Dec 312015
 

Looking back at 2015, DPAC seems to have been even more pro-active and prolific then usual. It has of course been a very strange year in some ways with the General Election in May and the Labour Party leadership election in September.

This has resulted in two of the backbench MPs, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell who have supported DPAC massively in the past 5 years now leading the party something which I don’t think any of us envisaged at the start of 2015. However one thing that seems very clear from the results of the General Election and the landslide victory of the SNP running on an anti-austerity agenda is that people have made it clear they are no longer going to put up with the Tories neo-Liberal agenda without challenging it.

January started with a hastily arranged lobby of parliament on 6th hosted by the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas to try to save the Independent Living Fund and the launch of a campaign to regain the right to live independently for Anthony Kletzander, a young man in Southern Ireland who had been deprived of his liberty. This campaign was successful and in May Anthony was able to return to live independently in his community.

In January we also supported a protest in Merton against cuts to the Local Authorities budget and helped to support an action around the 70th anniversary of Nazi Holocaust Day.

We spent a lot of time last year lobbying and making ourselves visible to Labour Party politicians as part of our Who2Vote4 campaign in the run up to the General Election. Lets face it this was necessary as the Blairites in the party are no better then the Tories in terms of failing to support disabled people’s rights and equality and it is important we don’t forget that. At the very least Labour should be an effective opposition and oppose the savage attacks disabled people are facing on a daily basis.

We went to the launch of the Labour Party Policy in Birmingham in March together with Kate Belgrave who took videos of Andy Burnham running away from answering questions about the ILF, Yvette Cooper running away from questions about WCAs and Liam Byrne suddenly remembering he had left his children at home and had to go and find them so he too couldn’t speak about WCAs either.

http://dpac.uk.net/2015/03/videos-from-labour-conference-see-these-attempts-to-get-answers-on-disability-funding-cuts-2/

We lobbied every single Prospective Parliamentary Candidate about whether they would agree to keep the ILF open and obviously in particular Ed Miliband. In Ed’s case this had no effect and he seemed to ignore us totally when we said “give us your commitment to save the ILF and we’ll help get you disabled people’s votes.” I can only assume he didn’t want our votes.

We had a list of manifesto promises we asked parties to sign up to for the election and this was pushed by the Radical Left Group and John McDonnell in particular.

We also supported Operation Disabled Vote and helped with the push to get disabled people to register to vote and use their power at the ballot box. The General Election period further involved us in a number of anti-UKIP and anti-fascist protests especially in and around Kent and London areas. We make no apology for these although we have been criticised by one person for spending time and energy campaigning against UKIP. We feel however that UKIP really are dangerous for disabled people’s rights.

Revenge on McVey, DPAC outside her local constituency offices

Revenge on McVey, DPAC outside her local constituency offices

Also for the election in May we had a mini Revenge Tour. We weren’t able to make this as large scale as we had originally hoped due to lack of accessible transport to various places and people having to fit actions around working. However about 8 of us went to the Wirral to protest against that evil witch Esther McVey (apologies to any witches) and almost managed to occupy the local Conservative party office. The lone cop there to protect the Tories was just a little too fast for us though.

Our other primary target was IDS and an enjoyable and visible protest was held outside of his constituency office in Chingford. Iain’s office is on the 1st floor as he thinks that keeps him safe from disabled people and DPAC but we know he is wrong about that.

http://dpac.uk.net/2015/04/pictures-from-the-revenge-tour/

Meanwhile as well as all the lobbying and campaigning around the election we had a national day of action against Maximus on March 2nd the day after they took over the toxic WCA assessments from Atos. In total there were 28 local actions from Aberdeen to Truro.

Cartoon: Maximarse – Same Circus – Different Clowns by Phil Evans.

Cartoon: Maximarse – Same Circus – Different Clowns by Phil Evans.

http://dpac.uk.net/2015/01/maximus-day-of-action-2nd-of-march-list-of-events-around-the-uk-scrapwca/

Our previous efforts to toxify the assessment process seems to continue to be successful and due to the lack of ability of Maximus to recruit and retain staff they have been unable to meet their contractual obligations resulting in a drop in the value of their shares by 26%.

