Sep 302014
 
poor-doorsWith the Tory’s threatening a new benefit cap and cuts to Local Housing Allowance if they win the next election, it is unsurprising that London’s fucked housing market is emerging as a key site of struggle in the capital.
Two diffrent events this week will highlight the grotesque inequality in a city where global billionaires buy luxury penthouses to keep empty as investments whilst people sleep in the streets below
Wednesday (1st October – tomorrow!) the biggest demonstration against the Poor Doors so far is set to take place.  This weekly protest, outside 1 Commercial Street E1, began after it emerged that the residents in the meagre supply of social housing in this yuppy block of flats are forced to use a different door to the toffs who occupy the luxury properties.
The protests are now in their 10th week and are growing.  Last week the lobby of the building was briefly cccupied, whilst veteran anarchist and fellow blogger Ian Bone, who has supported the protests, was arrested.  Unbowed Bone says tomorrow is “likely to be the crunch as Redrow* and the TSG (riot cops) throw their resources into maintaining apartheid in central London…..we’ve got to win this one.”  Get down to 1 Commercial Street, E1 from 6pm, Wednesday October 1st and show the rich they are the ones who are not welcome in the East End borough of Tower Hamlets.
*Redrow are the property developers behind the poor doors, you can find them on twitter @RedrowLondon
Then on Thursday 2nd October the Focus E15 mums have called for support outside the courts wher Newham Council will attempt to have them evicted from the flats they have occupied on the Carpenter’s Estate in Stratford.
This group of local single parents have been fighting for secure housing for their children ever since they were kicked out of a hostel that Newham Council decided to close to save money.  They have been told they face being socially cleansed from the city and could be rehoused as far away as Manchester.
After repeatedly being snubbed by nasty piece of shit Robin Wales, the Labour Mayor of Newham, last week the group occupied several empty flats on the Carpenter’s Estate which is set to be demolished – no doubt to make way for more yuppy flats.  The council are seeking a possession order at Bow County Court this week and the E15 mothers have called for support – be outside the courts at 96 Romford Rd E15 4EG from 9.30am Thursday October 2nd.
You can also follow the campaign on twitter @FocusE15 and @E15OpenHouse or join them on facebook.
Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth (HASL) have also been fighting against evictions due to welfare reforms and rampant gentrification, follow them @HousingActionSL  Residents of West Hendon Estate in Barnet have faced arrests after fighting the destruction of their homes to make way for million pound flats.  Join their facebook page for more details.
And that’s not all as resistance to austerity, forced work and shit housing bursts back into life.  Next week sees a Week of Action Against Workfare with events already announced in Edinburgh, Bristol, Brighton, Haringey, Central London and even Amsterdam!  Online actions are also set to take place, keep an eye on the Boycott Workfare website for full details.
Meznwhile Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are calling on people to crash the Tory Party Conference Twittersphere by hijacking their hashtag #CPC14.  Send your own tweets or visit DPAC’s website for some of theirs.
Please tweet, blog, share and spread the word about all events and join in if you can.

Reblogged from Johnny Void Blog with thanks

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 Posted by at 14:34
Sep 292014
 

School children will face Jobcentre harassment from the age of 15 whilst claimants thought to have drug and alcohol problems will be paid benefits on smart cards if the Tories win the next election said Iain Duncan Smith in his speech to the party’s conference today.

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18-21 year old who cannot find a job are to be placed on permanent workfare, whilst further caps on Housing Benefits will see yet more cities become unaffordable for anyone currently unable to work – whether this is through sickness, disability, high unemployment or having young children to care for.  And if this wasn’t enough then benefits are to be frozen for two years, meaning a real term cut in the incomes of the UK’s poorest people, whether they are in or out of work.
The smart cards will be for people Iain Duncan Smith thinks have fallen into a “damaging spiral” and are spending all their money on drugs, alcohol and gambling.  Whilst details so far are scant, it seems likely to be similar to the Australian Basics Card which aims to control how benefit recipients spend their money.  The scheme has already proved hugely expensive and has led to people unable to shop at cheaper stores such as Aldi, who government officials say do not meet the “set criteria”.  Predictably Basics Cards have not prevented claimants buying drugs, alcohol or tobacco.  In the UK it is likely to stop people who have genuine problems with drugs or alcohol from seeking treatment in case the Jobcentre find out.  It is a stupid idea, as unworkable as it is callous.  You can see why it would appeal to a nasty fucking idiot like Iain Duncan Smith.
Permanent workfare for 18-21 year old is equally draconian, and equally unworkable – so unworkable that it was actually first announced in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement last year and then never implemented.  Already there isn’t enough workfare to go round, and with resistance to workfare showing no signs of dying down, there will be few community organisatins willing to take part in such an explitative programme.  Meanwhile sending Jobcentre busybodies to harass schoolchildren when they should be studying for their GCSE’s and aren’t likely to be looking for a job or eligible for benefits for two or three years seems little more than a waste of everybody’s time.
With Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms unravelling in all directions and poverty not seen in generations returning to haunt the UK, there was nothing in his conference speech to suggest he has learnt anything from his failure.  The scary thing is, he thinks he is doing a wonderful job – even still pretending that Universal Credit will eventually be rolled out across the country.  Yet across the UK millions of people are facing a Winter where they will face the bleak choice between heating or eating and many will not be able to afford either.
It is horrifying that the Tories seem to think they can win an election by making poor people poorer.  Perhaps more fightening is that the Labour Party have eagerly embraced this vile competion to attack and scapegoat those with nothing.  Whoever wins the next election it will be down to us – unemployed claimants, disabled people, parents and low waged precarious workers – to fight these bastards.  It will be the struggle that defines the neo-liberal age as capitalism rub rampant drives people into the the ground in the name of making more profit for the rich.  We must continue to fight, and we must win.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

re-posted on September 29, 2014 by DPAC written by johnny void with thanks

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Sep 282014
 

Who2Vote4 Logo Crash the Tory Party Conference Twittersphere with DPAC!! (@Dis_ppl_protest)

Use Hashtag: #CPC14 to send your own messages or tweet ours!

 

 

 




220 days till you’re OUT! OUT! OUT! #cpc14


Workfare, Housing Cuts, Food Stamp Smart Cards, Children To Face Jobcentre Harassment, IDS Latest Rantings http://shar.es/1aIvdE #CPC14


A national scandal: 4 million people face chaos in this country and are ignored by the media http://shar.es/1aIvR3 #CPC14


#ILF Recipient John Kelly speaks to BBC #saveilf http://shar.es/1aIvM7 #CPC14


Second Court Case on #saveilf : 22nd&23rd October Join the #DPAC Vigil http://shar.es/1aI71M #CPC14


IDS’s trail of links to global extreme Right http://gu.com/p/gyd9/tw #CPC14


Alice. Cut her throat in a job centre because her learned she was going to lose her DLA #CPC14 #CutsKill


Nicholas Peter Barker, shot himself after learning that his benefits were being stopped http://tinyurl.com/c48oxbk #CPC14 #CutsKill


Craig Monk, 43, hanged himself over worries about his benefits http://tinyurl.com/otho9pq #CPC14 #CutsKill


Edward Jacques, 47 https://www.dropbox.com/s/boe6vjqwrp1essh/Edward%20Jacques.jpeg, overdosed after his benefits were stopped http://tinyurl.com/oyne5vm #CPC14 #CutsKill


Paul Reekie https://www.dropbox.com/s/t3ip32umhnjqrd0/Paul%20Reekie.jpg Scottish writer  killed himself because slash of benefits http://tinyurl.com/ke5jny8 #CPC14


Elaine Christian, 57,killed herself because of worries over benefit http://tinyurl.com/lnswn9z #CPC14 #CutsKill


Martin Rust, 36, killed himself ‘over back-to-work fears’ http://tinyurl.com/d9n89hn #CPC14 #CutsKill


Carl Payne, 42 killed himself because of fears over losing his incapacity benefits http://tinyurl.com/csw89lw #CPC14 #CutsKill


Victor Cuff, 59, hanged himself after sickness benefits were cut http://tinyurl.com/kvz7y85 #CPC14 #CutsKill


Shaun Pilkington, 58, found dead after his benefits were stopped http://tinyurl.com/n5oqqjv #CPC14 #CutsKill


Tim Salter https://www.dropbox.com/s/7e85qlbv3gsdcr9/Tim%20Salter.jpeg killed himself when his benefits were axed http://tinyurl.com/plu8y5q #CPC14 #CutsKill


Jacqueline Harris https://www.dropbox.com/s/xpyw0zrr2jxqa53/%20Jacqueline%20Harris.jpeg ‘killed herself after benefits were stopped’: http://tinyurl.com/o7sycrn #CPC14 #CutsKill


Dying Robert Barlow https://www.dropbox.com/s/p94253bybmi1ga4/Robert%20Barlow.jpeg told by benefits assessors ‘you’re fit to work’ http://tinyurl.com/qzwhrw4 #CPC14 #CutsKill


Mark Wood https://www.dropbox.com/s/324lo7rba6lhwbo/Mark%20Wood.jpeg starved to death in Cameron constituency after losing benefits http://tinyurl.com/mfn3ozj #CPC14


DWP admits it shld have not cut Mark WoodÂ’s benefits.Starved to death in Cameron’s consistency http://tinyurl.com/mfn3ozj #CPC14


Martin Hadfield https://www.dropbox.com/s/0u8eb3fdfub85mr/Martin%20Hadfield.jpeg suicide after being worn down by Job Centre ‘bureaucracy’ http://tinyurl.com/kvbomc2 #CPC14


David Clapson, https://www.dropbox.com/s/anstjmk5r7ghalx/David%20Clapson.jpeg sanctioned to death, served his country. http://tinyurl.com/nh58x2j #CPC14


