Aug 312015
 

Press Release

For Immediate Release

DPAC triggers UN inquiry into grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights

The UN Inquiry and UN visit to UK to examine the grave and systematic violations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was initiated by DPAC.

This inquiry is the first of its kind-it has great historic importance. It means the UN will examine the vicious and punitive attacks on disabled people’s independent living as well as the cuts which have seen so many placed in inhuman circumstances and has led to unnecessary deaths.

In May 2013, after 3 years of onslaught against disabled people by the Condem government, DPAC made a formal submission under the CRPD Optional Protocol which establishes an individual complaints mechanism for the Convention.

There was less information and statistics than now on the impact of the Welfare Reform and loss of a right to independent living on disabled people. However the evidence DPAC presented to the CRPD Committee was extremely strong

DPAC’s evidence presented the regression of disabled people’s convention rights and the grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights under the UNCRPD. It was accepted by the UNCRPD Committee.

After an initial response from the government responding point by point to the DPAC submission, DPAC made a second submission, supported by further evidence of the disproportionate impact of all cuts on disabled people.

This submission, as the first one, included but was not restricted to:

  • the failings of the Work Capability Assessment,

  • the bedroom tax,

  • the closure of the Independent Living Fund

  • the unwillingness of the government to make an assessment of the cumulative impact of the Welfare Reform on disabled people

  • its reluctance to monitor what was happening to disabled people who were found fit for work after an assessment and who lost their only means of support (see complete list)i,.

This submission was partly based on firmly sourced statistical and other factual evidence, and also on the hundreds of personal testimonies that DPAC has received from individuals who have been affected adversely by the governments’ welfare reforms.

The UK government sent a second response to the UN about DPAC’s submission but by then the CRPD Committee had decided that there was enough evidence to open an inquiry into the violations of disabled people’s rights by the UK government.

The Committee also told DPAC that the inquiry was totally confidential and could be jeopardised and called off if any news of an UN inquiry was leaked.

It was the indiscretion of an ex-member of the CRPD Committee which brought the inquiry into the open, but DPAC kept its side of the non-disclosure agreement. The further leak in newspapers on Sunday 30th August convinced us that disabled people needed to know the full extent of the process

This inquiry is an unprecedented move and unchartered territory for the UNCRPD Committee.

It is also another route of hope for disabled people who have been abused by the UK government, ignored by most of the opposition and betrayed by the big Disability Charities.

ENDS

Editors Notes:

About Disabled People against Cuts (DPAC)

DPAC is a grass roots campaign body. It was formed by a group of disabled people after the first mass protest against the austerity cuts and their impact on disabled people held on the 3rd October in Birmingham 2010, England. It was led by disabled people under the name of The Disabled Peoples’ Protest. DPAC has over 20,000 members & supporters and an outreach of over 45,000 disabled people. DPAC works with many anti-cuts groups, Universities, Disabled Peoples’ Organizations, and Unions www.dpac.uk.net twitter: @Dis_PPL_Protest

contacts: mail@dpac.uk.net

Notes:

1) the UNCRPD Optional Protocol

2) the indicative issues sent to the UNCRPD Committee as part of the complaint by DPAC:

  • Scrapping of Incapacity Benefit

  • 1% cap on benefit rises

  • Time limitation of WRAG

  • Bedroom tax

  • Freezing child benefit

  • Overall benefit Cap:

  • Introduction of Personal Independent Payment

  • Universal Credit

  • Abolition of Independent living Fund

  • Change to Local Housing Allowance

  • Uprating and cuts to Tax Credits

  • Localisation and 10% cut for Council Tax Benefit

  • 1% cap on various benefits and tax credits

  • Work programme and disabled people

  • Benefit cap

  • Benefit cap in London

  • Spare room surplus

  • Other changes to Housing Benefits

  • Discretionary Housing Payments

  • Abolition of Council Tax Benefit

  • Universal Credit

  • Sanctions and workfare

  • Hardship Payments, Budgeting

  • Hardship Payments, Budgeting Loans and Short Term advances

  • Change from Disability Living Allowance

  • Benefit Delay

  • Employment Support Allowance

  • Tribunal support for appeals for ESA , DLA and PIP

  • Loss of right to appeal and Mandatory Re-considerations

  • Legal Aid Cuts

  • Social care crisis

  • Abuse in care

  • Mental health

  • Food Banks

  • Workfare and benefit sanctions

  • National Rail Services

  • Crossrail

  • Buses and coaches

  • Tube network 

  • University disability access

  • Changes to Special Educational Needs (SEN) services

i



 Posted by at 15:20
Aug 302015
 
The IDS Files - The Truth is Out There
In his latest announcement about “helping” 1 million disabled people move into work, which is a repeat of what he said in 2010 but miserably failed to achieve by putting over 4 million disabled people through the treadmill of repeat assessments, one paragraph is worth highlighting:

‘Let’s take the Work Programme.

The Work Programme is, I believe, the most successful back to work programme we’ve ever seen.

By March this year:

over 1 million people – or 70% of all referrals – had spent some time off benefit;
and over 430,000 people had moved into lasting employment’.

It is not very different from what DWP’s annual report says:

‘’By March 2015 the Work Programme had helped over 430,000 people find sustained employment – that’s over a quarter of everyone who’d been on the Work Programme long enough to benefit from it.

Let’s look at that claim a little more closely. On page 20, under the heading “Reducing long-term unemployment”:

‘By March 2015 our providers had helped 432,610 participants find at least 6 months of sustained work (or 3 months for those who were the hardest to help). That’s over a quarter of everyone who’s been on the Work Programme long enough to find work. It also beats our minimum performance level, which was approximately 410,000’.