In March we published a template letter for people in the Support Group wrongly being called for interviews at Job Centres to send claiming harassment. Numerous people have now been able to use this successfully although we continue to monitor this situation and will be presenting evidence about various cases to Debbie Abrahams the shadow minister for disabled people in the new year.

We also published a ‘know your rights’ guide to ESA50 forms and information about the right to be accompanied to job centre appointments.

This year as well we’ve carried out several research projects together with PIRU (Public Interest Research Unit) about work and disability and into WCAs.

http://dpac.uk.net/2015/03/template-letters-for-those-in-esa-support-group-harassed-by-job-centres/

We took part in a Housing Summit in May and joined in with the Pride march in June.

We’ve had further protests against forced treatment of social security claimants with a joint action at Streatham job centre with Mental Health Resistance Network in June and December.

June and early July was a very busy period for us and in protest about the closure of the ILF and the implications for independent living we stormed parliament during PMQs followed by an ILF closing ceremony on June 30th.

http://dpac.uk.net/2015/06/saveilf-protest-in-the-house-of-commons-during-pmqs/

As well as making sure we and our issues were very visible to politicians we also published solicitor’s advice about Care Assessments under the new Care Act which came into force in April this year plus guidance on Disability Related Expenses and what people might be able to have exempted from Care charging.

Since the closure of the ILF in June we’ve been closely monitoring the impact of this and are working with solicitors to make legal challenges where necessary.

Soon after those 2 events came out Balls2thebudget action which started in Downing Street and moved down to the river later in the morning.

http://dpac.uk.net/2015/07/balls2thebudget-the-movie/

http://dpac.uk.net/2015/07/pictures-and-video-from-the-balls-to-the-budget-protest-balls2thebudget-budget2015/

In June at the PA march Liz Carr and John Kelly were able to put forward assisted dying arguments and introduce introducing the disability equality arguments on AS to 250,000 people

http://dpac.uk.net/2015/06/the-brilliant-liz-carr-john-kelly-at-june-20th-anti-austerity-march/

Also in September DPAC who have supported the  StopChanges2Accessto Work campaign were also part of a significant march in September. This was the biggest march of Deaf people for about ten years but most significantly it brought together Deaf and Disabled campaigners and interpreters in a bi-bilingual protest. The campaign was also successful in getting the thirty hour limit on interpreter hours over-turned this year.

 

Balls to the Tory Conference

Balls to the Tory Conference

In October DPAC supporters travelled to Manchester for protests at the Tory Party conference and a celebration of DPAC’s 5th birthday. This was closely followed by the unprecedented visit by a team of UN rapporteurs who came to investigate the grave and systematic violation of disabled people’s human rights that is occurring in the UK. This is the first time ever that the Optional Protocol of the UNCRPD has been used in this way against any government – a fact that the Tories and indeed all politicians who sat back and allowed these violations to occur should be utterly ashamed about.


As well as initiating this investigation and working with the UN in relation to it since 2013 DPAC also helped to initiate an individual complaint using the Optional Protocols against the closure of the ILF to new applicants in 2010 together with Inclusion London which is ongoing.

While in London speaking to the rapporteurs we were also able to meet with Debbie Abrahams and Owen Smith, shadow ministers for disabled people and DWP to start what we hope will be an ongoing dialogue with them. We also attended the launch of their forthcoming roadshows in parliament on International Day of Disabled People.

DPAC was also first to expose the underhand tactics of Motability in changing their grant-making conditions for disabled drivers who need either internal transfer or drive-from wheelchairs. We have been trying to find someone able to make a legal challenge about this so if anyone has been affected please get in touch.

DPAC supporters and steering group members have spoken at a massive number of events and meetings and also provided a speaker and music for the PA march in June.

