Linda

Mar 212017
 
Let us know about your experience of the PIP assessment
Inclusion London have been invited by the Chair of the Work and Pension’s
Committee to give written evidence on the process of being assessed for the
Personal Independence Payment PIP – your experience will inform our evidence.
The questions the Committee are particularly interested in are:
1. Which aspects of the current assessment process for PIP are and are not
conducive to accurate decision-making? What improvements could be made?
2. Do Atos and Capita staff conducting PIP assessments possess sufficient
expertise to make accurate decisions on claims involving a wide range of
mental and physical health conditions?
a. Do the staff take enough account of additional evidence supplied by
claimants?
2. Is the face-to-face assessment appropriate for claimants with a range of
different conditions?
3. What changes are needed to improve the accuracy of decisions made in initial
assessments and in mandatory reconsideration, given that the majority of
decisions that go to appeal are overturned?
a. What are the most common reasons you come across for decisions
being overturned on appeal?
b. Is the mandatory reconsideration stage functioning properly? How
could it be improved, or should it be abolished?
4. What is the impact on claimants of delays in getting an accurate decision on
their claim, and how could this be reduced or better managed?
Please send your experience to Henrietta.doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk
asap or by Wednesday 12 April 2017
 Posted by at 17:12
Mar 172017
 

WinVisible is supporting this protest by Compassion in Care and The Whistler:

Whistle-blowers & families of those abused stand together to protest

WEDNESDAY 22 MARCH 2017 AT 12 NOON.

Care Quality Commission Head Office

151 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 9SZ

Inside Colonnade Walk shopping centre.

Access ramp at traffic lights, corner Buckingham Palace Road

& Elizabeth Bridge SW1

Facebook

Image result for winterbourne view panorama

AGAINST

·        Care Quality Commission’s David Behan being knighted for services to inspection, when so many people have and continue to suffer and die.

·        A whistle-blower Guardian that is failing whistle-blowers and those whose lives depend on someone speaking out.

FOR

·        Edna’s Law to protect ALL whistle-blowers from ALL sectors.

·        Accountability for All past injustice

·        Justice for ALL Future Whistle-blowers.

WinVisible is supporting because:

 

–       Our people neglected and tortured in institutions and “homecare” are not protected by the Care Quality Commission.  Whistleblowers like Eileen Chubb and Julie Bailey are the ones who speak out, but suffer reprisals. 

 

–       The CQC and every agency ignored Winterbourne View nurse Terry Bryan, who had to go to BBC Panorama.  The CQC later said it was a “misjudgement” his concerns had not been investigated.  Little has changed, now David Behan is getting a knighthood!

 

–       In January 2016, Remploy (owned by Maximus) cut the pay of the Care Quality Commission “experts by experience” who inspect care homes and talk to residents.  New contracts wipe out inspection by people with personal experience.

–       We supported residential home staff lobbying for the London Living Wage.  Women told us understaffing and management pressure make shameful neglect inevitable and widespread.

 

*Sign the Edna’s Law petition *Share Facebook Twitter@CompassnInCare

 Posted by at 22:08
Mar 172017
 

Thanks to everyone who contacted us about this possible challenge. The solicitors have spoken initially to a number of people and are now able to try to seek a barrister’s opinion. If you haven’t been contacted yet then it may be after that opinion is available that you may be for witness statements to add to the case.

We’ll keep everyone informed of what’s happening as soon as we can.

 Posted by at 20:56
Mar 122017
 

Thursday 30 March 2017
National Day of Action Against Sanctions
JOIN US
More and more people are facing benefit sanctions. Half a million people have had their benefits suddenly stopped by sanctions in the last 12 monthsNo Sanctions logo.
That’s half a million people, many of whom have been plunged into poverty, unable to heat their homes or even eat. How is this meant to help prepare people for work?


Benefit sanctions must be fought against

These sanctions are cruel and handed out for ridiculous reasons such as:

  • Arriving minutes late to a meeting
  • Not applying for jobs when waiting to start a new job!
  • Missing an appointment on the day of the funeral of a close family member.

This has to stop.

nite demonstration outside the Department of Work and Pensions in London watch the video here  – See more at: http://stagingui.unite.awsripple.com/growing-our-union/communitymembership/day-of-action-against-sanctions/default.aspx#sthash.QsxxyCRf.dpuf
Unite demonstration outside the Department of Work and Pensions in London watch the video here  – See more at: http://stagingui.unite.awsripple.com/growing-our-union/communitymembership/day-of-action-against-sanctions/default.aspx#sthash.QsxxyCRf.dpufTake other action
  • Share your story – we are looking for people who have been sanctioned to tell their story.
  • We want to show the reality and impact on people’s lives – show your support – share on Twitter and Facebook #No2Sanctions

JOIN US – Thursday 30 MarchPlease join an event near you on Thursday 30 March to stop benefit sanctions in your community.

We will continue to add new actions on a regular basis, so please check back.

For further information please email your Unite community cordinator (see below).

London & Eastern – David Condliffe
Herts and Beds Branch: Luton, Jobcentre, Guilford Street – 12.00 noon.
Contact: Rachel Holmes, Branch Secretary – Email: RedR8chel@hotmail.com | Mobile: 07526282356.

Kilburn Jobcentre – 12.00 to 1.00 pm.

East and West Midlands – Shaun Pender
Protest & Film – Stop Benefit Sanctions – Save Eastern Ave JCP
Manor Top, Sheffield – 5.00 to 9.00 pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/405106473173499/


South East – Kelly Tomlinson

North East, Yorkshire & Humberside – John Coan

North West – Sheila Coleman
Wirral Community Branch has created a Thunderclap:
https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/53094-stop-benefit-sanctions

South West – Brett Sparkes
Lemon Quay, Truro 12.00 to 3.00 pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/1835696733335875/

Bridgwater Jobcentre: 11.00 to 1.00 pm
Bridgwater High Street, next to Admiral Blake: 11.00 to 1.00 pm

Film | I, Daniel Blake – 7.00 to 9.30 pm
Venue: Somerset Film @ The Engine Room, 50-52 High St, Bridgwater TA6 3BL Phone: 01278 433187. £3 standard ticket but if people can afford more there is a solidarity ticket at £10.
For more information visit: http://www.somersetfilm.com/diary/?action=evrplusegister&event_id=147
https://www.facebook.com/events/1420001918045217/

We will also be raising money for Bridgwater food bank.

Wales – Mary Williams

Scotland – Jamie Caldwell
Outside Dunfermline Jobcentre – 11.00 am

Ireland – Albert Hewitt
Portadown Jobs & Benefits Office – 12:00 to 1.00 pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/256582661460078/

– See more at: http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/communitymembership/day-of-action-against-sanctions/#sthash.jVbfpy3m.dpuf

 Posted by at 15:47
Mar 122017
 
 Posted by at 13:36
Mar 102017
 

We make a number of recommendations which are at the end of this document.Next week DPAC and RoFA members will be in Geneva to jointly present with other UK organisations the shadow report for the periodic review of the UK by the UN Disability Committee.

Separately we are also meeting members  of the committee to present and discuss our response below and to show that the UK government continue to be guilty of the grave and systematic violation of disabled people’s human rights.

February 2017
Prepared by the DPAC Research Team and Inclusion London
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

DPAC is a grassroots campaign led by Disabled people.  Following the first mass protest against austerity cuts held on the 3 October 2010 in Birmingham it was set up by a group of Disabled people in response to the disproportionate impact of austerity on Disabled people. That march had been led by Disabled people under the name of The Disabled Peoples’ Protest. Since then DPAC has continued to grow as the negative impacts of austerity have widened. DPAC now has over 20,000 members and supporters with a far wider outreach through its work with mainstream anti-cuts groups, universities, Disabled Peoples’ Organisations, and Trade Unions.

mail@dpac.uk.net   www.dpac.uk.net   @Dis_PPL_Protest

 

Inclusion London

Inclusion London is a London-wide Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation. We support Deaf and Disabled people’s organisations in London and campaign for equality for Deaf and Disabled people. Inclusion London supports 90 Deaf and Disabled Organisations working across every London borough. Through these organisations, our reach extends to over 70,000 Disabled Londoners.

www.inclusionlondon.org.uk   @inclusionlondon

 

Abbreviations

AtW                Access to Work

CCG                Clinical Commissioning Group

DHP                Discretionary Housing Payment

DLA                Disability Living Allowance

ESA                 Employment and Support Allowance

FFW               Fit For Work

ILF                   Independent Living Fund

JSA                  Job Seekers Allowance

LA                   Local Authority

PIP                  Personal Independence Payment

SG                   Support Group

WRAG            Work Related Activity Group

 

 

Contents

  1. Comments on the findings of the Committee. 7
  2. Comments on the UK Government Response. 10

2.1 Serious concern at the Government’s approach. 10

2.1.1 Rejection of the Committee findings. 10

2.1.2 £50bn spend.. 12

2.1.3 Listening to Disabled people. 12

2.2 General Findings. 13

2.2.1 Social model of disability.. 13

2.2.2 Equality Act 2010.. 14

2.2.3 Legal Aid changes. 15

2.3 Article 19 – Living independently and being included in the community  16

2.3.1 Failure to understand the principle of Independent Living. 16

2.3.2 Failure to address social care funding crisis. 16

2.3.3 Inadequacy of other initiatives. 19

2.3.4 Choice and control 21

2.3.5 Closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF). 23

2.3.6 Worsening situation.. 25

2.4 Article 27 – Work and Employment 28

2.4.1 Dominance of work focus. 28

2.4.2 Update since UN inquiry.. 30

2.4.3 Improving Lives: the work, health and disability green paper. 38

2.4.4 Access to Work (AtW). 41

2.5 Article 28 – Adequate standard of living and social protection. 42

2.5.1 Government spend.. 42

2.5.2 Poverty.. 43

2.5.3 Personal Independent Payment (PIP). 50

Conclusion. 55

Appendix A – Evidence of retrogression in areas cited in paragraph 7. 56

Appendix B – Breakdown of “£50billion” spend. 59

Appendix C – Mitigating measures in response to public pressure. 60

Appendix D – Inadequacy of initiatives cited in paragraph 26. 63

Appendix E – Personal testimonies of sanctions. 67

Appendix F – Recommendations. 71

  1. Cumulative Impact Assessment. 71
  2. Future legislation and/or policy measures respect the core elements of rights under Articles 19, 27 and 28.. 71
  3. Article 19 – independent living. 71
  4. Article 27 – Work and Employment. 72
  5. Article 28 – Adequate standard of living and social protection.. 73
  6. Access to justice. 74
  7. Actively consult and engage with Disabled people and our organisations 75
  8. Appropriate measures to combat any negative and discriminatory stereotypes or prejudice against disabled people. 75
  9. Monitoring mechanism… 76
  10. Response to Disability Committee Report and Recommendations. 76

1. Comments on the findings of the Committee

We welcome the findings of the Committee which present an accurate evaluation of the situation in the UK. We acknowledge the time and effort which the Disability Committee put into their very thorough investigation and appreciate the opportunity that was given to Disabled people and our organisations to be listened to.

We were disappointed that neither we nor the UK Independent Mechanism received advance notice of the publication of the Committee Report other than via a leak to The Mail on Sunday newspaper[1]. This meant that we were not able to ensure dissemination of the findings of the inquiry before it was publicly discredited.

The inquiry focused specifically on Articles 19, 27 and 28 of the Convention. Retrogression has not only occurred under these Articles, and we look forward to the routine scrutiny of the UK in 2017 as an opportunity for the Committee to consider wider, interrelated impacts of UK Government policy and legislation on the rights of Disabled people.

Evidence to the inquiry was submitted in three areas and, whilst acknowledging the volume of information considered by the Committee and its decision to strictly confine its findings to specific Articles, we are disappointed they are not covered in the Committee Report. These are:

  • The impact of austerity measures on inclusive education
  • Increasing barriers to employment for Disabled people
  • The impact of cuts to mental health services

Increasing barriers to education and employment created by Government policy measures alongside the curtailing of social security protections have added to the cumulative adverse impact of austerity on Disabled people. These include, but are not limited to, the decision to cut Disabled Student’s Allowance[2], a raft of strategic and operational changes to the Government Access to Work scheme[3], and the introduction of fees for employment tribunals[4]. There is also evidence that conditions for Disabled staff working within Government departments have worsened[5].

Disabled people’s rights under Article 19 have been impacted by cuts to inclusive education and to mental health services. Having choice and control over living arrangements includes full inclusion in mainstream education provision. This has been undermined by severe cuts to funding for learning support assistance. Mental health services have also suffered with real terms cuts of over £600 million to the budgets of Mental Health Trusts since 2010[6]. Over the same period the numbers of those seeking treatment rose from 500,000 to 1.7 million[7]. Recent figures show that detentions under the Mental Health Act have risen dramatically[8] and the suicide rate has increased[9]. The number of unexpected patient deaths reported by England’s mental health trusts has risen by almost 50% in three years[10].

Cuts and policy changes in the above areas have all contributed to the retrogression experienced under Articles 19, 27 and 28.

 

 

2. Comments on the UK Government Response

2.1 Serious concern at the Government’s approach

2.1.1 Rejection of the Committee findings

The UK Government has dismissed the findings of the Committee and rejected all eleven recommendations. They failed to disseminate the Committee’s findings and recommendations in any way. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green, publicly described the Committee’s Report as demonstrating “an outdated view of disability which is patronising and offensive”[11].

Disabled people and our organisations do not agree. The UK Independent Mechanism has also written to the Government to urge a review of their Response outlining key concerns[12]. All concerns have been dismissed[13].

There are material reasons why Disabled people are excluded from the workplace and require social security protections and social care support in order to exist and to participate. The inquiry findings accurately evaluate the violations to our rights in these areas that have occurred as result of UK Government legislation and policy.

By signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol to the UNCRPD, the UK recognised the competence of the Committee to determine violations[14], and has at this stage provided an unconvincing response to the Committee’s determinations.

The Response accuses the Report of having “too narrow a scope” by only focusing on changes to the welfare system (paragraph 7). While the Committee Report focuses on the rights of Disabled people under those three specific interrelated Articles, retrogression has occurred across all areas covered by the Convention[15], including those cited by the Response as “significant measures” that it claims the Report fails to reflect[16].

Whilst the Response sets out various initiatives[17] which it says are relevant to the fulfilment of Articles 19, 27 and 28, it fails in significant respects adequately to grapple – save by way of denial – with the specific nature of many of the criticisms advanced in the Report.   In particular, it does not adequately address the Committee’s findings as to the adverse and disproportionate impact of measures on Disabled people.

The very serious issue of high-ranking officers misleading the public as to the nature of welfare reform covered in paragraph 85 is completely omitted from the Response.

Disabled people are now facing a still worsening situation as a result of the Government’s refusal to implement the Committee recommendations alongside further changes to policy and guidance and a widening of the adverse impacts of austerity measures.

 

2.1.2 £50bn spend

A central argument in the Government’s Response is that it claims to spend £50bn per year on what it calls “benefits to support disabled people and people with long term health conditions”[18]. It says that this is above OECD average and more than countries such as Germany, France and the USA. This information is misleading. As confirmed by the Freedom of Information response attached at Appendix B, the £50bn figure includes spending on social care support as well as statutory sick pay, war pensions and carers’ allowance.

According to a new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Government will spend £24 billion on working age disability or incapacity benefits in 2016/17. Spending on incapacity benefits is now a smaller share of national income than in any year since 1989/90. In part, that reflects the fact that average awards have fallen from 24% of average earnings in 1986/87 to 19% in 2016/17[19].

In comparison to other countries, the OECD Social Expenditure Database shows the UK is just at the OECD average of ‘public spending for social purposes’, below 16 countries including Greece, Portugal and Slovenia[20].

2.1.3 Listening to Disabled people

The Response refers to the UK as “a strong parliamentary democracy, where the voices and opinions of disabled people are represented and listened to” (paragraph 3). The volume of consultation responses, Parliamentary inquiry reports and Select Committee recommendations ignored by the Government in pushing ahead with their legislation and policy implementation and considered by the Disability Committee within their inquiry is evidence to the contrary. The Response cites no supporting evidence for their claim to listen to Disabled people.

A number of measures cited in the Response as examples of mitigation only came about following public pressure and campaigning by Disabled people after our concerns were initially ignored by Government[21]. The need to expend considerable effort in order to challenge harmful proposals adds significantly to the barriers Disabled people have faced.

The Response displays little engagement with, or understanding of, either the general principles that are contained within, and underpin, the UNCRPD, or the specific principles summarised in paragraphs 43-46 of the Committee’s Report.

 

2.2 General Findings

2.2.1 Social model of disability

The Response states that the Government addresses the barriers faced by Disabled people “using the social model of disability adopted by the Committee and disability sector”. The model of disability used by the Government to underpin its programme of welfare reform is the biopsychosocial model developed by Waddell and Aylward specifically for the purposes of policy formation. On 17th January 2012 Hansard records that Lord Freud explained to the House of Lords that the Government’s approach to welfare reform was based upon “the biopsychosocial model”[22]. He references a “Models of Sickness and Disability” document distributed to selected members of the House of Lords explaining how what he refers to as a “coherent theory” is different from the social model. Rather than bringing together biological, psychological and social factors in a holistic account of disability, the Waddell-Aylward BPS is in actuality a causal explanation of sickness absence, with advocacy for a particular approach to disability management, that has been used to justify restriction of welfare entitlements[23].

2.2.2 Equality Act 2010

The Response states that the Equality Act 2010 “serves to ensure that the rights of disabled people are fully considered by UK policy makers”. However, there is currently no explicit statutory requirement or a non-statutory commitment for Ministers to give ‘due regard’ to the CRPD when developing new policy and law. A letter from the UK Independent Mechanism to the UK Government outlining concerns states:

“UKIM does not consider that the UK Government has provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it consistently gives due regard to the need to promote the equality of disabled people or their broader human rights, when developing new law and policy.”[24]

The socio-economic duty that forms the very first section of the Equality Act 2010 and was passed by Parliament, has not been brought into force. This would require all public bodies to take account of socio-economic disadvantage when making policy decisions[25].

2.2.3 Legal Aid changes

The Response fails to acknowledge the adverse impact on Disabled people’s access to justice arising from changes including the reduction in scope of legal aid and the introduction of a mandatory telephone gateway service in England and Wales as evidenced by the EHRC[26].

A report by Amnesty published in October 2016 concludes:

“In human rights terms, the cuts to legal aid constitute a retrogressive measure. They were primarily motivated by a desire to reduce spending on the justice system at a time of increased fiscal pressure, but were made with insufficient regard for the potential negative and profound impacts on the protection of human rights in the UK. There is no dispute that fewer people can now access free legal help and representation in a wide range of cases; the Government’s own statistics bear this out.”[27]

According to official figures there was a 99% reduction in welfare-benefit cases receiving legal aid funding following the introduction of LASPO[28], from 88,378 in the year 2012/13 to just 145. The Amnesty report calls for the restoration of welfare benefits advice funding.

The experiences of Disabled people following the closure of the Independent Living Fund have evidenced the lack of support for individuals to challenge cuts to their social care packages in breach of the Care Act 2014 due to changes rendering them ineligible for legal aid[29].

2.3 Article 19 – Living independently and being included in the community

2.3.1 Failure to understand the principle of Independent Living

The right to live independently and be included in the community as enshrined in Article 19 of the CRPD places a responsibility on State parties to ensure Disabled people have access to adequate support that enables us to have equal choices and opportunities. It is about having the right levels of support in place and is not about being able to “do things for ourselves”.

The Government’s Response reveals a failure to understand the core principle of independent living by the following statement: ““Supporting people to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible, is a guiding principle of the Care Act” (paragraph 32).

2.3.2 Failure to address social care funding crisis

Disabled people’s right to independent living is dependent upon adequate funding for the support we need to be able to have the same chances to participate as other people. A lack of suitable support and assistance results in isolation and inactivity and removes dignity and opportunity. Increasing reliance on unpaid support and an emphasis on finding cheaper alternatives goes against the interests of Disabled people.

The UK is facing a social care funding crisis[30]. The Response cites funding available increase their budgets for social care spending (paragraph 25). This is insufficient to address the size and depth of the funding crisis[31]. Additional funding for social care will be swallowed up by demographic pressures and additional costs for providers of implementing the National Living Wage set to rise for a second time in April 2017[32].

Despite the ageing population and rising demand for services, UK public spending on social care is set to fall back to less than 1% of GDP by the end of this parliament, leaving thousands more older and Disabled people without access to services[33]. Recent analysis of Sustainability and Transformation Plans by the British Medical Association has revealed a £4.7bn social care shortfall[34].

There is now an unprecedented consensus that the social care system is on the brink[35].Those who have spoken out include NHS leaders[36], local government leaders from all parties[37], independent health think-tanks[38] and the regulator[39]. The Chairs of three House of Commons Select Committees are urging the Prime Minister to reach a cross-party agreement on the future of health and social care funding[40].

 

2.3.3 Inadequacy of other initiatives

The Response cites a number of initiatives which it claims “protect the rights of disabled people in article 19” (paragraph 26) but provides no evidence of progressive impacts for any of them[41].  ‘Building the Right Support’ and ‘No Voice Unheard, No Right Ignored’ both relate to an ambition to close inpatient facilities and support people with learning difficulties and autism to live in the community. Not only did the Government miss its target that by 1 June 2014 anyone with a learning difficulty and challenging behaviour who would be better off supported in the community, should be moved out of hospital, but a National Audit Office (NAO) report published in February 2015 found that in the nine months to June 2014, there were 300 more admissions to hospital than there were discharges[42]. Neither of these initiatives will succeed without adequate funding for community based services.

Despite research that shows how every £1 spent in home adaptations can save £4 in health and social care spending, the Disabled Facilities Grant remains underfunded[43]. Long waiting lists and the £30,000 limit mean that Disabled people in need of adaptations do not get them when they need them and many people who could benefit from it are unaware of its existence.

The Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund has been linked to developments that threaten Disabled people’s rights under Article 19. This scheme commits capital funding to support and accelerate the development of purpose-built, specialist housing for older people and disabled people including “extra care homes”. Disabled people are extremely concerned about Councils investing in large, specialist housing units as an alternative to funding support to live independently in the community. This represents a return to segregation.  Southampton Council consulted on proposals to cap community care support packages at the same time as investing £12 million in a “super care home”, with accommodation for up to 95 disabled people[44]. A review by Lambeth Healthwatch of local extra care housing facilities found that many residents seemed lonely and isolated[45].

The Response gives examples of how the Government is addressing barriers in the built environment. Part M regulations for accessible and adaptable dwellings referred to in paragraph 27 are a dilution of the ‘Lifetimes Homes’ standard[46]. The Government has also rejected recommendations and legislative amendments to enforce accessibility[47].

Initiatives to encourage accessibility and inclusion are welcome but without support to participate in the community Disabled people are unable to benefit from them. Considerable resources have been invested in engaging more Disabled people in sport since the 2012 London Paralympics and yet research shows that participation continues to decrease[48]. The latest figures published by Sport England in December show that 20,900 fewer Disabled people now play sport once a week, than 12 months ago[49]. We look forward to the Government’s promised formal report to Parliament setting out progress in implementing Sport England’s ‘Towards an Active Nation” strategy (paragraph 30).

Disabled people still face barriers to transport access[50] with funding for access too often de-prioritised. Research published in November 2015 found that nine out of ten wheelchair users had been refused a space on a bus[51]. In May 2016 Disabled People’s Organisations wrote to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin[52] calling on him to ignore a spending review recommendation from head of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy, that Access for All funding for 2014-19 should be cut from £102 million to £55 million, with the rest carried over to the next spending period, 2019-24[53].

2.3.4 Choice and control

According to the Government’s own figures, the proportion of Disabled people who said they frequently had choice and control over their lives fell from 76% in 2008 to 65% in 2015. This data was not collected for 2016[54]. Disabled people can only access their rights to choice and control under the Care Act 2014 if they have the knowledge, confidence and resources to challenge their Local Authority. Changes in Legal Aid have left many individuals unable to access the legal support required to do this[55]. We are aware of examples where Disabled people have been told by social workers that if they cannot manage with reductions to their support packages they will need to go into residential care[56]. The DWP Post ILF Closure review included one such example:

“one social worker said, you’ll have to sell the house and move into a nursing home. Well, [the former recipient] is only young, she doesn’t want to be in a nursing home”[57].