I don’t know what your definition of ‘sustained work’ or ‘lasting employment’ is, but mine is not a 3 or 6 month spell of work.

And look who repeats the lie: Priti Patel, Minister for Employment

If the Work Programme was so successful, Duncan Smith would not have to massage the figures, or the figures about disabled people on disability benefit supposedly fit for work or every single figure DWP has been producing. The rot starts at the top and he has to go.

by Anita Bellows

 Posted by at 21:37
Aug 302015
 
The IDS Files - The Truth is Out There

Dangerous, Murderous and Wrong: his links with Extremist Far Right Groups

Duncan Smith claimed he didn’t know the difference between right wing and left wing when evidence proved he was working with some far right wing groups and individuals. He knew perfectly well, of course.So if we think of Jeremy Corbyn as left wing, or the recent media accusation of ‘hard left’ -a man for social justice, redistribution, equality, human rights, and anti-austerity-we get the idea that the opposite of this: social injustice, greater wealth for the elite, inequality, removal of human rights, and punitive austerity would be right wing or ‘hard right’ even-but extremist far right is different again.

We can be forgiven for any confusion caused by the supposed left wing Labour Party’s apparent right wing purge on left wing Corbyn voters in the Labour leadership election. This is apparently named ‘operation ice-pick’-because an ice pick was used to murder left wing Trotsky in Mexico by left wing Stalinists (there are also different unhelpful shades and fractions of this left and right wing thing).

If we add misinformation and misdirection by media and politicians we can also be forgiven for moving on to something else like thinking the multinationals and global bankers do inhuman things and own nation states along with IMF and the World Bank anyway.

And speaking of those who do inhuman things let’s get back to IDS and his activities. We’ve seen them in the past few days as it has risen to start preaching its vile lies once more. These issues are well documented on the DPAC website and elsewhere.

We now need to add DWP policies that instruct DWP call centre workers to hold up a coloured card if they’re on the phone with someone who they suspect might be suicidal because of murderous DWP policies, removal of one third of Employment and Support Allowance from those in the Work Related Activity group from April 2017, increase in ESA sanctions by 30%, continuous harassment of those on ESA by Job Centres, deaths of x number of innocent people due to DWP policies, unexplained hysterical laughter and reactions in debates on the punitive bedroom tax and increases in homelessness, growth of foodbanks and increases in starvation levels, and most recently the bizarre behaviour in Osbourne’s emergency budget-the list goes on and on.

We thought it was time to reproduce another list-an evidence list of IDS’ far right extremist affiliations –this does go back to a time when he clearly had less control of the media, but given his murderous actions over the past years who can doubt that he has done anything but got worse?

With thanks to The Klaxon

In 1995,  Duncan Smith was one of a few Tory MPs who met with senior figures of the racist and anti-semitic French National Front in Westminster. Le Pen’s deputy, Bruno Gollnisch MEP, later said Duncan Smith and other Tory MPs they met were “sympathetic” to their views:

“I came to meet members of the Conservative Party sympathetic to our views… I met Duncan Smith and others in their offices and later we got together for less formal talks in a bar somewhere in the Parliament building.“

The vice-president of Duncan Smith’s leadership campaign team in Wales was Edgar Griffin – the father of then BNP leader Nick Griffin. Edgar later said the reason he was not a member of the BNP was because it was “too moderate” for him – unlike the Tory Party. And unlike Duncan Smith too presumably.

A Tory Party far-right wing fringe organisation called the Swinton Circle also supported Duncan Smith in his successful bid to lead the Tory Party. The Swinton Circle is led by former National Front activist Alan Harvey and has close ties to pro-apartheid far-right South African groups such as the Springbok Club.

Iain Duncan Smith’s historic links to the far-right”, by Tom Pride,  13 June 2014

 

Duncan Smith denies ‘right wing’ tag”,  BBC News, 30 August 2001

 

Iain Duncan Smith campaign aide Edgar Griffin lifted the phone – and damned himself in five brief words.

“British National Party,” he told The Mirror. “Good afternoon.”

It was confirmation that the man listed as a vice president in hardliner Mr Duncan Smith’s campaign for the Tory leadership was an activist for the extreme group.

Even worse, he is father of BNP leader and convicted racist Nick Griffin. His wife, Jean, is a BNP secretary and stood for the group in the general election.

In his talk with The Mirror Mr Griffin agreed that Mr Duncan Smith was an “extreme right winger” and claimed Tories were ready to join the BNP “in droves” if rival Ken Clarke won the leadership contest.

Above is from a record of a Mirror article which is no longer available on the Mirror website – “Duncan Smith and the Far Right: British National Party.. Good afternoon“, Oonagh Blackman, 24 August 2001

At the following link the far-right South African Springbok group backs IDS’s leadership bid: Springbok Cyber Newsletter, August 2001 edition, 12 August 2001

And if anyone thinks the Tories now manage their affiliations better, or the media better see: ‘senior Conservatives in spotlight over speeches to vile right wing fringe group’ from last year

For IDS the continuing loss of innocent lives due to his punitive policies and tougher standards in the WCA speak for themselves: IDS is Dangerous, Murderous and Wrong!

by Debbie Jolly

 Posted by at 21:37
Aug 282015
 

This post marks the commencement of a series of posts, The IDS FIles.  These posts will present the material that DPAC have collected on Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, the Department for Work and Pensions, for which he is supposedly responsible, and contractors Atos, Capita and Maximus and a multitude of Work Programme providers who are paid vast sums of money to do Iain Duncan Smith’s bidding.

Some of the articles will be new, others with be reposts of material we have shown before and others will contain the work of other bloggers (reproduced with permission).