DPAC supporters and steering group members have spoken at a massive number of events and meetings including but not exclusively:-

  • Barnet Trades Council AGM
  • DPAC revenge tour Wirral west sack Esther McVey 
  • TUC Disabled Workers Conference 
  • Marxism
  • RMT Regional Council Meeting
  • Labour Party fringe meeting on housing
  • PCS/unite social security conference
  • GMB equality forum
  • Unite the Resistance conference London 
  • 100 years of women in RMT
  • National Peoples Assembly conference.
  • Hackney North CLP National
  • Stop Changes demonstration.
  • Liverpool Trades Council including delegates from National pensioners convention.
  • Lambeth Libraries demonstration.
  • Day of action at Tory party conference.
  • TUC Disabled Workers meeting. various trade union branch meetings.
  • Regional Peoples Assembly meetings.
  • TUCG meeting
  • Trade Union Disability Alliance AGM
  • Irish Congress of Trade Unions disability employment conference in Waterford 
  • Croydon Assembly 
  • Unite Disabled Workers’
  • Manchester Met University panel on disability
  • Leicester University panel disability and media 
  • Leeds University Caroline Gooding Memorial Seminar, Disability and the Equality Act
  • Ankara/Turkey presentation on Challenge and Activism
  • Radical Assembly
  • Momentum
  • Radical Student Conference

Debbie has been re-elected to the European Network on Independent Living ( ENIL) board and DPAC is engaged in the European Alliance against Disability Cuts. We’re also involved in the further development of the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA ).

Our social media campaigns would be nowehere near as effective without the brilliant graphics Skills of Brian Hilton, thank you Brian.

Our social media campaigns would be nowhere near as effective without the brilliant graphics skills of Brian Hilton, thank you Brian.

We also back up our street campaigns with prolific on-line social media campaigns, these are just as vital in the resistance to the government and for disabled people who cannot make one of our protests due to their impairment and access needs be included in our campaigns by joining the resistance against the government on social media and the internet. With our protests on line – we’ve used twitter storms, tweet lists, thunderclaps, face book pictures and links to share, and have trended on twitter and face book with our actions around the right to independent living for the fight for the ILF, the budget event in July, and just recently in October with our Manchester action where we used the hashtag #IDSMurders, which trended on twitter during his speech to the conference.

Finally money things – just to say thanks you to all of our supporters and those of you able to respond to our fundraising drives this year. In total we raised over £5,300 from the 50p challenge and fund an activist against IDS.

This funding has been spent getting people to all the many protests and lobbies of parliament we’ve and without this support DPAC would not be in a position to be as effective as we are.

In addition we were able to raise £610 eventually towards the cost of court charges for a supporter arrested at our Balls2thebudget protest. We hope you feel we’ve made good use of your donations to us.

Also don’t forget we now sell merchandise on-line for gifts for the bolshie ones in your life. http://dpac.uk.net/stuff-to-buy/

 Posted by at 15:57
Dec 312015
 

Independent Living Fighting Fund – donations needed now to support Disabled people hit by the closure of the ILF fight cuts to vital day to day support

DPAC is asking for donations for an Independent Living Fighting Fund to support individual Disabled people to challenge cuts to their social care support packages following closure of the ILF. The ILF campaigners fought fiercely against the closure, taking their protest right to the doors of the House of Commons chamber, exposing to the world the disgraceful way the UK government is treating its Disabled citizens. The Fund finally closed on 30 June but the fight is far from over. Disabled people hit by the closure need solidarity now more than ever as the cuts we all fought so hard to prevent start to kick in.

The government said the closure of the ILF was a transfer not a cut (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/11/impact-of-changes-to-disability-benefits). This was a lie. Some notable Councils such as Hammersmith and Fulham have committed to protecting people’s support packages in the short-term but in other areas serious cuts are already starting to happen as former ILF recipients are re-assessed to determine the level of social care support their Local Authorities will continue to fund. In Waltham Forest for example nearly 90% of former ILF recipients have had their support package cut as a result of the closure of the ILF, with more than a quarter having a cut of 50% or more (http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/independent-living-fund-shocking-drop-in-support-after-ilf-closure/).