#DWP put Sheila Holt https://www.dropbox.com/s/5mwxhodq2oqebvq/Sheila%20Holt.jpeg , disabled, in a coma after being hounded onto #workfare http://tinyurl.com/pzrp9vj #CPC14


Karen Sherlock https://www.dropbox.com/s/7uuhateeypvscfu/Karen%20Sherlock.jpeg won her appeal against DWP after she died http://tinyurl.com/pbruwbz #CPC14 #CutsKill


David Coupe https://www.dropbox.com/s/yz6wraoyi5zj3ff/David%20Coupe.jpeg?dl=0 Fit for work&refused reassessment. Died Oct 2013 terminal cancer. http://tinyurl.com/od5t6hs #CPC14


There will never be enough flowers for all the DWP victims http://tinyurl.com/p9szk8e #CPC14 #CutsKill


Terry McGarvey https://www.dropbox.com/s/v4dyvh2vxsutn35/Terry%20McGarvey.jpeg?dl=0 died day after WCA after being hounded by #DWP http://tinyurl.com/kg6oftu #CPC14


Victims of government policy http://tinyurl.com/pos8qet #CPC14 #CutsKill


Colin Traynor, 29 died from epilepsy after his benefits were cut: http://tinyurl.com/mxto5fr #CPC14 #CutsKill


Cameron has blood on his hands http://tinyurl.com/kcuwaoq #CPC14 #CutsKill


Mental health watchdog demands change in law after woman commits suicide over benefits cut http://tinyurl.com/q98pahr #CPC14 #CutsKill


Stephanie Bottrill https://www.dropbox.com/s/mjccsj1hignkjlv/Stephanie%20Bottrill.jpeg committed suicide over the #bedroomtax http://tinyurl.com/c3j4h35 #CPC14 #CutsKill


Victims of austerity: disabled people killed by #DWP, Cameron and this coalition government http://tinyurl.com/ob4xph9 #CPC14 #CutsKill


Cecilia Burns https://www.dropbox.com/s/hj2ibgy0pujrw31/Cecilia%20Burns.jpeg?dl=0 died while appealing while she was found fit for work http://tinyurl.com/8zeaka9 #CPC14 #CutsKill


Man yells ‘I’m sick of this s**t’ before cutting throat in horrifying benefits office protest http://tinyurl.com/ncguo98 #CPC14 #CutsKill


Trevor Drakard https://www.dropbox.com/s/gyw7vatp033nazh/Trevor%20Drakard.jpeg?dl=0 hanged himself when DWP threatened to cut benefits http://tinyurl.com/l34s39m #CPC14


DWP Benefits Farce Leads To Overdose For Blind Heart Attack Victim http://tinyurl.com/kzxshng #CPC14


The welfare rights adviser on a mission to shame Iain Duncan Smith http://gu.com/p/42vbm/tw #CPC14


Appeals and sanctions. More chaos at the DWP http://shar.es/1aI7Hl #CPC14


John McDonnell MP – speech to the house of commons on the #ILF Protest https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUeDMChZFAc #SaveILF #CPC14


The Battle of Whitehall Continues…..#SaveILF https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pLn3RfY1Hs #CPC14


This is happening, Right Here and Right NOW http://tinyurl.com/pfysyum #CPC14


Campaign Pictures for #SaveILF this Party Conference Season http://shar.es/1avjxX via @Dis_PPL_Protest #CPC14


The UK Disabled People’s Manifesto – Reclaiming Our Futures http://tinyurl.com/o7n8o3y #CPC14


‘Every little helps ..’ Pls share these pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest #CPC14


DPAC’s submission to Work and Pensions committee on WCA http://dpac.uk.net/2014/04/dpacs-submission-to-wp-commitee-on-wca/ #ScrapWCA #CPC14


New short film with the Daily Mirror: Save the Independent Living Fund! #SaveILF http://tinyurl.com/lljou25 via @hangbitch #CPC14


Response to the Work and Pensions Committee report into WCA #ScrapWCA #CPC14 http://tinyurl.com/ptngh48


Iain Duncan Smith and the tall tale of the feckless layabouts http://gu.com/p/4xg8m/tw #CPC14


Scrap #PIP disaster now, no more money to corporations for cock ups http://tinyurl.com/pfysyum #CPC14


The ILF Diaries: the difference the Independent Living Fund makes daily #saveilf /part 2 http://shar.es/1avjTn via @Dis_PPL_Protest #CPC14


Stop wasting our money to pay private firms to fail. Bring back in-house services http://tinyurl.com/pfysyum #CPC14


Sign and Share the petition to support #anthonykletzander http://shar.es/1avkYw via @Dis_PPL_Protest #CPC14


A Tale of two Models:Disabled People vs Unum,Atos,Government & Disability Charities http://shar.es/1avyAt via @Dis_PPL_Protest #CPC14


My first book: A is for Activism #saveilf http://tinyurl.com/ocb3tud #CPC14


‘The fight is not over …’ Pls share pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/SGe4EQWmwE #CPC14


‘Cameron scared of us? ..’ Pls share pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/eCnKMtxR3F #CPC14


‘Mobilise,Mobilise,Mobilise’ Pls share pics-full set http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/xBQiXpuKSS #CPC14


‘Its Party Conference Time!’ Pls share pics-full set http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/7Fwt29oRXL #CPC14


#SaveILF Legal Challenge Pls share pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/YCTnkl4vCt #CPC14


Independent Living Fund Media Reports http://tinyurl.com/ngqq33p #SaveILF #CPC14


Tory Welfare propaganda,its a load of lies http://tinyurl.com/qgxpmmb #CPC14


WCA can’t be reformed, Scrap It http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-ATOS-WCA-Factfile.pdf?2c6fce #WCA #CPC14


What will happen if the ILF Closes? Nothing good. http://tinyurl.com/mp7z3wf #SaveILF #CPC14


Read it and weep, a couple of hundred reasons to #scrapWCA http://tinyurl.com/l48q98e #WCA #CPC14


Disability Hate Crime in the News – there is a lot more here http://tinyurl.com/kgz38h8 #CPC14


If this doesn’t leave you crying, you should join the tory party http://tinyurl.com/l8o7oeo #CPC14


Say no to Universal Credit – thousands of years to roll out at this rate. http://tinyurl.com/k8jp5kp #CPC14


Support @Dis_ppl_protest Reclaiming Our Futures alliance a legal right to life and independent living http://tinyurl.com/o7n8o3y #CPC14


Support @dis-ppl_protest and ROF alliance a legal right to inclusive education. http://tinyurl.com/o7n8o3y #CPC14

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 Posted by at 23:55
Sep 272014
 

First ever protest at Tory conference Oct 2010 under the name of Disabled Peoples’ Protest, before the name Disabled People against Cuts (DPAC) was chosen.

DPAC protest pic

see links

Disabled People make History

First call out for first protest

The British Library began archiving the DPAC site from 2011 so know that all on this site will stand as an historical testament of this governments actions towards disabled people and what they are doing to the lives of  millions-we will not give up fighting!

See Kate Belgrave’s excellent piece on DPAC’s recent Westminster Abbey protest

Browse the DPAC archives and DPAC on Flickr for more DPAC actions over the years

see local DPAC contact and facebook groups HERE

Happy Birthday DPAC and thanks to all who have helped make DPAC what it is

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Sep 272014
 

by Linda Burnip

Shortly before the June budget statement from George Osborne in 2010 myself and others attended a training course on the UNCRPD and how it could be used to advance disabled people’s human rights run by Rachel Hurst from Disability Awareness in Action.

It was a pleasant weekend in a posh hotel with lots of free food but then came the budget announcement and it seemed that more needed to be done to protect disabled people’s human rights then sitting comfortably in a hotel. Disabled People’s Protest was born and we decided that disabled people should lead the march against the Tories at their conference in Birmingham in 2010. The police tried to stop us of course as we are all so vulnerable and they feared for our safety but we mustered complaints from around the world against this and they were forced to allow us to do that.

There were about 150+ disabled people who marched or wheeled at the front of a 7,000 strong protest in the pouring rain plus more taking part in a static protest in Chamberlain Square. Our slogan was Cuts Kill and of course we were accused by some of scaremongering but sadly we have since been proven right. Cuts are continuing to kill disabled people almost on a daily basis, malnutrition is rife in the 7th richest country in the world and diseases related to poverty are returning such as scurvy and rickets. This is an obscene public health emergency yet sanctions and the use of food banks continue to increase and poverty and deprivation worsen.

Over the last 4 years it seems like more and more attacks against disabled people have kept happening, our rights have been systematically stripped away and every aspect of our lives are under threat as the Tory killing machine continues to unfurl more and deeper cuts.

But we have achieved much and most of all we’ve shown that disabled people can fight back and will fight back, we are not the easy push over that Iain Duncan Smith and his party henchmen thought we would be. The much hated ATOS is on its way out and not even the nastiest of alternative corporations seems willing to even bid for the WCA contract to replace them. We’ve successfully made ATOS and Capita such toxic brands that they cannot recruit staff.

We’ve taken and supported court cases both to challenge the WCA and to save the ILF putting legal barriers in the way of this unelected government. We’ve had many street protests and carried out numerous direct actions and lobbied parliament and continued to speak at meetings and educate people about access needs and the consequences of cuts.

This year we’re celebrating our 4th birthday back where we started at the Tory Party conference in Birmingham and the Tories may well get an unexpected surprise at conference this time too

As well as that we’re launching our non-party political (due to the transparency of lobbying bill another aspect of the Tories trying to stifle dissent against themselves as they know there is so much) campaign Who2 Vote4 so you’ll be seeing this logo around a lot from now on.

Who2Vote4 Logo
We will be seeking to influence policies which affect disabled people and to get political parties to commit themselves to reversing the cuts we’ve all faced in the past 4 years.

We want you to let us know what is important to you as well. Please post on the blog or email us at mail@dpac.uk.net to tell us what you think we should be asking of our politicians.