Put together they will form something we call……

The IDS Files.

The IDS Files - The Truth is Out There

Iain Duncan Smith

vs

Reality

While Tory Leader, Iain Duncan Smith’s biography on the Conservative Party website, his entry in Who’s Who, and various other places, stated that he went to the Universita di Perugia in Italy.


BBC Newsnight:

This is not true: his office now admit that he went to the Universita per Stranieri, which is also in Perugia.

Mr Duncan Smith’s office has now admitted to Newsnight that he didn’t get any qualifications in Perugia or even finish his exams.

Source: BBC Newsnight


Again, while Tory Leader, the first line of Iain Duncan Smith’s biography, on the Conservative Party website, claimed he was “educated at Dunchurch College of Management”.


Mr Duncan Smith’s office has now confirmed to Newsnight that he did not get any qualifications there either, but that he completed six separate courses lasting a few days each, adding up to about a month in total.

Source: BBC Newsnight

When IDS was Tory Party Leader, his Conservative Party Biography claimed he had been a Director at GEC Marconi.


This was not true, he was a junior marketing executive.

Source: The Independent 

[With thanks to The Klaxon for this one]

Debbie Abrahams MP: “Why does he [IDS] refuse to publish the details of the number of people who have died within six weeks of their claims for incapacity benefit and employment and support allowance, including those who have been found fit for work?”

Iain Duncan Smith: She knows very well that the Department does not collate numbers on people in that circumstance.”

Work and Pensions Questions, House of Commons 22nd June 2015 Hansard

On August 28th 2015, just over one month after IDS claimed they didn’t exist, the DWP released into the public domain the statistics on deaths of ESA claimants.

Source: The Department For Work and Pensions

“Britain has the highest rate of jobless households in Europe.” Iain Duncan Smith, House of Commons

Daily Telegraph

Britain did not have the highest number of jobless households in Europe.

IDS later admitted the ‘error’ and has corrected the Commons Record

Source: Fullfact.org

The Centre for Social Justice estimates, the cost of family breakdown is £20-24 billion. And the Relationships Foundation puts the figure at nearer £40 billion.

……… The costs to society as a whole …. are very difficult to quantify – but research suggests they could be up to £100 billion.” Iain Duncan Smith

Daily Mail

…….. we can see no reason to accept the claim now in circulation that “broken homes” cost Britain £100 billion.

….the very CSJ report from which the lower estimate is extracted warns against certainty in this area: “it is impossible to quantify with any accuracy the cost of family breakdown to the Exchequer”.

Source: FullFact.Org

in 13 years of Labour rule, 70 per cent of the four million jobs created were taken by people from overseas” Iain Duncan Smith, reported in The Sun and the Daily Mail


there are no figures to back up any claim regarding the number of ‘jobs created’ that were taken by workers of any nationality.

Source: FullFact.Org

In a parliamentary debate, Iain Duncan Smith claimed that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that private sector rents had fallen by 5 per cent last year.

The private sector rent figures came from the website FindaProperty.com, not the Office for National Statistics as originally claimed in the House of Commons by Iain Duncan Smith. Source: Inside Housing

What the EU is now trying to do is get us to provide benefits for those who come to this country with no intention to work and no other means of supporting themselves, with the sole purpose of accessing a more generous benefit system.” Iain Duncan Smith

 

Channel 4 FactCheck asked the government for estimates of how big the problem of benefit tourism actually is, and whether it had got better or worse since the introduction of “right to reside” in 2004.

A DWP spokesman said the department had “no information available”.

Source: Channel 4 FactCheck

The public thinks that homelessness is about not having any reasonable accommodation to go to, that’s not what the definition is. The definition inside government and places like Shelter is that children have to share rooms… Nobody, and I can guarantee this, nobody will be made homeless in the sense of the public’s view of it – without a home to go to – as a result of this.” Iain Duncan Smith

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: “The Secretary of State said that, according to Shelter, families where children share a bedroom would be defined as homeless. This is simply not true. Shelter uses the same definition of homelessness as the government, as set out in the Housing Act 1996, passed by the last Conservative government.” Source: Channel 4 FactCheck

We are creating a new benefit, because the last benefit [Disability Living Allowance] grew by something like 30 per cent in the past few years. It’s been rising well ahead of any other gauge you might make about illness, sickness, disability or, for that matter, general trends in society.”

Something like 70 per cent [of DLA claimants] had lifetime awards, [which] meant that once they got it you never looked at them again.” Iain Duncan Smith,

While there has been a 30 per cent growth in the raw number of claimants, this is significantly lower once demographic changes are accounted for.

Similarly, while it is true that over 70 per cent of DLA claimants are on indefinite awards, it isn’t necessarily true that these people are ‘never looked at again’.  Source: FullFact.Org

On average, every week there are about half a million new jobs coming through at the Jobcentre” Iain Duncan Smith on LBC Radio


After contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), they could not verify what Mr Duncan-Smith may have said this morning. However, they did confirm:

On average Jobcentre Plus continues to add 10,000 jobs to its books every working day.”

10,000 jobs per working day is certainly not half a million per week.” Source: FullFact.Org


These figures show the benefit cap is already a success and is actively encouraging people back to work.” Iain Duncan Smith


With the information Mr Duncan Smith has put before us, his figures don’t show the benefits cap is already successful at getting people back into work.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “The Secretary of State believes that the benefits cap is having an effect.”  Source: Channel 4 FactCheck

Of those who are looking for full-time jobs, 4/5 of them are finding them, so about 1/5 of those looking for full-time work are not finding full-time work and settling for part time work.” Iain Duncan Smith

...there does not appear to be any data by which the Work and Pensions Secretary can substantiate his claim. ” Source: FullFact.Org

Where you see the clustering of the large families is really down at the very lowest incomes, with those on significant numbers of welfare…and those at the very top level of incomes.”