Cuts of this level mean robbing Disabled people of independence, dignity and equality. It also places people at risk as tragically evidenced by the case of Amanda Richard (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3266218/Disabled-mother-died-house-fire-24-hour-care-cut.html) who died in a house fire in Coventry after her support hours were cut. Forcing use of incontinence pads on Disabled people who aren’t incontinent is emerging as one common tactic, as is blanket removal of night-time support and increasing expectations on, often elderly, family members and neighbours. One former ILF recipient was told that if she wanted to continue attending her community choir, other members of the choir could assist with her physical needs in place of needing paid support hours. The reassessment of another made a recommendation for behaviour therapy in order to cope with the removal of their night-time support following closure of the ILF.

Disabled campaigners warned that the closure of the ILF signalled the end of independent living for Disabled people. Local Authority administered care and support has proven itself unable to consistently provide Disabled people with adequate support to live, work and study in the community with the same chances as non-Disabled people. The current crisis in social care funding means things are only getting worse as Councils consult on further cuts to community support (http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/council-is-trying-to-push-through-care-cuts-without-proper-scrutiny/), meanwhile investing in the building of new ‘super care homes’ to house Disabled people en masse (http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/threat-to-independent-living-as-council-plots-raid-on-high-cost-care/).

Having lost the legal challenge to quash the decision to close the ILF it is now imperative that support is available for each former ILF recipient at risk of cuts to essential support. There are a number of dedicated solicitors committed to providing legal advice, however changes to legal aid mean that some Disabled people are no longer eligible yet not in a situation where they can fund the legal action they need to challenge what is happening. It is also true that we cannot reach every former ILF recipient affected and we also know that many are too frightened to speak out for fear of losing what support they have got. Legal challenges are an important way of testing out the rights of former ILF recipients under the Care Act 2014 and making examples out of Local Authorities that are not meeting their legal duties.

This is why we need a fighting fund available to support legal challenges by former ILF recipients not eligible for legal aid.

What you can do:

  • Donate to the fighting fund. We have cases that need to be actioned in early January so the sooner you can give the better. To donate go through DPAC’s paypal or contact us via mail@dpac.uk.net for details for a BACS transfer. Include “ILF FF” as the reference.
  • Circulate this post to your friends, family and fellow campaigners asking them to donate too.
  • Donate through gofundme at https://www.gofundme.com/9up7iw
Dec 222015
 

Would you be willing to take part in a focus group to discuss these experiences?

My name is Rosa Morris and I am doing research on:

changes over time in the way the government defines ‘disability’ for the purposes of employment-related disability benefits how this definition compares with disabled people’s lived experiences.

As part of the research I want to find out about:

disabled people’s experiences of the Work Capability Assessment how well they think the WCA reflects and understands their experience of impairment and disability.

I am a disabled person myself with experience of applying for Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance. I hope this research will give a greater voice to disabled people and their experiences.

 

First focus group looking for disabled people to take part on Wednesday 27th January 2016, 2-4pm

 

Second focus group Wednesday 3rd February 2016, 2-4pm

 

I am particularly keen to include the experiences of people with mental health difficulties in the research, in order to explore:

  • people’s experiences of the Work Capability Assessment
  • how well they think the WCA reflects and understands their experiences.

 

Both meetings will be at at 336 Brixton Road, London SW9 7AA.

All travel and access expenses will be reimbursed – please contact me if you have any access requirements to be able to take part.

All participants’ details will be kept anonymous. You will be able to withdraw your consent at any time before or during the focus group and for up to 3 months after participation. All focus group participants will be asked to respect other participants’ confidentiality.

If you are interested in taking part and/or would like to speak to me, in confidence, to find out more information please email me at ss10rm@leeds.ac.uk

Thanks very much for reading this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 18:29
Dec 172015
 

People who make a claim for PIP normally undergo a medical assessment (carried out by Atos or Capita, commercial contractors). If not, their claim is assessed based on the merits of the medical evidence and the PIP form they have sent to the assessors.