Social care professionals and Disabled people are united in the view that personal budgets are not delivering on the promise they were introduced with – flexibility, choice and control. The Disabled People’s Organisation Equal Lives made a formal complaint against Norfolk County Council to the Care Quality Commission for ‘disregarding’ its duties under the Care Act 2014. A local social worker wrote in support of the complaint saying:

“Our service users do not have the freedom to choose the care they want or need. The general feeling among frontline social workers at Norfolk County Council is this is just another move towards the dismantling of statutory services”[58].

2.3.5 Closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF)

Some of the statements in the Response referring to the situation following closure of the ILF are misleading. LAs are not “being fully funded” as the Response claims (paragraph 37). Under pressure from campaigners the Government extended funding to Local Authorities through a “Former ILF Recipient Grant” until 2020. The grant is tapering and does not represent the full costs of maintaining support packages at pre-ILF closure levels[59]. A Cabinet paper from Brent Council dated January 2017 says:

“The long term funding settlement for ILF is now clear with the Government reducing the ILF grant provided to Brent Council every year until it completely ceases in 2020”[60].

Despite repeated calls from Disabled People’s Organisations, the funding is not ring-fenced. Many Councils have chosen to reassess and make cuts[61]. Reports assessing the impact of the closure have documented the distress that this process has caused and the degrading outcomes that Disabled people are faced with as essential daily living support is removed[62].

The Response says that “LAs should not set arbitrary upper limits on expenditure to meet a person’s care needs”. LAs are increasingly introducing maximum expenditure policies[63], for example a ‘fair care policy’ approved by North Somerset council promises to review new applications for home care packages that exceed the cost of meeting the same eligible needs through a care home placement[64]. Recent research has revealed that many Clinical Commissioning Groups already have in place policies that would move Disabled people eligible for continuing NHS healthcare into institutions against their wishes, even if the cost of the homecare package was only slightly more expensive than residential care[65]. The Government has not taken action to stop this practice and the Department of Health has to date failed to respond to concerns[66].

The Response claims that the “Court of Appeal did not make any finding on the merits of the ILF’s closure”. The ILF legal challenge was brought under the Public Sector Equality Duty and concerned the consultation process and whether the Department for Work and Pensions had complied with its duty to pay “due regard” to the impact of the closure on Disabled people. The Court of Appeal ruling was not able to prevent the Government from retaking its decision to close the Fund but the judgement did comment on the retrogressive effects of the policy decision[67].  Justice Andrews, who dismissed the second application for judicial review, similarly referred in her judgement to “the inevitable and considerable adverse effect which the closure of the fund will have, particularly on those who, as a consequence, will lose the ability to live independently”[68].

2.3.6 Worsening situation

Access to social care support necessary to uphold Disabled people’s right to independent living is continuing to decrease since the introduction of the Care Act. The Care Act 2014 brought in national criteria which restricted eligibility to only critical or substantial needs and meant around 340,000 older and disabled people may be without support to do things as basic as getting up, getting washed, getting out of the house and managing bills. Research has shown that in the first year of the Care Act over half (55%) of England’s local authorities spent less overall on services for disabled people and carers than the year before to the tune of a £397 million[69].

Cuts to central government funding for Local Authorities have resulted in year on year cuts to social care provision. A survey of Councils 2015/16 found that that £228 million (28%) of reported “efficiencies” were met by reducing levels of care packages.[70] Research from the Home Care service sector shows the amount being paid by LAs is inadequate with 90% paying below the hourly minimum price set by the UK Home Care Association[71]. Increasingly care agencies are handing back contracts forcing Councils to find alternative arrangements for provision, supporting growing evidence that the sector is unsustainable[72].  Updated research shows 34 Councils still commissioning 15 minute visits.[73]

Since the introduction of the Care Act, some Councils have tightened up their charging policies[74] to remove 100% of what they deem to be disposable income to pay towards care costs. Research found that more than 27% of respondents reported an increase or significant increase in the amount of money they have to contribute towards the cost of their support[75], for example in Newcastle a woman on ESA and DLA was paying £150 per month towards her social care support but changes to charging policies mean she is now paying £400 per month. Of the few Councils who currently do not charge, Tower Hamlets will start to from April 2017.[76]

A number of surveys and reports have evidenced the extent of social care cuts and the negative impacts on Disabled people’s independent living.[77] The number of hospital beds in England taken up by patients being treated for malnutrition has almost trebled over the last 10 years, with official figures revealing that people with malnutrition accounted for 184,528 hospital bed days in 2015, a huge rise on 65,048 in 2006-07[78]. In February 2016 public health experts warned about the dramatic jump in the number of deaths per year[79]. Social care cuts including the ending of Meals on Wheels provision[80] in many Councils have been blamed. Research published in February 2017 explores why there has been a substantial increase in mortality in England and Wales in 2015 and concludes that failures in the health and social care system linked to disinvestment are likely to be the main cause[81]. There were 30,000 excess deaths in 2015, representing the largest increase in deaths in the post-war period. Understaffing in care homes have also been linked to record numbers of applications under Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards[82].

Government proposals to end grants to Local Authorities by the end of this Parliament, instead allowing them to keep 100% of the business rates collected, will exacerbate the funding crisis and worsen the situation still further[83].

2.4 Article 27 – Work and Employment

2.4.1 Dominance of work focus

The Response emphasises the importance of work and employment to the Government’s approach to disability. The “championing” of work “underpins the Government’s programme of welfare reforms” (paragraph 5).

We agree that a focus on moving Disabled people off benefits and into employment is central to the Government’s legislative and policy changes. We disagree that this amounts to upholding Disabled people’s rights under Article 27. Article 27 stresses: “the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible”.

The Government’s approach to welfare reform continues to be based upon the academically discredited Waddell and Aylward BPS model discussed above[84]. Improving Lives, the recently published Work, Health and Disability Green Paper repeatedly cites the same paper by Waddell and Burton (Is Work Good for Your Health and Wellbeing? 2006), a paper commissioned by the DWP, to justify proposals that threaten to widen the harmful impacts of the sanctioning regime. The government has not produced any other evidence to substantiate its policy stance.[85] The sweeping statement that “work is good for you” is also not supported by the findings in that report.[86]

The use of punitive and coercive measures to dis-incentivise benefit claims impacts adversely on Disabled people’s rights in other areas such as rights to standard of living and social protection and independent living. There is a vast body of evidence concerning the removal of financial and social care support from Disabled people that does not support the Government’s claim that it aspires to ensure “that people who cannot work because of a disability or health condition receive the support they need” (paragraph 5). The Response fails to acknowledge the seriousness of these impacts and their retrogressive nature.

Meanwhile, Government disability employment support initiatives are inadequate to address workplace disability discrimination and exclusion of Disabled people from the labour market. Despite funding of £5 billion for the Work Programme and the DWP’s much vaunted Disability Confident initiative launched in 2013 the disability employment gap has remained fairly static, decreasing by just 1.3 percentage points in the four years since 2013[87].

There is also a failure by Government to acknowledge the negative effects of unsuitable employment. Figures from Work related Stress, Anxiety and Depression Statistics in Great Britain 2016 show a rise in prevalence up from last year with the highest number of days taken off since 2008-9[88]. In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health. These figures must be understood within a context of rising insecurity in employment where increasing numbers of workers on zero-hours contracts have no entitlement to sick pay. In September 2016 figures from the Office for National Statistics showed a 21% increase with 903,000 people reporting that their main job did not guarantee a minimum number of hours between April and June 2016, up from 747,000 for the same period the previous year. This means that 2.9% of people in employment are on such contracts, compared with 2.4% last year[89].

There is evidence that the dominance of a work focus underpinned by the Waddell and Aylward BPS model is undermining the ethics and efficacy of treatment and therapeutic services[90]. As we have seen above, rates of mental health detentions are dramatically rising alongside a rise in the suicide rate.

2.4.2 Update since UN inquiry

2.4.2.1 Change to ESA Regulation 29 and 35 guidance

Guidance intended to protect Disabled benefit claimants from health risks was changed with the result that much fewer Disabled people have been found eligible for the highest rate of ESA since January 2016.

The latest Litchfield review[91] highlighted that a higher number of claimants than expected were placed in the SG. In response, the DWP changed the guidance related to Regulations 29 and 35 in January 2016[92]. This change in interpretation has led to the highest level of people being refused disability benefits for three years. Between December 2015 and June 2016 the number of ESA applicants placed in the SG fell from 56% to 33%, numbers placed in the WRAG increased from 8% to 18% and numbers found fit for work increased from 36 to 48%[93]. Until now, the DWP has refused to say how many claimants were affected by this change.[94]

2.4.2.2 Lack of improvement in the WCA

There is no evidence of significant improvement of the WCA since the UN inquiry findings.

An NAO report in January 2016 highlighted that only 13% of PIP and ESA assessment reports reached a satisfactory standard[95]. Recent DWP statistics show the majority of FFW appeals are successful (58%)[96], another indication that the assessment and decision-making process is faulty.  Disabled people have mentioned many times that decision makers ignore medical reports as well as their own accounts and that this evidence is given proper attention only at appeal stage.

The Public Accounts Select Committee’s report highlighted that assessors have “an incomplete understanding of particular conditions, especially fluctuating and mental health conditions” and recommended the DWP ensures it has “well-trained, knowledgeable assessors sensitive to the complex issues that claimants are dealing with, particularly those with mental health conditions.” [97] In May 2016 the Government accepted the Committee’s recommendation to make significant progress with a target date of spring 2017.[98]  To date there is no evidence indicating improvement.

An increasing number of people are disagreeing with the assessment decision as demonstrated by a continuing rise in the numbers of Mandatory Reconsiderations. 16,600 MRs were registered in October 2016 compared to 13,200 for a year earlier in October 2015.[99]  As 69% of these MRs concerned FFW decisions[100] a fall in the number of MRs from the previous year would be expected if the quality of assessment had improved.

We have observed a downward trend in the in the number of revised MR ESA decisions: in October 2016, 89% (14,900) of MRs left the decision unrevised compared with 1,800 decisions revised.  Only 4% of the 13,200 MR decisions made on disputes about Fit for Work (FFW) were revised.[101]

Considering the low percentage of revised MR decisions, it is of concern that the number of Disabled people going to appeal has dropped dramatically in recent years: in 2009/10 more than 25,000 Disabled people were appealing each year, while less than 5,000 each year from 2013 – 2015 appealed. The DWP said “fewer appeals were expected” after the MR system was introduced[102] in April 2013.  This indicates that Disabled people’s access to justice has been deliberately and successfully blocked.

We are concerned that the emotional toll of going through an appeal may be too much after the MR process, so many Disabled people no longer appeal.

These concerns are mirrored in the United Kingdom Administrative Justice Institute (UKAJI) evidence to the SSAC[103]committee, which raised concerns, “that claimants with strong cases may in practice be deterred from appealing and that vulnerable users have experienced difficulties in navigating the process.”

Some people ‘have reportedly been unable to cope with reconsideration telephone calls.’[104] Evidence from Disabled people in January 2016 raised difficulties with MR phone calls including no advance warning of when the MR call will take place. This is particularly difficult for people with mental health support needs, who do not always answer phone calls from unrecognised numbers.

The Response states that “an eight month minimum period between a successful appeal and a subsequent re-assessment” has been introduced (paragraph 62). Given the emotional toll and the lack of support needed to go through the WCA process, this minimum period should be extended further.

The Government announcement in October 2016 that it would exempt some ESA claimants with the ‘most severe’ impairments or health conditions from future reassessments. [105] It is still unclear to which ‘severe’ conditions/impairments this will apply.

2.4.2.3 Sanctions

The sanctions regime continues to have negative impacts on Disabled people[106].

The total number of ESA sanctions from December 2012 to June 2016 was 82,369.[107] The monthly figures for ESA sanctions peaked at 3,695 in March 2014 then gradually dropped to a low of 900 in January 2016, but by June 2016 the number had risen to 1,749, nearly double the January figure.[108]

From October 2012 to June 2016, 24.7% of JSA recipients sanctioned were Disabled people.[109]

Evidence collated by Inclusion London in Nov/Dec 2016[110] shows clearly that sanctions leave Disabled people struggling to pay for food, fuel and rent as well as having a destructive impact on mental and physical health. People with mental health support needs or learning difficulties are particularly affected.  Sanctions drive disabled people further away from employment and are not an incentive.

The evidence shows how Disabled people are being asked to do tasks for the “claimant commitment” [111] which their impairments prevent them from doing, for example a person with learning difficulties was unable to fill in various forms and was sanctioned as a result. The necessary reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010[112]  are not being made.

The Government does not record the number of sanctions by impairment, we believe that this data should be collected and published.  Information obtained through FOI[113] requests shows that people with ‘Mental and Behavioural Disorders’ in receipt of ESA have been consistently disproportionally sanctioned compared to people with other impairments since 2010.[114]   Various organisations have voiced concern about both the number and impact of sanctions.[115]  In November 2016 the British Psychological Society and four other organisations signed a statement, expressing their concern that ‘the sanctions process is undermining mental health and wellbeing – there is no clear evidence of pay-off in terms of increased employment……’[116]

Of the 49 peer reviews into deaths linked to benefit cuts published by the DWP, 1 in 5 was associated with a sanction.[117]

A NAO report found that:

“sanctions for disabled people claiming ESA were not effective as they ‘reduced claimants time in work’ and ‘may have discouraged some claimants from working’[118]  also there was limited evidence regarding the effectiveness of Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) sanctions”.[119]

On the strength of the evidence pertaining to the negative effects of sanctions, the NAO recommended that Disabled people are exempt.

In February 2017, the Committee of Public Accounts published a report stating that unexplained variations in the use of benefit sanctions are unacceptable and must be addressed. In the report, the Committee urges the Department for Work & Pensions to review the use of sanctions, which it finds “have increased in severity in recent years and can have serious consequences”.  It concludes the Department has poor data with which to evaluate what works and is unable to estimate the wider impact of sanctions – including their overall cost or benefit to the public purse. The Committee highlights the inconsistent imposition of sanctions by different jobcentres and providers, with some Work Programme providers referring twice as many people for sanctions as other providers in the same area. It is also concerned that the Department does not know whether vulnerable claimants, some of whom can be excused from having to meet benefit conditions, receive the protection to which they are entitled[120].

2.4.2.4 Deaths linked to benefit cuts

Since the UN inquiry was conducted, further evidence has come to light concerning the connection between benefit changes and deaths and of the Government’s failure to act on it.

In February 2016, it was discovered that ministers had ignored warnings from a coroner contained in a letter sent on 30 March 2010 concerning serious flaws in how the WCA was used to test the eligibility of people with mental health conditions for out-of-work disability benefits. The WCA was rolled out to hundreds of thousands of claimants in the summer of 2010 and the opportunity to prevent further similar suicides was missed[121]. Ministers also failed to show the Rule 43 letter from coroner Tom Osborne to Professor Malcolm Harrington, even though they had commissioned him to review the “fairness and effectiveness” of the WCA.

In May 2016, after 21 months of campaigning by Disability News Service, ministers were finally forced to publish 49 “peer reviews”, internal reports written by civil servants after investigations into suicides and other deaths linked to benefit claims[122]. The documents have been heavily redacted but most of the un-redacted information relates to recommendations for improvements. This shows that ministers were repeatedly warned by their own civil servants that their policies to assess people for out-of-work disability benefits were putting the lives of “vulnerable” claimants at risk.

The Response fails to comment on why ministers ignored these recommendations but does say they “represent a very small proportion of deaths of benefit recipients”. The fact that only a very few circumstances led to peer reviews does not excuse the imposition of retrogressive policy measures in the face of clear evidence of their adverse impacts.

In November 2015, a study published by researchers in Liverpool and Oxford universities associated the WCA reassessment process for IB claimants with an extra 590 suicides, 279,000 additional cases of self-reported mental health problems, and the prescribing of a further 725,000 anti-depressants across England as a whole.[123]

The Government continues to claim that there is no “causal link” between welfare reform policy and deaths of benefit claimants. Meanwhile, cases of individual deaths linked to benefit cuts continue to occur.[124]

2.4.3 Improving Lives: the work, health and disability green paper

The Response cites the green paper as an example of progress. We would argue that instead the green paper represents a threat of further retrogression alongside a failure to address ongoing barriers to employment for Deaf and Disabled people.[125]

The green paper states that the original intention was that only 10% of WCA applicants would go through the WCA to the Support Group. It has been proved that this is a misinterpretation of data and that the 10% related in fact to the percentage it was assumed would go straight through to the Support Group[126]. The Government therefore continues to set policy determining the lives of millions of Disabled people on a serious misreading of the DWP’s own figures.

An opportunity has been missed to move away from the BPS model, which as a basis for benefit cuts has been described by leading academics as ‘cavalier, un-evidenced and misleading’. Key to the BPS model is the idea that “it is the negative attitudes of many ESA recipients that prevent them from working, rather than their impairment or health condition”, essentially branding many benefit claimants “scroungers”.[127]

The following are particular concerns regarding the green paper proposals:

  • Extending conditionality through requiring Disabled people in the Support Group to undertake work focused interviews and be subject to Claimant Commitments.
  • Extending co-location of work coaches in health and treatment settings which could discourage claimants from accessing treatment and undermine the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.
  • Lack of involvement of social care. Given the current crisis in social care with increasingly inadequate support provision it is unclear how Disabled people in the Support Group will be able to action any Claimant Commitment tasks[128].
  • The dominance of IAPT as a therapeutic model tied to targets to move claimants off benefits. This is within the context of severe cuts to mental health support services for people with complex needs.

The green paper meanwhile offers nothing new or innovative in terms of measures to move closer to its ambition of halving the disability employment gap. The funding attached to the proposals is one fifth of the funding that the Work Programme had. The companies who will be involved in delivering the new Health and Work Programme are largely the same. The many failings of the Work Programme were considered by the original inquiry.

The green paper fails to address the substantive employment barriers faced by Deaf and Disabled people including the following:

  • ESA WRAG cut (see next section).
  • Fundamental failings of the assessment processes for both ESA and PIP.
  • Growth of insecure employment[129] with reduced employment rights and protections and increased barriers to seeking redress through imposition of tribunal fees.
  • Problems with Access to Work.

2.4.4 Access to Work (AtW)

At its best, AtW has been proven to enable Deaf and Disabled people to fulfil the “high hopes and expectations” referred to in the green paper. Sadly, changes to AtW over the past few years have reduced its effectiveness while undermining employment opportunities for Deaf and Disabled people.

A forthcoming report from Inclusion London evidences the positive impacts of support through AtW:

“I can hold down a job. It’s changed my life. Simple as”.

“Access to Work is good because I would not be able to have a paid job without the scheme.”

Despite an announcement in the November 2015 Autumn Statement of a real terms increase in funding for AtW, the strategic direction of travel for AtW has consistently been to reduce the value of individual packages. This is an enormous shame given the potential of the scheme to transform lives. In terms of wider economic benefits, AtW has been proven to produce a surplus on investment for the Treasury before taking into account savings to health and social care.

Deaf and Disabled people report that the approach of AtW has changed over the past few years to a focus on reducing support regardless of negative impacts on the customer’s employment accompanies by hostility from advisors including accusations of for example “Deaf fraud” and being “a burden on the taxpayer”.

Rule changes such as the introduction of the cap discriminate against Deaf and Disabled people with high support needs and limit career progression, literally placing a cap on the ambitions and aspirations of Deaf and Disabled people to, in the words of the green paper “go as far as their talents can take them.”

Meanwhile, everyday administrative and financial problems are creating considerable barriers for customers. A 2017 online survey received 280 responses:

  • 7% of respondents had experienced payment problems over the past 12 months
  • 3% were not satisfied with how quickly the problems were resolved
  • 5% experienced difficulties in contacting Access to Work
  • Respondents encountered problems contacting Access to Work 68% of the time[130].

 

Individuals have lost jobs, sometimes after many years of building up a successful career, as a result of rule changes such as imposing non-communication days on BSL users. Many individuals, including Deaf and Disabled people as well as BSL interpreters and Personal Assistants employed through AtW funding, have been financially harmed due to administrative changes and errors.

 

2.5 Article 28 – Adequate standard of living and social protection

2.5.1 Government spend

The Response refers to the amount the UK Government claims to spend on support and benefits for Disabled people, which it says is £6.5bn more than in 2010. As outlined above, the £50bn figure quoted covers much more than just out-of-work benefits for Disabled people. It is also not surprising to find an increase in spending in cash terms. The important figure indicative of how the Government is treating Disabled people is what we spend as a share of our national wealth. A recent report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows that, in fact, that figure has halved. [131] [132]

The report says that spending on disability benefits 2014/15 was 0.8% of national income, and says, “this is half the level of disability benefit spending when it was at its peak in 1995/96.”

The report makes another point which disproves the rhetoric about large numbers of scroungers and malingerers who could work, but prefer to claim disability benefits. Whilst the overall number of individuals receiving disability benefits has fallen only slightly since the mid-1990s,

“this is in the presence of underlying demographic change that would have tended to push up the numbers receiving considerably – both overall population growth and the baby boomer generation reaching older working ages. The proportion of older men receiving disability benefits has actually fallen sharply since the mid-1990s… Disability benefit receipt among men increases much less steeply with age than it used to.”

The UK has therefore become less generous and less supportive.

2.5.2 Poverty

2.5.2.1 Increasing poverty among Disabled people

We disagree with the claim in the response that “The Government takes its duty to reduce poverty seriously”. Evidence points to the contrary.

 

Poverty is worsening for Disabled people. In 2013/14 this increased the poverty rate among people in families with a disabled person by four percentage points, to 31%  [133] A detailed report commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and published in August 2016 found that once account is taken of the higher costs faced by those who are disabled, half of people living in poverty are either themselves disabled or are living with a disabled person in their household[134].

Answers to Parliamentary Questions before Christmas revealed that the Child Poverty Unit set up in 1999 has been subsumed into the DWP after seeing its staffing halved in three years. This is after the IFS projected a 50% increase in relative child poverty by 2020.[135] The rate of material deprivation amongst children living  with at least one disabled adult is twice as high as those living without disabled adults[136] while the average income of families with disabled children is 23.5% below the UK mean.[137]

2.5.2.2 Insufficient protections for “vulnerable” people

The Response claims that, “All welfare reforms protect the vulnerable groups least able to increase their earnings, including people needing additional support as a result of disability. These include provisions such as the exemptions to the benefit cap and benefit freeze discussed…”

This is inaccurate. ESA WRAG, JSA, housing benefit, and Universal Credit which are all claimed by Disabled people are not exempt from the benefit cap or benefits freeze.

A lower household benefits cap reduced in November 2016 to £23,000 for households in London and £20,000 for those outside the capital city. Claimants entitled to DLA/PIP, ESA in the Support Group are exempt but that leaves many disabled people still potentially affected. Specifically, this includes those in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA who do not receive either highest rates of DLA or PIP, and those who view themselves as disabled but are found fit for work. Analysis by the DWP suggests that 3,100 households with someone claiming ESA were already affected by the benefits cap, and they and others are now affected by its further reduction.

A Parliamentary Research Briefing[138] quotes the Equality Impact Assessment undertaken in 2012 which says:

“Of the households who lose from this policy, based on internal modelling, we expect roughly half will contain somebody who is classed as disabled under the Equality Act.”

These people are the least likely to move into work to escape the benefit cap and to offset the shortfall in income by moving into work or cutting their expenditure.

The risk of eviction was also recognised in the initial Impact Assessment:

“The cap is likely to affect where different family types will be able to live. Housing Benefit may no longer cover housing costs and some households may go into rent arrears. This will require expense and effort by landlords and the courts to evict and seek to recoup rent arrears. Some households are likely to present as homeless, and may as a result need to move into more expensive temporary accommodation, at a cost to the local authority. It is not possible to quantify these costs because they are based on behavioural changes which are difficult to assess robustly”.