We have paid rents on houses in London in some cases of over £100,000 to families are too large to house anywhere else.” Iain Duncan Smith

DWP figures show that some 160 claimants out of more than 3 million were getting the equivalent of £50,000 a year or more in 2010. That’s 0.0004 per cent of cases.

The Daily Telegraph researched how many families were getting over £100,000 in 2010 and found only three, all in the London borough of Westminster. Source: Channel4 FactCheck

Tax credit payments rose by some 58 per cent ahead of the 2005 general election, and in the two years prior to the 2010 election, spending increased by about 20 per cent.” Iain Duncan Smith. Daily Telegraph


[[HMRC] said that in 2003-04, £16.4bn was paid, and the following year £17.7bn.

That’s an increase of 8%, not 58%.

And in 2008-9, HMRC said, some £25.1bn was paid. In the following year, it was £27.3bn. Which means that in the two years prior to the 2010 general election, spending on tax credits increased by 8.8 per cent, not 20.
Source: Channel 4 FactCheck


It will come as no surprise therefore that fraudsters from around the world targeted this [tax credit] benefit for personal gain. Iain Duncan Smith. Daily Telegraph

when we asked HMRC how many non-UK nationals were responsible for tax credit fraud, it said: “The tax credit system doesn’t record nationalities of claimants, so we don’t have those figures.” Source: Channel 4 FactCheck

A radical welfare reform programme designed to tackle entrenched poverty and end the curse of intergenerational worklessness is set out today by new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith.

DWP Press Release: Reforms will tacklepoverty and get Britain working again

and

Department for Work and Pensions – European Social Fund in England


“Researchers in deprived neighbourhoods in Glasgow and Middlesbrough found that worklessness was not the result of a culture of worklessness, held in families and passed down the generations…..

There was no evidence of ‘a culture of worklessness’

Despite strenuous efforts, the researchers were unable to locate any such families.

Even two generations of complete worklessness in the same family was a very rare phenomenon, which is consistent with recent quantitative surveys of this issue.”

Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation: Are ‘cultures of worklessness’ passed down the generations?

The Image at the top of this page was created by the awesome Mr Brian Hilton.Further reading:

 

 

 Posted by at 23:33
Aug 282015
 

Since the publication of the Sayce Report (2011), employment support for Deaf and Disabled people and in particular, Access to Work, has been under attack. The last coalition government and the current Tory government, seem determined to change Access to Work from being one of this countries “best kept secret”, to a scheme that no longer meets need, is discriminatory to those with high support needs and causes misery to Deaf and disabled people’s lives. Our lives. Rather than support us into work, the scheme has become a barrier and has resulted in both job losses and demotion.

 

Iain Duncan Smith recently announced that he wants to “get disabled people back into work”, yet the support that we need is being cut.

 

Just last week yet another person was forced out of work by the changes to the Access to Work programme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxtYrCB7OJc

 

We’ve had enough!

 

Join us on Saturday the 26th September and march for Access to Work. We will be meeting at Old Palace Yard at 12pm and marching to Number 10 Downing Street, where we will deliver our petition. Please help us by signing and sharing this as widely as possible.

 

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-changes-to-access-to-work

 

For more information about the march see: http://stopchanges2atw.com/march-with-us/

 

 Posted by at 18:03
Aug 272015
 

DWP has at last published the mortality statistics for the ESA group. It will take time to analyse them, but what they show is that the WCA is not fit for purpose.  2500 people have died after being found fit for work. Another 7,200 people died after being placed in the WRAG, the group for disabled people who can do ‘some work’, another 7540 died waiting to be assessed

But these figures do not tell the whole story. They ignore the suffering of disabled people who survived, being found fit for work but unable to claim JSA because they cannot meet the conditionality of the benefit. The suffering of 3000 disabled people sanctioned every month, and who cannot compensate for their loss of income, because they were found unfit to work, and they are.

The suffering and the humiliation of disabled people who have to prove their impairment/long term health issues over and over again to DWP staff who don’t believe them. The suffering of disabled people being portrayed as scroungers by the media. This suffering cannot be captured by statistics.

Under the last Labour government, the aim was to force 1 million disabled people out of benefits and into work. Almost 10 years later, the aim is the same, while in a meantime a Coalition minister recognised that people on disability benefits were ‘sicker’ than they thought.

And those in the middle group, who would expect before too long to be mandated to the Work Programme, have proved to be sicker and further from the workplace than we expected. So it will take far more time than we predicted for them to be ready to make a return to work

This has not changed. Some people will never get better and need long term support. To pretend that they can do ‘some work’ is disingenuous, as no employer is prepared to offer ‘some work’ to disabled people.

People died because of the welfare reforms, but others suffered and still suffer. Let’s not forget any of them


The figures released by the DWP will need to be looked at carefully before any further conclusions can be drawn from them, and we will be doing just that, and will report back when we have done that. You can see the release of data for yourself here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mortality-statistics-esa-ib-and-sda-claimants

 Posted by at 10:49
Aug 262015
 

EasyFundraising LogoAs an easy way to make money for DPAC I signed up to easyfundraising.org.uk  so that when people shop on-line if they go via easyfundraiser website then we get money donated to us when they shop. You can also recycle old mobiles and laptops etc and get money donated to us.

You can sign up quickly at this link and please ask others you know to do this as well.

http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/dpac

RECRUIT SUPPORTERS – The more supporters you get, the more you’ll raise so make sure to share your unique link with all your friends, family and other supporters. It will only take them a minute to sign up and they can start using it straight away.