Let’s not forget that assessors only make recommendations. It is the Department of Work and Pensions Decision Maker who decides to award PIP to a claimant. But assessors do have to make recommendations which will influence the duration of the PIP award. Contrary to what is generally assumed, assessors do not make a recommendation for the duration of the award. They only recommend the date for a PIP review.  This recommendation will take into account whether a claimant’s condition is likely to improve or worsen, or whether a claimant has been awarded the highest rate and the medical condition in unlikely to improve. In the latter case, the award period will be of at least 11 years or indefinite and there will be no review date. This should be mentioned in the PIP award letter:

“All awards must be reviewed, as your condition is unlikely to change I have selected the maximum possible review period.”

For all other PIP claimants, the assessors will have recommended a date for a PIP review. When the Decision Maker receives this information from the assessors, and enters it in the computer, the duration of the PIP award is automatically generated as follows:

‘Awards

Where an award is made, the CM {Case Manager is the name given to DWP Decision Maker for PIP} must include the “Date of assessment” and “Review Period”. This will generate a review date and end of award date. The “Review period” is the period of the award up to the date the award review is planned for which will normally be the date recommended by the AP. You can enter “Indef” or a number of years/ months, as appropriate. The “Review period” generates the “Award end date” which will be indefinite or one year beyond the “Review date”.’ https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/263680/response/648138/attach/3/DMR%20Template%202015%20User%20Guide.pdf

 

Let’s say an assessor recommends that a claimant should have a PIP review in 2 years time. Once this information is entered in the computer by the Decision Maker, the claimant will automatically be given a PIP award for 3 years. The letter informing a claimant of a PIP award should mention the PIP review date, but it is done in such a way that many claimants are not aware of a PIP review, nor of what it entails. Claimants assume that they have been awarded PIP for the duration mentioned in the DWP letter, but in fact this duration is equal to the duration of the PIP award minus 1 year.

The terminology is also confusing as it seems that a PIP review is very similar to a new PIP claim or a reassessment, when the claimant has to fill in the PIP2 form. The only difference seems to be the reason why it is happening.

But there is also a very nasty, vicious regulation, Regulation 11, which gives the Secretary of State the authority to determine afresh whether a claimant still qualifies for PIP, for any reason and at any time.  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2013/9780111532072/pdfs/ukdsi_9780111532072_en.pdf

 

Re-determination of ability to carry out activities

‘11. Where it has been determined that C {Claimant} has limited ability or severely limited ability to carry out either or both daily living activities or mobility activities, the Secretary of State may, for any reason and at any time, determine afresh in accordance with regulation 4 whether C continues to have such limited ability or severely limited ability.’

So it seems that the Secretary of State ha the authority to request a PIP review at will. The guidance is a bit clearer about this:

‘This is a key piece of information not fully covered in the system notifications so should be included in the reasons so the claimant knows we’ve not specifically targeted them for planned award review action. This doesn’t stop us choosing to review the case before this date but this would only be where we receive new information or the law changes’.  

So although a PIP review can be done at any time during the duration of a PIP award, it would seem that there should be some justification for it, either because new information has been received, or because of a change in law. Although far from being clear, it would seem that the decision to review a PIP claim could be legally challenged, if there is no basis for the review, and if there is reason to believe that DWP is punishing or harassing a claimant who has, for example, made a complaint. As it has not been tested in court, it is difficult to be certain, but the bottom line is that claimants should know that their PIP claim will be systematically reviewed one year before the end of their award.  This information should be clearly mentioned in the letter they received informing them of the duration of their award. And they should challenge DWP if no review date has been mentioned in their letter but they are called for a review.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

 

 

 Posted by at 13:43
Dec 162015
 
It seems that Empire cinemas are taking us back to the days when disabled people weren’t allowed in cinemas because they were considered a health and safety/ fire hazard. It is Empire’s policy that all cinema seats for disabled people should now be at the front of the cinema near the fire exits.As I’m sure most of you know sitting right at the front of the cinema having to bend your neck up to watch the show is often not only painful for most disabled people but also impossible for others.
 