No data is collected relating to disabled people but overall five  families in the UK are made homeless every hour. The number of families accepted as homeless increased by 32% in the last year.[139]

2.5.2.3 Foodbanks

The Government does not collect statistics on the number of, or use of, foodbanks[140] [141] and has always denied any link between benefit sanctions and food bank usage. It placed DWP work coaches in foodbanks without publishing any feedback on this initiative.[142]

Figures collected by the Trussell Trust, the largest UK foodbank provider, has shown the use of foodbanks expanding rapidly over the past decade.[143] Three-day emergency food parcels distributed in the six months to September 2016 were up by 13,000 compared to the same period the year before. The most common primary reasons for referral to Trussell Trust foodbanks during this period were benefit delays (27% of referrals); low income (25% of referrals); and benefit changes (16% of referrals).

A study by the University of Oxford, October 2016 established a strong link between sanctions and referrals to foodbanks.[144]

Lack of monitoring makes it impossible to know the number of disabled people using foodbanks, but if benefit delays and sanctions are such a big driver of foodbank usage, considering the number of sanctioned ESA and JSA claimants (of whom 25% are self-declared Disabled and particularly vulnerable to sanctions), Disabled people are likely to be regular foodbank users.

2.5.2.4 New measures threatening further impoverishment

There is wide consensus that a number of planned welfare reform measures will further increase poverty. To date the Government has failed to produce any convincing proposals for how it will mitigate adverse impacts.

Universal Credit

Disabled people and their families will be worse off through cuts to the child disability additions and to the Severe Disability Premium. This includes:

  • up to 230,000 severely disabled people who do not have another adult to assist them;
  • 100,000 disabled children and their families;
  • 116,000 disabled people who work.

Despite the intention of Universal Credit to make work pay, evidence shows that the changes could make it harder for disabled people to remain in work[145].

2.5.2.5 ESA WRAG

The UK Government proposed in its Summer budget 2015 [146] to align Employment Support Allowance (ESA) rates for those in the Work Related Activity group (WRAG) with Jobseeker Allowance (JSA)[147] for new claims from April 2017, describing the extra money claimants in the WRAG received as a ‘perverse incentive’, while providing ‘new funding for additional support to help claimants return to work’.

This cut represents around 1/3 of the income of people in the WRAG. The Government said that no existing claimants will be affected, and there will be transitional arrangements for claimants in the WRAG when they transfer to Universal Credit. These have not been legislated, and will be left to the discretion of the Secretary of State. Existing claimants who move off ESA into employment but then find their job does not work out and they need to re-apply for ESA will go back on at the reduced rate.

This proposal was forced through by government in spite of much opposition including two rebellions in the House of Lords and opposition from Conservative backbench MPs.[148]

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has stated its concerns that the proposed reduction will “cause unnecessary hardship and anxiety to people who have been independently assessed and found unfit for work”[149].

The main arguments against this proposal are:

  • On average, claimants claim JSA for six months, while more than half of ESA WRAG recipients are on welfare support for more than two years[150]. Such long time periods are linked to higher associated costs of illness and disability.
  • ​The rate of the new benefit does not factor in the costs of disability. Half the claimants in the WRAG don’t claim Personal Independence Payments[151] and therefore have no other income.
  • The decision is not evidence-based – there are no studies or evidence of the effect of different disability benefits levels on the likelihood to enter work, in the UK or internationally.[152]
  • Research has shown that the cut will move Disabled people further from the Labour market.[153]

One-third of Disabled people with progressive illnesses have been placed in the WRAG since 2008[154].  Most were subsequently moved onto the Support Group but without any descriptor changes to the WCA, it is likely that Disabled people with serious, progressive and expensive conditions will continue to be placed in the WRAG with even less money to survive on than now.

ESA claimants in the WRAG are subject to the benefit cap, which limits the total amount of benefits claimants receive, while claimants in the SG are exempt. The latest figures in August 2016 show that 14% of capped households were claiming ESA meaning these claimants were in the WRAG[155].

50% of people in WRAG are not able to claim PIP to meet the additional needs of being disabled.

The Government’s rationale for cutting ESA was to incentivise claimants ‘languishing’ on ESA to look for work while offering them more employment support. The ESA cut is worth 1,365m over four years[156], while the money made available for employment support is just a fraction of this figure[157].

The Minister for Disabled People has claimed that the full value of the money saved by the cut will be placed into employment support but there has been no further information on how this will be achieved. As our response to the green paper highlights[158], we have extensive concerns about the Government’s current proposals for disability employment support and do not expect these to succeed in mitigating the negative impacts of the WSA WRAG cut on Disabled people and their families.

The Minister has also talked about work she is undertaking with businesses to reduce the living costs faced by people in the WRAG including household bills. There is no evidence that any of this is being targeted at costs that will mitigate the impacts of the cut. It represents an attempted shift of responsibility from state support to charitable measures.

2.5.3 Personal Independent Payment (PIP)

2.5.3.1 Savings driven

The Response claims that PIP was introduced to “address fundamental flaws in DLA” and “provide support for people with the greatest barriers to independent living” (paragraph 77). From 2010, the Government has consistently made clear the key aim for PIP is to make savings and reduce the working age caseload for disability benefits[159].

The first statistics to be published in January 2017 on the PIP outcomes for the 361,000 reassessed DLA claimants show that 48% received a lower award or were disqualified[160]. Of those who received a lower award, over 35% had been awarded the enhanced mobility rate under DLA, and of those who have been disallowed after assessment, almost 11% were also receiving the enhanced mobility rate. This explains the high number of claimants losing their mobility car.

The high success rate of PIP appeals suggests flawed assessment and decision-making processes at considerable extra cost to the taxpayer meanwhile causing distress and anxiety to the individuals affected. Figures from the Tribunal Service for the last quarter of 2015 – 16 show a success rate for PIP appeals of 63%[161].

2.5.3.2 PIP Mandatory reconsiderations (MR)

The introduction of the MR process discourages claimants from appealing while essentially just rubberstamping the initial PIP decision.  DWP figures show that of 467,900 registered MRs, only 16% led to a change in award[162]. The view commonly expressed by benefit advisers is that further evidence is not properly considered at the MR stage.

As we have seen above, of those going on to appeal, nearly two thirds successfully over-turned the original decision. In 2015/16 only 49,742 claimants appealed[163]. A Social Security Advisory Committee study in July 2016 found : “The introduction of the [MR] policy has coincided with a dramatic reduction in the number of appeals going to tribunal across the benefit system.  Although there may be a number of factors driving this, concern has been raised by stakeholders that the new process is not always working as well as it should and that it may cause claimants, particularly those who are vulnerable, not to appeal even when they appear to have a strong case”. [164]

2.5.3.3 The PIP process

Delays in the processing of PIP claims became so bad that in June 2015, a judge found that the cases before her were “not only unacceptable” but unlawful[165].

Since then, the clearance time has improved, but a report by the Public Accounts Committee in March 2016[166], whose remit was to assess whether taxpayers were getting value for money and claimants an acceptable service with disability assessment contractors, highlighted the following points:

  • Unacceptable local and regional variations in the performance of the Department’s contractors.
  • Reported delays and problems with the assessment process which still creates anxiety for claimants.
  • Claimants still not receiving an acceptable level of service from contractors, with particular concerns for claimants with fluctuating and mental health conditions.
  • Claimants faced with unreasonable journey times of up to 60 to 70 miles; appointments being over-booked; delays and problems with the process creating anxiety, stress and undue financial hardship.
  • Too many assessments fail the standard required

2.5.3.4 Loss of Motability cars

The Government’s decision, despite widespread opposition, to tighten a key eligibility criterion for enhanced mobility rate from being able to walk less than 50 metres under DLA to 20 metres under PIP has led to the ineligibility of people previously entitled to independent living support through the Motability scheme.

Motability reported disabled people are being forced to hand back their Motability vehicles at a rate of up to 700 a week and expected 35,000 vehicles to be handed back during 2016 as a direct result of the reassessment of DLA claimants for PIP[167].

Figures show that, of Motability customers reassessed for PIP so far, 44% of them have lost their entitlement to the scheme and have had to hand their vehicle back[168]. This adds considerably to the barriers those Disabled people face to independent living and especially for those in rural areas with even poorer access to regular, accessible transport.

The situation is compounded as PIP claimants have to hand their vehicles back if they lose their eligibility even if they decide to appeal against that decision. This means that even if they win their appeal, they have already long since lost their cars. In a Parliamentary debate before Christmas, the Minister for Disabled People claimed she was “discussing with relevant departments ways to enable PIP claimants to keep their vehicle pending appeal”[169], but we have to date heard nothing further.

For claimants who lose their cars there is a £2,000 transitional grant available but this is completely inadequate to cover the cost of a vehicle, adaptations needed, insurance and running costs.

2.5.3.5 Loss of passported benefits

One feature of PIP is it entitles claimants to extra money on top of existing benefits, a reduction in council tax or road tax bills and discounts on travel. Claimants may get a top-up (called a premium) on the following benefits if they are entitled to PIP:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance – but only if you get the PIP daily living component
  • Pension Credit – but only if you get the PIP daily living component
  • Carer’s Allowance

There has been no monitoring of the added financial loss for DLA claimants found ineligible for PIP.  In the first PIP review, passported benefits are only mentioned in terms of knock-on effects of delays in getting the benefit[170], but insufficient attention has been given to this issue with no collection of relevant statistics or figures to evaluate numbers affected.

2.5.3.6 New announcement

The DWP just announced changes to PIP regulations, using emergency legislation and an exemption to bypass scrutiny by the Social Security Advisory Committee. This will deny  PIP to at least 160,000 claimants, after a three-judge Upper Tribunal clarified which claimants with mental health conditions were entitled to PIP under the descriptor “Following a journey”.[171]

In fact, the Upper Tribunal just confirmed what had always been understood during the consultation and after the descriptors were agreed. [172]

 

 

 

Conclusion

We agree with the Committee’s conclusion that “the threshold of grave or systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities has been met” (paragraph 113). We disagree with the UK Government’s suggestion that progress in areas not included in the Report cancel out adverse impacts under the three Articles on which the Committee inquiry was focused and that sufficient mitigations have been put in place. As the Response clearly shows there is no evidence to back up these claims. There is by contrast a considerable weight of robust evidence demonstrating retrogression.

The Response expresses the Government’s belief that “though welfare provides necessary social protection, it is not the only way to help disabled people live independent, inclusive lives” (paragraph 81). Social protection and an adequate standard of living are indeed just one of the 33 Articles of the Convention, however, people are unable to meet their most basic human needs if left with no income and no means to obtain one. Serious breaches under Articles 19 and 28 combined with insufficient support and protections under Article 27 therefore have the potential to cause fast and dramatic retrogression. This has been the experience of Disabled people in the UK since 2010.

We follow the UK Independent Mechanism (UKIM) in urging the UK and devolved governments to enhance the status of the CRPD in domestic law, including a domestic mechanism for scrutiny of policy and legislation to ensure compliance with the CRPD.[173]

We agree with the eleven recommendations of the Committee. Appendix F sets out the minimum measures that the UK Government should now implement in order to comply with the Committee findings.

 

Appendix A

There is substantial evidence of retrogression in each of the areas cited in paragraph 7 of the UK Government Response as “significant measures” reflecting “wider improvements to better implement disabled people’s rights”:

  • “personal budgets to increase choice and control of care and living arrangements”

Decreasing choice and control is linked to cuts and restrictions to personal budgets resulting from social care budget shortfalls. A third of respondents (33%) to the Independent Living Survey run by In Control in 2016 said that the level of choice and control they enjoyed over their support had reduced or reduced significantly[174].

Information recently obtained from a whistle-blower has demonstrated how in one local authority area, Disabled people in receipt of personal budgets were targeted for cuts to their support packages[175].

Many disabled people who have used personal assistance to live independently in the community for years are reporting increasing difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff. Two important changes have happened since April 2016 with Disabled employers of PAs now being responsible for the provision of pensions for some coupled with a rise in the minimum wage payable. There will be a further increase in the minimum wage from April 2017. In many cases the rates paid to Disabled people by LAs has not risen to help cover these extra, for example, DP rates in Sunderland have not increased since 2008.

Current ongoing research by DPAC shows that direct service provision is still more prevalent than Disabled people being given a Direct Payment, for example in West Sussex, 8,446 people have a social care package but only 1717 get a DP.[176]

Other research shows 21.5% of adults with learning disabilities aged 18-64 are in residential or nursing care rising to 42.1% for over 65s[177].

 

  • “improvements to the accessibility of housing and transport”

Government says Disabled people have priority for social housing but the last available figures showed a total of 1.9 million families waiting for public housing. Between 2010-15 the number of Disabled people on waiting lists increased 17%.[178] Islington had 19,196 people on waiting list (no breakdown for disability) but only 268 accessible properties in total and only 68 accessible one bed properties. (total number of properties and not the number of properties available). An LSE report from 2016 also found that 1.8 million disabled people have an unmet housing need – 580,000 of whom are of working age.[179] Muscular Dystrophy UK’s “Breaking Point” report revealed that 70% of the homes offered to people waiting for accessible housing by their Council were actually unsuitable for their needs[180].

Staffing cuts on transport networks are reducing access for Disabled passengers. Transport for All reported a 118% increase in lifts out of service on the London Underground in October 2016 due to shortage of staff compared to 2015[181]. The growing practice of introducing Driver Only Operated trains on the rail network has implications for customers needing assistance to travel[182].

  • “the wide range of work-related support available to disabled people”

Funding available for disability employment support through the Work and Health Programme will be just one-fifth of that given to the Work Programme, despite IPPR North saying that even the Work Programme’s budget was insufficient. The failings of the Work Programme in supporting Disabled people into work are well-documented[183].

 

  • “financial protections, such as tax and pension credits and the exemption of disability-related benefits from the benefit cap and benefits freeze”

ESA WRAG, JSA, housing benefit, and Universal Credit which are all claimed by Disabled people are not exempt from the benefit cap or benefits freeze.

 

 

Appendix B


Appendix C

Examples of mitigating measures cited in the UK Government Response that were the result of public pressure campaigns following initial dismissal of our concerns include:

  • Paragraph 32 of the Response refers to inclusion of CRPD Article 19 in the Care Act 2014 statutory guidance. An amendment proposing to put Article 19 onto the Care Act statute itself was voted down by the Government at Committee stage during passage of the bill[184].

 

  • Paragraph 34 of the Response says “An additional bedroom is also allowed for disabled children who cannot share with siblings and non-resident overnight carers, protecting vulnerable people who might otherwise be disproportionately affected.” This exemption was only introduced following a legal challenge. In November 2016 the Supreme Court ruled that ministers’ decision to apply the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy to families who need an additional bedroom for a disabled child who requires overnight care was unlawful discrimination[185]. Disabled children who cannot share with siblings were not initially exempt but pressure mounted on the Government after misleading statements from Prime Minister David Cameron were made in Parliament claiming that the RSRS did not apply to families with severely disabled children when there was at that time no exemption in the regulations[186].

 

  • Paragraph 36 of the Response states that “Supported housing is exempt from the application of the local housing allowance rates in the social rented sector until 2019/20, when a new funding model will be introduced.” Under the Government’s initial proposals there was widespread concern that the LHA cap would trigger bed closures and trigger a massive increase in rough sleeping. In September 2016 the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions issued a statement saying that after “extensive input” the Government was deferring the imposition of the LHA cap on supported housing until 2019/20, after which a new system would keep funding at current levels. The decision was also made to go ahead with the 1% annual reduction in social housing rent which will cause hardship[187].

 

 

Appendix D

Building the Right Support (October 2015)

This initiative sets the national ambition to close 35-50% of inpatient capacity for people with a learning disability in three years, building community capacity instead and reducing inappropriate hospital admissions. It is a response to frustration at a lack of action following a number of high profile cases involving abuse and deaths due to neglect in inpatient facilities[188] and the Government’s failure to meet its own target that by 1 June 2014 anyone with a learning difficulty and challenging behaviour who would be better off supported in the community, should be moved out of hospital. A National Audit Office (NAO) report published in February 2015 found that in the nine months to June 2014, there were 300 more admissions to hospital than there were discharges[189].

According to the 2015 Learning Disability Census[190] there were 3,000 people held in Assessment and Treatment Units.

  • 43% in Units more than 50km from their homes.
  • 72% were being prescribed antipsychotic medication as a means of containing them.
  • 30% had been in ATUs for more than 5 years.
  • The average cost of being kept in an ATU is £3500 per week.

 

Building the Right Support has been criticised for very little focus on changing policy and practice around children and young people – which is where services start getting things wrong[191]. Many of those people held in ATUs are under inappropriate sections because local authorities and CCG commissioners cannot agree funding for appropriate housing and support. Unless local authorities receive the necessary funds to meet the costs of supporting people well in the community, including those funded through specialised commissioning, the current pressures on the social care system will mean people with complex needs will not leave hospital and yet again the target will be missed.

No Voice Unheard, No Right Ignored

This was a consultation which ran from March – May 2015 to explore options on issues such as how people with learning disabilities, autism or mental health needs can be supported to live independently, as part of a community. The consultation response published by the Government in November 2015 made a number of proposals intended to see everyone being treated with dignity and respect by health and care services, and all enjoying the same rights[192].

A number of these proposals focus on implementation of the Care Act 2014 and sufficiency of supply of community-based services and are therefore unlikely to be successful due to the crisis in social care.  It also made proposals to improve the situation of people being detained under the Mental Health Act being kept in police custody.

Recent figures and reports show that the number of incidents of police handling incidents with people with mental health issues is growing[193]. The Government gave a commitment to ongoing monitoring and review, and that it Government would intervene further, including through legislation if necessary, if the improvements sought continued not to be realised in practice. To date there has been no review.

Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs)[194]

Research into DFGs highlighted pressures around funding compared to levels of need for adaptation works. Research published by the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2011 found that only 10% of the DFG funding required to meet current needs was available[195]. A survey carried out by the Papworth Trust in 2013 found that: one in four respondents reported that they could not get around their home safely; two in five respondents said the accessibility of their home meant they needed help to do everyday things like cooking; one in four  of those who received a DFG said they waited over a year for it to be approved; two in three respondents who had not received a grant had never heard of DFGs[196].

In 2014 DFGs were incorporated under the umbrella of the Better Care Fund. When austerity measures were introduced in 2010 local authority contributions fell quite sharply which affected the number of grants given in subsequent years. Local authority contributions have begun to increase since the introduction of the Better Care Fund, but the picture is variable with some authorities contributing significantly more than others and some having long backlogs and delays[197]. Freedom of Information requests by Leonard Cheshire Disability show that 25% of Councils do not contribute at all.

Underfunding continues to restrict the extent to which DFGs are able to present a solution to un-met housing need[198]. Long waiting lists and a £30,000 grant limit mean that some Disabled people do not receive the adaptations they need when they need them. The Leonard Cheshire research published in April 2015 showed that demand for DFGs was growing at twice the rate that Councils were able to meet it: applications had risen by 6% since 2011/12 but the amount of adaptations funded in the same period only rose by 3%. They found that every year, almost 2,500 disabled people wait over a year to get vital funding to make their homes accessible while almost half of Councils (44%)  had examples of Disabled people waiting more than two years for payment; and eight Councils reported waits of over four years[199].

In a report outlining common problems that applicants experience with the DFG process issued in March 2016 the Local Government Ombudsman said “People with disabilities are being left for too long in unsuitable homes because of problems with Councils’ Disabled Facilities Grants processes.”[200]

On 14 December 2016 the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) launched a formal inquiry on housing for disabled people.  The inquiry will look at whether the availability of accessible and adaptable housing, and the support services around it, is fulfilling disabled people’s rights to live independently.

 

Appendix E – Personal testimonies of sanctions

The following are a selection of emails sent in to DPAC over November/December 2016 relating to the adverse and discriminatory impacts of sanctions on Disabled people and their families.

Case 1

Below is example involving a 21 year old autistic man, who was claiming benefits.  He tried to commit suicide after his second sanction, which was imposed because he did not fill out all the forms due to his impairment. The email was written by his mother:

We live in South Wales, and jobs here are scarce. My son did not do very well in school, as he struggles with certain things (autistic spectrum)…..

He claimed benefit when he was first out of work, after he left school, but he was sanctioned, for forgetting to attend an interview, and told he could not claim any more money for a period of months, then he claimed again after this time, as he had still not found any work, and was sanctioned again, for a longer period, this time, for not filling out all of the forms he was supposed to, about looking for work. He can read and write just fine, but the forms are very complicated for him, and I feel they are inappropriate…… He felt this sanction as a personal blow, to both his dignity and his right to claim any money at all.

My son is a good man, he wants to work, he feels guilty that he cannot find a job, and though it pains me to speak of it, he tried to commit suicide, after the blow of being sanctioned a second time. I thank all our lucky stars, that we found him in time, and he is still with us.

Obviously after this, he could not claim benefits a third time, and none of his family could press him to, under the circumstances, and he tried to do all he could to help me at home instead.

He is looking for work again now, and has looked into working online as an artist, and tried to get work at a local stables, although neither opportunity came through for him. But recently I was faced with having a reduction in my housing benefit. The housing benefit office told me, that if he was not in receipt of benefit, then they would assume that he was getting money from somewhere, and therefore would asses him as earning £26,000 a year, which would affect my housing benefit greatly, I would get none at all.……I simply cannot afford to live in this house without the housing benefit.

….. to return to my son’s situation, I have had to persuade him to sign on again. He was not happy to do this, and I was not happy to ask him to, as I know that the interviews are humiliating and abusive, and do nothing at all to help him to get into work. And I was worried that the pressure of it may cause him to give up hope on life again.

……He has been told, that if he fails to comply with the requirements this time, he will be sanctioned for 3 years…..  I do not want him to attend any of the interviews, for fear that this will demoralise him, and put back the months of work I have done, encouraging him to have confidence in himself again.

……My family believed in this country, my parents paid into this system, and I have done so too, for many years… and yet, when it comes to my children benefiting from it, as we all presumed… Well it is a disgrace.

As to the question, value for money? Cost effective? No, it is not

The ‘help’ we have experienced is certainly counterproductive to getting people into employment….

 

Case 2

Email sent in to Disabled People Against Cuts:

Hello..i am on universal credit and am due to get paid on the 17th of November, i got a letter from them last week telling me that i am being sanctioned £10.40 per day for 86 days due to a appointment i missed on the 25th of May.

I will get nothing until the 17th of January 2017 how can they get away with deciding to sanction me now just before xmas, its taken them 5 and a half months to decide to sanction me.

I have been so ill with stress and i have put sick notes in to cover me from the 17th of September 16 to the 27th of October 16 and i have one to cover me from the 27th of Oct to the 29th of Dec 16 the sick note is for essential hypertension anxiety and dizziness,

i feel like i cant cope anymore, for about a year i was only getting £190 on the 17th of every month which caused me to get in huge debt and rent arrears, now i have been served with a eviction notice saying i have to be out of my council house by 12pm on the 6th of Dec 16 i just dont know what to do anymore. Thank you for reading my email and i hope to hear from you soon

 

Case 3

Below are extracts from a long email from a gentleman who was forced again and again to find employment, with disastrous impact on his health and relationship:

            I have had sanction and it was not pleasant at all….

…I was sanctioned (weekly pay out dropped only to £25.00 per week ) for not attending job related interview, the letter was supposed to be send to me in Mid-February, the day we had flooding as a result of river break its banks and for few days surrounding roads were closed due to flooding….. I have expressed I never received the letter, but they did not want to know, after 2nd week of sanction, we end up in CAB and the only help we had from CAB office was food vouchers.

I was forced even with my disabled condition to look for a job as it was no way we could have survived,  £25,00 per week was not even enough to pay for heating for the house in farming field of harsh and cold winter, I was accepted and start working as vacuum cleaner call out engineer( I had to lie about my condition), which I end up collapsing after few days of work in doctor surgery , and finally my GP had to write to DWP and explain the situation as my partner committed suicide and I became very ill. Unfortunately it was too late by the time DWP accepted the appeal, my lady had total mental breakdown and she left me and I end up with psychological breakdown (suicidal behaviour) and became very sick.