 

 Posted by at 20:12
Aug 262015
 

DPAC are going to Manchester and the Tory Party Conference 

Our main action will be on Monday October 5th at noon. Meet at Central Library opposite the Midland Hotel, just off St. Peter’s Square 

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/The+Midland/@53.4772841,-2.2451292,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x487bb1c27381b90b:0xf4daf7

The theme of this event will be

IDS Wanted for Crimes Against Disabled People

A second action together with others will be held on Wednesday October 7th from 9am.  Public meeting point is Albert square outside the Town Hall

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Manchester+City+Council/@53.4791675,-2.2443142,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x487bb1c18b1ea

As usual we need donations, but only from those of you who can really afford them, to help pay for people to get to these actions. We have already set aside an amount of £2,000 to help fund our members to get to these events. However with train fares and the need for accessible accommodation that disabled people need this is likely to just be enough to fund 10- 12 people to attend.

If anyone can donate or are union members and could ask their union branch to donate you can pay through paypal or email us at mail@dpac.uk.net for BACS details or details of where to send cheques.

If any DPAC members want to apply for financial support also email us at mail@dpac.uk.net

This will be on a first come first served basis

 

 

 

 Posted by at 19:25
Aug 252015
 

Re-posted from johnny void with thanks

Incapacity Benefit for new claimants will go, replaced by Employment and Support Allowance with the emphasis on what a person with a physical or mental health condition can do, rather than what they can’t.

 

Peter Hain, Labour Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, 2007

 

We need a system focussed on what a claimant can do and the support they’ll need – and not just on what they can’t do.

 

Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, 2015

 

It’s just the same old shit, over and over again, whichever bunch of bastards is in charge.  The above two comments were made almost a decade apart and in that period the number of people claiming out of work sickness benefits has barely changed.  And why would it?  In any society there will be some people who cannot work due to illness or disability and as the pension age gets ever higher then that number as a percentage of the workforce will grow.

 

There is nothing unusual or unexpected about this.  Whoever you are reading this, one day you will get sick and then you will die.  If you are lucky this will not happen until you have reached retirement.  If not then you will be helped on your way to an early grave by politicians desperate to cover up for their failure to provide enough jobs by blaming unemployed, sick and disabled people for unemployment.

 

Iain Duncan Smith’s speech yesterday was a masterclass in this deception, but everything he said has been said before.  So out of ideas is the Secretary of State that he is now misrepresenting the entire process for claiming sickness benefits – pretending it is a binary system which “decides that you are either capable of work or you are not”.  This is simply an outright lie and he knows it.  Currently claimants are assessed as being fit for work, unable to work, or placed in the Work Related Activity Group which means capable of some work, or of being able to work in the future.  In the recent budget George Osborne declared that this group is to be scrapped, creating precisely the binary system that Iain Duncan Smith says he opposes.  Perhaps he hopes we won’t notice.  Perhaps even he hasn’t noticed.

 

The UK does not spend significantly more on out of work sickness and disability benefits than other comparable economies.  According to the OECD we spend a fraction more than Poland as a percentage of GDP on ‘incapacity’ – and less than Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Israel, Belgium. Luxembourg, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands.  It is true as Iain Duncan Smith said yesterday that the UK spends more than France, Germany and Japan.  In humane society this would be a source of pride.  Or at least it would be until you found out that Germany spends over three times as much on unemployment benefits whilst France and Japan – where the retirement age is lower – both spend almost double what the UK spends on pensions.  And the incapacity spending figures by the way come from 2011, before most of Iain Duncan Smith’s benefit cuts had been implemented.

 

Only an astonishing degree of self-delusion could explain Iain Duncan Smith’s latest belief that more workfare, more assessments, and more benefit cuts will magically cure those unable to work because of illness.  But then he is deluded.  That’s why he could claim yesterday that  “The Work Programme is … the most successful back to work programme we’ve ever seen.”  That’s the Work Programme that has seen less sick and disabled people enter employment than it was estimated would have done if the scheme hadn’t existed.  Hundreds of millions of pounds spent on making things worse.  This is what Iain Duncan Smith calls a success.

 

Rarely, if ever, has such a fucking idiot been given so much power over so many people’s futures.   If the human cost were not so great then the best response would be to point and laugh.  But we can’t do that, not as millions of lives are destroyed.  If society means anything at all it means looking after each other and that means driving Iain Duncan Smith back into the sewer he crawled from before he can do anymore damage.  No-one should stand idly by now.  We need to be relentless as he is, to wake up every day with one thought on our minds – to destroy Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms before they destroy us.

 

Follow JV on twitter @johnnyvoid

See more at: https://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/

 

 

 Posted by at 16:55
Aug 182015
 

If you are a disabled job seeker, or in the ESA WRAG, you can view and download this important information leaflet here

[Reblogged from Ipswich CAB Press release, with thanks to and for this important initiative.]

‘3Ds’ Leaflet Launched to Help Disabled Job Seekers Receive Fair Treatment

In what is believed to be the first initiative of its kind in the country, on May 15 a partnership of Suffolk organisations launched a guide aimed at ensuring fair treatment for citizens with disabilities or with long-term sicknesses who are also claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA).

The guide is the result of the Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) and the Ipswich & District Citizens Advice Bureau (IDCAB) coming together to form the ‘3Ds’ Project.

The ‘3Ds’ in question are: Disability + Disadvantage = Duty.

This partnership was formed after ISCRE had identified problems being experienced by disabled or long term sick JSA claimants in looking for work because of their disability.

Because of this, many were being ‘sanctioned’ (losing benefits) for not complying with their job seekers agreements. Nationwide, the number of claimants sanctioned has increased by 64% with one in four of these identified as being disabled or long term sick. A total of 11% of JSA claimants in the East of England have been sanctioned.