More news about our planned activities in the run up to the General Election coming soon.

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Sep 272014
 

by Andy Greene

‘Look into my eyes, deep into my eyes’ the Great Farago will mean no matter what he says to the Circus of Fools that is the UKIP Conference this weekend. As he tries to pull off his latest conjuring trick on the nation: ‘We are the alternative to the status quo’.

Honestly, Nigel, give it up man. We can see the strings. As we all know, magic works best when punters are distracted by the banter from seeing what’s really going on. In this case, the banter is offensive, divisive and harmful. The great feat Farago is trying to pull off is to get you and me to believe that UKIP are alternative to the failed political institutions and systems Westminster has to offer.

They aren’t any kind of alternative. Oh yes, they’ve improved the patter. Yes, Nigel has a pint. Yes, many of them talk about the issues facing working class people across the country in a way that resonates with working class people. But those are their greatest tricks. The ones they’ve been stood in front of the mirror practising for 2 decades. But, look up their sleeves.

Because a vote for UKIP is a vote for the status quo. And worse. Much, much worse. You see what Nigel is offering – himself – as an alternative to the public school educated, bankster loving, gravy-train riding establishment is – wait for it; a gravy-train riding, publicly school educated ex-bankster! Oh and if you think ‘well, that’s just one dude, not a whole party’; then think again. Today, the Mirror tells us that over 90% of UKIP funding comes from disillusioned ex-Tory funders. Their first MP is likely to come from the by-election in Clacton – brought about by the defection of former sitting Tory MP Douglas Carswell.

Hardly the ‘alternative to the same old tired parties’ they espouse on their various national and local party websites. More a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same.

And what of UKIP’s position on disability issues? Many disabled people don’t feel the mainstream parties have anything positive to offer amidst ideas such as work camps for long-term unemployed and disabled jobseekers, assisted suicide bills, IDS laughing his way through disability debates if he can even be bothered to stay at all and Labour determined to be ‘tough on welfare’.

When disabled people are desperately searching for someone to represent their interests against the onslaught of attacks it is not surprising that some have turned to UKIP for an answer.

But UKIP aren’t anything but bad news for disabled people.

Without a credible policy to their name (don’t take my word for it, Nigel called UKIP 2010 election policies ‘rubbish’, and their Head of Policy described them as ‘junk’), we are left with examining what they say and do in public to know their what position is on the 11 million disabled people in the UK.

‘Disabled children are a burden on the state and should be aborted as a foetus’ said Geoffrey Clark. Yes, cuddly old Geoffrey was suspended eventually, and probably loves kittens – but the fact that he thought he was in an environment where this would be deemed acceptable speaks volumes.

‘Are you Richard III?’ perma-fuckup Godfrey Bloom asked a disabled debater (I say asked, he actually interrupted the debater mid-flow) to a disabled person who happened to have a different point of view to him. Presumably, Godfrey would’ve preferred them to be kept at home, keeping the ‘sluts’ company (his word, not mine).

‘Because you are registered disabled, you will not be able to stand as a full UKIP candidate’ went the response to someone who applied to stand on behalf of the party at a previous election.

Then there’s the chilling notion of ‘supporting congregate communities for people with learning disabilities’. ‘Congregate communities?’ What, like special homes? Maybe we would call them something exciting like, camps? Maybe they should wear a special badge, just so we can identify campers? I dunno, maybe something simple like a black triangle? What could possibly go wrong?

So not only do UKIP not offer an alternative to the status quo, the attitudes their representatives show towards disabled people are even worse than anything anyone other than the most out of touch Tory councillor would dare publicly express.

Of course they will be on their best behaviour in the run up to the election. And the media will behave like a kindly uncle at Christmas patting them on the head as if its the greatest trick they’ve ever seen.

So it’s important that those of us who can see past the smoke and mirrors shout loud and expose Farago for the trickster he is.

That’s why DPAC will be marching in Doncaster this weekend, to stand up to UKIP, stand up to racism, homophobia, sexism and disabilism, to say we won’t let our communities be divided by millionaires in disguise, we will stand united and fight for a real alternative, one that UKIP definitely doesn’t offer

UKIP Tories

See also from May http://dpac.uk.net/2013/05/why-the-rise-of-ukip-is-dangerous-for-disabled-people/

and yes we know labour now say they will abolish the bedroom tax, they hadnt at the time this was written

References

http://metro.co.uk/2012/12/19/all-disabled-babies-should-be-aborted-claims-ukip-candidate-3322519/

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/18/ukip-geoffrey-clark-compulsory-disability-abortion-_n_2322798.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2250114/UKIP-candidate-sparks-outrage-calling-compulsory-abortion-foetus-Downs-syndrome-spina-bifida.html

http://blog.ukipwatch.org/2005/01/ukip-scandal.html

http://www.lewes.co.uk/forum/post/ContUKIP_got_em_on_the_run/140952

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Sep 242014
 
by George Berger

 

This is a conceptual history and critique of the methods used in the United Kingdom to assess persons who are ill and in need of financial, moral and social support. I critique their foundations, as they have led to a system that claims to be evidence-based but is scientifically and philosophically so misguided that much harm to ill people has resulted.

Disabled people are at high risk for harm, as the complete assessment regime is perfectly suited to adversely affect them. A good way to see this is to begin with four statements that typify successive stages in the institutionalisation of the methods. I was surprised to find that one physician, Gordon Waddell, started this decline of scientific, philosophical, moral and political integrity.

Waddell could have avoided this by 1998 but he did not. Instead, he and his ideas became parts of the Establishment’s effort to destroy the Welfare State. An American Insurer, UNUM, helped out. I omit some interesting developments, especially the international assault on psychodynamics by behaviourists like Hans Eysenck in the UK and the American philosopher Adolf Grunbaum. Behaviorism prospered politically even after scholars, e.g. Noam Chomsky, successfully destroyed it.

1. “a medical model must also take into account the patient, the social context in which he lives, and the complementary system devised by society to deal with the disruptive effects of illness, that is, the physician’s role and the health care system. This requires a biopsychosocial model.” (George L. Engel, ‘The Need for a new Medical Model: A Challenge for Biomedicine.’ Science, 8 April 1977, Volume 196, Number 4286).

2a “Chronic low back pain disability can only develop with family and financial Support.”

2b “Depending on how you look at it, disability is illness behaviour, and illness behavior is disability).

(Gordon Waddell, The Back Pain Revolution, first edition 1998, pp. 227, 170).

3 “You now have targets – we didn’t. You are audited – we didn’t know what that meant. Somebody looked at our work and we worked well, but we didn’t know what the standard was or whether we were achieving it” (Professor Mansel Aylward, Atos Origin Rapport, Conference Special, July 2004).

These highlight today’s ideology of treating work (labour) as necessary to social and personal well-being, in Northern Europe and America. They display aspects of one policy that is used to enforce and justify cruel work incentives and cuts to individuals’ benefits. The basic principle is to ignore physiological problems as much as possible, by replacing them with simple observable behavioural traits whose presence are claimed to show that one can work, even when in pain, distress and medical danger. I am no social scientist, but enough of a philosopher of science to explain what has happened. The political, economic and historical background has been wonderfully treated elsewhere [1].

George Engel proposed influential ideas of treatment and healing. They derive from the holistic approach of general systems theory that was popular in the USA between, roughly, 1950 and 1980. They explored the relations of internal parts of complex physical systems to each other and to the environment in which such systems exist. Only this totality could explain the functions and dysfunctions of a system. In medicine, this was Engel’s biopsychosocial model, an extension of Claude Bernard’s idea of the ‘internal milieu’ of a living organism. It is well meant, humane, but utopian by today’s standards. A healer (or staff) trained in social, psychological and biomedical studies would be needed to implement it (see 1). It would certainly be expensive. Moreover, societal barriers to proper treatment and a patient’s good life would have to be removed. it combines some counter-cultural, philosophical and strictly scientific ideas that appealed to many, in the ‘golden age’ between 1950 and 1979.

Gordon Waddell is one of the world’s most respected orthopaedic surgeons, a status he used to gain political influence on health policy by perverting Professor Engel’s humanistic model into a tool for depriving ill people of their institutional and financial support. In 1980 he was the head author of the influential paper, ‘Nonorganic Physical Signs in Low-Back Pain’ (Spine, volume 5, number 7, 117-125). It described five bodily ‘signs’ associated with back pain (e.g. reported local skin tenderness) that, it was claimed, are ‘nonorganic, psychological, and social elements that are difficult for the busy clinician to assess,’ and that ‘appeared to have a predominantly nonorganic basis [italics in text].’ These ‘nonorganic physical signs…appear to be completely independent of the conventional symptoms and signs of pathologic conditions of the spine.’ Waddell et al. stated that they were known before they wrote, that they are ‘correlated with failure to return to work,’ and that they might well be ‘more common in “problem patients”.’ The writers used case studies to assert that ‘associated psychological symptoms and social features are usually present to confirm nonorganic physical signs.’ ‘Waddell’s Signs’ are often used to ascribe malingering to benefit claimants. Although Waddell waffles here, his methodology is simply wrong: a bodily state that has no detectable organic causes today can have them tomorrow, if science advances suitably. This obvious point undermines the theory of nonorganic signs.