DWP and their wrongful decisions created the irreversible damages to health, the appeal acceptance came too late

During all these events, my health deteriorated, I have developed lots of health problems, my eye sites changed prescriptions 4 times in less than 6 weeks period, Ulcer, some kind of digestive problem, and total mental breakdowns

I started a job as surveyor which I end driving for an average of 900 miles per week but  thriving Rheumatoid and Osteo Arthritis as well as few other health issued which created by unbalanced walking…. I became unemployed with even deeper mental and health issues as well as higher financial problems.

I had total breakdown when I was issued section 21 by my previous private land lord…

In Feb 2016 after moving to new place of residence with the help of the council, the local job centre and DWP forced me to change from ESA to JSA even they had all the medical reports and hospital treatments and investigations were given to them, (Diverticular Disease, eye site problems, Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis which effected my hips, neck, hand, knee, spine, Ulcer, Hiatal Hernia and unbalanced mental behaviour). In September 2016 in the court of law I was awarded the Work Related Activities and back dated it to March 2016…

 

 

Appendix F – Recommendations

1. Cumulative Impact Assessment

The Government continues to allege that it is not feasible to conduct a CIA. UKIM, among other experts, asserts that a CIA is possible and we respect their knowledge and experience. As stated in the Report recommendations, the assessment should be rights-based and meaningfully involve Disabled people and our organisations.

 

Carry out a cumulative impact assessment of all measures adopted since 2010 impacting on the rights to independent living and to be included in the community, social protection and employment, in relation to the effect upon Disabled people.

 

2. Future legislation and/or policy measures respect the core elements of rights under Articles 19, 27 and 28

Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 requires all public bodies to take account of socio-economic disadvantage when making policy decisions. It was passed by Parliament but never brought into force. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced her government will legislate to bring the duty into force in Scotland but there are no such plans currently for Westminster or the other devolved nations.

 

Bring into force Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 to introduce a Public sector duty regarding socio-economic inequalities.

 

3. Article 19 – independent living

The Response cites the Care Act 2014 as legislation that supports Disabled people’s core rights under Article 19. Responsibility for social care has been devolved to English Local Authorities and the devolved administrations without adequate funding to meet their statutory obligations. The principles of the Care Act are not being implemented and it has been left to individual Disabled people to enforce the legislation. Changes to legal aid have left many social care users in the situation where they are unable to access justice.

 

In order to address the current crisis and move forwards towards a social care system that is able to support Disabled people’s rights under Article 19 we call for:

 

  • Adequate levels of funding to be urgently devolved to Local Authorities (LAs) to fund social care and personal assistance

 

  • Mechanisms to be set up by which LAs can be monitored for compliance with the Care Act 2014 and held to account for breaches.

 

  • Establishment of an independent living task force with properly resourced involvement of social care users to explore how the lessons of the ILF can be built upon including the development of a national social care system independent of Local Authorities.

 

  • Access to legal aid for anyone bringing a legal challenge under the Care Act 2014.

 

 

4. Article 27 – Work and Employment

The Response claims that “the range of employment-related provision available to support equal opportunities to work and initiatives to improve employer attitudes such as Disability Confident” “support the core elements of rights” under Article 27. It is unclear what provision they are referring to. As we have seen, funding for the new Work and Health programme is just one fifth of that for the Work Programme which itself had poor outcomes for Disabled people. Disability Confident has had no tangible outcomes. Meanwhile, other measures as outlined above have negatively impacted on Disabled people’s rights under this Article.

 

In order to address barriers to Disabled people’s rights to “work on an equal basis with others” and “the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible”[201] we recommend the following as minimum measures:

 

  • Reverse the introduction of fees for employment tribunals in cases of disability discrimination

 

  • Remove the Access to Work cap

 

  • Cease DWP funding for any employment projects involving therapeutic interventions tied to employment targets

 

  • End sanctioning of benefits for non-compliance with mandatory work activity

 

5. Article 28 – Adequate standard of living and social protection

There is a weight of evidence linking welfare reform measures to unnecessary harm and adverse impacts to standard of living experienced by Disabled people both directly as a result of changes to benefits and loss of income and indirectly through stress, anxiety and fear. Welfare reform measures have disproportionately discriminated against Disabled people without sufficient mitigations put in place. Instead of supporting Disabled people’s “right to the continuous improvement of living conditions”, evidence instead shows retrogression.

 

We recommend the following minimum measures to ensure adequate mitigation:

 

  • That the planned £30 a week cut to income for those in the ESA WRAG is reversed.

 

  • All Disabled people, including those not in receipt of DLA or PIP, should be exempt from the benefit cap.

 

  • In the immediate term, PIP “Moving around” descriptor to be moved back to 50m and Upper Tribunal ruling on “Following a journey” descriptor to be implemented; for the longer-term PIP to stop being a points based, tick box assessment and be replaced with a needs based assessment with guidelines on the thresholds.

 

  • Problems with MR need to be urgently addressed – either through removing MR altogether to enable claimants to go straight to appeal or by a) allowing benefits to be claimed during MR and b) reviewing the MR process so that is independent of the original assessment with new medical evidence properly considered.

 

  • The WCA, which is based on the discredited bio-psycho-social model of disability must be replaced with an assessment based on a social model of disability.[202]

 

  • Legal aid for welfare cases to be restored alongside adequate funding for welfare advice services.

 

  • All new welfare legislation and policy measures to be considered in terms of impact on the most excluded groups of Disabled people as outlined in the Committee’s recommendation 114 (i).

 

 

6. Access to justice

Since 2010 Disabled people’s access to justice has been curtailed. As well as the relevant recommendations above we also support the following recommendations by UKIM[203] which call on the Government to:

 

  • Publish the findings of its post-implementation review of Employment Tribunal fees, and address any disproportionate impacts on disabled people.
  • Review the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 on access to justice and other CRPD rights for disabled people.
  • Further review the operation of the telephone gateway service with regard to its accessibility and effectiveness for disabled people, and mitigate any adverse impacts identified.

 

7. Actively consult and engage with Disabled people and our organisations

We dispute the Government’s claim to have a “strong record in engaging with disabled people, disabled people’s organisations”. The Response cites an overwhelming number of consultations that have taken place since 2010. We agree we have been given opportunities to submit our views and these have enabled the Government to consider the equality impacts of its legislation and policies, however engagement has not led to our views being taken on board in preventing retrogression and avoiding or adequately mitigating against adverse impacts. There is no greater testament to Disabled people’s experience of not being listened to by the UK Government than the fact that this inquiry was triggered.

 

The recent announcement that the Government has abandoned its plans to devolve Attendance Allowance[204] is extremely welcome and we hope that going forwards the views and experiences of Disabled people will be listened to in an open and constructive manner.

 

In order to prevent further retrogression we recommend:

 

  • A comprehensive review of proposals in the Government green paper “Improving Lives”[205] in response to concerns raised by Disabled people and our organisations

 

8. Appropriate measures to combat any negative and discriminatory stereotypes or prejudice against disabled people

The Response is strikingly silent on the issue of high ranking officials promoting an inaccurate message about the reasons for welfare reform and levels of benefit fraud mentioned in paragraph 85 of the Report. This has amounted to a deliberate scapegoating of benefit claimants and increased hostility towards Disabled people.

 

As minimum measures we call for:

  • A public apology by the UK Government for its role in the demonising of benefit claimants.

 

  • A Government-sponsored publicity campaign to promote the value of an inclusive society that values Disabled people who may at times be unable to work.

 

9. Monitoring mechanism

The Response states that the “UK is a strong parliamentary democracy with a system that invites scrutiny and challenge” (paragraph 106) and cites Parliamentary procedures and Committees as examples of this. In its investigation, the Committee read a number of reports from Parliamentary Committees with long lists of recommendations related to welfare reform that the Government has ignored. There is clearly a need for more robust monitoring mechanisms within the UK.

 

We agree with the Committee’s recommendation that the Government should “Set up a mechanism and a system of human rights-based indicators” (paragraph 114 (j)).

 

We also call as a minimum measure for:

 

  • An independent inquiry into links between adverse trends in mental health and welfare reform.

 

 

10. Response to Disability Committee Report and Recommendations

Other than a leak to the media to discredit the Report, the Government failed to disseminate the findings and recommendations in any way. It is also not available on the UKIM website.

 

As a minimum measure we recommend that the Committee:

 

  • Ask the UK government to submit a follow-up report.

 

  • Publish this response in the inquiry section on the website alongside the Report.

 

 

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3909276/Controversial-task-force-slams-Britain-s-welfare-cuts-says-disabled-people-unfairly-bearing-brunt.html

[2] The UK Government’s decision to cut Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA), namely removing assistance with Non-Medical Helpers Allowance, has resulted in adverse effects on potential and existing Disabled students. Plymouth University stated that the increased financial pressure to fund additional support will inevitably affect admissions tutors’ attitudes when recruiting Disabled students. RANDSTAD, a Higher Education Support Agency, stated that 34% of Disabled students would definitely not be able to attend university without DSA support

[3] Written submissions and personal testimony were given to the inquiry. Research is due to be published by Inclusion London in February 2017. A Work and Pensions Committee inquiry report on Access to Work (2014/15) covered many of the issues experienced at the time: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmworpen/481/48102.htm

[4] Since the introduction of employment tribunal fees in 2013, disability discrimination claims have fallen by 54%. See: House of Commons Library, Employment Tribunal Fees, 22 June 2016.

[5] According to Civil Service benchmarking surveys, staff reporting that they have experienced disability discrimination within the past 12 months increased from 7% in 2010 to 10% in 2016: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/568870/Civil_Service_People_Survey_2016_-_Benchmark_Report.pdf

Research has shown how the introduction of performance management systems in the civil service discriminate against Disabled workers

French, Steve Civil Service Performance Management Diversity & Inclusion outcomes data 2014/15 – an analysis, Keele University. http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/pcs_comment.cfm/pcs-report-highlights-dangers-of-civil-service-performance-management

[6] Analysis carried out by the BBC and Community Care suggests mental health trusts suffered a real terms cut of 8.25% to their budgets, the equivalent of £598 million. Freedom of Information requests, annual reports and other research was used to compare the budgets of mental health trusts in England in 2010/11 with 2014/15: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31970871. Up to 15,000 beds have been lost in the past 15 years and many people are forced to travel miles to get support as units are shut and crisis teams merged to save money. Experts have warned that 75% of patients do not get the treatment they need. Figures from the NHS’s health and social care information centre, obtained through a parliamentary question, show that the number of qualified nurses working in psychiatry dropped by 10.8% from 41,320 in 2010 to 36,870 in 2015. The King’s Fund think-tank found that evidence of poor quality care is widespread, with less than a fifth of people feeling they received appropriate care in a crisis. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/mental-health-under-pressure

[7] http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/key-facts-and-statistics/

[8] Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show a 10% rise in detentions between 2013/2014 and 2014/15. This is the fastest on record. http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB18803/inp-det-m-h-a-1983-sup-com-eng-14-15-rep.pdf

[9] The number of suicides among women in the UK has increased to its highest level since 2005.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics released at the end of 2016 show that 6,188 people in the UK intentionally took their own lives in 2015, up from 6,122 in 2014.

[10] Thirty-three mental health trusts out of a total of 57 in England responded to Freedom of Information requests carried out by the BBC programme Panorama. In 2012/13, the trusts reported a total of 2,067 unexpected deaths. By 2015/16 that had risen to 3,160.

[11] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/08/damian-green-dismisses-offensive-un-report-on-uk-disability-rights

[12] Copies of the letter and key concerns can be found at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-human-rights-work/monitoring-and-promoting-un-treaties/un-convention-rights-persons-disabilities

The EHRC has now received a response from the Minister of State for Disabled people stating her belief that the findings are “completely wide of the mark”. This can also be found at the above link.

[13] The Committee spoke to over 200 individuals in the course of their investigation. Since publication of the Committee’s Report and UK Government Response, Disabled People’s Organisations and members of the House of Lords have written to the Government asking that they reconsider their response. Our concerns have been consistently dismissed. https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/equality-and-human-rights/governments-dismissal-uns-recommendations-disabled-peoples-rights/

[14]  Implied questioning of the Committee’s competence in written statements by Government Ministers is concerning. See letter from Damian Green to Baroness Jane Campbell. https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/equality-and-human-rights/governments-dismissal-uns-recommendations-disabled-peoples-rights/

[15]  Disabled People Against Cuts and Inclusion London will be submitting evidence across the Articles through a shadow report to the routine scrutiny of the UK in 2017 as part of the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance.

[16] There is substantial evidence of retrogression in each of the areas cited in paragraph 7 of the Response as “significant measures” as detailed in Appendix A.

[17]  Our evaluation of the impact of the specific policy initiatives cited in the Government Response is included under our response to the respective Articles below.

[18]  Paragraph 2 of the Response says: “It now spends around £50bn a year on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions, which is over £6bn more than in 2010. That is around 2.5% of GDP, or over 6% of government spending. The UK spends more on disabled people and people with health conditions than the OECD average, and countries such as Germany, France and the USA”.

[19] https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/budgets/gb2017/gb2017ch6.pdf

[20] http://www.oecd.org/social/expenditure.htm

[21] Examples of mitigating measures cited in the Response that were the result of public pressure campaigns are included at Appendix C.

[22] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201212/ldhansrd/text/120117-0001.htm

[23] The biopsychosocial (BPS) model of mental distress, originally conceived by the American psychiatrist George Engel in the 1970s and commonly used in psychiatry and psychology, was adapted by Gordon Waddell and Mansell Aylward to form the theoretical basis for UK Government thinking on disability. Waddell and Aylward developed their approach while working at the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research, Cardiff University.  This Centre has worked extensively for the Department of Work and Pensions, and from 2004-2008 was sponsored by the US health insurance company Unum Insurance.  Two key publications by this team have been The Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits (2006) and Models of Sickness and Disability Applied to Common Health Problems (2010).  This latter document represents the most recent and extensive statement of their perspective on the BPS.  The model reframes employment support for disabled people within a ‘support’ discourse, arguing that ESA should be seen as a mechanism to support people who experience health or disability-related barriers to work in accessing employment.

For a critique of Waddell and Aylward’s model, examining its origins, its claims and the evidence it employs:  Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability (May 2016) https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/58235/1/1351_Shakespeare.pdf

For the links between Aylward and Waddell, the Department for Work and Pensions and Unum see: New Labour, the market state, and the end of welfare by Jonathan Rutherford http://www.midmoors.co.uk/Unum/unum_in_uk.pdf

[24] See ‘annex outlining key concerns’ to Letter to the Minister of State for Disabled People in response to the CRPD committee inquiry (December 2016) https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-human-rights-work/monitoring-and-promoting-un-treaties/un-convention-rights-persons-disabilities

[25] In December 2016 civil society organisations wrote an open letter calling on the Government to implement Section 1 of the EA 2010: https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/joint-letter-sunday-telegraph-calls-section-1-equality-act-be-brought-force

[26] EHRC (2015), ‘Equality, human rights and access to civil law justice: a literature review’ (November 2016). https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/equality-human-rights-and-access-civil-law-justice-literature-review. The literature review highlighted a number of shortcomings in the Ministry of Justice’s 2014 review of the telephone gateway service, see pp 62-64.

[27] Cuts that hurt: the impact of legal aid cuts in England on access to justice: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur45/4936/2016/en/

[28] Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

[29] https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/independent-living-social-care-and-health/ilf-one-year-on/

[30] A recent indication of the scale of the crisis was demonstrated by Surrey County Council’s Conservative Cabinet planning a Referendum for residents to vote on a Council tax rise of 15% in 2017–18 to fund social care services. The Council website said: “The Cabinet believes this increase is the only way to protect vital services following substantial cuts in Government funding and an increase in demand for services every year”. The Referendum was cancelled at the last minute with leaked texts suggesting a “sweetheart deal” with central government: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38920416

[31] A recent report from the National Audit Office has shown that the Better Care Fund has failed to ease pressure on NHS hospitals or to save. The total Better Care Fund budget for 2015/16 was £5.3bn (some local authorities added extra money to the £3.8bn earmarked by the government). Within the first year of the Fund being introduced: the number of emergency hospital admissions has gone up, not down; the number of people stuck in hospital because they have no suitable care package available to them in the community – be that a place in a care home or adequate homecare – has also risen. https://www.nao.org.uk/report/health-and-social-care-integration/

An investigation by The Observer in December 2016 revealed that data from 98 of the 151 local authorities in England with statutory responsibility for social care showed only 218 (42%) of 515 targets to improve social care in their area had been met, with the other 297 (58%) missed.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/10/tory-plans-making-social-care-worse

[32] Even where the precept is implemented there is still a large shortfall in funding: https://sentinelnews.co.uk/2016/04/05/osborne-tax-leaves-adult-care-services-facing-billion-pound-black-hole/

King’s Fund analysis of how the precept was used by Councils this year (2016/17) shows that it is deeply flawed as a way of securing sustainable funding for adult social care. It was used by 95% of councils, but raised just £382 million – less than 3% of what Councils plan to spend on adult social care. It will not even cover the £612 million estimated cost of the National Living Wage this year, let alone demographic and other cost pressures. Increasing the precept from 2 to 3% will barely make a dent in this, and many councils will be mindful of the impact of council tax rises on working families with low incomes. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-care-older-people

Not all Councils have chosen to implement the social care precept. For 2016-7, 5% chose not to: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Widespread-council-take-up-of-social-care-precept/40595

There are concerns that in poorer areas with greater social care needs Local Authorities will be less able to raise revenue this way. Dr Fernández, London School of Economics, explained that a 2% increase in council tax will not translate into the same increased revenue for local councils across the country. This is important because wealthier councils with the greatest opportunity to raise resources are also those likely to be faced with least demand for social care. Ray James, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said :“In the most affluent areas you will raise about two-thirds of your council spend through council tax. In the most deprived areas you will raise less than 20% of your council spend through council tax. The precept raises least money in areas of greatest need.” The 10 most affluent areas will raise more than two and a half times (£41m) the amount of the 10 areas with the greatest level of pensioner need (£17m). https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-care-older-people

[33]https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/field/field_publication_file/Autumn_Statement_Kings_Fund_Nov_2016_3.pdf

[34] https://www.bma.org.uk/news/2016/december/transfer-of-care-delays-threaten-to-capsize-the-nhs

The Local Government Association estimates a £2.6 billion gap in funding for adult social care by 2020. This figure takes into account the Government’s promises of extra funding through the Better Care Fund and the optional council tax rise: http://www.local.gov.uk/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/7991319/NEWS

[35] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/10/observer-editorial-government-must-increase-funding-social-care

[36] In December 2016 the chair of the British Medical Association warned that the NHS will not be able to cope unless the Government gets to grips with the current social care crisis:

https://www.bma.org.uk/news/media-centre/press-releases/2016/december/new-year-message

[37] Chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, Izzi Seccombe, said extra funding through the Better Care Fund and extra Council tax raising powers would not be an adequate response to “worst ever funding crisis” in social care: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/10/tory-plans-making-social-care-worse

[38] Social care for older people, a report published by the Kings Fund and Nuffield Trust in September 2016, highlights the severity of the crisis facing the care system: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-care-older-people

[39] In October 2016 the Care Quality Commission raised concerns that the sustainability of the adult social care market is approaching a tipping point: http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/adult-social-care-approaching-tipping-point

[40] http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/communities-and-local-government-committee/news-parliament-2015/prime-minister-health-and-social-care-correspondence-16-17

In November a report by the Health Select Committee called on the Government to urgently address the underfunding of adult social care to relieve pressure on NHS A&E departments:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/health-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/planning-for-winter-pressure-in-accident-and-emergency-departments-inquiry-16-17/

[41] For a fuller analysis of the inadequacies of these initiatives see Appendix D

[42] https://www.nao.org.uk/report/care-services-for-people-with-learning-disabilities-and-challenging-behaviour/

[43] Appleton, A, Leather P and Mackintosh S. ‘Evaluation of the Independent Living Grant (ILG)’ – commissioned by The Welsh Assembly (2012)

[44]http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/14042827.Southampton_s__super_care_home__moves_closer_to_becoming_reality/

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/threat-to-independent-living-as-council-plots-raid-on-high-cost-care/

[45] http://www.healthwatchlambeth.org.uk/extracarereview/

[46] Innovators and champions of the Lifetime Homes standard, Habinteg, issued a briefing comparing the technical specification provided in the 2015 Building Regulations M4(2), that incorporated the 2016 amendments, ‘accessible, adaptable dwellings’, with the 16 design criteria set out in its predecessor, the Lifetime Homes Standard (2011):  http://www.lifetimehomes.org.uk/pages/lifetime-homes-and-part-m.html

[47] The Government rejected a recommendation from the Lords’ disability committee that local authorities should follow the example of London and revise their planning policy to require a significant proportion of new dwellings to comply with Part M accessibility standards. The Equality Act 2010: the impact on Disabled people: recommendation 51. https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201516/ldselect/ldeqact/117/11702.htm

https://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-committees/equality-act/Govt-Response-to-HoL-SC-Report-on-the-EA2010.pdf

The Government also recently voted down an amendment to the policing and crime bill which sought to implement another of the Lords’ recommendations which would have forced bars, shops and restaurants to ensure their premises obey laws on accessibility when renewing their alcohol licences. https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2016-12-07/debates/71350001-A57A-4C90-B8FB-D9199A6776CD/PolicingAndCrimeBill

[48] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/huge-drop-in-women-and-disabled-people-participating-in-sport-after-the-olympics-10011771.html

A survey conducted in January 2016 suggested that more than 80% of Disabled people still feel prejudice when participating in sport and leisure activities.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/feb/03/paralympic-legacy-failed-widen-access-exercise

[49] https://www.sportengland.org/news-and-features/news/2016/december/8/record-numbers-of-women-getting-active/

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/campaigners-call-on-minister-to-reject-rail-access-funding-delay/

[50] Campaigner Doug Paulley recently won a partial victory in the Supreme Court requiring bus drivers to give wheelchair users priority over pushchairs. How this will be implemented by bus drivers remains to be seen. The question over who has priority has arisen due to bus over-crowding and the inadequate provision for wheelchair users. The ramps on single-deckers are often broken and only one wheelchair user can travel per bus.

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2015-0025.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-38795688

[51] https://www.leonardcheshire.org/support-and-information/latest-news/news-and-blogs/research-reveals-difficulty-for-wheelchair-users

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/campaigners-call-on-minister-to-reject-rail-access-funding-delay/

[53] https://www.networkrail.co.uk/who-we-are/publications-resources/our-plans-for-the-future/the-hendy-review/

[54] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/opinions-and-lifestyle-survey-fulfilling-potential-outcomes-and-indicators-2014-data

[55] Research carried out by Inclusion London looking at the situation for ex-ILF recipients one year after closure points to the lack of enforcement measures in the Care Act 2014 and due to the loss of entitlement to legal aid the difficulty people face in making a legal challenge against cuts:

https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/news/ilf-one-year-on/

[56]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/584417/independent-living-fund-post-closure-review.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/584417/independent-living-fund-post-closure-review.pdf p.53

[58] http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/07/18/time-pressures-compromising-social-work-practice-council-finds-review/

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/03/08/dear-senior-managers-feels-deliver-cuts-cast-service-users-adrift/

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/02/10/councils-disregard-care-act-triggers-user-group-complaint-cqc/

[59] See Annex B of the technical consultation paper for proposed grant amounts: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/499151/Former_ILF_Recipient_Grant_Consultation.pdf

[60] http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s48259/Independent%20Living%20Fund%20Report.pdf

[61] Freedom of Information requests submitted by Channel Four found that 80% of Local Authorities had made cuts following closure of the ILF. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGrSn7t3TIQ

In response to Freedom of Information requests submitted by Inclusion London in June 2016 four London boroughs reported reductions to over 50% of the social care packages for former ILF recipients. Eight boroughs reported cuts to individual packages of 50% or more. https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/news/ilf-one-year-on/

[62] The Post-ILF Closure Review study commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions found that former recipients of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in England experienced a loss of support, a greater reliance on unpaid care and an “adverse” impact on their physical and mental health after its closure due to worry, or the physical demands of having to perform everyday activities without the support of a carer; heavy reductions in care produced effects including loneliness, weight loss and frailty and denied opportunities to participate fully in society including less support for engaging in leisure activities, work and volunteering. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/584417/independent-living-fund-post-closure-review.pdf

DPAC has collected testimonies from former ILF recipients detailing their experiences. http://dpac.uk.net/2016/09/the-abuse-disabled-people-face-from-social-services-and-cuts-to-funding-since-closure-of-ilf/

[63] Following a judicial review, the High Court rejected a challenge to Worcestershire Council’s “maximum expenditure policy”, which would set a limit on the amount the council will spend on supporting a disabled adult in the community equivalent to the cost of meeting their eligible needs in a care home.

