks to those who came.

On to day two…

Solidarity all.

with thanks to Ellen

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Oct 072013
 

As all of you will no doubt be aware, Black Triangle and our sister organisation Disabled People Against Cuts have assembled a first-class legal team to take forward legal action against Local Medical Committees and individual GPs who have launched a disgraceful ‘Just Say No’ to providing Further Medical Evidence Campaign.

This campaign seeks to persuade GPs to deny sick and/or disabled patients the Further Medical Evidence (FME) required to support their ESA applications and achieve justice before First-Tier Social Security Appeals Tribunals.

We have already identified a number of cases with “standing”.

Our law requires that the party, or parties bringing a case before the courts must demonstrate:

“sufficient interest in the matter to which the application relates”

i.e.

“an individual who is directly affected by a decision or other measure” who will on that basis have a “sufficient interest”.

In our case, this means anyone who has requested FME from their GP to support their case with the DWP and has been refused (Their refusal to provide FME is the matter to which our legal action relates).

We now invite as many of you as possible who have been refused FME under this policy to make contact with us immediately so we can progress our case further, in the most legally watertight manner achievable, without further delay.

Sick and/or disabled people deserve and have an absolute right to expect better than this from our medical professionals.

The LMCs ‘Just Say No’ Campaign is a a disgraceful betrayal of patients by LMCs from across Britain.

It is, quite frankly, mercenary behaviour that is both morally repugnant and, as we shall fully demonstrate, unlawful.

We are going to put a stop to it.

In the initial stage, please text John McArdle at 07778316875 with ‘Refused FME by my GP’ in the line. We will then phone you back to discuss your case and take it from there. Alternatively you can email us at mail@dpac.uk.net

Yours in solidarity

John McArdle

Co-Founder

Black Triangle Campaign

 

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 Posted by at 17:59
Oct 062013
 

IDS Has Done It Again

An article published yesterday  in the Express (Saturday 5th October) revealed that 16,500 claimants had found a job after the clamp on benefits.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/434431/16-500-find-jobs-after-clamp-on-benefits

The article refers to people living in benefit-capped households and quotes figures which has been revealed exclusively to the Daily Express, which show that ‘Mr Duncan Smith’s promise to “make work pay” is starting to change a culture where some lifelong layabouts viewed benefits as a limitless cash machine’.

Unfortunately for the Express, Iain Duncan Smith and DWP, these figures were  published on the 3rd of October 2013 and are in the public domain:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/245802/benefit-cap-jcp-activity-sep-13.pdf

What the official figures show is that out of 400,000 households affected by the benefit cap, people in 16,500 of those households had found a job.

16,500 sounds like a large number but it represents only 4% of the households affected by the cap.  Hardly what can be described as a success.

In other words, these statistics show that 16,500 people potentially affected by the benefit cap found a job, but that does not mean that it was the benefit cap that forced these people to find work.

Some people in these capped households would have found work anyway, with or without the cap, so it is impossible to say from the statistics if the benefit cap had any effect.

In fact the official DWP statistics document emphasises this point and warns that The statistics are not intended to show the additional numbers entering work as a direct result of Jobcentre Plus support”.

So what has happened?

Is the Express lying when it claims it has been given exclusive access to these figures?

Or did DWP officials approach the newspaper promising an exclusive which was pure misinformation by manipulating the figures to promote their own agenda.

We don’t know. But one thing is for sure, this isn’t the first time that Duncan Smith and the DWP have been caught doing this.

In May this year, Iain Duncan Smith was strongly criticised by the UK Statistics Authority for making exactly the same misleading claim http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/may/09/iain-duncan-smith-benefits-cap-statistics

Another thing is for sure – Duncan Smith hasn’t heard the last of this.

 

By Annie Howard.

 

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 Posted by at 19:16