Dr Waddell used this false theory in 1987, in his ‘A New Clinical Model for the Treatment of Low-Back Pain’ (Spine, volume12 number 7, 632-644), to distinguish acute and chronic pain, physical impairment, personal and social attitudes towards pain and pained persons, and disability. He argued that a sufferer’s ‘perception and interpretation of the significance of the symptoms’ influenced treatment and disability decisions. Indeed, ‘chronic pain and disability become increasingly associated with emotional distress, depression, failed treatment, and adoption of a sick role.’ ‘Chronic pain progressively becomes a self-sustaining condition that is resistant to traditional medical management.’ (My italics.) In ordinary language, Waddell claims that chronic back pain is at least partly a result of a patient’s false beliefs about pain, and a conscious or unconscious adoption of a social role that he/she views as advantageous. He combines these ideas in a perversion of Engel’s model. It reduces the complex unity of biological, psychological and social factors to a person’s ‘illness bahaviour’ in an adopted ‘sick role,’ by citing a 1984 article’s clinical definition of illness behaviour as ‘observable and potentially measurable actions and conduct which express and communicate the individual’s own perception of disturbed health’ (my italics). As Waddell co-authored that article, the definition is merely a restatement of his own idea; its behaviourist-reductionist theme is no feature of Dr Engel’s model and is a travesty of it. I’ll call Waddell’s non-biological, non-social, individualist construct, the BPS model. It is crucial to notice this illicit transformation of a good idea into one whose behaviouristic foundation was rejected for good reasons by philosophers and scientists more than 12 years before this paper was published (see Noam Chomsky’s review of B.F. Skinner’s ‘verbal behavior’ and Ulrich Neisser’s ‘Cognitive Psychology,’ both published before 1970). 2a and 2b show how Waddell distorted Engel’s notions into one barely supported statement and one mere definition. It is quite possible that these ground the non-biological, non-social ‘descriptor’ approach to disability assessments used by UNUM and Atos, developed and applied under contracts with two British governments (Labour and Tory) starting in 1998. If so, then Waddell was either scientifically, methodologically and philosophically ignorant, or was out to set up an assessment programme based on ideas he knew were highly controversial. The transparent falsity of his nonorganic sign system destroys the ‘self-sustaining’ claim, since physiological causes that maintain a condition cannot be excluded. Briefly, his fundamental ideas are scientifically baseless and morally dangerous by normal professional-ethical standards of research and clinical use. Nothing he has written warrants the extreme claims in The Back Pain Revolution, that illness behaviour quite often ‘focuses on money and implies malingering,’ and that it ‘may depend more on… psychologic events than on the underlying physical problem’ (1998: 216, 227). The pseudoscientific BPS model encourages dangerous medical practices and inadequate assessments, since it cannot estimate biological and social contributions to illness [2].

Waddell published a second edition of his book in 2004. In July 2004 Atos Origin (Atos, since 2011) published ‘Looking at the Big Picture,’ a report of a special conference. One of Waddell’s closest associates, Professor Chris Main of Manchester, described the back pain work, stressing psychology. Another, Dr Christopher Bass, applied BPS to ‘Symptoms that defy explanation’ linked to ‘sickness absence.’ He singled out chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic low-back pain, repetitive strain injury and non-cardiac chest pain, as conditions having non-organic (read: psychological) maintaining factors, i.e. Waddell’s self-sustaining processes. Professor Mansel Aylward talked about his use of BPS in his work at Cardiff University between 1985 and 2004 (quote 3). In 1989 he became Senior Medical Officer of the British government. The report notes that Aylward ‘worked closely with [Atos Origin’s] Medical Services’ on ‘LIMA, An intelligent evidence-based electronic report writing programme for Incapacity Benefit’. I’ll add that SchlumbergerSema, a firm acquired by Atos Origin in 2004, developed the first version of LIMA in August 2003. It seems that Aylward helped extend it to a second version by October 2004. Version 2’s technical manual was owned by the ‘Medical Director for DWP [Department for Work and Pensions],’ Dr Andrew Cohen. LIMA software embodies Waddell’s BPS in its ‘descriptors,’ categories that describe a person’s behavioural fitness for types of work. All biological and social influences on a person’s health have vanished; a technological corruption of Engel’s ideas whilst using his term ‘biopsychosocial.’ Waddell’s work led to this scientific and medical disgrace.

To close, note that 2001 through 2006 were critical years. In this period the American insurance company UnumProvident’s John LoCascio attended a conference near Oxford on ‘Malingering and Illness Deception,’ the UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research was set up at Cardiff University, Waddell joined it as a surgeon turned academic, and Aylward became its Director. Its publications and related texts officially established Waddell’s BPS, used it to tragically describe disability as at least partly dependent on an individual’s psychological attitudes, beliefs and personal choice in a social context, and proposed linguistic changes and punitive action to enforce behavioural change leading either to work or minimal (if any) social security. LIMA was developed to do this, as described above. In 2006 Gordon Waddell and A. Kim Burton announced (with provisos neglected in practice) that ‘[W]ork is generally good for health and well-being.’ This completed the harmful and scientifically irresponsible application of Waddell’s misappropriation of Engel, via LIMA’s descriptors, to the illnesses mentioned above. Since these supposedly lacked organic symptoms caused by bodily dysfunctions, a new version of Waddell’s nonorganic signs emerged, which aided claim denials by insurers (esp. UNUM) and governments. Current biological research is finding increasingly more evidence of such causes. Waddell’s pseudoscience started cruel political developments that led to Atos’ notorious disability assessments. Given today’s evidence, any BPS assessment regime like the WCA should be stopped at once [3].

[1] See Jonathan Rutherford’s ‘New Labour, the market state, and the end of welfare’ in Soundings, available at http://www.midmoors.co.uk/Unum/unum_in_uk.pdf, Debbie Jolly’s ‘A Tale od two Models: Disabled People vs Unum, Atos, Government and Disability Charities,’ at http://dpac.uk.net/2012/04/a-tale-of-two-models-disabled-people-vs-unum-atos-government-and-disability-charities-debbie-jolly/ , and Gil Thornton’s ‘Illness as “Deviance,” Work as Glittering Salvation and the “Psyching-up” of the Medical Model: Strategies for Getting The Sick “Back To Work”, ’ at http://internationalgreensocialist.wordpress.com/illness-as-deviance-work-as-glittering-salvation-and-the-psyching-up-of-the-medical-model-strategies-for-getting-the-sick-back-to-work/ .

[2] My philosophical remarks derive from the Scientific Realism of the late Wilfrid Sellars and his followers, especially my deceased good friend Jay Rosenberg, Jeff Sicha, Jim O’Shea and Willem A. de Vries. On Sellars, see http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sellars/ .

[3] I wish to thank Anita Bellows, Gail Ward, Debbie Jolly, Ann Whitehurst, Andy Cropper

and Karen Springer, for ideas, information and support. All of us are members or supporters of the UK’s Disabled People Against Cuts. See http://dpac.uk.net/ .

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 Posted by at 14:46
Sep 242014
 

I am a journalist with BBC Radio Wales.  I’m currently researching a half-hour programme looking at people’s experience of the process of applying for PIP for broadcast towards the end of October.

I’m particularly keen to hear from people who have found delays in the assessment and decision-making processes who would be prepared to share their experiences through a pre-recorded radio interview over the next month or so.

I hope that you are able to help.  Please get back to me if you need any more information.

 

Regards,

Andy Fry

Series Producer, “Eye on Wales”, BBC Radio Wales

Work/Gwaith:    029 2032 2406 or 029 2032 3763

*       Room E1102, Broadcasting House, Llandaff, Cardiff CF5 2YQ

*       Ystafell E1102, Y Ganolfan Ddarlledu, Llandaf, Caerdydd CF5 2YQ

8       mailto:andy.fry@bbc.co.uk

 

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Sep 212014
 

Who2Vote4 Logo    Crash the Labour Party Conference Twittersphere with DPAC!! (@Dis_ppl_protest)

    Use Hashtag: #Lab14 to send your own messages or tweet ours!

 

 


 



C’mon Ed, grow a pair and support Disabled People http://t.co/LyWsKLVO4n #Lab14 #SaveILF #ScrapWCA via @Dis_ppl_protest


 



Hey Rachel “Tougher then the Tories” Reeves, try being fairer than the Tories, Disability isn’t a crime y’know #Lab14 via @Dis_ppl_protest




‘Every little helps ….’ Pls share these pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest #Lab14




New short film with the Daily Mirror: Save the Independent Living Fund! #SaveILF http://www.katebelgrave.com/2014/09/new-short-film-with-the-daily-mirror-save-the-independent-living-fund-saveilf/ via @hangbitch #Lab14




#SaveILF Campaign Pictures for Party Conference Season http://shar.es/1avjxX via @Dis_PPL_Protest #Lab14




The ILF Diaries: the difference the Independent Living Fund makes daily #saveilf /part 2 http://shar.es/1avjTn via @Dis_PPL_Protest #Lab14




Hey Labour! Don’t give in to Tory Propaganda on Social Security http://buff.ly/Z2UqRz @Dis_PPL_Protest #Lab14




Sign and Share the petition to support #anthonykletzander http://shar.es/1avkYw via @Dis_PPL_Protest #Lab14




A Tale of two Models:Disabled People vs Unum,Atos,Government & Disability Charities http://shar.es/1avyAt via @Dis_PPL_Protest #lab14




My first book: A is for Activism #saveilf http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Cockroach-pic-3-A-is-for-Activism.png?8f0b62 @Dis_PPL_Protest #Lab14




#SaveILF News http://t.co/dN4iE4zWto #Lab14




‘The fight is not over ….’ Pls share pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/SGe4EQWmwE #Lab14




‘Cameron scared of us? …’ Pls share pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/eCnKMtxR3F #Lab14




‘Mobilise,Mobilise,Mobilise..’ Pls share pics-full set http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/xBQiXpuKSS #Lab14




‘Young Nick Cleggie ….’ Pls share pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/BkWp8YpySX #Lab14




‘Its Party Conference Time! ..’ Pls share pics-full set http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/7Fwt29oRXL #Lab14




#SaveILF Legal Challenge Pls share pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/YCTnkl4vCt #Lab14




‘A is for Activism….’ Pls share pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/4PA535epYM #Lab14




‘Verbs ….’ Pls share pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/LyWsKLVO4n #Lab14