Also Empire cinemas seem oblivious to the fact that disabled people have friends and may have families and their new cinema has introduced metal barriers segregating disabled people from the rest of the audience. They can only sit next to one other person.
 
DPAC think this attitude and policy should be changed so we’re taking advantage of the release of Star Wars in Empire cinemas to launch the #DPACStrikesBack campaign.
 
Pleas email Empire cinemas and tell them disabled people should be treated equally to other cinema patrons and be able to have a choice of where they sit. After all we pay for our own tickets they aren’t free.
 
Template letter/email to use or change, and below that there are some tweets that you can send to @empirecinemas on twitter.

 Dear Empire cinemas,
As a disabled person/ friend of a disabled person I want to let you know that I am opposed to your policy of treating disabled people as second class citizens who are only able to sit at the front of your cinemas because you seem to deem them as being a fire hazard.
 
Further in your new cinema In Hemel Hempstead disabled people are segregated from sitting with friends and family other then one other person. This too is unacceptable.
 
This backward way of thinking should have totally died out by now and given that many disabled people either find sitting at the front of the cinema having to bend their neck up to see the screen or are unable to even do this we want you to change your seating policies for your cinemas so that disabled people also can choose to sit at the back or even in the middle of screens.
 
I look forward to your response to my letter/email
 
Yours faithfully,

Some tweets to aim at @EmpireCinemas to get you started, please add your own as well


Disabled People Strike Back at @EmpireCinemas #DPACStrikesBack #ForceAwakens shar.es/1Gcxi1 pic.twitter.com/G8aRm2idJi


.@EmpireCinemas Segregating disabled people cos they are a file risk? pic.twitter.com/G8aRm2idJi #DPACStrikesBack #ForceAwakens


Segregating disabled people where they cannot watch with friends. Fuck you @EmpireCinemas pic.twitter.com/G8aRm2idJi #ForceAwakens


DPAC say @EmpireCinemas have gone over to the Dark Side pic.twitter.com/G8aRm2idJi #DPACStrikesBack #ForceAwakens


.@EmpireCinemas Disabled people are not a fire risk,we do not spontaneously burn pic.twitter.com/G8aRm2idJi #DPACStrikesBack #ForceAwakens


.@EmpireCinemas disabled people are not putting up with this shar.es/1Gcxi1 #DPACStrikesBack #ForceAwakens pic.twitter.com/G8aRm2idJi


 Posted by at 20:54

A Bleak Time for Many DDPOs

 News  Comments Off on A Bleak Time for Many DDPOs
Dec 152015
 
 Disability Wales at risk of closure following funds shake-up
 
Following a Welsh Government funding change, as from the 1st of April 2016, DW will lose 68% of its income after its recent application to the Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant Scheme was turned down and risks closure in less than four months’ time.
Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales explains:

 Since 1972 Disability Wales (DW) has received core funding from the Welsh Government’s Department for Health and Social Services to enable it to represent the voice of members with the aim of informing and influencing government policy. It has enabled DW to successfully influence priority issues for members such as Independent Living, Hate Crime and Access to the High Street as well as providing information and support to disabled people’s organisations around Wales.

 Welsh Government decided to replace core funding arrangements to national third sector organisations with a new project based grant scheme called the Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant. The narrower focus of this grant aimed at delivery of social care services meant that DW as a rights and equality based umbrella organisation no longer fitted the funding criteria.”