Under the Equality Act 2010, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled or long term sick claimants to overcome difficulties that are not faced by people who are not disabled.

The leaflet is aimed at both DWP staff and the jobseekers and their friends and family. It defines the meaning of disabled under the Equality Act, explains the legal duty of the DWP and includes a tear-off form for claimants to take to the job centre explaining their disability and any reasonable adjustments that should be made to their job seekers agreement.

Allen Larke of Ipswich has experienced the unfairness of how the current system works. “One of the things that would need looking into is the amount of time a person is allowed to be ill during one year whom has a serious disability. On my experience as having unstable type 1 diabetes, it is hard to gauge when it plays up”.

“This year I had to miss a signing on and personal adviser, and was told that next time I would be sanctioned if I missed due to my illness. Also people are penalised for being a few minutes late to sign on and threatened with sanctions”.

“There is no real help with having advisers as they do not listen to problems for disabled people finding work. In my case employers don’t want to employ people with diabetes as they think time will be needed from work”.

“This has caused me problems as being unemployed for 5 years, do not get JSA and informed by JCP that I have not paid enough NI contributions, but when you sign on they inform you that contributions being paid”.

According to ISCRE’s Legal Director, Audrey Ludwig “the Equality Act helps people with disabilities get changes to policies and practices to overcome their disabilities and therefore fully participate in society. The leaflet informs and reminds Job Centre Plus of their duty to make reasonable adjustments to job seeking agreements. Many changes carry no costs like changing the timing of appointments but can prevent the claimants having their benefits stopped unjustly and suffering real financial hardship”.

Deputy Manager of IDCAB, Nelleke van Helfteren, has championed this project from the start “we are very grateful to the Suffolk Foundation and the Vineyard Church who both awarded us funding for this very worthwhile project. We are so pleased to be working with other agencies in Ipswich on behalf of these vulnerable clients who suffer real financial hardship when their benefits are sanctioned through no fault of their own”

3Ds Project leaflet

 Posted by at 15:10
Aug 132015
 

Reblogged from Sweets Way Resists

Urgent Call for local people to help resist the eviction

We have a strong contingent of occupiers staying around Sweets Way at the moment, but we need more people who can stay there (or who live very locally) in the coming days, to ensure an initial line of defence when bailiffs do return.

It would be tragic if all our hard work yesterday was lost because a few of us slept late one day.Get in touch if you live within in a few minutes of the estate, or can come stay over during the coming days.

sweetswayresists[AT]gmail[DOT]com / 07812 372 298

Bailiffs sent away! Mostafa still at Sweets Way!

On Monday, people kept a family from being evicted and pushed a council to reverse the decision that would have left them homeless. But we need to keep up the pressure to keep Mostafa and the family safe.SWN20 (9 of 38)On Sunday night, many of us didn’t go to sleep. Bailiffs were due at 46 Sweets Way and because we had seen what Mostafa and his family had gone through, and we had seen them failed over and over again by the various systems that are meant to protect them, we knew we needed to prepare with them to stay in their home.We were prepared to do everything peaceful within our power to stop High Court bailiffs from entering the home of the last family at Sweets Way and making them homeless. Some of us planned to take photos and document the experience, others were prepared to take civil disobedience and face arrest.But whatever kind of action we spent the night before preparing to do, we prepared to do it because it was right.As it turned out, there were enough of us there that sending away the bailiffs proved to only require a very passive form of resistance: being there! Enough of us, even, that they didn’t show their faces or even make an attempt to breach the gauntlet of more than 60 people (including allies from Our West Hendon, Barnet Housing Action, Haringey Housing Action Group, Barnet Alliance for Public Services and Black Dissidents) and an extensive array of amateur barricading.In fact, we only even found out that the bailiffs had come and gone when we called Barnet Council’s lawyers. We asked if the bailiffs were still scheduled to arrive and were told that the two of them that had been dispatched knew immediately they were no match for our collective power, and left. (They didn’t use exactly those words…).You could feel the sense of collective power in the air – we knew what we had achieved, and the energy was electric! A group of regular people had sent away the bailiffs and kept a family in their home! And we knew we would be able to do it again.Better yet, as Barnet had been punishing the family over the a small amount of rent arrears accrued since the Council unexpectedly cut their housing benefit, they received a message this afternoon informing them that their housing benefit had been reinstated, retroactive a month ago. This will address their arrears and allow Barnet to once again own up to their responsibility to house the family appropriately.This is a clear victory spurred by our collective action to highlight the Council’s many failures to Mostafa, and the number of media requests that came off the back of our action. Once again, Barnet need to find the family somewhere to go. And it’s up to us to make sure they have a home until the point where they have an alternative that truly meets their needs.This will require a lot of work from all of us, preparing to fight off the bailiff threat whenever it rears its ugly head. High Court bailiffs don’t normally offer a time or date when they are coming, and are entitled to use physical force to enter and remove families from a house. Because of this, Mostafa and the family remain barricaded in and ready for an attack.We need to be there with them.We have a strong contingent of occupiers staying around Sweets Way at the moment, but we need more people who can stay there (or who live very locally) in the coming days, to ensure an initial line of defence when bailiffs do return. It would be tragic if all our hard work yesterday was lost because a few of us slept late one day.Get in touch if you live within in a few minutes of the estate, or can come stay over during the coming days. sweetswayresists[AT]gmail[DOT]com / 07812 372 298We are all inspired by what we were able to do yesterday – let’s be sure it continues to grow!