‘Every little helps ….’ Pls share pics-full set: http://shar.es/1avdfK #SaveILF via @dis_ppl_protest pic.twitter.com/3MlJ6Oz5mF #Lab14




Independent Living Fund Media Reports http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-Independent-Living-Fund-UK-Media-Coverage.pdf?2c6fce #SaveILF #Lab14




Come on Labour, fight Tory Welfare propaganda, cos its a load of lies http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-on-DWP-Abuse-of-Statistics-Final-22-June-2013.pdf?2c6fce #Lab14




The WCA can’t be reformed, Scrap It http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-ATOS-WCA-Factfile.pdf?2c6fce #ScrapWCA #Lab14




What will happen if the ILF Closes? Nothing good. http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-ILF-Closure-Factfile.pdf?2c6fce #SaveILF #Lab14




Read it and weep, a couple of hundred reasons to #scrapWCA http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-Work-Capability-Assessment-UK-Media-Coverage-Issue-2.pdf?2c6fce #Lab14




Disability Hate Crime in the News – there is a lot more here http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-Media-reporting-on-Disability-and-Disability-Hate-Crime-Issue-1-May-2014.pdf?2c6fce #Lab14




If this doesn’t leave you crying, you should join the tory party http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-No-Money-No-Food-No-Heating-Disabled-People-who-have-been-Sanctioned.pdf?2c6fce #Lab14 #Sanctions




Does Labour really think the WCA can be reformed? http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-Reports-of-WCA-Related-Suicides-Issue-1-May-2014.pdf?2c6fce #ScrapWCA #Lab14




This is happening, Right Here and Right Now http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-Six-Months-and-Still-Waiting-Personal-Testimonies-of-PIP-Assessment-Delays.pdf?2c6fce #PIP #Lab14




Appeals and #Sanctions More Chaos at the DWP http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Paper-Appeals-and-Sanctions.-More-chaos-at-DWP-July-2014.pdf?2c6fce #Lab14




The UK Disabled People’s Manifesto – Reclaiming Our Futures http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/UK_Disabled_People__s_Manifesto___Reclaiming_Our_Futures.pdf?2c6fce #Lab14




Sign and Share the petition to support #anthonykletzander http://dpac.uk.net/2014/09/sign-and-share-the-petition-to-support-anthonykletzander/ #Lab14




The Policy Exchange report on #sanctions needs to be challenged http://dpac.uk.net/2014/05/the-policy-exchange-report-on-sanctions-needs-to-be-challenged/ #Lab14




DPAC Response to ‘How Labour would reform the Work Capability Assessment’ #ScrapWCA http://dpac.uk.net/2014/04/dpac-response-to-how-labour-would-reform-the-work-capability-assessment/ #ScrapWCA #Lab14




DPAC’s submission to Work and Pensions commitee on WCA http://dpac.uk.net/2014/04/dpacs-submission-to-wp-commitee-on-wca/ #ScrapWCA #Lab14




Response to the Work and Pensions Committee report into WCA #ScrapWCA #Lab14 http://dpac.uk.net/2014/07/response-to-the-work-and-pensions-committee-report-into-wca-joint-statement-by-bt-dpac-mhrn-and-newapproach/




Disabled people deemed to be acceptable collateral damage by Labour in 2010? http://dpac.uk.net/2014/06/disabled-people-deemed-to-be-acceptable-collateral-damage-in-2010/ #ScrapWCA #Lab14




#ScrapWCA, no descriptors, no computer assessments and no private corporations. http://dpac.uk.net/2014/04/dpac-response-to-how-labour-would-reform-the-work-capability-assessment/ #Lab14




Scrap #PIP disaster now, no more money to corporations for cock ups http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-Six-Months-and-Still-Waiting-Personal-Testimonies-of-PIP-Assessment-Delays.pdf?2c6fce #Lab14




Stop wasting our money to pay private firms to fail. Bring back in-house services http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DPAC-Report-Six-Months-and-Still-Waiting-Personal-Testimonies-of-PIP-Assessment-Delays.pdf?2c6fce #Lab14




Say no to Universal Credit – thousands of years to roll out at this rate. http://leftfootforward.org/2014/09/coalition-misses-universal-credit-target-again/




Support @Dis_ppl_protest Reclaiming Our Futures alliance a legal right to life and independent living http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/UK_Disabled_People__s_Manifesto___Reclaiming_Our_Futures.pdf?2c6fce #Lab14




Support @dis-ppl_protest and ROF allaince a legal right to inclusive education. http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/UK_Disabled_People__s_Manifesto___Reclaiming_Our_Futures.pdf?2c6fce #Lab14


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 Posted by at 17:13
Sep 212014
 

New short film about the fight for the Independent Living Fund I’ve made with False Economy, Ros Wynne Jones at The Daily Mirror, Disabled People Against Cuts and Moore Lavan Films.

The ILF is a fund that disabled people use to pay for the extra care hours (personal assistance) that they need to live full and independent lives. The government plans to close the fund in June 2015 – even though the court of appeal overturned a previous closure decision at the end of last year.

The film features Mark Williams and Daphne Branchflower – two disabled people who talk about their lives and interests, and the central role that ILF funding plays for them. The film also features Angela Smith, a disabled woman who does not receive ILF and must rely solely on her cash-strapped local council care system.

Disabled people will again fight the government for the ILF in court on 22 and 23 October. See Disabled People Against Cuts for regular updates on campaigning and events, and https://www.facebook.com/ILFpostcard to take part in the Save the Independent Living Fund postcard campaign on facebook.

Earlier this year, disabled people occupied Westminster Abbey to protest at government plans to close the ILF. Disabled people have every right to independence and to live their lives just like everyone else expects to. This fight against government can’t and won’t be lost.

We’re all in it together – aren’t we? from Moore Lavan Films on Vimeo.

Reblogged with thanks from Kate Belgrave’s Blog

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 Posted by at 14:02
Sep 212014
 

The Fabulous Brian Hilton has yet again come up with some great images to use during the party conference season.

Please copy these images and tweet them or use them on facebook during the party conference season

Tomasz and his son Peter show support for disabled people and the Save The Independent Living Fund Campaign in their own unique way.  Every little helps, wether its writing to your local MP, lobbying your councillors or painting your neighbours gate.

Download Picture from this link


Download from this link


A is for Activism

Download from this link


 

On the 22nd and 23rd October disabled people will again challenge the government in the High Court over the closure of the ILF

Download from this link


Party Conference Time, grab your placards! Labour - 21st-24th Sept, Tory, 28th Sep-1st Oct, LibDem 4th 8th Oct

Download from this link


Gazing on a young Nick Clegg, who'd have thought he would be in a position help save the ILF - and yet would do nothing

Download from this link


Esther reminds David that if disable people are going to save the ILF we need to mobilise

Download from this link


Fearless David Cameron had no qaulms about entering a nuclear facility. However he was less keen on meeting Disabled People who face becoming prisoners in their own homes if the ILF is closed

Download from this link


Jane explained that the fight to save the ILF is not over and that disabled people still had a few tricks up their sleeve int he run up to the general election

Download from this link


And Jane was right!!! The fight is far from over,

disabled people do have some more tricks up our sleeve to save the ILF.

More announcements to come, watch this space ……

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 Posted by at 12:28
Sep 202014
 
Please sign and share the Petition to free Anthony - - - Follow Latest developments - Anthony Kletzander News

Here is a message from Anthony’s mother Linda, which gives an update on Anthony Kletzander’s situation


 I want to thank you for your support for Anthony and all your powerful supportive comments. Thank you for helping us in trying to get justice for Anthony.  Anthony sends his thanks to all of you. It means so much to him to know that he is not alone in his fight for independent living, and that he has supporters from across the world who understand

Below is an update from my last visit to Anthony at Nua Farm on the 17th September 2014

Thiandi came with me on my visit to Anthony. It was Thiandi’s first visit to Ireland. Thianda travelled from Amsterdam, she also uses facilitated communication. She came with me to show her support and commitment to Anthony and for his campaign. Anthony was , of course, very pleased to see her.

Very soon after we saw Anthony Nua staff told me that Anthony was not allowed visitors on the premises who were not next of kin. This means that he can only be visited by his family. He can no longer  be visited by friends (new or old) or his advocate Joe on Nua premises. The staff then added that we were not allowed to take photographs of Anthony!

We have made a formal complaint to ask where in the regulations it states that the institution prevents visits from friends- or is this just another intrusion that applies only to Anthony in efforts to silence us and the campaign.

Thiandi is returning to Holland completely shocked by the actions of Nua Institution.

I’m sorry I cannot give you a more optimistic update.

We still need many more signatures, every time someone signs the petition an email goes to the Irish Taoiseach ( Prime Minister) and to key people at HSE to ask them to organise a meeting with the support organisation that has offered to support Anthony in his own home.

I am asking for your support, again- please share the petition: email it to friends, write about it on your blogs and web sites, share on Twitter and Facebook.

It takes minutes but could mean the difference between Anthony staying at Nua under intolerable conditions or having the independent living he so wants and deserves.

Please continue to share the petition and Anthony’s story.

We will update again when we can

For more information please see one of the many sites carrying our interview on Anthony: http://freeanthonyk.blogspot.co.uk/

Thank you all again for your continuing support, Linda


Previous Posts:

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 Posted by at 20:29
Sep 192014
 

Katy a journalist from BBC South Today, regional TV News for Hampshire, Dorset, West Sussex and a bit of Surrey is looking into what impact the change to Personal Independent Payments has had on disabled people in the South – She is currently finding out how many people who’ve applied for PiP since it was rolled out have been successful and would like to hear from anyone who has unsuccessfully applied for PiP – or has had severe delays with their application. She’s interested to kow how this has affected you whether it’s had a financial impact or just been more stressful than the old system.
If you are willing to talk to Katy she’ d be grateful if you could contact her on 02380 374540, 07732 986357 or email katy.austin2@bbc.co.uk.