[64] The policy will apply to packages costing the council £500 a week or more. Where reviews find “insufficient” council funding is available for a person’s “preferred” package, the council will propose an alternative placement or offer the option of paying top-up fees. The council estimates the policy will save £700,000 over the next four years. An impact assessment suggests the changes could lead to an increase in residential care placements and a reduction in community care packages among the service user group affected, although the council believes this would be “marginal”.

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2017/02/22/care-package-savings-drive-risks-shift-care-home-placements/

[65] Research by Fleur Perry found that 44 out of 122 CCGs who responded to her request has policies of concern:

http://disabilityunited.co.uk/2017/01/nhs-staff-can-decide-disabled-people-live-even-choice/

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/more-than-40-nhs-organisations-have-policies-of-concern-on-institutional-care/

[66] http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/department-of-health-ignores-nhs-continuing-healthcare-human-rights-warnings/

[67] The judges found that found that briefings given to then disability minister Esther McVey by officials did not adequately make clear “the potentially very grave impact” the closure of the ILF could have on service users. Lord Justice McCombe said responses to the consultation indicated that “independent living might well be put seriously in peril for a large number of people”. https://www.scomo.com/documents/Bracking_v_DWP.approved%20Judgement.pdf

[68] http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2014/4134.html

[69] http://revitalise.org.uk/news/care-act-fails-in-first-year-finds-revitalise-study/#.V1CO0TKl6Ig.facebook

[70] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmhealth/139/13902.htm

[71] http://www.ukhca.co.uk/pdfs/ukhca_homecare_deficit_2016_final.pdf

[72] A September 2016 Kings Fund report looking mainly at the situation for older disabled people aged over 65 found: social care system struggling to meet needs of older people after 6 years of cuts; huge pressures on the social care market; many social care providers dependent on LA contracts in difficulty; situation for older people compounded by pressures in the NHS especially community services. The most visible manifestation of pressures on health and social care budgets is the rapid growth in delayed discharges from hospital. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-care-older-people

[73] https://www.leonardcheshire.org/support-and-information/latest-news/press-releases/flying-15-minute-care-visits-still-bleak-reality

[74] Even when eligible needs have been agreed and social care support offered, most Councils have in place charging policies.  Many expect Disabled people to contribute half of their Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment Care component and all of the Severe Disability Premium in Employment and Support Allowance towards the cost of care provided to them. In Bristol, Disabled people may be expected to contribute up to £300 a week towards their care funding: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/social-care-health/what-you-may-have-to-pay-for-your-care-and-support

In Scotland cuts to allowances before charging has been reduced by £45 per week in some LAs. http://www.ldascotland.org/index.php/stop-the-care-tax/316-right-to-a-real-life-without-unfair-care-charges

[75] http://revitalise.org.uk/news/care-act-fails-in-first-year-finds-revitalise-study/

[76] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/care_charging_84#incoming-909785

[77] Findings from a recent survey by In Control show: 33% of respondents said level of choice and control they enjoyed over support had reduced /reduced significantly; significant numbers reported more restrictions on how support money could be used; 58% reported their quality of life had reduced or reduced significantly over the past 12 months; 38% have to rely more on family and friends; 25% told support would be reduced because of cuts/savings and/or limits to the amount of money for a particular service. The survey also asked former ILF recipients about their experiences since its closure and found: 41% former ILF recipients had less/a lot less support; 33% said quality of support was worse/ a lot worse; 34% of former ILF recipients reported new restrictions placed on support. http://www.in-control.org.uk/news/in-control-news/report-on-the-independent-living-survey-2016.aspx

[78] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/25/huge-rise-in-hospital-beds-in-england-taken-up-by-people-with-malnutrition?CMP=share_btn_tw

[79] Figures in the Health Service Journal suggested there had been 5.6% more deaths in England and Wales in 2015 than in the previous year, the biggest increase in the national death rate since the 1960s. This supported the picture presented by a separate report by Public Health England which reveals a large number of local authorities showed a fall in life expectancy at age 85 in 2014.

https://www.hsj.co.uk/topics/policy-and-regulation/exclusive-rocketing-death-rate-provokes-calls-for-national-investigation/7002408.article

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/life-expectancy-recent-trends-in-older-ages

[80] Freedom of Information requests published in 2015 showed a 63% decrease in Council Meals on Wheels provision since 2010: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/03/meals-on-wheels-elderly-declined-coalition

[81] Hiam Lucinda, Dorling Danny, Harrison Dominic, and McKee Martin Why has mortality in England and Wales been increasing? An iterative demographic analysis and What caused the spike in mortality in England and Wales in January 2015?, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

https://www.rsm.ac.uk/about-us/media-information/2017-media-releases/new-analysis-links-30000-excess-deaths-in-2015-to-cuts-in-health-and-social-care.aspx

[82] In 2015/16, care homes in England asked local Councils to approve 195,840 applications to deprive a resident of their liberty – most of them older people – under the deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) legal framework. The figure was the highest since the system began in 2009 and a big jump on the 137,540 applications in the previous year. http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB21814

[83] The Government is currently analysing feedback from its “Self-sufficient local government: 100% business rates retention” consultation. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/self-sufficient-local-government-100-business-rates-retention The decision not to devolve Attendance Allowance to LAs has already been taken and is welcome: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7729/CBP-7729.pdf

[84] https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/58235/1/1351_Shakespeare.pdf

[85] This report is the only supporting evidence named in response to this Freedom Of Information request: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/324369/response/799048/attach/html/2/FoI%201104%20reply.pdf.html

[86] As research by DPAC has uncovered, the only evidence to support the claim that “work makes you better” is a single review which “focused on adults of working age and the common health problems that account for two-thirds of sickness absence and long-term incapacity” [page viii of Is Work Good for your Health and Wellbeing]. The remaining third of the relevant population were not considered in any detail. http://dpac.uk.net/2015/09/the-ids-files-better-off-in-work-idsfiles/

[87] According to the latest report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, 17% of people of working age are disabled. 49% of them are in paid work, compared with 81% of non-disabled people. https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/budgets/gb2017/gb2017ch6.pdf

[88] The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1510 per 100,000 workers. This is up from 440,000 cases in 2014/15, a prevalence rate of 1380 per 100,000 workers. The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2015/16 was 11.7 million days. http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress/stress.pdf?pdf=stress

[89]https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/articles/contractsthatdonotguaranteeaminimumnumberofhours/september2016

[90] A summary of concerns are outlined by the Mental Wealth Foundation here: https://allianceblogs.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/mwf_jobcentretherapy_letter/

In relation to ME/CFS treatment there is ongoing controversy surrounding the PACE trial, a study part-funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and carried out by researchers with links to the insurance industry. In 2015, Dr David Tuller, of the University of California, wrote a comprehensive investigative report into the PACE study called Trial by Error. This report documented many flaws including violation of the declaration of Helsinki and unsuitable use of statistical methods. http://www.virology.ws/2015/10/21/trial-by-error-i/

[91] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/380027/wca-fifth-independent-review.pdf

[92] Regulations 29 and 35 provided protection to claimants whose mental health would be at risk if denied benefits or told to engage in work-related activity, and specifically include people at risk of suicide or self-harm. Government issued new guidance to staff carrying out WCA tests on how to interpret the regulations. Under the guidance used in 2015, if the rules meant a claimant should not return to the workplace due to the risk to their health, they would likely mean they should not participate in work-related activity either: “…it is unlikely that someone who is at substantial risk for work would not be at substantial risk for work related activity and therefore for all practical purposes it is likely that it will apply to both.” https://www.rethinkingincapacity.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/WCA-Handbooks-revisions-2016-vs-2015.pdf

This statement was removed in the new guidance which now says: “The flexibility in the DWP approach, tailoring work-related activity to each claimant’s circumstances and health condition, and the requirement that claimants must not be asked to do anything that could put their health at risk, make it unlikely that many claimants will be at substantial risk if required to carry out work-related activity.” https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/535065/wca-handbook-july-2016.pdf

[93] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-december-2016.

[94] The DWP was asked in a Freedom of information request in November 2016 “about the number of ESA claimants in either the WRAG or Support group that the DWP has found fit to work in 2016 despite having in its possession at that point a letter from the claimant’s doctor or consultant or psychiatrist or psychologist, etc that returning to work may put the claimant’s life at risk”. In response, the DWP acknowledged it held some information falling within the description specified in the request, but estimated that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate  limit  of  £600.

[95] National Audit Office (NAO) https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Contracted-out-health-and-disability-assessments.pdf (Published January 2016)

[96] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/575604/esa-wca-summary-december-2016.pdfn

[97] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmpubacc/727/727.pdf (Published April 2016)

[98]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/525714/treasury_minutes_web.pdf

[99] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/575604/esa-wca-summary-december-2016.pdf

[100] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/575604/esa-wca-summary-december-2016.pdf

[101] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/575604/esa-wca-summary-december-2016.pdf

[102] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/558953/esa-wca-summary-september-2016.pdf

[103] SSAC: Social Services Advisory Committee

[104]  ..concerns have been raised that claimants with strong cases may in practice be deterred from appealing and that vulnerable users have experienced difficulties in navigating the process. Another concern is that individuals with severe medical conditions have reportedly been unable to cope with reconsideration telephone calls.’  (Published March 2016)

https://ukaji.org/2016/03/09/decision-making-and-mandatory-reconsideration-response-to-ssac-consultation/#_ftn3

[105] http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7820

[106] Appendix E contains three case studies from emails sent to DPAC during November/December 2016. They evidence the brutal impacts of sanctions on individual Disabled people and their families.

[107] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/jobseekers-allowance-and-employment-and-support-allowance-sanctions-decisions-made-to-june-2016 See table 2.3.

106 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/jobseekers-allowance-and-employment-and-support-allowance-sanctions-decisions-made-to-june-2016 (Published in November 2016)

[109] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/jobseekers-allowance-and-employment-and-support-allowance-sanctions-decisions-made-to-june-2016  calculated from data on table 1.6

[110] https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/welfare-reform/benefit-sanctions-inquiry-inclusion-londons-evidence/

[111] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/473425/admu3.pdf

[112] http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/part/4/crossheading/reasonable-adjustments

[113] FOI – Freedom of Information

[114]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/375140/response/916042/attach/3/FOI%202016%204602%20Response.pdf  (Figures given from Jan 2015 – Jun 2016)   https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/376109/response/916780/attach/3/FOI%202016%204696%20Response.pdf   (Figures from April 2014-June 2016)  https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/192084/response/494453/attach/3/FOI%202014%2079%20response%20final.pdf  (Figures from October 2008 – June 2013)

[115] http://www.methodist.org.uk/news-and-events/news-releases/new-data-more-than-100-people-per-day-with-mental-health-problems-are-having-their-benefits-sanctioned

[116] http://beta.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/british-psychological-society-signs-statement-opposing-welfare-sanctions

[117] http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/one-in-five-benefit-related-deaths-involved-sanctions-admits-dwp/

[118] https://www.nao.org.uk/report/benefit-sanctions/  (Published 30 November 2016)

[119] https://www.nao.org.uk/report/benefit-sanctions/

[120] https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmpubacc/775/77502.htm   

[121] In February 2016 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) unearthed a “draft” report that ministers failed to send to a coroner six years previously, following concerns he raised about a suicide linked to flaws in the “fitness for work” test. Coroner Tom Osborne wrote to the DWP on 30 March 2010 linking the suicide of Stephen Carré in January 2010 with serious flaws in how the WCA was used to test the eligibility of people with mental health conditions for out-of-work disability benefits. Osborne ruled that the trigger for Stephen Carré’s suicide had been DWP’s rejection of his appeal against being found “fit for work”, and he called in his Rule 43 letter for a review of the policy not to seek medical evidence from a GP or psychiatrist if the claimant has a mental health condition. Ministers never produced an official response to the Rule 43 letter, as they were legally obliged to do. The DWP has admitted that it did exchange letters with Osborne during the summer of 2010, and even produced a “draft final response” to his letter in September 2010 but they are unable to confirm whether it was sent or whether the coroner received it. Ministers made key decisions in the summer of 2010 about the WCA process including that it would be rolled out to hundreds of thousands of long-term claimants of incapacity benefit (IB) the following year. They also failed to show the Rule 43 letter to Professor Malcolm Harrington, even though they had commissioned him to review the “fairness and effectiveness” of the WCA. The following year, in December 2011, a long-term IB claimant – Ms D E – took her own life after being told she was not eligible for ESA, a death later linked by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland to similar WCA failings to those that led to Stephen Carré’s death. In 2014, another coroner wrote an almost identical letter to Osborne’s, again warning of concerns about the safety of the WCA, after the death of a north London man, Michael O’Sullivan, who also took his own life after being found fit for work.

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-media-reports-ignore-benefit-deaths-and-ids-resignation/

[122] http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/comment-long-awaited-peer-reviews-suggest-ministers-failed-to-act-after-deaths-of-vulnerable-claimants/

[123] The study shows that that, for every 10,000 IB claimants who were reassessed in England between 2010 and 2013, there were an additional six suicides, 2,700 cases of self-reported mental health problems, and an increase of more than 7,000 in the number of anti-depressants prescribed. The most significant increases took place in the most deprived local authority areas of England.

http://jech.bmj.com/content/70/4/339

[124] In February 2017, we heard how a Disabled woman took her own life just two days after being told her Personal Independent Payment appeal had failed. The body of Susan Margaret Roberts was discovered by a care worker at her warden-assisted flat near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, surrounded by letters telling her that she had been found ineligible

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/pip-investigation-woman-took-her-own-life-two-days-after-learning-of-failed-pip-appeal/

In January, Lawrence Bond collapsed and died just minutes after leaving a back-to-work appointment. He was reportedly awaiting the result of an appeal against being found fit for work and therefore ineligible for employment and support allowance (ESA). An inquest will be heard later this year.

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/coroner-orders-inquest-into-fit-for-work-man-who-collapsed-after-leaving-jobcentre/

[125] Consultation feedback invited by the DWP was limited to a questionnaire format which made it difficult to draw attention to the most worrying aspects of the proposals not covered by the set questions.

For Inclusion London’s full report see: https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/employment/improving-lives-work-health-disability-green-paper-inclusion-londons-response/

Spartacus Network have produced a 237 response entitled “Smokescreen” that carefully details the dangers posed by the green paper: https://spartacusnetwork.wordpress.com/

A joint response by professional bodies representing the psychological therapies highlights the dangers of pushing Disabled people into unsuitable employment and calls for an end to: http://www.bps.org.uk/system/files/consultationpapers/responses/final%20joint%20Green%20Paper%20response%20BPS%20BACP%20UKCP%20BPC%20BABCP.pdf

The response from anti-poverty charity Z2K highlights ongoing problems with ESA: http://z2k.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Z2K-response-to-%E2%80%98Improving-Lives-the-Work-Health-and-Disability-Green-Paper.pdf

[126] http://dpac.uk.net/2013/02/11-was-never-intended-to-be-the-number-of-people-in-the-support-group-dwp-big-blunder-annie-howard/

[127] Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability: Tom Shakespeare, Nicholas Watson, Ola Abu Alghaib

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0261018316649120

[128] The Response states that the green paper proposals “cover the roles played by the welfare system, the health and care system” (paragraph 8). This is inaccurate. Social care is conspicuous by its complete absence.

[129] The Response under Article 27 states that 22% of people supported to start their own business by the New Enterprise Allowance are self-declared disabled. We are concerned whether Disabled people are being pushed into self-employment to reduce claimant figures and how many are able to earn an adequate income. New Access to Work rules tie support for Disabled people in self-employment to the ability to produce a “sustainable business plan”. We wonder how many Disabled people supported through the New Enterprise Allowance meet the criteria.

[130] From StopChanges2AtW report due to be published March 2017.

[131] ‘The changing characteristics of UK disability benefit recipients’ can be seen here http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/7756

[132] See analysis by Bernadette Meaden: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21740

[133] https://www.jrf.org.uk/mpse-2015/disability-and-poverty 2015

[134] https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/monitoring-poverty-and-social-exclusion-2016

[135] From 17.0% in 2014/15 to 25.7% in 2020/21 – and an increase in absolute child poverty from 16.7% in 2014/15 to 18.3% in 2020-21. Both figures are remarkable in their own way: the increase in relative poverty will undo almost all of the work done reducing poverty from 1999-2010. And the increase in absolute poverty (also up from 17.6% in 2010/11) will mean that, over a decade, the income of families towards the bottom has actually gone down – something without precedent in modern times.

https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/8171

[136] 45.1% and 22.4%: Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2012, Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2012 report, pp.114-115, (online), available at: https://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/comm124.pdf

[137]The average income of families with disabled children is £15,270, which is 23.5% below the UK mean income of £19,968. 21.8% have incomes that are less than 50% the UK mean: Contact a Family, Research (online), available at: http://www.cafamily.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns-and-research/research/

[138] http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06294/SN06294.pdf

[139] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/homeless-rough-sleeping-figures-increase-rise-conservatives-housing-shelter-vertical-rush-a7550251.html

[140] As confirmed by a Parliamentary Briefing published December 2016 ‘ Household food insecurity measurement in the UK’: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CDP-2016-0238/CDP-2016-0238.pdf

[141] https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2016-11-16.53439.h&s=foodbanks#g53439.q0

[142] https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2016-04-08.33196.h&s=foodbanks#g33196.q0

[143] The Trussell Trust publishes statistics on foodbank users at the UK and regional level. In 2015/16, 1.11 million three -day emergency food parcels were distributed by Trussell Trust foodbanks.  Usage of Trussell Trust foodbanks expanded rapidly over the past decade: the number of three-day emergency food supplies given out went from 2,814 in 2005-2006 to a record number of 1,109,309 in 2015/2016. Although this number does not represent the number of unique users, likely to be around 554,000 in 2015/2016, the Trussell Trust is far from being the only foodbank provider. More recent statistics show 519,000 three-day emergency food parcels were distributed in the six months to September 2016, 13,000 higher than the same period last year.

https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/

[144] Between 2012, and 2015, ‘For every 10 additional sanctions applied in each quarter of the year, on average five more adults would be referred to foodbanks in the area. As sanctioning decreased, foodbank use also decreased, which the report suggests is evidence of a strong link between sanctioning and people not having enough money to meet basic needs. The researchers used foodbank data from the Trussell Trust, the only source of routinely collected surveillance for the past decade’.

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2016-10-27-strong-link-between-increased-benefit-sanctions-and-higher-foodbank-use

[145] https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/sites/default/files/pdf/holesinthesafetynet.pdf

[146] http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7251/CBP-7251.pdf

[147] Currently £73.10 for people aged 25 and over.

[148] http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7649/CBP-7649.pdf

[149] http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/uploads/documents/Parli_Briefings/Welfare%20Reform%20and%20Work%20Bill%20Lords%20Report%20Stage%20Briefing%20Clauses%2011%20to%2014%20FINAL.pdf

[150] https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-11-30/debates/7E82E75D-63A3-460C-952E-0B29BE98620B/ESAAndPersonalIndependencePayments

[151] http://www.mind.org.uk/media/3170647/esa-wrag-review-december-2015.pdf

[152] For more detail on this see section on ESA WRAG cut in Inclusion London response to the green paper: https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/employment/improving-lives-work-health-disability-green-paper-inclusion-londons-response/

[153] http://www.mind.org.uk/media/3170647/esa-wrag-review-december-2015.pdf

[154] https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2016-03-21.31811.h&s=speaker%3A24778#g31811.r0

[155] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/564759/benefit-cap-statistics-to-august-2016.pdf

[156]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/443195/Policy_costings_summer_budget_2015.pdf

[157] https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2017-01-09.59210.h&s=speaker%3A10596#g59210.q0

[158] https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/employment/improving-lives-work-health-disability-green-paper-inclusion-londons-response/

[159] PIP originally expected to reduce working-age DLA caseloads and expenditure by 20%, giving savings of around £1.5 billion a year by 2016/17. Estimates published by DWP, December 2012 suggested by 2018, around 607,000 fewer people would receive PIP than would have got DLA (a 28% reduction in the caseload). DWP also estimated once fully introduced, 428,000 fewer people would qualify for enhanced mobility rate than would have qualified for the higher rate DLA mobility component. http://hqnetwork.co.uk/document/6365 Page 29

Latest statistics published by DWP up to October 2016 show between the introduction of PIP in April 2013 and October 2016, there were:  2,255,500 registrations (this figure includes new claimants and DLA reassessments); 2,042,500 clearances; 1,091,200 claims in payment. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/577399/pip-statistics-to-october-2016.pdf

[160] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/577399/pip-statistics-to-october-2016.pdf

[161] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunals-and-gender-recognition-certificate-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2016

[162] 299,900 related to new claims, and 168,000 to reassessed DLA claims. Only 42,400 (15%) led to a change in new claimant’s awards, and 32,200 (22%) MRs for reassessed DLA claimants led to a change in award.  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/577399/pip-statistics-to-october-2016.pdf Page 5

[163] http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/hansard/20002020/2017-NN-0013.pdf Table SSCS.2

[164]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/538836/decision-making-and-mandatory-reconsideration-ssac-op18.pdf

[165] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33020987

[166] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmpubacc/727/727.pdf

[167] http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/pip-reassessments-mean-35000-will-lose-motability-vehicles-in-2016/

[168]https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/sites/default/files/word/DR%20UK%20response%20to%20%20Second%20Independent%20Review%20of%20PIP.docx.