 Posted by at 21:56
Aug 122015
 
Claude Monet 'The Thames below Westminster

Claude Monet ‘The Thames below Westminster”

Many years ago there used to be a brilliant free Science Museum in Birmingham where I and my then Kids spent many happy and educational hours but then the council decided to sell it off and privatise the museum. It is now at Millenium Point and is still instructive and fun but for many families no longer affordable. I’m only really telling you this so you can see how important it is to continue to have free and valuable assets that belong to us where we can go and look at all sorts of things for free, although I guess most of you think the same way anyhow.

 
Now the National Gallery in London is threatened with privatisation – it could go the way of the Science Museum and we may no longer be able to afford to go and look at all of our paintings. Added to that staff pay and conditions would also worsen which is bad news for anyone living in London.
 
Today staff at the gallery went on indefinite strike to try to halt this privatisation. They are asking for support and have said
 
“Chose your day to show support for PCS National Gallery strike starting 11 August. Join the picket line or raise support in other ways and pick a National Gallery painting to help publicise your solidarity. 
Contact noprivatisationatng@gmail.com to add your campaign or trade union or if you would like help choosing a painting.”
 
DPAC will be supporting this action and have chosen Friday, August 14th 5-6.30 pm to join the strikers.
 Posted by at 22:18
Aug 122015
 

workfare-stick-upA whole host of corporate vultures have teamed up with the DWP to launch an online campaign celebrating young people being coerced into working for no pay for some of the richest companies in the UK.

Marks & Spencer, Whitbread, Halfords and shamefully the BBC have all signed up to the #WEcan campaign which aims to encourage even more businesses to provide unpaid work experience positions instead of employing young people properly.  The new initiative comes as the Government draws up plans to force all unemployed young people into permanent unpaid work if they are unable to find a job within six months of becoming unemployed.  This means they have to find enough grubby companies and so-called charities who are prepared to take part in this shocking exploitation.  The #WEcan campaign is part of an attempt to achieve this, so let’s fuck it up.

Already parasites from the welfare-to-work industry are tweeting using the hashtag #WEcan whilst a tumblr page has been set up calling for young people to share their experiences of workfare.  The DWP have also posted a host of youtube videos (comments currently enabled) such as this one which says that “whatever you are doing, any experience is good experience”.  Gone is any pretence at providing placements which involve real training or a chance of a job at the end.  Instead they want young people to mop floors and stack shelves for two months and have the fucking gall to claim they are doing them a favour.

Please help spread the word about this and tweet using the hashtag #WEcan.  And let’s make sure everybody knows which companies are using workfare, starting with @marksandspencer, @premierinn, @Halfords_uk, @WhitbreadPLC, @Barclays and @BBC.

For the latest news on fighting back against forced unpaid work visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/

 Posted by at 18:46
Aug 092015
 
Save the London Taxis demo poster
Spearheaded by cabbie’s wife Artemis Mercer, thousands of partners, wives, husbands and families of Licensed London Black Cab drivers have come together to stand united against what they describe as the “woeful failure of Transport for London to regulate the taxi and private hire market in London.”
 
For disabled people living in London transport is woefully inadequate and while traditional black cabs may not provide a transport solution for all at the moment they offer a means of travelling that is at least accessible to many disabled travellers.
 
Mayor Boris Johnson and TfL’s lack of regulation enforcement is however threatening the continued existence of black cabs and allowing the licensing of private hire vehicles which do not have to be accessible in any way. DPAC see this as a backward move away from improving travel options for disabled people in London and will be supporting the forthcoming protest.
 
#SaveTaxis will be holding there 2nd demonstration to protest about these changes on September 5th from 1-3pm opposite Downing Street. If you can join us please come along and if anyone needs a free taxi to get there email us at mail@dpac.uk.net
 
You can sign the campaign’s petition at
 Posted by at 22:00
Aug 092015
 

Reblogged from Welfare Weekly, with thanks.

By Natalie Leal

Sanctioned Jobseekers with mental health problems are not classed as ‘vulnerable’ unless they have an accompanying physical health problem, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Use of the controversial sanctions regime, which sees claimants money cut or stopped for up to three years, has rocketed since stricter rules were introduced by the government.

In 2013-14 record numbers of sanctions were imposed, with nearly one in six jobseekers affected, and many fear those with mental health problems are often the hardest hit.

When a claimant has their Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) reduced or stopped they can apply for a hardship payment – up to 60% of their JSA. This can go some way to cover the cost of food and bills while they have no other means of support. Those classed as ‘vulnerable’ can normally claim this vital support immediately, but others may have to wait at least two weeks.

However, those JSA claimants with even the most serious mental health illnesses are not considered vulnerable by DWP; they have to instead wait and go through what could become a lengthy application process.

DWP guidance on hardship payments states: “Requests for hardship payments may be made by people who say they have a mental condition. A person will only be a member of a vulnerable group if the condition causes limitation in functional capacity because of a physical impairment.”

It continues: “It is extremely rare for a mental condition to produce a physical impairment that limits or restricts functional capacity but it can happen.”

For decision makers in any doubt, the guidance goes on to clarify all mental illnesses “without physical impairment”:

Affective disorder
Agoraphobia
Anorexia nervosa
Anxiety
Bipolar Affective disorder
Bulimia nervosa
Depression
Dissociative disorders
Nervous Debility
Neurasthenia
Neurosis
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Panic attacks
Paranoia
Phobias
Phobic anxiety
Psychoneurosis
Psychosis
Schizophrenia

While those suffering from the most severe mental illnesses are likely to receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), it is estimated that 23% of JSA claimants have a mental health condition.