 

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 Posted by at 22:29
Sep 192014
 

Mark Williams Photo Diary

4th September 2014

A_supermarket_shop

I like to shop for my own food. I don’t like my PAs to do it on their own. This way I am able to choose what I want. Without the ILF I would not be able to have the choice over where and when to shop.


 

Anne Pridmore

2nd September

I and PA go shopping for food for friends party the next day. My PA drives me to shops and pushes trolley round for me. In the afternoon we take the dogs for long walk (me in wheelchair) up the canal.

6th September

My PA and I start preparing the afternoon tea for friends birthday party me doing the supervising. Have to get her to go to shops to get an extra loaf. In the afternoon she drives me to party, puts out food and helps make tea and coffee. In the evening we decide to treat ourselves to a meal out. We decide to go on foot or in my case on wheel. On the way back get caught in down pour – no problem as PA here to change clothes. Before I had ILF I used to have to dry myself off with a hairdryer but mainly found myself sitting in wet clothes up to six hours.

8th September

Went to London with PA to go round portrait gallery – toilets all very difficult. In the evening we went to see a friend in a one woman shows in SOHO. Really enjoyed it without ILF none of this would be possible. Got home at 10.30 straight to bed shattered but invigorated.

10th September

Had lie in then in afternoon my PA drove me to Leicester did some shopping called to M and S for slice of cake and tea. Then drove to meeting of Left Unity.

11th September

My PA drove me to seminar on the Care Act some 18 hours from my home. On return she prepared lunch whilst I worked on my web site. Had dinner prepared by PA the she drove me to choir.

12th September

PA drove me to teach my IT student waited the drove me back. This evening she will be taking me to play in a scrabble contest.

13th September

Had lazy day left note for my PA so I did not get up until 10.00am felt shattered

14th September

Did lots of paperwork with my PA with whom I trust with anything confidential. Watched some TV had an early night

15th September

Had split in rota today as had change of PAs at 5.00pm. This was mutually agreed because my PAs usually work a 24 hr shift which is a positive with ILF

16th September

Had early dinner as off to bridge club. PA drove and waited with me in case I need to use the toilet. First time with new bridge partner seemed to get on quite well. Much better to be able to play with real people not just on the internet.

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 Posted by at 17:14
Sep 192014
 

There are some fringe events at the Labour Party Conference that we would like as many MPs as possible to attend, so please help ask by tweeting or emailing Labour MPs to invite them.


Real Britain fringe:

‘Putting the People back into Politics”

Sunday 21st – 12.30pm-2pm Unite Marquee
Veteran Harry Leslie Smith, sanctions campaigner Gill Thompson, Len McCluskey, Tom Watson, chaired by Kevin Maguire.

This event is inside the secure zone, so only delegates to the conference can attend.


Policies for a Labour Victory

Monday 22nd September, 18.30 onwards

Cross Street Chapel, Manchester M2 1NS.

Speakers Include

  • Owen Jones,
  • Dennis Skinner MP,
  • John McDonnell MP,
  • Ian Lavery MP,
  • Rehana Azam GMB National Officer,
  • Ian Hodson, President Baker’s Food and Allied Workers Union
  • Ellen Clifford, Disabled People Against Cuts

Event organised by Labour Representation Committee, see the facebook event page

This event is outside of the secure zone so anyone can go. Free Entry.

LRC Policies for a Labour Victory Poster


 

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 Posted by at 16:26
Sep 172014
 

We are getting information that people in the ESA Support Group are being required by JobCentre Plus offices to attend Work Focussed Interviews, under threat of benefits being withdrawn if you don’t go.

According to the DWP Webpage, if you are in the Support Group you “You don’t have to go to interviews, but you can ask to talk to a personal adviser. “, which should mean that they cannot require you to attend.

We are going to look closely at this and do whatever we can to get this stopped, but in order to do that we first need to gather information about how widespread this is, which areas it is happening in and how long it has been going on.

So we are asking for people to come forward if you are in the ESA Support Group and have been contacted by your Jobcentre to attend an interview, we would really like to hear from you, please email us at mail@dpac.uk.net and we will get back to you

We will never disclose your name or personal information without  your permission, but we may ask you if we can use your case to campaign against this. If you say no to this we will not use the information in any way, and your information will still help us to understand what is happening.

 

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 Posted by at 14:47
Sep 162014
 

Sign petition by clicking here

Wording of petition

Enda Kenny and HSE stop the human rights abuse of Anthony Kletzander in Ireland

Anthony was an active member of our local community and well known by the people in Raheny. He was actively involved in his local church, library, and a gym member for years. He attended university, dined in the local universities and public places and enjoyed regular visits from his parents, three younger siblings, grandfather and extended relatives. For 3 years Anthony had independent living with personal assistants to support him living in a home of his own near his family and friends. He was living the life he wanted to live, as any man in his twenties.

In 2013 HSE refused to continue to support him in Independent Living in a home of his own, for reasons that they will not share with us. Anthony was forced into institutional care and residential homes: initially Redwood in Co. Meath Ireland and then being transported by Nua HealthCare in Co Kildare Ireland, over 150 kilometres round trip from the family home to a unit in Nua Health Care. Last week Nua moved Anthony to another Nua unit against our wishes so Anthony has been re homed three times in the past year causing serious damage to Anthony. We his parents only learnt that Anthony had been rehomed in the Nua service when his mother and a friend went to visit him at his original Nua unit or “house”. This human rights abuse is totally unacceptable. He is now socially isolated from his family and local community.

Although Anthony has been institutionalised for almost a year, due to the fact that staff are not trained up in Anthony’s communication Anthony is unable to make any phone contact with us whatsoever and Nua staff do not bother phoning us. We found a company to train staff in Anthony’s communication, but that offer was ignored. So Anthony remains effectively silenced. Because our visit is 150 km round trip we spend every minute of every day worrying about his health and safety.

Anthony is becoming more and more fearful and has been in hospital three times by emergency ambulance times because of treatment at the residential homes/institutions. He tells us to tell the institution to stop giving him the medication ( he was medication free before being institutionalised but is now being forced medication against his and us his parents wishes, Nua are fully aware of our objections) . He asks us constantly to get him out so he can have his own life through independent living again, and be close to the people he loves. We all want him back under the care of our family GP of more than 8 years who genuinely cares about the health and safety of our son Anthony.

An organisation in Dublin has offered to arrange support for Anthony live in a home of his own again, and live independently, but HSE refuse to discuss this option-despite it being what Anthony wants and despite having an organisation ready to offer the support to make this happen.

Hearing Anthony constantly asking that he be returned to Independent Living, to live near to his family, who he does not see often enough-to be released from institutionalisation is heart breaking for us as a family to hear. We have always listened and been led by Anthony and we feel extremely helpless in helping Anthony to live the life he chooses. To be constantly knocked back by the HSE and the institutions is extremely difficult for us.

The petition is for Enda Kenny and HSE to call an open meeting to discuss returning Anthony to the life he wants. The meeting should take place before the end of October 2014. The meeting should be attended by the support organisation offering to support Anthony, by Anthony ( with his communication aid), his family, Anthony’s chosen advocate Joe Whittaker, and the press. The meeting will be to discuss the arrangements to return Anthony to independent living, to his family and his community to allow him to resume his life, as any 26 year old man.

Linda Kletzander (Mother)

Joe Whittaker (Advocate)

HSE and assorted want to shut this whole thing up-dont let them-instead show them that this story will not be buried or silenced. Human rights abuse must always be exposed

see also: DPAC threatened with legal action for supporting Anthony Kletzander: parents interview

 

 

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Sep 152014
 

Welcome the Tory Party Conference to Birmingham!

On the day that the Tory Conference opens in Birmingham the Midlands TUC has called a protest and festival.
Sunday 28th September
11am – 4pm
Victoria Square, Birmingham
Speakers at the demonstration include:
Owen Jones
Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary
Gerard Coyne, UNITE west midlands regional secretary
Lee Barron, Midlands TUC regional secretary
After the event there will be a follow up meeting to discuss organising for the coming strikes and TUC demonstration called by People’s Assembly, Unite the Resistance, Birmingham Against the Cuts, Birmingham TUC – 2pm, Joint Stock Pub (by the cathedral).
More details to follow.

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 Posted by at 22:44
Sep 152014
 

Statement on Bristol Green Group’s motion on the future of the Independent Living Fund 16 September 2014.

 

Bristol Disability Equality Forum (BDEF) support Bristol Green group’s motion on the future of the Independent Living Fund (ILF.)

 

Having led local campaigning and held discussions with representatives across all the major parties within Bristol, we call on our Mayor to support this motion. This is an opportunity for our city to support the rights of it’s Disabled citizens to live independent lives.

 

The ILF has made it possible for thousands of Disabled people with high support needs to live in their own homes, contribute to family and community life and to take part in work and education. The closure of the ILF will have a drastic impact on these Disabled people, their family members and communities.

 

The ILF has supported a diverse group of Disabled people, including people with learning difficulties, and also autistic people.  The ILF has made it possible for people to live at home with their families and with the support of their choice. Bristol is in the shadow of Winterbourne View, so the alternative is never far from our thoughts.

 

The threat of living an isolated existence, or being forced into residential care, is very real for ILF recipients in Bristol, many of whom are Forum members. There are also many other Disabled people who have been denied this vital support, since the ILF was closed to new applicants in 2010.

 

This all has come at a time when Disabled people have already been hit the hardest by welfare reform, cuts to services and combined impact of austerity measures.  It is for these reasons that we view the closure of the ILF as part of a wider agenda that affects all Disabled people.

 

The closure of the ILF will shift responsibility to local councils, placing already cash-strapped authorities under more financial pressure.  This will increase the risk of councils failing to meet their public duties, resulting in legal challenges and further appeals.