[169] Westminster Hall Debate on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence payment (PIP), 30 November 2016: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2016-11-30/debates/7E82E75D-63A3-460C-952E-0B29BE98620B/ESAAndPersonalIndependencePayments

[170] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/387981/pip-assessment-first-independent-review.pdf

[171] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/593392/pip-assessment-criteria-equality-analysis.pdf

[172] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/conservatives-halt-pip-disability-payments-160000-people-1608554

[173] Annex outlining key concerns – UKIM Letter to the Minister of State for Disabled People https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-human-rights-work/monitoring-and-promoting-un-treaties/un-convention-rights-persons-disabilities

[174] http://www.in-control.org.uk/news/in-control-news/report-on-the-independent-living-survey-2016.aspx

[175] https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/immoral-capita-offered-200-bonuses-to-social-workers-to-slash-care-packages/

[176]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/373860/response/903991/attach/html/2/WSCC%20Response%20751900.docx.html

[177] http://chrishatton.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/the-riddle-of-model.html?m=1

[178] https://www.habinteg.org.uk/download.cfm?doc=docm93jijm4n1390.pdf&ver

[179] http://www.lse.ac.uk/website-archive/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2016/07/1.8-million-disabled-people-struggling-to-find-accessible-housing.aspx

[180] http://www.housinglin.org.uk/_library/Resources/Housing/OtherOrganisation/Housing-adaptations-briefing-final.pdf

[181] http://www.transportforall.org.uk/news/shocking-upsurge-in-tube-lift-closures-due-to-shortage-of-trained-staff-

[182] https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rssb-admits-doo-trains-disadvantage-disabled-passengers/

[183] http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7845/CBP-7845.pdf

http://www.ippr.org/publications/welfare-earnback

https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2014/january/work-programme-still-fails-disabled-people

[184]https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmpublic/care/140109/pm/140109s01.htm

[185] https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2014-0125-judgment.pdf

[186] http://www.cafamily.org.uk/news-and-media/new-housing-benefit-regulations-wont-help-all-disabled-children-unable-to-share-a-bedroom/

http://www.itv.com/news/story/2013-03-08/mencap-bedroom-tax-david-cameron-campaign/

[187] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/13/local-housing-allowance-cap-evictions-hostels-supported-housing

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/15/housing-benefit-cap-exemptions-hostels-supported-housing-uk-government

[188] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-20078999

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-34548638

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10865390/NHS-breaks-promise-after-Winterbourne-View-scandal.html

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/nhs-long-stay-closures-are-too-little-and-too-late/

[189] https://www.nao.org.uk/report/care-services-for-people-with-learning-disabilities-and-challenging-behaviour/

[190] http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB20247/ld-census-further-sep15-rep.pdf

[191] https://www.ndti.org.uk/news/national-development-team-for-inclusion-responds-to-building-the-right-supp

[192] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/475155/Gvt_Resp_Acc.pdf

[193] http://www.itv.com/news/2017-02-03/shocking-numbers-of-police-incidents-involved-mental-health/

The individual in this report is a Deaf man: http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/health/mental_health_patient_kept_in_norfolk_police_cell_for_three_days_1_4884371

[194] A good over-view is presented in this House of Commons Briefing paper: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN03011/SN03011.pdf

[195] DCLG (2011) Disabled Facilities Grant allocation methodology and means test: Final report, London: DCLG.  http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/pdf/1850571.pdf

[196] The Papworth Trust – Home Solutions to our Care Crisis (2013) http://www.papworthtrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/homesolutionstoourcarecrisis_121113100850.pdf

[197] http://www.foundations.uk.com/media/4665/dfg-report-final-interactive-converted-draft-6-small.pdf

[198] Research by LSE showed that 1.8 million disabled people have an unmet housing need: https://www.habinteg.org.uk/hidden-housing-market

[199] http://www.leonardcheshire.org/sites/default/files/Leonard-Cheshire-Disability-The-Long-Wait-for-a-Home.pdf

[200] http://www.housinglin.org.uk/_library/Resources/Housing/OtherOrganisation/Making_a_House_a_Home.pdf

[201] UN CRPD Article 27

[202] There have been various attempts initiated by civil society to research what this could look like. For example, https://www.rethinkingincapacity.org/author/ben/ and a research project currently under-way led by Stef Benstead at Ekklesia (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/).

[203] Annex outlining key concerns: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-human-rights-work/monitoring-and-promoting-un-treaties/un-convention-rights-persons-disabilities

[204] http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7729

[205] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/564038/work-and-health-green-paper-improving-lives.pdf


Follow Up Submission:
response to
UNCRPD Inquiry
Report and
UK Government Response
February 2017
Prepared by the DPAC Research Team and Inclusion London


Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

DPAC is a grassroots campaign led by Disabled people.  Following the first mass protest against austerity cuts held on the 3 October 2010 in Birmingham it was set up by a group of Disabled people in response to the disproportionate impact of austerity on Disabled people. That march had been led by Disabled people under the name of The Disabled Peoples’ Protest. Since then DPAC has continued to grow as the negative impacts of austerity have widened. DPAC now has over 20,000 members and supporters with a far wider outreach through its work with mainstream anti-cuts groups, universities, Disabled Peoples’ Organisations, and Trade Unions.

mail@dpac.uk.net   www.dpac.uk.net   @Dis_PPL_Protest

 

Inclusion London

Inclusion London is a London-wide Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation. We support Deaf and Disabled people’s organisations in London and campaign for equality for Deaf and Disabled people. Inclusion London supports 90 Deaf and Disabled Organisations working across every London borough. Through these organisations, our reach extends to over 70,000 Disabled Londoners.

www.inclusionlondon.org.uk   @inclusionlondon

 

Abbreviations

AtW                Access to Work

CCG                Clinical Commissioning Group

DHP                Discretionary Housing Payment

DLA                Disability Living Allowance

ESA                 Employment and Support Allowance

FFW               Fit For Work

ILF                   Independent Living Fund

JSA                  Job Seekers Allowance

LA                   Local Authority

PIP                  Personal Independence Payment

SG                   Support Group

WRAG            Work Related Activity Group

 

 

Contents

  1. Comments on the findings of the Committee. 7
  2. Comments on the UK Government Response. 10

2.1 Serious concern at the Government’s approach. 10

2.1.1 Rejection of the Committee findings. 10

2.1.2 £50bn spend.. 12

2.1.3 Listening to Disabled people. 12

2.2 General Findings. 13

2.2.1 Social model of disability.. 13

2.2.2 Equality Act 2010.. 14

2.2.3 Legal Aid changes. 15

2.3 Article 19 – Living independently and being included in the community  16

2.3.1 Failure to understand the principle of Independent Living. 16

2.3.2 Failure to address social care funding crisis. 16

2.3.3 Inadequacy of other initiatives. 19

2.3.4 Choice and control 21

2.3.5 Closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF). 23

2.3.6 Worsening situation.. 25

2.4 Article 27 – Work and Employment 28

2.4.1 Dominance of work focus. 28

2.4.2 Update since UN inquiry.. 30

2.4.3 Improving Lives: the work, health and disability green paper. 38

2.4.4 Access to Work (AtW). 41

2.5 Article 28 – Adequate standard of living and social protection. 42

2.5.1 Government spend.. 42

2.5.2 Poverty.. 43

2.5.3 Personal Independent Payment (PIP). 50

Conclusion. 55

Appendix A – Evidence of retrogression in areas cited in paragraph 7. 56

Appendix B – Breakdown of “£50billion” spend. 59

Appendix C – Mitigating measures in response to public pressure. 60

Appendix D – Inadequacy of initiatives cited in paragraph 26. 63

Appendix E – Personal testimonies of sanctions. 67

Appendix F – Recommendations. 71

  1. Cumulative Impact Assessment. 71
  2. Future legislation and/or policy measures respect the core elements of rights under Articles 19, 27 and 28.. 71
  3. Article 19 – independent living. 71
  4. Article 27 – Work and Employment. 72
  5. Article 28 – Adequate standard of living and social protection.. 73
  6. Access to justice. 74
  7. Actively consult and engage with Disabled people and our organisations 75
  8. Appropriate measures to combat any negative and discriminatory stereotypes or prejudice against disabled people. 75
  9. Monitoring mechanism… 76
  10. Response to Disability Committee Report and Recommendations. 76

1. Comments on the findings of the Committee

We welcome the findings of the Committee which present an accurate evaluation of the situation in the UK. We acknowledge the time and effort which the Disability Committee put into their very thorough investigation and appreciate the opportunity that was given to Disabled people and our organisations to be listened to.

We were disappointed that neither we nor the UK Independent Mechanism received advance notice of the publication of the Committee Report other than via a leak to The Mail on Sunday newspaper[1]. This meant that we were not able to ensure dissemination of the findings of the inquiry before it was publicly discredited.

The inquiry focused specifically on Articles 19, 27 and 28 of the Convention. Retrogression has not only occurred under these Articles, and we look forward to the routine scrutiny of the UK in 2017 as an opportunity for the Committee to consider wider, interrelated impacts of UK Government policy and legislation on the rights of Disabled people.

Evidence to the inquiry was submitted in three areas and, whilst acknowledging the volume of information considered by the Committee and its decision to strictly confine its findings to specific Articles, we are disappointed they are not covered in the Committee Report. These are:

  • The impact of austerity measures on inclusive education
  • Increasing barriers to employment for Disabled people
  • The impact of cuts to mental health services

Increasing barriers to education and employment created by Government policy measures alongside the curtailing of social security protections have added to the cumulative adverse impact of austerity on Disabled people. These include, but are not limited to, the decision to cut Disabled Student’s Allowance[2], a raft of strategic and operational changes to the Government Access to Work scheme[3], and the introduction of fees for employment tribunals[4]. There is also evidence that conditions for Disabled staff working within Government departments have worsened[5].

Disabled people’s rights under Article 19 have been impacted by cuts to inclusive education and to mental health services. Having choice and control over living arrangements includes full inclusion in mainstream education provision. This has been undermined by severe cuts to funding for learning support assistance. Mental health services have also suffered with real terms cuts of over £600 million to the budgets of Mental Health Trusts since 2010[6]. Over the same period the numbers of those seeking treatment rose from 500,000 to 1.7 million[7]. Recent figures show that detentions under the Mental Health Act have risen dramatically[8] and the suicide rate has increased[9]. The number of unexpected patient deaths reported by England’s mental health trusts has risen by almost 50% in three years[10].

Cuts and policy changes in the above areas have all contributed to the retrogression experienced under Articles 19, 27 and 28.

 

 

2. Comments on the UK Government Response

2.1 Serious concern at the Government’s approach

2.1.1 Rejection of the Committee findings

The UK Government has dismissed the findings of the Committee and rejected all eleven recommendations. They failed to disseminate the Committee’s findings and recommendations in any way. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green, publicly described the Committee’s Report as demonstrating “an outdated view of disability which is patronising and offensive”[11].

Disabled people and our organisations do not agree. The UK Independent Mechanism has also written to the Government to urge a review of their Response outlining key concerns[12]. All concerns have been dismissed[13].

There are material reasons why Disabled people are excluded from the workplace and require social security protections and social care support in order to exist and to participate. The inquiry findings accurately evaluate the violations to our rights in these areas that have occurred as result of UK Government legislation and policy.

By signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol to the UNCRPD, the UK recognised the competence of the Committee to determine violations[14], and has at this stage provided an unconvincing response to the Committee’s determinations.

The Response accuses the Report of having “too narrow a scope” by only focusing on changes to the welfare system (paragraph 7). While the Committee Report focuses on the rights of Disabled people under those three specific interrelated Articles, retrogression has occurred across all areas covered by the Convention[15], including those cited by the Response as “significant measures” that it claims the Report fails to reflect[16].

Whilst the Response sets out various initiatives[17] which it says are relevant to the fulfilment of Articles 19, 27 and 28, it fails in significant respects adequately to grapple – save by way of denial – with the specific nature of many of the criticisms advanced in the Report.   In particular, it does not adequately address the Committee’s findings as to the adverse and disproportionate impact of measures on Disabled people.

The very serious issue of high-ranking officers misleading the public as to the nature of welfare reform covered in paragraph 85 is completely omitted from the Response.

Disabled people are now facing a still worsening situation as a result of the Government’s refusal to implement the Committee recommendations alongside further changes to policy and guidance and a widening of the adverse impacts of austerity measures.

 

2.1.2 £50bn spend

A central argument in the Government’s Response is that it claims to spend £50bn per year on what it calls “benefits to support disabled people and people with long term health conditions”[18]. It says that this is above OECD average and more than countries such as Germany, France and the USA. This information is misleading. As confirmed by the Freedom of Information response attached at Appendix B, the £50bn figure includes spending on social care support as well as statutory sick pay, war pensions and carers’ allowance.

According to a new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Government will spend £24 billion on working age disability or incapacity benefits in 2016/17. Spending on incapacity benefits is now a smaller share of national income than in any year since 1989/90. In part, that reflects the fact that average awards have fallen from 24% of average earnings in 1986/87 to 19% in 2016/17[19].

In comparison to other countries, the OECD Social Expenditure Database shows the UK is just at the OECD average of ‘public spending for social purposes’, below 16 countries including Greece, Portugal and Slovenia[20].

2.1.3 Listening to Disabled people

The Response refers to the UK as “a strong parliamentary democracy, where the voices and opinions of disabled people are represented and listened to” (paragraph 3). The volume of consultation responses, Parliamentary inquiry reports and Select Committee recommendations ignored by the Government in pushing ahead with their legislation and policy implementation and considered by the Disability Committee within their inquiry is evidence to the contrary. The Response cites no supporting evidence for their claim to listen to Disabled people.

A number of measures cited in the Response as examples of mitigation only came about following public pressure and campaigning by Disabled people after our concerns were initially ignored by Government[21]. The need to expend considerable effort in order to challenge harmful proposals adds significantly to the barriers Disabled people have faced.

The Response displays little engagement with, or understanding of, either the general principles that are contained within, and underpin, the UNCRPD, or the specific principles summarised in paragraphs 43-46 of the Committee’s Report.

 

2.2 General Findings

2.2.1 Social model of disability

The Response states that the Government addresses the barriers faced by Disabled people “using the social model of disability adopted by the Committee and disability sector”. The model of disability used by the Government to underpin its programme of welfare reform is the biopsychosocial model developed by Waddell and Aylward specifically for the purposes of policy formation. On 17th January 2012 Hansard records that Lord Freud explained to the House of Lords that the Government’s approach to welfare reform was based upon “the biopsychosocial model”[22]. He references a “Models of Sickness and Disability” document distributed to selected members of the House of Lords explaining how what he refers to as a “coherent theory” is different from the social model. Rather than bringing together biological, psychological and social factors in a holistic account of disability, the Waddell-Aylward BPS is in actuality a causal explanation of sickness absence, with advocacy for a particular approach to disability management, that has been used to justify restriction of welfare entitlements[23].

2.2.2 Equality Act 2010

The Response states that the Equality Act 2010 “serves to ensure that the rights of disabled people are fully considered by UK policy makers”. However, there is currently no explicit statutory requirement or a non-statutory commitment for Ministers to give ‘due regard’ to the CRPD when developing new policy and law. A letter from the UK Independent Mechanism to the UK Government outlining concerns states:

“UKIM does not consider that the UK Government has provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it consistently gives due regard to the need to promote the equality of disabled people or their broader human rights, when developing new law and policy.”[24]

The socio-economic duty that forms the very first section of the Equality Act 2010 and was passed by Parliament, has not been brought into force. This would require all public bodies to take account of socio-economic disadvantage when making policy decisions[25].

2.2.3 Legal Aid changes

The Response fails to acknowledge the adverse impact on Disabled people’s access to justice arising from changes including the reduction in scope of legal aid and the introduction of a mandatory telephone gateway service in England and Wales as evidenced by the EHRC[26].

A report by Amnesty published in October 2016 concludes:

“In human rights terms, the cuts to legal aid constitute a retrogressive measure. They were primarily motivated by a desire to reduce spending on the justice system at a time of increased fiscal pressure, but were made with insufficient regard for the potential negative and profound impacts on the protection of human rights in the UK. There is no dispute that fewer people can now access free legal help and representation in a wide range of cases; the Government’s own statistics bear this out.”[27]

According to official figures there was a 99% reduction in welfare-benefit cases receiving legal aid funding following the introduction of LASPO[28], from 88,378 in the year 2012/13 to just 145. The Amnesty report calls for the restoration of welfare benefits advice funding.

The experiences of Disabled people following the closure of the Independent Living Fund have evidenced the lack of support for individuals to challenge cuts to their social care packages in breach of the Care Act 2014 due to changes rendering them ineligible for legal aid[29].

2.3 Article 19 – Living independently and being included in the community

2.3.1 Failure to understand the principle of Independent Living

The right to live independently and be included in the community as enshrined in Article 19 of the CRPD places a responsibility on State parties to ensure Disabled people have access to adequate support that enables us to have equal choices and opportunities. It is about having the right levels of support in place and is not about being able to “do things for ourselves”.

The Government’s Response reveals a failure to understand the core principle of independent living by the following statement: ““Supporting people to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible, is a guiding principle of the Care Act” (paragraph 32).

2.3.2 Failure to address social care funding crisis

Disabled people’s right to independent living is dependent upon adequate funding for the support we need to be able to have the same chances to participate as other people. A lack of suitable support and assistance results in isolation and inactivity and removes dignity and opportunity. Increasing reliance on unpaid support and an emphasis on finding cheaper alternatives goes against the interests of Disabled people.

The UK is facing a social care funding crisis[30]. The Response cites funding available increase their budgets for social care spending (paragraph 25). This is insufficient to address the size and depth of the funding crisis[31]. Additional funding for social care will be swallowed up by demographic pressures and additional costs for providers of implementing the National Living Wage set to rise for a second time in April 2017[32].

Despite the ageing population and rising demand for services, UK public spending on social care is set to fall back to less than 1% of GDP by the end of this parliament, leaving thousands more older and Disabled people without access to services[33]. Recent analysis of Sustainability and Transformation Plans by the British Medical Association has revealed a £4.7bn social care shortfall[34].

There is now an unprecedented consensus that the social care system is on the brink[35].Those who have spoken out include NHS leaders[36], local government leaders from all parties[37], independent health think-tanks[38] and the regulator[39]. The Chairs of three House of Commons Select Committees are urging the Prime Minister to reach a cross-party agreement on the future of health and social care funding[40].

 

2.3.3 Inadequacy of other initiatives

The Response cites a number of initiatives which it claims “protect the rights of disabled people in article 19” (paragraph 26) but provides no evidence of progressive impacts for any of them[41].  ‘Building the Right Support’ and ‘No Voice Unheard, No Right Ignored’ both relate to an ambition to close inpatient facilities and support people with learning difficulties and autism to live in the community. Not only did the Government miss its target that by 1 June 2014 anyone with a learning difficulty and challenging behaviour who would be better off supported in the community, should be moved out of hospital, but a National Audit Office (NAO) report published in February 2015 found that in the nine months to June 2014, there were 300 more admissions to hospital than there were discharges[42]. Neither of these initiatives will succeed without adequate funding for community based services.

Despite research that shows how every £1 spent in home adaptations can save £4 in health and social care spending, the Disabled Facilities Grant remains underfunded[43]. Long waiting lists and the £30,000 limit mean that Disabled people in need of adaptations do not get them when they need them and many people who could benefit from it are unaware of its existence.

The Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund has been linked to developments that threaten Disabled people’s rights under Article 19. This scheme commits capital funding to support and accelerate the development of purpose-built, specialist housing for older people and disabled people including “extra care homes”. Disabled people are extremely concerned about Councils investing in large, specialist housing units as an alternative to funding support to live independently in the community. This represents a return to segregation.  Southampton Council consulted on proposals to cap community care support packages at the same time as investing £12 million in a “super care home”, with accommodation for up to 95 disabled people[44]. A review by Lambeth Healthwatch of local extra care housing facilities found that many residents seemed lonely and isolated[45].

The Response gives examples of how the Government is addressing barriers in the built environment. Part M regulations for accessible and adaptable dwellings referred to in paragraph 27 are a dilution of the ‘Lifetimes Homes’ standard[46]. The Government has also rejected recommendations and legislative amendments to enforce accessibility[47].

Initiatives to encourage accessibility and inclusion are welcome but without support to participate in the community Disabled people are unable to benefit from them. Considerable resources have been invested in engaging more Disabled people in sport since the 2012 London Paralympics and yet research shows that participation continues to decrease[48]. The latest figures published by Sport England in December show that 20,900 fewer Disabled people now play sport once a week, than 12 months ago[49]. We look forward to the Government’s promised formal report to Parliament setting out progress in implementing Sport England’s ‘Towards an Active Nation” strategy (paragraph 30).

Disabled people still face barriers to transport access[50] with funding for access too often de-prioritised. Research published in November 2015 found that nine out of ten wheelchair users had been refused a space on a bus[51]. In May 2016 Disabled People’s Organisations wrote to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin[52] calling on him to ignore a spending review recommendation from head of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy, that Access for All funding for 2014-19 should be cut from £102 million to £55 million, with the rest carried over to the next spending period, 2019-24[53].

2.3.4 Choice and control

According to the Government’s own figures, the proportion of Disabled people who said they frequently had choice and control over their lives fell from 76% in 2008 to 65% in 2015. This data was not collected for 2016[54]. Disabled people can only access their rights to choice and control under the Care Act 2014 if they have the knowledge, confidence and resources to challenge their Local Authority. Changes in Legal Aid have left many individuals unable to access the legal support required to do this[55]. We are aware of examples where Disabled people have been told by social workers that if they cannot manage with reductions to their support packages they will need to go into residential care[56]. The DWP Post ILF Closure review included one such example:

“one social worker said, you’ll have to sell the house and move into a nursing home. Well, [the former recipient] is only young, she doesn’t want to be in a nursing home”[57].

Social care professionals and Disabled people are united in the view that personal budgets are not delivering on the promise they were introduced with – flexibility, choice and control. The Disabled People’s Organisation Equal Lives made a formal complaint against Norfolk County Council to the Care Quality Commission for ‘disregarding’ its duties under the Care Act 2014. A local social worker wrote in support of the complaint saying:

“Our service users do not have the freedom to choose the care they want or need. The general feeling among frontline social workers at Norfolk County Council is this is just another move towards the dismantling of statutory services”[58].

2.3.5 Closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF)

Some of the statements in the Response referring to the situation following closure of the ILF are misleading. LAs are not “being fully funded” as the Response claims (paragraph 37). Under pressure from campaigners the Government extended funding to Local Authorities through a “Former ILF Recipient Grant” until 2020. The grant is tapering and does not represent the full costs of maintaining support packages at pre-ILF closure levels[59]. A Cabinet paper from Brent Council dated January 2017 says:

“The long term funding settlement for ILF is now clear with the Government reducing the ILF grant provided to Brent Council every year until it completely ceases in 2020”[60].

Despite repeated calls from Disabled People’s Organisations, the funding is not ring-fenced. Many Councils have chosen to reassess and make cuts[61]. Reports assessing the impact of the closure have documented the distress that this process has caused and the degrading outcomes that Disabled people are faced with as essential daily living support is removed[62].

The Response says that “LAs should not set arbitrary upper limits on expenditure to meet a person’s care needs”. LAs are increasingly introducing maximum expenditure policies[63], for example a ‘fair care policy’ approved by North Somerset council promises to review new applications for home care packages that exceed the cost of meeting the same eligible needs through a care home placement[64]. Recent research has revealed that many Clinical Commissioning Groups already have in place policies that would move Disabled people eligible for continuing NHS healthcare into institutions against their wishes, even if the cost of the homecare package was only slightly more expensive than residential care[65]. The Government has not taken action to stop this practice and the Department of Health has to date failed to respond to concerns[66].

The Response claims that the “Court of Appeal did not make any finding on the merits of the ILF’s closure”. The ILF legal challenge was brought under the Public Sector Equality Duty and concerned the consultation process and whether the Department for Work and Pensions had complied with its duty to pay “due regard” to the impact of the closure on Disabled people. The Court of Appeal ruling was not able to prevent the Government from retaking its decision to close the Fund but the judgement did comment on the retrogressive effects of the policy decision[67].  Justice Andrews, who dismissed the second application for judicial review, similarly referred in her judgement to “the inevitable and considerable adverse effect which the closure of the fund will have, particularly on those who, as a consequence, will lose the ability to live independently”[68].

2.3.6 Worsening situation

Access to social care support necessary to uphold Disabled people’s right to independent living is continuing to decrease since the introduction of the Care Act. The Care Act 2014 brought in national criteria which restricted eligibility to only critical or substantial needs and meant around 340,000 older and disabled people may be without support to do things as basic as getting up, getting washed, getting out of the house and managing bills. Research has shown that in the first year of the Care Act over half (55%) of England’s local authorities spent less overall on services for disabled people and carers than the year before to the tune of a £397 million[69].