The remainder of the article can be seen here

 Posted by at 13:53
Aug 032015
 

Alliance for Inclusive Education LogoThe Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) is a national campaigning and information-sharing network led by disabled people. ALLFIE campaigns for all disabled people to have the human and civil right to access to and be supported in mainstream education.   We are putting a call for:

  • Disabled students experiences of higher education and the disabled students allowance –  Government’s consultation on the DSA reforms
  • Evidence on how effective Equality Act is for promoting inclusive education practices in schools, colleges and universities –  Call for Evidence for House of Lords Select Committee Inquiry into the Equality Act 2010

Government’s consultation on the DSA reforms

The date for the DSA reforms consultation is taking place over the summer break.    So we have to act quickly. We are keen to ask Disabled Peoples Organisations to make contact with Disabled students who are willing to share their experiences for ALLFIE’s response to the Government’s consultation on their Disabled Students Allowance reforms.

We are also interested in speaking disabled students who are thinking about going to university from September 2016.

We just want to have a chat with you initially either on the phone, face-to-face or via email.

We would be interested in hearing from you by 17th August if possible.

 

Call for Evidence for House of Lords Select Committee Inquiry into the Equality Act 2010

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Equality Act 2010 has called for evidence regarding the implementation of Equality Act 2010, particularly in relation to how the Act serves disabled people.

This is our opportunity to tell the Committee about how Equality Act and SEN legal provisions are working for disabled students wanting to be included in mainstream education.   This is particularly important, as Government’s own figures have shown a steady decline, over the last 4 years, of disabled children and young people on the roll of mainstream schools.

ALLFIE wants to hear from disabled children and young people, including those with SEN, their families and disabled students about how the law is working for them. Also whether you have been able to access the law and if you have what that experience was like.  We want to hear from you whatever your experience is, positive or negative!

We have included SEN because many children with SEN fall under the Equality Act’s definition of disability.   We are keen to hear from you about how SEN and Equality Act law affects disabled learners rights to access mainstream education.

ALLFIE will be submitting evidence to the House of Lords Equality Act Inquiry during September 2015.

Please contact us if you have a story we can include into our response by 10th August 2015.

If you want more information please contact Simone Aspis, ALLFIE’s Campaigns & Policy Co-ordinator simone.aspis@allfie.org.uk   ALLFIE tel number 0207 737 6030

 Posted by at 17:40
Aug 032015
 

– Urgent Action for DDPOs and Disabled Rights Campaigners to oppose the legalisation of Assisted Suicide

Book NOW for Assisted Dying bill briefing session and media training -13 August

The Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance is calling on Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) and individual Disabled Rights campaigners and supporters to join Not Dead Yet UK in speaking out about the dangers that the legalisation of assisted suicide poses to Disabled people.

There are currently two bills to legalise assisted suicide before Parliament. Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying bill had its First Reading in the House of Lords on 4 June and Rob Marris’ Assisted Dying No.2 Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons on 24 June. Marris’ bill will have its Second Reading debate in the House of Commons on 11 September when Parliament returns from its Summer recess. For the first time in years MPs will get to vote on this highly controversial subject.

There are many different ways you can be involved but one important ask is for DDPOs to sign up to the ROFA statement opposing legalisation.

Inclusion London is also running an Assisted Dying bill  briefing session and media training workshop facilitated by Liz Carr from the Not Dead Yet campaign on Thursday 13th August at 336 Brixton Road, SW9 7AA.

The day is open to representatives and members from national as well as London Disabled People’s Organisations and campaigns. For more information visit the Inclusion London website  or contactellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.co.uk.

To read more about the Assisted Dying bills, the issues surrounding the legalisation of assisted suicide and ways you can be involved in the campaign see the Inclusion London (www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/Campaigns) and DPAC (www.dpac.uk.net) websites.

 

 

 Posted by at 17:16
Aug 012015
 

We have all been disappointed over the last few days by the case of the disappearing DWP ESA Sanctions leaflet-first it was there, then it was gone.  The DWP link tells us that the leaflet is coming soon, but what happened to the original?

A few of us had seen the leaflet before it was removed and noted that the DWP were using photos and examples, apparently in an effort to appear humane ( stop laughing).

One of the examples: Sarah’s story, happily tells of her being sanctioned for two weeks because she didn’t see the value of completing her CV as ordered by the DWP Job Centre goons. Sarah is almost in raptures as she recounts how she’s learned her lesson and recognises the error of her wilful ways-she’s grateful for losing 2 weeks of her ESA and for being sanctioned- the moral is: its good to be punished and put on the right path by potential starvation when you’ve already been told you’re not fit for work after a dehumanising assessment by Maximus .  See excerpt from original leaflet below

sarah's story

But there was a problem which the DWP seems to have recognised- no, not that ESA is about being unfit for work-but that smiling Sarah with her remarkable tale of the kindly people at the job centre probably doesn’t exist other than as a stock photo. Here she is again, this time as a cover girl for the despised Universal Credit ‘standing out from the crowd’ at http://dailyjobseeker.tumblr.com/post/101666827899/standing-out-from-the-crowd

We are quite used to this kind of behaviour from the Daily Mail who use actors to pose as ‘benefit scroungers’ for their readers

but then there isn’t that much difference between the lies of the Mail and the lies of the DWP is there? See DPAC’s DWP caught giving disability propaganda to Daily Mail

Naturally DPAC has the original DWP ESA Sanctions leaflet which also features the story of Zac. It can be downloaded at the link employment-and-support-allowance-sanctions

We’d appreciate word of any sightings of Zac in TV ads, magazines or other DWP propaganda in the meantime you might like to follow Steven Preece’s Freedom of Information request on this.

..and remember DWP we’re watching you….

 

 

With thanks to Anita Bellows, Rik B and Steven Preece

 Posted by at 23:10