 

The ILF has created thousands of jobs and meant that central government  funding is spent and re-invested locally. The ILF is one of the most cost effective public sector schemes1, with just 2% spent on administration much less than local councils. The satisfaction ‘user rate’ for the ILF is over 97%2.

The Government accept that the ILF is more flexible than the services provided by some councils. The government have also stated that most current ILF recipients will face changes to support or reduction in funding.3

 

Closing the ILF is also likely to result in an increase in spending in the long-term, as result of reduced health and wellbeing and increased pressure on more expensive services.

 

Government has claimed that developments such as Direct Payments, Personal Budgets and new duties on councils under the Care Act mean that the ILF is no longer needed. This ignores the evidence of Disabled people and organisations with direct experience of both systems. The Government has not prevented the care and support ‘post-code lottery’. These developments have not reduced the variation and disparity between local councils, both in how direct payments can be used and in the services available.

 

We feel strongly that the success of this Government funded, centrally administered scheme that is ring-fenced for those that need it most, should be built upon. This should happen by re-opening and expanding the ILF, with Disabled people playing a central role in decision making.

However, as proposed in the motion, should the ILF close, ring-fencing of funds from central government and the full involvement of Disabled people in all parts of the process is essential. This is needed to ensure our rights to independence, to live in the community, to choices equal to others and access to a range of services.

As Disabled people we want to do the ordinary things in life that many take for granted, to live and not just exist.

 


References

 

1 & 2. ILF Annual Report and Accounts 2013 – 2014

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/321510/ilf-ara-2013-14.pdf

 

  1. 3.Equality Impact Analysis ‘Closure of the Independent Living Fund with transfer of responsibility and funding to local authorities inEngland and the devolved administrations in Scotland and ’ DWP 2014:

 ‘It is almost certain that closure of the ILF will mean that the majority of users will face changes to the way their support is delivered, including the real possibility of a reduction to the funding they currently receive. This is because the ILF funds some aspects of care that some local authorities do not and may also provide different levels of flexibility in the use of such funding.’

 

Notes

 

Bristol Disability Equality Forum (BDEF) is an organisation of Disabled people, open all that identify as Disabled people, regardless of impairment in Bristol area. We develop projects and campaign to increase Disabled people’s inclusion, influence, equality and access to services.

 

The BDEF ILF Action Group was formed after a conference on the future of the held in Bristol in September 2013. The conference was organised by the BDEF, working alongside West of England Centre for Inclusive Living (WECIL) ILF and Council staff. Disabled people at the conference decided to form their own group, in order to campaign, share information and ensure direct involvement in any developments relating to the ILF.

 

For further information, please contact Laura Welti, BDEF Manager or Mark Williams, BDEF Co-Chair.

 

Bristol Disability Equality Forum Main Office:

 

E-mail:       bristoldef@gmail.com

Tel:             0117 914 0528.

Web:          www.bristoldef.org.uk

 

BDEF ILF Action Group:

 

E-mail:       ilf.bristoldef@gmail.com

Text:           07867 690 422

 

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Sep 132014
 

DPAC has removed our most recent piece on Anthony Kletzander from our website due to a ‘cease and desist’ letter from solicitors representing Nua Healthcare threatening legal action against us for raising awareness of the case. DPAC have published pieces on Anthony and his situation since late 2013. We firmly believe that Anthony’s desire for independent living, instead of institutionalisation should be upheld, as per Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We also believe that we have a duty to raise public awareness on Anthony’s experiences.

We will continue to campaign and to support Anthony, his parents: Linda and Sigi and his chosen advocate Joe Whittaker in any way we can. Anthony’s parents Linda and Sigi kindly agreed to an interview from their home in Ireland. We are grateful for their time and honesty.

Interview
As you may know supportive web sites and grass root disability groups in the UK and Europe received a solicitors ‘cease and desist’ letter regarding talking about Anthony’s circumstances, we can not talk about that specifically, but as Anthony’s parents and his legal guardians-what are your thoughts on:
 
a) the suggestion of the protection Anthony’s ‘confidentially’ :what has Anthony said to you on this, what is it that he wants to say about his circumstances? And as his parents what is it you would like to say?

Anthony repeatedly asks us to get him out of Nua and that he wants independent living in his own home near to his family. We fully support Anthony and take our lead from Anthony. He wants us to do whatever is necessary to help him to get back to independent living

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b) We understand that Anthony’s chosen means of communication has been denied, can you tell us a bit about that?
Despite the fact that Nua were given Speech and Language reports from two Health Service Executive (HSE ) Senior Speech and Language Therapists, Speech and Language report from Central Remedial Clinic Speech Therapist and Marion Stanton communication expert in U.K no staff at Nua are trained up in his communication  Marion offered to come to Ireland (in March 2014) to train Nua staff, but Nua did not invite her over in fact Noel Dunne said on the phone that they would get their own experts.

IMG_0030

2.Anthony lived in his own flat with his own personal assistants for almost 3 years – why do you think it is proving so difficult for Anthony to exercise his right to independent living by living in a place of his own choosing now?
 

Having had independent living from 2010-2012 with Cheshire Ireland where Cheshire took a back seat, we recruited Anthony’s staff with Anthony, put together a schedule which Anthony helped in planning and we negotiated with Dublin City University (DCU) and Anthony attended DCU lectures which is something he always wanted to do. In 2013 Anthony service was given over to Áiseanna Tacaíochta Network (ATN) by HSE with no meaningful negotiations with Anthony or us, no explanation was given. Martin Naughton the Director of ATN carried out the negotiations with Geraldine Murphy HSE Disability Manager. Martin then imposed his staff on Anthony, none of which believed in Anthony’s communication and Anthony’s whole quality of life suffered a great deal under the service of ATN. Martin tried to dictate visiting hours for Anthony, restricted his movement. Basically we had to go to Anthony’s home every evening to take Anthony out as he was effectively under virtual house arrest. Martin also applied to the Dept of Social Protection to have Anthony’s personal disability allowance payment paid into the ATN company. Following Martin’s email we contacted the department objecting and it took about a year to sort out the stoppage of Anthony’s payment due to ATN’s actions.

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3.What does Anthony say to people fighting the campaign to get him independent living?

Anthony continues to ask us to keep the campaign going. He also appeals to us to ask Nua to stop the forced medication on him. Anthony has know Joe (Whittaker) for about 11 years and always asks us to ask Joe to continue the campaign for him.  We always reassure Anthony that Joe and we his parents are continually campaigning and won’t stop until Anthony is released to Independent living. We need to keep repeating this to Anthony to try to help him to survive his time with the Nua institution

4 What efforts have HSE made to discuss Anthony’s wishes for independent living with you and Anthony?
 
Possibilities Plus offered HSE their service to provide Independent Living. Geraldine Murphy has told them that as far as she is concerned the Nua arrangement is permanent.  We continue to write to Sheila Marshall the other Disability Manager involved.

5.Who do you recognise outside the family as closest to Anthony and who has Anthony chosen as an advocate?
Anthony chose Joe Whittaker as his advocate and we keep Anthony informed about the campaign. We Anthony’s parents feel encouraged and very appreciative of Joe’s on going support. We are all grateful that many more people know what is going on and we really appreciate all the support that Anthony is being given by growing numbers of people.

6.Prior to Anthony being institutionalised did Anthony have a history of hospitalisation

No, prior to ATN taking over the management of Anthony service, Anthony was on a strict gluten and dairy free diet. He was not given ANY medication but took natural supplements. When ATN took over Anthony’s service ATN stopped Anthony’s special diet against the advice of the family doctor claiming that they found him to be “often hungry”. This caused Anthony pain and subsequently contributed to his virtual “house arrest”.

7.When did forced medication start for Anthony

Anthony was medication free when he entered Redwood ( a prior institution). However three days after he entered Redwood we got a phone call confirming that Anthony’s crucial special gluten and dairy free diet was not being adhered to by Redwood and that they were giving him medication.

8.Did Anthony have a history of being hospitalised prior to being institutionalised

No. Despite the fact that we gave Redwood Anthony’s GP letter and met with Management when we were told that Anthony was been given medication and that his diet was not adhered to. Anthony was hospitalised by emergency ambulance with seizures for the first time in his life. Tests showed no epilepsy.

9.Did Nua continue with the drugs regime

When Anthony started in Nua he was not drugged according to our information. However in March 2014 Anthony was admitted to hospital by emergency ambulance. Since Anthony started in Nua he has been admitted twice to hospital by emergency ambulance and continues to be medicated.

10.Did Nua give you the list of Anthony’s medication

No despite the fact that we repeatedly asked Nua for the list of Anthony’s medication they refused to give it to us. We finally got the list of medication when our solicitor requested the medication list from HSE when Sheila Marshall, Disability Manager issued the medication to our solicitor so we then had access to this crucial information.

11.How does Anthony spend his weekdays

When Anthony started at Nua we attended a conference explained the significance of training for staff of Anthony’s communication. We also told everyone who attended the meeting from HSE and Nua that Anthony hates farms.  He attends the Nua farm daily where we recently witnessed Anthony shovelling manure into a wheelbarrow in a highly distressed state and being told “good boy keep going”. Anthony is a 26 year old man not a “boy”.

photo anthony

12.How did Anthony appear on your recent visit to him on the Nua farm

When we drove into the car park we could hear Anthony’s anguished sounds and rushed to find him. We were shocked to see him shovelling manure into a heaped wheelbarrow. Anthony’s anguished sounds increased significantly whilst bringing the heaped wheelbarrow down the very steep hill to the lower Nua gardens. We emailed Nua voicing our concerns but received a registered letter from Nua yesterday informing us that Anthony has been returned to the farm as of 8 September 2014 so we continue to worry significantly about Anthony’s health and safety in Nua.

13. What would you say to parents/people in a similar situation to that of Anthony?

We would say never give up. Everyone is entitled to be listened to, no one’s basic human rights should be abused. We would encourage people to speak up if they can.