Cuts to central government funding for Local Authorities have resulted in year on year cuts to social care provision. A survey of Councils 2015/16 found that that £228 million (28%) of reported “efficiencies” were met by reducing levels of care packages.[70] Research from the Home Care service sector shows the amount being paid by LAs is inadequate with 90% paying below the hourly minimum price set by the UK Home Care Association[71]. Increasingly care agencies are handing back contracts forcing Councils to find alternative arrangements for provision, supporting growing evidence that the sector is unsustainable[72].  Updated research shows 34 Councils still commissioning 15 minute visits.[73]

Since the introduction of the Care Act, some Councils have tightened up their charging policies[74] to remove 100% of what they deem to be disposable income to pay towards care costs. Research found that more than 27% of respondents reported an increase or significant increase in the amount of money they have to contribute towards the cost of their support[75], for example in Newcastle a woman on ESA and DLA was paying £150 per month towards her social care support but changes to charging policies mean she is now paying £400 per month. Of the few Councils who currently do not charge, Tower Hamlets will start to from April 2017.[76]

A number of surveys and reports have evidenced the extent of social care cuts and the negative impacts on Disabled people’s independent living.[77] The number of hospital beds in England taken up by patients being treated for malnutrition has almost trebled over the last 10 years, with official figures revealing that people with malnutrition accounted for 184,528 hospital bed days in 2015, a huge rise on 65,048 in 2006-07[78]. In February 2016 public health experts warned about the dramatic jump in the number of deaths per year[79]. Social care cuts including the ending of Meals on Wheels provision[80] in many Councils have been blamed. Research published in February 2017 explores why there has been a substantial increase in mortality in England and Wales in 2015 and concludes that failures in the health and social care system linked to disinvestment are likely to be the main cause[81]. There were 30,000 excess deaths in 2015, representing the largest increase in deaths in the post-war period. Understaffing in care homes have also been linked to record numbers of applications under Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards[82].

Government proposals to end grants to Local Authorities by the end of this Parliament, instead allowing them to keep 100% of the business rates collected, will exacerbate the funding crisis and worsen the situation still further[83].

2.4 Article 27 – Work and Employment

2.4.1 Dominance of work focus

The Response emphasises the importance of work and employment to the Government’s approach to disability. The “championing” of work “underpins the Government’s programme of welfare reforms” (paragraph 5).

We agree that a focus on moving Disabled people off benefits and into employment is central to the Government’s legislative and policy changes. We disagree that this amounts to upholding Disabled people’s rights under Article 27. Article 27 stresses: “the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible”.

The Government’s approach to welfare reform continues to be based upon the academically discredited Waddell and Aylward BPS model discussed above[84]. Improving Lives, the recently published Work, Health and Disability Green Paper repeatedly cites the same paper by Waddell and Burton (Is Work Good for Your Health and Wellbeing? 2006), a paper commissioned by the DWP, to justify proposals that threaten to widen the harmful impacts of the sanctioning regime. The government has not produced any other evidence to substantiate its policy stance.[85] The sweeping statement that “work is good for you” is also not supported by the findings in that report.[86]

The use of punitive and coercive measures to dis-incentivise benefit claims impacts adversely on Disabled people’s rights in other areas such as rights to standard of living and social protection and independent living. There is a vast body of evidence concerning the removal of financial and social care support from Disabled people that does not support the Government’s claim that it aspires to ensure “that people who cannot work because of a disability or health condition receive the support they need” (paragraph 5). The Response fails to acknowledge the seriousness of these impacts and their retrogressive nature.

Meanwhile, Government disability employment support initiatives are inadequate to address workplace disability discrimination and exclusion of Disabled people from the labour market. Despite funding of £5 billion for the Work Programme and the DWP’s much vaunted Disability Confident initiative launched in 2013 the disability employment gap has remained fairly static, decreasing by just 1.3 percentage points in the four years since 2013[87].

There is also a failure by Government to acknowledge the negative effects of unsuitable employment. Figures from Work related Stress, Anxiety and Depression Statistics in Great Britain 2016 show a rise in prevalence up from last year with the highest number of days taken off since 2008-9[88]. In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health. These figures must be understood within a context of rising insecurity in employment where increasing numbers of workers on zero-hours contracts have no entitlement to sick pay. In September 2016 figures from the Office for National Statistics showed a 21% increase with 903,000 people reporting that their main job did not guarantee a minimum number of hours between April and June 2016, up from 747,000 for the same period the previous year. This means that 2.9% of people in employment are on such contracts, compared with 2.4% last year[89].

There is evidence that the dominance of a work focus underpinned by the Waddell and Aylward BPS model is undermining the ethics and efficacy of treatment and therapeutic services[90]. As we have seen above, rates of mental health detentions are dramatically rising alongside a rise in the suicide rate.

2.4.2 Update since UN inquiry

2.4.2.1 Change to ESA Regulation 29 and 35 guidance

Guidance intended to protect Disabled benefit claimants from health risks was changed with the result that much fewer Disabled people have been found eligible for the highest rate of ESA since January 2016.

The latest Litchfield review[91] highlighted that a higher number of claimants than expected were placed in the SG. In response, the DWP changed the guidance related to Regulations 29 and 35 in January 2016[92]. This change in interpretation has led to the highest level of people being refused disability benefits for three years. Between December 2015 and June 2016 the number of ESA applicants placed in the SG fell from 56% to 33%, numbers placed in the WRAG increased from 8% to 18% and numbers found fit for work increased from 36 to 48%[93]. Until now, the DWP has refused to say how many claimants were affected by this change.[94]

2.4.2.2 Lack of improvement in the WCA

There is no evidence of significant improvement of the WCA since the UN inquiry findings.

An NAO report in January 2016 highlighted that only 13% of PIP and ESA assessment reports reached a satisfactory standard[95]. Recent DWP statistics show the majority of FFW appeals are successful (58%)[96], another indication that the assessment and decision-making process is faulty.  Disabled people have mentioned many times that decision makers ignore medical reports as well as their own accounts and that this evidence is given proper attention only at appeal stage.

The Public Accounts Select Committee’s report highlighted that assessors have “an incomplete understanding of particular conditions, especially fluctuating and mental health conditions” and recommended the DWP ensures it has “well-trained, knowledgeable assessors sensitive to the complex issues that claimants are dealing with, particularly those with mental health conditions.” [97] In May 2016 the Government accepted the Committee’s recommendation to make significant progress with a target date of spring 2017.[98]  To date there is no evidence indicating improvement.

An increasing number of people are disagreeing with the assessment decision as demonstrated by a continuing rise in the numbers of Mandatory Reconsiderations. 16,600 MRs were registered in October 2016 compared to 13,200 for a year earlier in October 2015.[99]  As 69% of these MRs concerned FFW decisions[100] a fall in the number of MRs from the previous year would be expected if the quality of assessment had improved.

We have observed a downward trend in the in the number of revised MR ESA decisions: in October 2016, 89% (14,900) of MRs left the decision unrevised compared with 1,800 decisions revised.  Only 4% of the 13,200 MR decisions made on disputes about Fit for Work (FFW) were revised.[101]

Considering the low percentage of revised MR decisions, it is of concern that the number of Disabled people going to appeal has dropped dramatically in recent years: in 2009/10 more than 25,000 Disabled people were appealing each year, while less than 5,000 each year from 2013 – 2015 appealed. The DWP said “fewer appeals were expected” after the MR system was introduced[102] in April 2013.  This indicates that Disabled people’s access to justice has been deliberately and successfully blocked.

We are concerned that the emotional toll of going through an appeal may be too much after the MR process, so many Disabled people no longer appeal.

These concerns are mirrored in the United Kingdom Administrative Justice Institute (UKAJI) evidence to the SSAC[103]committee, which raised concerns, “that claimants with strong cases may in practice be deterred from appealing and that vulnerable users have experienced difficulties in navigating the process.”

Some people ‘have reportedly been unable to cope with reconsideration telephone calls.’[104] Evidence from Disabled people in January 2016 raised difficulties with MR phone calls including no advance warning of when the MR call will take place. This is particularly difficult for people with mental health support needs, who do not always answer phone calls from unrecognised numbers.

The Response states that “an eight month minimum period between a successful appeal and a subsequent re-assessment” has been introduced (paragraph 62). Given the emotional toll and the lack of support needed to go through the WCA process, this minimum period should be extended further.

The Government announcement in October 2016 that it would exempt some ESA claimants with the ‘most severe’ impairments or health conditions from future reassessments. [105] It is still unclear to which ‘severe’ conditions/impairments this will apply.

2.4.2.3 Sanctions

The sanctions regime continues to have negative impacts on Disabled people[106].

The total number of ESA sanctions from December 2012 to June 2016 was 82,369.[107] The monthly figures for ESA sanctions peaked at 3,695 in March 2014 then gradually dropped to a low of 900 in January 2016, but by June 2016 the number had risen to 1,749, nearly double the January figure.[108]

From October 2012 to June 2016, 24.7% of JSA recipients sanctioned were Disabled people.[109]

Evidence collated by Inclusion London in Nov/Dec 2016[110] shows clearly that sanctions leave Disabled people struggling to pay for food, fuel and rent as well as having a destructive impact on mental and physical health. People with mental health support needs or learning difficulties are particularly affected.  Sanctions drive disabled people further away from employment and are not an incentive.

The evidence shows how Disabled people are being asked to do tasks for the “claimant commitment” [111] which their impairments prevent them from doing, for example a person with learning difficulties was unable to fill in various forms and was sanctioned as a result. The necessary reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010[112]  are not being made.

The Government does not record the number of sanctions by impairment, we believe that this data should be collected and published.  Information obtained through FOI[113] requests shows that people with ‘Mental and Behavioural Disorders’ in receipt of ESA have been consistently disproportionally sanctioned compared to people with other impairments since 2010.[114]   Various organisations have voiced concern about both the number and impact of sanctions.[115]  In November 2016 the British Psychological Society and four other organisations signed a statement, expressing their concern that ‘the sanctions process is undermining mental health and wellbeing – there is no clear evidence of pay-off in terms of increased employment……’[116]

Of the 49 peer reviews into deaths linked to benefit cuts published by the DWP, 1 in 5 was associated with a sanction.[117]

A NAO report found that:

“sanctions for disabled people claiming ESA were not effective as they ‘reduced claimants time in work’ and ‘may have discouraged some claimants from working’[118]  also there was limited evidence regarding the effectiveness of Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) sanctions”.[119]

On the strength of the evidence pertaining to the negative effects of sanctions, the NAO recommended that Disabled people are exempt.

In February 2017, the Committee of Public Accounts published a report stating that unexplained variations in the use of benefit sanctions are unacceptable and must be addressed. In the report, the Committee urges the Department for Work & Pensions to review the use of sanctions, which it finds “have increased in severity in recent years and can have serious consequences”.  It concludes the Department has poor data with which to evaluate what works and is unable to estimate the wider impact of sanctions – including their overall cost or benefit to the public purse. The Committee highlights the inconsistent imposition of sanctions by different jobcentres and providers, with some Work Programme providers referring twice as many people for sanctions as other providers in the same area. It is also concerned that the Department does not know whether vulnerable claimants, some of whom can be excused from having to meet benefit conditions, receive the protection to which they are entitled[120].

2.4.2.4 Deaths linked to benefit cuts

Since the UN inquiry was conducted, further evidence has come to light concerning the connection between benefit changes and deaths and of the Government’s failure to act on it.

In February 2016, it was discovered that ministers had ignored warnings from a coroner contained in a letter sent on 30 March 2010 concerning serious flaws in how the WCA was used to test the eligibility of people with mental health conditions for out-of-work disability benefits. The WCA was rolled out to hundreds of thousands of claimants in the summer of 2010 and the opportunity to prevent further similar suicides was missed[121]. Ministers also failed to show the Rule 43 letter from coroner Tom Osborne to Professor Malcolm Harrington, even though they had commissioned him to review the “fairness and effectiveness” of the WCA.

In May 2016, after 21 months of campaigning by Disability News Service, ministers were finally forced to publish 49 “peer reviews”, internal reports written by civil servants after investigations into suicides and other deaths linked to benefit claims[122]. The documents have been heavily redacted but most of the un-redacted information relates to recommendations for improvements. This shows that ministers were repeatedly warned by their own civil servants that their policies to assess people for out-of-work disability benefits were putting the lives of “vulnerable” claimants at risk.

The Response fails to comment on why ministers ignored these recommendations but does say they “represent a very small proportion of deaths of benefit recipients”. The fact that only a very few circumstances led to peer reviews does not excuse the imposition of retrogressive policy measures in the face of clear evidence of their adverse impacts.

In November 2015, a study published by researchers in Liverpool and Oxford universities associated the WCA reassessment process for IB claimants with an extra 590 suicides, 279,000 additional cases of self-reported mental health problems, and the prescribing of a further 725,000 anti-depressants across England as a whole.[123]

The Government continues to claim that there is no “causal link” between welfare reform policy and deaths of benefit claimants. Meanwhile, cases of individual deaths linked to benefit cuts continue to occur.[124]

2.4.3 Improving Lives: the work, health and disability green paper

The Response cites the green paper as an example of progress. We would argue that instead the green paper represents a threat of further retrogression alongside a failure to address ongoing barriers to employment for Deaf and Disabled people.[125]

The green paper states that the original intention was that only 10% of WCA applicants would go through the WCA to the Support Group. It has been proved that this is a misinterpretation of data and that the 10% related in fact to the percentage it was assumed would go straight through to the Support Group[126]. The Government therefore continues to set policy determining the lives of millions of Disabled people on a serious misreading of the DWP’s own figures.

An opportunity has been missed to move away from the BPS model, which as a basis for benefit cuts has been described by leading academics as ‘cavalier, un-evidenced and misleading’. Key to the BPS model is the idea that “it is the negative attitudes of many ESA recipients that prevent them from working, rather than their impairment or health condition”, essentially branding many benefit claimants “scroungers”.[127]

The following are particular concerns regarding the green paper proposals:

  • Extending conditionality through requiring Disabled people in the Support Group to undertake work focused interviews and be subject to Claimant Commitments.
  • Extending co-location of work coaches in health and treatment settings which could discourage claimants from accessing treatment and undermine the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.
  • Lack of involvement of social care. Given the current crisis in social care with increasingly inadequate support provision it is unclear how Disabled people in the Support Group will be able to action any Claimant Commitment tasks[128].
  • The dominance of IAPT as a therapeutic model tied to targets to move claimants off benefits. This is within the context of severe cuts to mental health support services for people with complex needs.

The green paper meanwhile offers nothing new or innovative in terms of measures to move closer to its ambition of halving the disability employment gap. The funding attached to the proposals is one fifth of the funding that the Work Programme had. The companies who will be involved in delivering the new Health and Work Programme are largely the same. The many failings of the Work Programme were considered by the original inquiry.

The green paper fails to address the substantive employment barriers faced by Deaf and Disabled people including the following:

  • ESA WRAG cut (see next section).
  • Fundamental failings of the assessment processes for both ESA and PIP.
  • Growth of insecure employment[129] with reduced employment rights and protections and increased barriers to seeking redress through imposition of tribunal fees.
  • Problems with Access to Work.

2.4.4 Access to Work (AtW)

At its best, AtW has been proven to enable Deaf and Disabled people to fulfil the “high hopes and expectations” referred to in the green paper. Sadly, changes to AtW over the past few years have reduced its effectiveness while undermining employment opportunities for Deaf and Disabled people.

A forthcoming report from Inclusion London evidences the positive impacts of support through AtW:

“I can hold down a job. It’s changed my life. Simple as”.

“Access to Work is good because I would not be able to have a paid job without the scheme.”

Despite an announcement in the November 2015 Autumn Statement of a real terms increase in funding for AtW, the strategic direction of travel for AtW has consistently been to reduce the value of individual packages. This is an enormous shame given the potential of the scheme to transform lives. In terms of wider economic benefits, AtW has been proven to produce a surplus on investment for the Treasury before taking into account savings to health and social care.

Deaf and Disabled people report that the approach of AtW has changed over the past few years to a focus on reducing support regardless of negative impacts on the customer’s employment accompanies by hostility from advisors including accusations of for example “Deaf fraud” and being “a burden on the taxpayer”.

Rule changes such as the introduction of the cap discriminate against Deaf and Disabled people with high support needs and limit career progression, literally placing a cap on the ambitions and aspirations of Deaf and Disabled people to, in the words of the green paper “go as far as their talents can take them.”

Meanwhile, everyday administrative and financial problems are creating considerable barriers for customers. A 2017 online survey received 280 responses:

  • 7% of respondents had experienced payment problems over the past 12 months
  • 3% were not satisfied with how quickly the problems were resolved
  • 5% experienced difficulties in contacting Access to Work
  • Respondents encountered problems contacting Access to Work 68% of the time[130].

 

Individuals have lost jobs, sometimes after many years of building up a successful career, as a result of rule changes such as imposing non-communication days on BSL users. Many individuals, including Deaf and Disabled people as well as BSL interpreters and Personal Assistants employed through AtW funding, have been financially harmed due to administrative changes and errors.

 

2.5 Article 28 – Adequate standard of living and social protection

2.5.1 Government spend

The Response refers to the amount the UK Government claims to spend on support and benefits for Disabled people, which it says is £6.5bn more than in 2010. As outlined above, the £50bn figure quoted covers much more than just out-of-work benefits for Disabled people. It is also not surprising to find an increase in spending in cash terms. The important figure indicative of how the Government is treating Disabled people is what we spend as a share of our national wealth. A recent report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows that, in fact, that figure has halved. [131] [132]

The report says that spending on disability benefits 2014/15 was 0.8% of national income, and says, “this is half the level of disability benefit spending when it was at its peak in 1995/96.”

The report makes another point which disproves the rhetoric about large numbers of scroungers and malingerers who could work, but prefer to claim disability benefits. Whilst the overall number of individuals receiving disability benefits has fallen only slightly since the mid-1990s,

“this is in the presence of underlying demographic change that would have tended to push up the numbers receiving considerably – both overall population growth and the baby boomer generation reaching older working ages. The proportion of older men receiving disability benefits has actually fallen sharply since the mid-1990s… Disability benefit receipt among men increases much less steeply with age than it used to.”

The UK has therefore become less generous and less supportive.

2.5.2 Poverty

2.5.2.1 Increasing poverty among Disabled people

We disagree with the claim in the response that “The Government takes its duty to reduce poverty seriously”. Evidence points to the contrary.

 

Poverty is worsening for Disabled people. In 2013/14 this increased the poverty rate among people in families with a disabled person by four percentage points, to 31%  [133] A detailed report commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and published in August 2016 found that once account is taken of the higher costs faced by those who are disabled, half of people living in poverty are either themselves disabled or are living with a disabled person in their household[134].

Answers to Parliamentary Questions before Christmas revealed that the Child Poverty Unit set up in 1999 has been subsumed into the DWP after seeing its staffing halved in three years. This is after the IFS projected a 50% increase in relative child poverty by 2020.[135] The rate of material deprivation amongst children living  with at least one disabled adult is twice as high as those living without disabled adults[136] while the average income of families with disabled children is 23.5% below the UK mean.[137]

2.5.2.2 Insufficient protections for “vulnerable” people

The Response claims that, “All welfare reforms protect the vulnerable groups least able to increase their earnings, including people needing additional support as a result of disability. These include provisions such as the exemptions to the benefit cap and benefit freeze discussed…”

This is inaccurate. ESA WRAG, JSA, housing benefit, and Universal Credit which are all claimed by Disabled people are not exempt from the benefit cap or benefits freeze.

A lower household benefits cap reduced in November 2016 to £23,000 for households in London and £20,000 for those outside the capital city. Claimants entitled to DLA/PIP, ESA in the Support Group are exempt but that leaves many disabled people still potentially affected. Specifically, this includes those in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA who do not receive either highest rates of DLA or PIP, and those who view themselves as disabled but are found fit for work. Analysis by the DWP suggests that 3,100 households with someone claiming ESA were already affected by the benefits cap, and they and others are now affected by its further reduction.

A Parliamentary Research Briefing[138] quotes the Equality Impact Assessment undertaken in 2012 which says:

“Of the households who lose from this policy, based on internal modelling, we expect roughly half will contain somebody who is classed as disabled under the Equality Act.”

These people are the least likely to move into work to escape the benefit cap and to offset the shortfall in income by moving into work or cutting their expenditure.

The risk of eviction was also recognised in the initial Impact Assessment:

“The cap is likely to affect where different family types will be able to live. Housing Benefit may no longer cover housing costs and some households may go into rent arrears. This will require expense and effort by landlords and the courts to evict and seek to recoup rent arrears. Some households are likely to present as homeless, and may as a result need to move into more expensive temporary accommodation, at a cost to the local authority. It is not possible to quantify these costs because they are based on behavioural changes which are difficult to assess robustly”.

No data is collected relating to disabled people but overall five  families in the UK are made homeless every hour. The number of families accepted as homeless increased by 32% in the last year.[139]

2.5.2.3 Foodbanks

The Government does not collect statistics on the number of, or use of, foodbanks[140] [141] and has always denied any link between benefit sanctions and food bank usage. It placed DWP work coaches in foodbanks without publishing any feedback on this initiative.[142]

Figures collected by the Trussell Trust, the largest UK foodbank provider, has shown the use of foodbanks expanding rapidly over the past decade.[143] Three-day emergency food parcels distributed in the six months to September 2016 were up by 13,000 compared to the same period the year before. The most common primary reasons for referral to Trussell Trust foodbanks during this period were benefit delays (27% of referrals); low income (25% of referrals); and benefit changes (16% of referrals).

A study by the University of Oxford, October 2016 established a strong link between sanctions and referrals to foodbanks.[144]

Lack of monitoring makes it impossible to know the number of disabled people using foodbanks, but if benefit delays and sanctions are such a big driver of foodbank usage, considering the number of sanctioned ESA and JSA claimants (of whom 25% are self-declared Disabled and particularly vulnerable to sanctions), Disabled people are likely to be regular foodbank users.

2.5.2.4 New measures threatening further impoverishment

There is wide consensus that a number of planned welfare reform measures will further increase poverty. To date the Government has failed to produce any convincing proposals for how it will mitigate adverse impacts.

Universal Credit

Disabled people and their families will be worse off through cuts to the child disability additions and to the Severe Disability Premium. This includes:

  • up to 230,000 severely disabled people who do not have another adult to assist them;
  • 100,000 disabled children and their families;
  • 116,000 disabled people who work.

Despite the intention of Universal Credit to make work pay, evidence shows that the changes could make it harder for disabled people to remain in work[145].

2.5.2.5 ESA WRAG

The UK Government proposed in its Summer budget 2015 [146] to align Employment Support Allowance (ESA) rates for those in the Work Related Activity group (WRAG) with Jobseeker Allowance (JSA)[147] for new claims from April 2017, describing the extra money claimants in the WRAG received as a ‘perverse incentive’, while providing ‘new funding for additional support to help claimants return to work’.

This cut represents around 1/3 of the income of people in the WRAG. The Government said that no existing claimants will be affected, and there will be transitional arrangements for claimants in the WRAG when they transfer to Universal Credit. These have not been legislated, and will be left to the discretion of the Secretary of State. Existing claimants who move off ESA into employment but then find their job does not work out and they need to re-apply for ESA will go back on at the reduced rate.

This proposal was forced through by government in spite of much opposition including two rebellions in the House of Lords and opposition from Conservative backbench MPs.[148]

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has stated its concerns that the proposed reduction will “cause unnecessary hardship and anxiety to people who have been independently assessed and found unfit for work”[149].

The main arguments against this proposal are:

  • On average, claimants claim JSA for six months, while more than half of ESA WRAG recipients are on welfare support for more than two years[150]. Such long time periods are linked to higher associated costs of illness and disability.
  • ​The rate of the new benefit does not factor in the costs of disability. Half the claimants in the WRAG don’t claim Personal Independence Payments[151] and therefore have no other income.
  • The decision is not evidence-based – there are no studies or evidence of the effect of different disability benefits levels on the likelihood to enter work, in the UK or internationally.[152]
  • Research has shown that the cut will move Disabled people further from the Labour market.[153]

One-third of Disabled people with progressive illnesses have been placed in the WRAG since 2008[154].  Most were subsequently moved onto the Support Group but without any descriptor changes to the WCA, it is likely that Disabled people with serious, progressive and expensive conditions will continue to be placed in the WRAG with even less money to survive on than now.

ESA claimants in the WRAG are subject to the benefit cap, which limits the total amount of benefits claimants receive, while claimants in the SG are exempt. The latest figures in August 2016 show that 14% of capped households were claiming ESA meaning these claimants were in the WRAG[155].

50% of people in WRAG are not able to claim PIP to meet the additional needs of being disabled.

The Government’s rationale for cutting ESA was to incentivise claimants ‘languishing’ on ESA to look for work while offering them more employment support. The ESA cut is worth 1,365m over four years[156], while the money made available for employment support is just a fraction of this figure[157].