 
Wendy Ashton, Chair of Disability Wales states:
 “Losing the core grant from Welsh Government is a devastating blow particularly at a time when disabled people, who make up one fifth of the Welsh population, are experiencing cuts both to benefits and services.
 In his speech to DW’s Annual Conference on 8 October, the Minister for Health and Social Services Prof Mark Drakeford AM paid tribute to the ‘impact’ which Disability Wales has had on the new Social Services and Well-being Act as well as the ‘exciting projects’ it is delivering including the development of citizen-led co-operatives to support people with managing their Direct Payments.  Disabled people form one fifth of the Welsh population and face higher levels of poverty than any other group of people with protected characteristics, a situation worsening by the day following continued UK government cuts in benefits and services.”
 Simon Green Disabled Activist and Chair of Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People, a member of Disability Wales states:

 Without Disability Wales there will be no national representative pan-impairment, barriers focussed body able to co-ordinate the views of disabled people and their organisations across Wales

 “I think it will have a massive impact not just on Disability Wales but all the groups it represents including Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People.  Bridgend Coalition have benefited from being a member of Disability Wales for many years and if it wasn’t for Disability Wales we probably wouldn’t exist”

 Rhian Davies:

 “DW is in negotiation with Welsh Government regarding a short-term support package whilst a longer term solution is identified.  However, DW requires an urgent response and time is limited as we approach Christmas and the end of the financial year!  After more than 40 years as a national voice DW has less than four months to ensure its survival.  Who will fight for disabled people’s rights if DW is not there?!” 

 Now the future looks uncertain for Caerphilly-based disability rights organisation. 

 

*ENDS*

Notes to editors 

Disability Wales is the national association of disabled people’s organisations in Wales championing the rights, equality and independence of all disabled people. 
Website: www.disabilitywales.org  twitter: @disabilitywales    facebook: https://www.facebook.com/disabilitywales/?fref=ts       youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DisabilityWales 

 

*** I’w ryddhau yn syth***
DATGANIAD I’R WASG
 

Dyfodol Anabl

 Posted by at 17:06
Dec 082015
 

Seeing the light…

Introducing Switched On London, a new campaign coalition demanding clean, affordable and democratic energy in the capital through publicly owned energy and supported by DPAC.

www.switchedonlondon.org.uk | @SwitchedOnLDN

The floods in Cumbria are a reminder of how close to home the impacts of climate change are being felt. Three once-in-a-hundred year floods in ten years aren’t an indication of terrible misfortune, but of a new baseline. As leaders and business executives meet in Paris with the outcome uncertain, in London the fight for clean, affordable energy is being taken in a new direction.

In the face of a cartel of energy companies whose turn to renewables is far too slow — and whose profit-hungry business model leaves thousands struggling between heating and eating in the winter — Switched on London is a new campaign launching to build energy democracy in London. We demand that the GLA (Greater London Authority) sets up a new public energy company that works for people, not for profit.

The needs for clean energy and for affordable energy are deeply connected. We have already waited far too long for the private sector to ride to the rescue and deliver renewables.The big energy companies’ commitment to fossil fuels is as profound as their drive to make enormous profits, which have increased ten-fold since 2007. We need to democratise our approach, including people in decisions about their own energy, and giving the public sector the capacity to invest in new sources of clean power and energy efficiency.

In spite of the Tory government’s bizarre attack on the community energy sector, there remain some tools open to the public sector to challenge the dominance of the Big Six. An announcement last year indicated that the Mayor of London had seemed to be using one of these – called ‘Licence Lite’ – to step in to provide a route between public and small-scale energy producers and big consumers such as Transport for London. ‘Licence Lite’ could have given the GLA the chance to break the Big Six’s control over energy supply.

Sources within the GLA this week, however, have revealed that Boris Johnson, far from doing this, has signed off yet another contract with one of the big energy companies themselves, RWE nPower. They will run the scheme, providing billing and administration; tasks they’ve proved singularly bad at in their own business.

This is another blown opportunity by this mayor. After decades of flawed competition and rising prices, over one million Londoners are in fuel poverty, thousands die every year from air pollution, and the commitment to deliver renewable energy is falling short. While major European cities like Munich and Copenhagen are committing to 100% clean power, London is lagging behind. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Switched On London is putting forward a proposal that could help the Greater London Authority become the tap-root of a new energy system in our city. We’re a broad coalition of community organisations, trade unions and NGOs coming together to propose a bold but achievable vision of a very different energy future: one geared around ordinary Londoners, not powerful business executives.