14.What would you and Anthony say to the people supporting Anthony?
Anthony is continually thanking people for their support which he needs to stay strong. Anthony is particularly grateful to his and our friend Joe Whittaker

Video of Anthony typing thank you to supporters

Sign the Petition to stop this here

If you can help please contact Anthony’s chosen advocate Joe: whittakerjoe5@gmail.com

Abbreviations

ATN Áiseanna Tacaíochta Network
DCU Dublin City University
DPAC Disabled People against Cuts
HSE Health Service Executive: responsible for the provision of healthcare providing health and personal social services for everyone living in Ireland, with public funds.

 

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Sep 122014
 

TTIP: The ‘harmonization’ of regulation for the benefit of corporations

Negotiated in secret and widely opposed by civil society and community groups, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) calls for the ‘harmonisation’ of regulations between the United States and the E.U.  Safety, Health and Environmental regulations in all areas are expected to be decimated if this anti-democratic re-write of common protections for workers, the environment, and the public is permitted.  Corporate interests with privileged access to the negotiating process hope to achieve technocratic control of regulatory science. To learn more come to this public discussion event:

Speakers:

  • Linda Kaucher – Stop TTIP!
  • Wendy Grossman – Open Rights Group
  • plus tbc speaker on fracking/GMOs/chemical regulation

Monday October 6th, 7-9pm @ The Feminist Library, 5 Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7XW

Organized by Breaking the Frame www.breakingtheframe.org.uk

Breaking the Frame (BTF) working group supports the October 13th Day of Action on TTIP. For more information or to find your local action http://www.nottip.org.uk/

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 Posted by at 23:29
Sep 112014
 

This is the Guide to the Oakley Report and the government’s response on JSA sanctions written by David Webster, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Urban Studies at Glasgow University.

This guide explores the remit of the review, the areas covered or left untreated, the concerns raised or ignored, and the recommendations. It also looks at the government’s response and at the recommendations the government accepted for implementation.  In spite of the positive spin the government put on its response, only 7 out of the 17 recommendations have been accepted and two do not have a fixed timescale.

The government defined very narrowly the terms of reference for the sanction review, which was only supposed to look at the communication issues with claimants and it chose to carry out this review an academic working for a right-wing think tank, who supports sanctions and had even been instrumental in promoting the rationale and the need for sanctions.

The government has also put a veil of secrecy over the contributors to this review, with a few exceptions.

In spite of this, the review is more critical than the government expected, but it does not take away the need for a wider independent inquiry into the sanctions system.

This briefing has been published on the DPAC website with the kind agreement of Dr David Webster .

You can download the report from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1xBBs-iUSwleUFDRlFmNnhQSWM

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 Posted by at 22:05
Sep 112014
 
Motion to be debated at full council on Tuesday 16th September
The ability to be able to live independently is a fundamental right for disabled people – it is enshrined in Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [1]. Over 18,000 disabled people in the UK, including over a hundred in Bristol, are only able to live independently by accessing the support they need through the Independent Living Fund (ILF).
Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett holding a Save ILF Postcard
Therefore, the Coalition Government’s decision to close the ILF will have seriously repercussions for many of our fellow citizens, denying them the right to choose to live in their own home, and to be active members of their local communities.
On Wednesday, the Bristol Green Party will ask the council to vote to ring-fence all funds transferred from the ILF, and to call upon the national leaders of the main political parties to reverse the closure of the ILF.  If passed, it is believed that Bristol will become the first city to take an official position against the closure of the ILF.[2]
“We are calling for the funds that will be transferred locally to be ring-fenced but we also need any future national government to commit to providing the necessary resources to enable disabled citizens to live independently.” said Tony Dyer, the Green Party candidate for Bristol South, “Welfare reform, including changes to incapacity benefit and the introduction of personal independence payments have badly affected many disabled people – they have too often borne the brunt of this government’s cuts.
“Changes to the ILF fund in particular are causing stress for many people who depend on the fund for their support needs and who fear that it will be cut” he continued; “Disability rights groups are also concerned that some people who will have been eligible for ILF support have not been able to apply to the fund since it was closed to new applicants and thus we are also calling for the Council to ensure that these people are not forgotten.”
What is the Independent Living Fund? [3]
The ILF was originally set up in 1988 as a national resource dedicated to the financial support of disable people, enabling them to choose to live in their communities rather than being forced in to residential care.
The ILF is amongst the most efficient of all public sector organisations, with administration costs of just 2% compared to an average of 16% for local authorities. It also has a 98% satisfaction rating amongst its users. In addition, the average weekly ILF fund of £345 to allow disabled people to live at home should be compared with an average weekly cost to the taxpayer of £738 per week to provide residential care.
Despite this exemplar performance, the Coalition government announced in December 2012 it will close the scheme.  This decision was subsequently overturned at the Court of Appeal where a judge found that the decision breached the government’s equality duty.
However, the Coalition Government has since repeated its intention to close the fund in June 2015 and transfer its funding responsibilities to local authorities but has only committed to funding local authorities for one year. Disabled groups have already stated their intention to also challenge this decision in the courts. Meanwhile, in August, the UK became the first country to be the subject of an investigation by a high level United Nations commission into “grave violations” of the rights of disabled people. [4]
“I am proud that the Green Party is raising this issue with the Council.”

said Rob Telford, Green Party councillor for Ashley. “The UN  human rights investigation to find out if Coalition Government policies have led to ‘grave violations’ of the rights of disabled people comes in the wake of studies showing that those with disabilities have been impacted disproportionately by the cuts – almost 20 times as much. Here in Bristol we must aim to do everything we can to ensure disabled people can live independent, dignified lives and be allowed to contribute to our communities. Any effective future solution needs to directly involve disabled people themselves in the decision making process”
Many of the actions called for by the Greens are based on the concerns raised by Disability Rights UK following responses to Freedom of Information requests sent to all the relevant local authorities.  Only 10 local authorities confirmed they were planning to ring-fence ILF transfer funding. [5]

 

References
(1) United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml
(2) Green Party motion to full council on Independent Living Fund is now available on the Council website – it is motion a, under agenda item 10 – and will be the first motion debated
(3) House of Commons Library Standard Note on the Independent Living Fund is available here; http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN05633/independent-living-fund
UK is first country to face UN enquiry into disability rights violations
(5) Most councils will not ring fence ILF resources
Further Information on
Tony Dyer (named as Green Party candidate in Bristol South)
Rob Telford, Green Party councillor for Ashley Ward

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 Posted by at 14:02
Sep 112014
 

SERTUC disability workers open meeting –

“How will Labour improve the lives of disabled people?”

Speakers:

Kate Green MP, Shadow Minister for Disabled People

Paula Peters, Disabled People Against Cuts. (DPAC)


 

Date: Thursday, 30th October 2014

Time: 430-7.00 pm

Venue: TUC Congress House, 23-28 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B  3LS.

Please e mail sertuc@tuc.org.uk to register a place


 

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 Posted by at 11:13
Sep 102014
 

Reblogged from Fuel Poverty Action Group

After a lovely warm summer colder weather is on the way. As the weather gets colder we know many people’s thoughts will turn to their energy bills and to thinking about ways to stay warm over the winter. But we don’t have to struggle alone!

Fuel Poverty Action are ready with events and workshops and have resources that will support you or group to keep warm, fight the Big Six and to demand a energy system that works for all of us.

Invite us along to your meeting -we can speak about fuel poverty, just listen to you or we can do:

‘Energy Rights’ workshops. Think you’re getting ripped off? Being pushed onto an unwanted prepayment meter? Got debt you can’t pay? Not sure what your landlords are allowed to do regarding energy bills? Want to learn what your rights are when dealing with energy companies and what you’re entitled to?Invite us to put on our energy rights workshop- learn how to get the most, and pay the least, out of the current energy system and get together to think about ways we can help to protect each other from the brutality of the energy companies. We can do it in an hour, or less or more, and it can slot into your usual meeting or we can put on a special workshop. Interested? Email: fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com and/or a…
‘Keep Warm Cafe’ Want to find out ways to save money on your bills, how to insulate your home very cheaply or avoid a prepayment meter? Just want to chat about what’s wrong with the energy system over a cup of tea in a warm space? Invite us to the venue you use, give us a slot in your meeting or we can put on a special ‘Keep Warm Cafe’ at a time convenient to you. We can talk about ways to keep warm, ways to fight off the energy companies and we can discuss ideas about what we want to do about the unfair energy system. We’ll bring biscuits!  Interested? Email: fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com
Also,
Come to the launch of our Energy Bill of Rights at the House of Commons on 27th October, 5pm! The government tells us that the energy system is broken and the best we can hope for is a few pounds off our rip-off bills but we think there needs to be an energy revolution where we all have access to affordable, sustainable energy that isn’t supplied by aggressive money-hungry companies. We’ve put together an Energy Bill of Rights that we hope will encourage all of us to stand up to the energy companies, from energy bill debt to the Big Six profiteers destroying our climate. We’re launching it at the House of Commons and we want you to be there. Interested?Email: fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com
Please share our facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/361093010682602/?fref=ts
Sign up to and endorse our Energy Bill of Rights! We need individuals, groups and organisations to tell us why they think the Energy Bill of Rights is needed. Send us a couple of sentences about why you think the Bill is needed and why it’s relevant to you and your group. Email us: fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com 
And check out our free online guide ‘In trouble with your energy company? A mini-guide to your rights’ , please print and share! http://www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/home-alternative/info-advice/

We’ll be printing copies in the coming month so if you would like a few (or more!) please do let us know!

We declared our Energy Bill of Rights in May 2014. Last winter 10,000 people died from fuel poverty whilst energy companies made billions of pounds off of expensive and dirty energy.
We want groups to sign up to and endorse these rights! Get in touch if you want to.

Energy Bill of Rights Poster

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 Posted by at 22:42