We want a new non-profit company that offers fair, affordable prices, reinvesting in energy efficiency and tackling fuel poverty. By taking public control we could directly drive investment in the 21st century renewable energy sources London needs. With a range of democratic mechanisms – from elected board-members to open borough assemblies and public referenda on important issues – we could truly shift power to people’s hands.

This is a perfectly realistic goal. London could start moving rapidly by divesting its £4.8bn pension pot from fossil fuels. It could launch municipal bonds to fund new clean energy sources, as it did for Crossrail.

Local authorities like Nottingham and Bristol have already taken steps in the direction of public energy along with dozens of cities across Europe. Londoners have had to live with a broken energy system too long, and it’s time to change it.

www.switchedonlondon.org.uk | @SwitchedOnLDN

 

 Posted by at 15:05
Dec 032015
 

A full list of Labour MPs who backed vote for airstrikes in Syria, has been released.

Labour MPS who voted Yes:

Labour

ALEXANDER, Heidi, Ms

AUSTIN, Ian, Mr

BAILEY, Adrian, Mr

BARRON, Kevin, Sir

BECKETT, Margaret,

BENN, Hilary,

BERGER, Luciana, Ms

BLENKINSOP, Tom, Mr

BRADSHAW, Ben,

BRYANT, Chris, Mr

CAMPBELL, Alan,

CHAPMAN, Jenny, Ms

COAKER, Vernon, Mr

COFFEY, Ann, Ms

COOPER, Yvette,

COYLE, Neil, Mr

CREAGH, Mary, Ms

CREASY, Stella, Ms

DANCZUK, Simon, Mr

DAVID, Wayne, Mr

DE PIERO, Gloria, Ms

DOUGHTY, Stephen, Mr

DOWD, Jim, Mr

DUGHER, Michael, Mr

EAGLE, Angela, Ms

EAGLE, Maria, Ms

ELLMAN, Louise, Ms

FIELD, Frank, Rt Hon.

FITZPATRICK, Jim, Mr

FLETCHER, Colleen, Ms

FLINT, Caroline,

HARMAN, Harriet,

HODGE, Margaret,

HOWARTH, George,

HUNT, Tristram, Mr

JARVIS, Dan, Mr

JOHNSON, Alan,

JONES, Graham, Mr

JONES, Helen, Ms

JONES, Kevan, Mr

JONES, Susan Elan, Ms

KENDALL, Liz, Ms

KYLE, Peter, Mr

LESLIE, Chris, Mr

LYNCH, Holly, Ms

MCDONAGH, Siobhain, Ms

MCFADDEN, Pat,

MCGINN, Conor, Mr

MCGOVERN, Alison, Ms

PHILLIPSON, Bridget, Ms

POWELL, Lucy, Ms

REED, Jamie, Mr

REYNOLDS, Emma, Ms

ROBINSON, Geoffrey, Mr

RYAN, Joan, Ms

SMEETH, Ruth, Ms

SMITH, Angela, Ms

SPELLAR, John,

STUART, Gisela, Ms

THOMAS, Gareth, Mr

TURLEY, Anna, Ms

UMUNNA, Chuka, Mr

VAZ, Keith,

WATSON, Tom, Mr

WILSON, Phil, Mr

WOODCOCK, John, Mr

 Posted by at 20:30
Dec 032015
 

DPAC/Public Interest Research Unit study on work-place discrimination: request for information on your experiences.

Do you think that you might have experienced disability discrimination at work?

Did the new £1,250 fee (introduced in July 2013), to take your case to an employment tribunal, put you off making a discrimination claim against the employer?

If so, and you think that you might be prepared to provide more details for DPAC/PIRU’s study, please email rgbharwood@hotmail.com or mail@dpac.uk.net.

Any information you provide will be anonymised, so as to hide your identity.

 Posted by at 19:53