The Minister for Disabled People has claimed that the full value of the money saved by the cut will be placed into employment support but there has been no further information on how this will be achieved. As our response to the green paper highlights[158], we have extensive concerns about the Government’s current proposals for disability employment support and do not expect these to succeed in mitigating the negative impacts of the WSA WRAG cut on Disabled people and their families.

The Minister has also talked about work she is undertaking with businesses to reduce the living costs faced by people in the WRAG including household bills. There is no evidence that any of this is being targeted at costs that will mitigate the impacts of the cut. It represents an attempted shift of responsibility from state support to charitable measures.

2.5.3 Personal Independent Payment (PIP)

2.5.3.1 Savings driven

The Response claims that PIP was introduced to “address fundamental flaws in DLA” and “provide support for people with the greatest barriers to independent living” (paragraph 77). From 2010, the Government has consistently made clear the key aim for PIP is to make savings and reduce the working age caseload for disability benefits[159].

The first statistics to be published in January 2017 on the PIP outcomes for the 361,000 reassessed DLA claimants show that 48% received a lower award or were disqualified[160]. Of those who received a lower award, over 35% had been awarded the enhanced mobility rate under DLA, and of those who have been disallowed after assessment, almost 11% were also receiving the enhanced mobility rate. This explains the high number of claimants losing their mobility car.

The high success rate of PIP appeals suggests flawed assessment and decision-making processes at considerable extra cost to the taxpayer meanwhile causing distress and anxiety to the individuals affected. Figures from the Tribunal Service for the last quarter of 2015 – 16 show a success rate for PIP appeals of 63%[161].

2.5.3.2 PIP Mandatory reconsiderations (MR)

The introduction of the MR process discourages claimants from appealing while essentially just rubberstamping the initial PIP decision.  DWP figures show that of 467,900 registered MRs, only 16% led to a change in award[162]. The view commonly expressed by benefit advisers is that further evidence is not properly considered at the MR stage.

As we have seen above, of those going on to appeal, nearly two thirds successfully over-turned the original decision. In 2015/16 only 49,742 claimants appealed[163]. A Social Security Advisory Committee study in July 2016 found : “The introduction of the [MR] policy has coincided with a dramatic reduction in the number of appeals going to tribunal across the benefit system.  Although there may be a number of factors driving this, concern has been raised by stakeholders that the new process is not always working as well as it should and that it may cause claimants, particularly those who are vulnerable, not to appeal even when they appear to have a strong case”. [164]

2.5.3.3 The PIP process

Delays in the processing of PIP claims became so bad that in June 2015, a judge found that the cases before her were “not only unacceptable” but unlawful[165].

Since then, the clearance time has improved, but a report by the Public Accounts Committee in March 2016[166], whose remit was to assess whether taxpayers were getting value for money and claimants an acceptable service with disability assessment contractors, highlighted the following points:

  • Unacceptable local and regional variations in the performance of the Department’s contractors.
  • Reported delays and problems with the assessment process which still creates anxiety for claimants.
  • Claimants still not receiving an acceptable level of service from contractors, with particular concerns for claimants with fluctuating and mental health conditions.
  • Claimants faced with unreasonable journey times of up to 60 to 70 miles; appointments being over-booked; delays and problems with the process creating anxiety, stress and undue financial hardship.
  • Too many assessments fail the standard required

2.5.3.4 Loss of Motability cars

The Government’s decision, despite widespread opposition, to tighten a key eligibility criterion for enhanced mobility rate from being able to walk less than 50 metres under DLA to 20 metres under PIP has led to the ineligibility of people previously entitled to independent living support through the Motability scheme.

Motability reported disabled people are being forced to hand back their Motability vehicles at a rate of up to 700 a week and expected 35,000 vehicles to be handed back during 2016 as a direct result of the reassessment of DLA claimants for PIP[167].

Figures show that, of Motability customers reassessed for PIP so far, 44% of them have lost their entitlement to the scheme and have had to hand their vehicle back[168]. This adds considerably to the barriers those Disabled people face to independent living and especially for those in rural areas with even poorer access to regular, accessible transport.

The situation is compounded as PIP claimants have to hand their vehicles back if they lose their eligibility even if they decide to appeal against that decision. This means that even if they win their appeal, they have already long since lost their cars. In a Parliamentary debate before Christmas, the Minister for Disabled People claimed she was “discussing with relevant departments ways to enable PIP claimants to keep their vehicle pending appeal”[169], but we have to date heard nothing further.

For claimants who lose their cars there is a £2,000 transitional grant available but this is completely inadequate to cover the cost of a vehicle, adaptations needed, insurance and running costs.

2.5.3.5 Loss of passported benefits

One feature of PIP is it entitles claimants to extra money on top of existing benefits, a reduction in council tax or road tax bills and discounts on travel. Claimants may get a top-up (called a premium) on the following benefits if they are entitled to PIP:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance – but only if you get the PIP daily living component
  • Pension Credit – but only if you get the PIP daily living component
  • Carer’s Allowance

There has been no monitoring of the added financial loss for DLA claimants found ineligible for PIP.  In the first PIP review, passported benefits are only mentioned in terms of knock-on effects of delays in getting the benefit[170], but insufficient attention has been given to this issue with no collection of relevant statistics or figures to evaluate numbers affected.

2.5.3.6 New announcement

The DWP just announced changes to PIP regulations, using emergency legislation and an exemption to bypass scrutiny by the Social Security Advisory Committee. This will deny  PIP to at least 160,000 claimants, after a three-judge Upper Tribunal clarified which claimants with mental health conditions were entitled to PIP under the descriptor “Following a journey”.[171]

In fact, the Upper Tribunal just confirmed what had always been understood during the consultation and after the descriptors were agreed. [172]

 

 

 

Conclusion

We agree with the Committee’s conclusion that “the threshold of grave or systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities has been met” (paragraph 113). We disagree with the UK Government’s suggestion that progress in areas not included in the Report cancel out adverse impacts under the three Articles on which the Committee inquiry was focused and that sufficient mitigations have been put in place. As the Response clearly shows there is no evidence to back up these claims. There is by contrast a considerable weight of robust evidence demonstrating retrogression.

The Response expresses the Government’s belief that “though welfare provides necessary social protection, it is not the only way to help disabled people live independent, inclusive lives” (paragraph 81). Social protection and an adequate standard of living are indeed just one of the 33 Articles of the Convention, however, people are unable to meet their most basic human needs if left with no income and no means to obtain one. Serious breaches under Articles 19 and 28 combined with insufficient support and protections under Article 27 therefore have the potential to cause fast and dramatic retrogression. This has been the experience of Disabled people in the UK since 2010.

We follow the UK Independent Mechanism (UKIM) in urging the UK and devolved governments to enhance the status of the CRPD in domestic law, including a domestic mechanism for scrutiny of policy and legislation to ensure compliance with the CRPD.[173]

We agree with the eleven recommendations of the Committee. Appendix F sets out the minimum measures that the UK Government should now implement in order to comply with the Committee findings.

 

Appendix A

There is substantial evidence of retrogression in each of the areas cited in paragraph 7 of the UK Government Response as “significant measures” reflecting “wider improvements to better implement disabled people’s rights”:

  • “personal budgets to increase choice and control of care and living arrangements”

Decreasing choice and control is linked to cuts and restrictions to personal budgets resulting from social care budget shortfalls. A third of respondents (33%) to the Independent Living Survey run by In Control in 2016 said that the level of choice and control they enjoyed over their support had reduced or reduced significantly[174].

Information recently obtained from a whistle-blower has demonstrated how in one local authority area, Disabled people in receipt of personal budgets were targeted for cuts to their support packages[175].

Many disabled people who have used personal assistance to live independently in the community for years are reporting increasing difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff. Two important changes have happened since April 2016 with Disabled employers of PAs now being responsible for the provision of pensions for some coupled with a rise in the minimum wage payable. There will be a further increase in the minimum wage from April 2017. In many cases the rates paid to Disabled people by LAs has not risen to help cover these extra, for example, DP rates in Sunderland have not increased since 2008.

Current ongoing research by DPAC shows that direct service provision is still more prevalent than Disabled people being given a Direct Payment, for example in West Sussex, 8,446 people have a social care package but only 1717 get a DP.[176]

Other research shows 21.5% of adults with learning disabilities aged 18-64 are in residential or nursing care rising to 42.1% for over 65s[177].

 

  • “improvements to the accessibility of housing and transport”

Government says Disabled people have priority for social housing but the last available figures showed a total of 1.9 million families waiting for public housing. Between 2010-15 the number of Disabled people on waiting lists increased 17%.[178] Islington had 19,196 people on waiting list (no breakdown for disability) but only 268 accessible properties in total and only 68 accessible one bed properties. (total number of properties and not the number of properties available). An LSE report from 2016 also found that 1.8 million disabled people have an unmet housing need – 580,000 of whom are of working age.[179] Muscular Dystrophy UK’s “Breaking Point” report revealed that 70% of the homes offered to people waiting for accessible housing by their Council were actually unsuitable for their needs[180].

Staffing cuts on transport networks are reducing access for Disabled passengers. Transport for All reported a 118% increase in lifts out of service on the London Underground in October 2016 due to shortage of staff compared to 2015[181]. The growing practice of introducing Driver Only Operated trains on the rail network has implications for customers needing assistance to travel[182].

  • “the wide range of work-related support available to disabled people”

Funding available for disability employment support through the Work and Health Programme will be just one-fifth of that given to the Work Programme, despite IPPR North saying that even the Work Programme’s budget was insufficient. The failings of the Work Programme in supporting Disabled people into work are well-documented[183].

 

  • “financial protections, such as tax and pension credits and the exemption of disability-related benefits from the benefit cap and benefits freeze”

ESA WRAG, JSA, housing benefit, and Universal Credit which are all claimed by Disabled people are not exempt from the benefit cap or benefits freeze.

 

 

Appendix B


Appendix C

Examples of mitigating measures cited in the UK Government Response that were the result of public pressure campaigns following initial dismissal of our concerns include:

  • Paragraph 32 of the Response refers to inclusion of CRPD Article 19 in the Care Act 2014 statutory guidance. An amendment proposing to put Article 19 onto the Care Act statute itself was voted down by the Government at Committee stage during passage of the bill[184].

 

  • Paragraph 34 of the Response says “An additional bedroom is also allowed for disabled children who cannot share with siblings and non-resident overnight carers, protecting vulnerable people who might otherwise be disproportionately affected.” This exemption was only introduced following a legal challenge. In November 2016 the Supreme Court ruled that ministers’ decision to apply the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy to families who need an additional bedroom for a disabled child who requires overnight care was unlawful discrimination[185]. Disabled children who cannot share with siblings were not initially exempt but pressure mounted on the Government after misleading statements from Prime Minister David Cameron were made in Parliament claiming that the RSRS did not apply to families with severely disabled children when there was at that time no exemption in the regulations[186].

 

  • Paragraph 36 of the Response states that “Supported housing is exempt from the application of the local housing allowance rates in the social rented sector until 2019/20, when a new funding model will be introduced.” Under the Government’s initial proposals there was widespread concern that the LHA cap would trigger bed closures and trigger a massive increase in rough sleeping. In September 2016 the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions issued a statement saying that after “extensive input” the Government was deferring the imposition of the LHA cap on supported housing until 2019/20, after which a new system would keep funding at current levels. The decision was also made to go ahead with the 1% annual reduction in social housing rent which will cause hardship[187].

 

 

Appendix D

Building the Right Support (October 2015)

This initiative sets the national ambition to close 35-50% of inpatient capacity for people with a learning disability in three years, building community capacity instead and reducing inappropriate hospital admissions. It is a response to frustration at a lack of action following a number of high profile cases involving abuse and deaths due to neglect in inpatient facilities[188] and the Government’s failure to meet its own target that by 1 June 2014 anyone with a learning difficulty and challenging behaviour who would be better off supported in the community, should be moved out of hospital. A National Audit Office (NAO) report published in February 2015 found that in the nine months to June 2014, there were 300 more admissions to hospital than there were discharges[189].

According to the 2015 Learning Disability Census[190] there were 3,000 people held in Assessment and Treatment Units.

  • 43% in Units more than 50km from their homes.
  • 72% were being prescribed antipsychotic medication as a means of containing them.
  • 30% had been in ATUs for more than 5 years.
  • The average cost of being kept in an ATU is £3500 per week.

 

Building the Right Support has been criticised for very little focus on changing policy and practice around children and young people – which is where services start getting things wrong[191]. Many of those people held in ATUs are under inappropriate sections because local authorities and CCG commissioners cannot agree funding for appropriate housing and support. Unless local authorities receive the necessary funds to meet the costs of supporting people well in the community, including those funded through specialised commissioning, the current pressures on the social care system will mean people with complex needs will not leave hospital and yet again the target will be missed.

No Voice Unheard, No Right Ignored

This was a consultation which ran from March – May 2015 to explore options on issues such as how people with learning disabilities, autism or mental health needs can be supported to live independently, as part of a community. The consultation response published by the Government in November 2015 made a number of proposals intended to see everyone being treated with dignity and respect by health and care services, and all enjoying the same rights[192].

A number of these proposals focus on implementation of the Care Act 2014 and sufficiency of supply of community-based services and are therefore unlikely to be successful due to the crisis in social care.  It also made proposals to improve the situation of people being detained under the Mental Health Act being kept in police custody.

Recent figures and reports show that the number of incidents of police handling incidents with people with mental health issues is growing[193]. The Government gave a commitment to ongoing monitoring and review, and that it Government would intervene further, including through legislation if necessary, if the improvements sought continued not to be realised in practice. To date there has been no review.

Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs)[194]

Research into DFGs highlighted pressures around funding compared to levels of need for adaptation works. Research published by the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2011 found that only 10% of the DFG funding required to meet current needs was available[195]. A survey carried out by the Papworth Trust in 2013 found that: one in four respondents reported that they could not get around their home safely; two in five respondents said the accessibility of their home meant they needed help to do everyday things like cooking; one in four  of those who received a DFG said they waited over a year for it to be approved; two in three respondents who had not received a grant had never heard of DFGs[196].

In 2014 DFGs were incorporated under the umbrella of the Better Care Fund. When austerity measures were introduced in 2010 local authority contributions fell quite sharply which affected the number of grants given in subsequent years. Local authority contributions have begun to increase since the introduction of the Better Care Fund, but the picture is variable with some authorities contributing significantly more than others and some having long backlogs and delays[197]. Freedom of Information requests by Leonard Cheshire Disability show that 25% of Councils do not contribute at all.

Underfunding continues to restrict the extent to which DFGs are able to present a solution to un-met housing need[198]. Long waiting lists and a £30,000 grant limit mean that some Disabled people do not receive the adaptations they need when they need them. The Leonard Cheshire research published in April 2015 showed that demand for DFGs was growing at twice the rate that Councils were able to meet it: applications had risen by 6% since 2011/12 but the amount of adaptations funded in the same period only rose by 3%. They found that every year, almost 2,500 disabled people wait over a year to get vital funding to make their homes accessible while almost half of Councils (44%)  had examples of Disabled people waiting more than two years for payment; and eight Councils reported waits of over four years[199].

In a report outlining common problems that applicants experience with the DFG process issued in March 2016 the Local Government Ombudsman said “People with disabilities are being left for too long in unsuitable homes because of problems with Councils’ Disabled Facilities Grants processes.”[200]

On 14 December 2016 the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) launched a formal inquiry on housing for disabled people.  The inquiry will look at whether the availability of accessible and adaptable housing, and the support services around it, is fulfilling disabled people’s rights to live independently.

 

Appendix E – Personal testimonies of sanctions

The following are a selection of emails sent in to DPAC over November/December 2016 relating to the adverse and discriminatory impacts of sanctions on Disabled people and their families.

Case 1

Below is example involving a 21 year old autistic man, who was claiming benefits.  He tried to commit suicide after his second sanction, which was imposed because he did not fill out all the forms due to his impairment. The email was written by his mother:

We live in South Wales, and jobs here are scarce. My son did not do very well in school, as he struggles with certain things (autistic spectrum)…..

He claimed benefit when he was first out of work, after he left school, but he was sanctioned, for forgetting to attend an interview, and told he could not claim any more money for a period of months, then he claimed again after this time, as he had still not found any work, and was sanctioned again, for a longer period, this time, for not filling out all of the forms he was supposed to, about looking for work. He can read and write just fine, but the forms are very complicated for him, and I feel they are inappropriate…… He felt this sanction as a personal blow, to both his dignity and his right to claim any money at all.

My son is a good man, he wants to work, he feels guilty that he cannot find a job, and though it pains me to speak of it, he tried to commit suicide, after the blow of being sanctioned a second time. I thank all our lucky stars, that we found him in time, and he is still with us.

Obviously after this, he could not claim benefits a third time, and none of his family could press him to, under the circumstances, and he tried to do all he could to help me at home instead.

He is looking for work again now, and has looked into working online as an artist, and tried to get work at a local stables, although neither opportunity came through for him. But recently I was faced with having a reduction in my housing benefit. The housing benefit office told me, that if he was not in receipt of benefit, then they would assume that he was getting money from somewhere, and therefore would asses him as earning £26,000 a year, which would affect my housing benefit greatly, I would get none at all.……I simply cannot afford to live in this house without the housing benefit.

….. to return to my son’s situation, I have had to persuade him to sign on again. He was not happy to do this, and I was not happy to ask him to, as I know that the interviews are humiliating and abusive, and do nothing at all to help him to get into work. And I was worried that the pressure of it may cause him to give up hope on life again.

……He has been told, that if he fails to comply with the requirements this time, he will be sanctioned for 3 years…..  I do not want him to attend any of the interviews, for fear that this will demoralise him, and put back the months of work I have done, encouraging him to have confidence in himself again.

……My family believed in this country, my parents paid into this system, and I have done so too, for many years… and yet, when it comes to my children benefiting from it, as we all presumed… Well it is a disgrace.

As to the question, value for money? Cost effective? No, it is not

The ‘help’ we have experienced is certainly counterproductive to getting people into employment….

 

Case 2

Email sent in to Disabled People Against Cuts:

Hello..i am on universal credit and am due to get paid on the 17th of November, i got a letter from them last week telling me that i am being sanctioned £10.40 per day for 86 days due to a appointment i missed on the 25th of May.

I will get nothing until the 17th of January 2017 how can they get away with deciding to sanction me now just before xmas, its taken them 5 and a half months to decide to sanction me.

I have been so ill with stress and i have put sick notes in to cover me from the 17th of September 16 to the 27th of October 16 and i have one to cover me from the 27th of Oct to the 29th of Dec 16 the sick note is for essential hypertension anxiety and dizziness,

i feel like i cant cope anymore, for about a year i was only getting £190 on the 17th of every month which caused me to get in huge debt and rent arrears, now i have been served with a eviction notice saying i have to be out of my council house by 12pm on the 6th of Dec 16 i just dont know what to do anymore. Thank you for reading my email and i hope to hear from you soon

 

Case 3

Below are extracts from a long email from a gentleman who was forced again and again to find employment, with disastrous impact on his health and relationship:

            I have had sanction and it was not pleasant at all….

…I was sanctioned (weekly pay out dropped only to £25.00 per week ) for not attending job related interview, the letter was supposed to be send to me in Mid-February, the day we had flooding as a result of river break its banks and for few days surrounding roads were closed due to flooding….. I have expressed I never received the letter, but they did not want to know, after 2nd week of sanction, we end up in CAB and the only help we had from CAB office was food vouchers.

I was forced even with my disabled condition to look for a job as it was no way we could have survived,  £25,00 per week was not even enough to pay for heating for the house in farming field of harsh and cold winter, I was accepted and start working as vacuum cleaner call out engineer( I had to lie about my condition), which I end up collapsing after few days of work in doctor surgery , and finally my GP had to write to DWP and explain the situation as my partner committed suicide and I became very ill. Unfortunately it was too late by the time DWP accepted the appeal, my lady had total mental breakdown and she left me and I end up with psychological breakdown (suicidal behaviour) and became very sick.

DWP and their wrongful decisions created the irreversible damages to health, the appeal acceptance came too late

During all these events, my health deteriorated, I have developed lots of health problems, my eye sites changed prescriptions 4 times in less than 6 weeks period, Ulcer, some kind of digestive problem, and total mental breakdowns

I started a job as surveyor which I end driving for an average of 900 miles per week but  thriving Rheumatoid and Osteo Arthritis as well as few other health issued which created by unbalanced walking…. I became unemployed with even deeper mental and health issues as well as higher financial problems.

I had total breakdown when I was issued section 21 by my previous private land lord…

In Feb 2016 after moving to new place of residence with the help of the council, the local job centre and DWP forced me to change from ESA to JSA even they had all the medical reports and hospital treatments and investigations were given to them, (Diverticular Disease, eye site problems, Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis which effected my hips, neck, hand, knee, spine, Ulcer, Hiatal Hernia and unbalanced mental behaviour). In September 2016 in the court of law I was awarded the Work Related Activities and back dated it to March 2016…

 

 

Appendix F – Recommendations

1. Cumulative Impact Assessment

The Government continues to allege that it is not feasible to conduct a CIA. UKIM, among other experts, asserts that a CIA is possible and we respect their knowledge and experience. As stated in the Report recommendations, the assessment should be rights-based and meaningfully involve Disabled people and our organisations.

 

Carry out a cumulative impact assessment of all measures adopted since 2010 impacting on the rights to independent living and to be included in the community, social protection and employment, in relation to the effect upon Disabled people.

 

2. Future legislation and/or policy measures respect the core elements of rights under Articles 19, 27 and 28

Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 requires all public bodies to take account of socio-economic disadvantage when making policy decisions. It was passed by Parliament but never brought into force. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced her government will legislate to bring the duty into force in Scotland but there are no such plans currently for Westminster or the other devolved nations.

 

Bring into force Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 to introduce a Public sector duty regarding socio-economic inequalities.

 

3. Article 19 – independent living

The Response cites the Care Act 2014 as legislation that supports Disabled people’s core rights under Article 19. Responsibility for social care has been devolved to English Local Authorities and the devolved administrations without adequate funding to meet their statutory obligations. The principles of the Care Act are not being implemented and it has been left to individual Disabled people to enforce the legislation. Changes to legal aid have left many social care users in the situation where they are unable to access justice.

 

In order to address the current crisis and move forwards towards a social care system that is able to support Disabled people’s rights under Article 19 we call for:

 

  • Adequate levels of funding to be urgently devolved to Local Authorities (LAs) to fund social care and personal assistance

 

  • Mechanisms to be set up by which LAs can be monitored for compliance with the Care Act 2014 and held to account for breaches.

 

  • Establishment of an independent living task force with properly resourced involvement of social care users to explore how the lessons of the ILF can be built upon including the development of a national social care system independent of Local Authorities.

 

  • Access to legal aid for anyone bringing a legal challenge under the Care Act 2014.

 

 

4. Article 27 – Work and Employment

The Response claims that “the range of employment-related provision available to support equal opportunities to work and initiatives to improve employer attitudes such as Disability Confident” “support the core elements of rights” under Article 27. It is unclear what provision they are referring to. As we have seen, funding for the new Work and Health programme is just one fifth of that for the Work Programme which itself had poor outcomes for Disabled people. Disability Confident has had no tangible outcomes. Meanwhile, other measures as outlined above have negatively impacted on Disabled people’s rights under this Article.

 

In order to address barriers to Disabled people’s rights to “work on an equal basis with others” and “the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible”[201] we recommend the following as minimum measures:

 

  • Reverse the introduction of fees for employment tribunals in cases of disability discrimination

 

  • Remove the Access to Work cap

 

  • Cease DWP funding for any employment projects involving therapeutic interventions tied to employment targets

 

  • End sanctioning of benefits for non-compliance with mandatory work activity

 

5. Article 28 – Adequate standard of living and social protection

There is a weight of evidence linking welfare reform measures to unnecessary harm and adverse impacts to standard of living experienced by Disabled people both directly as a result of changes to benefits and loss of income and indirectly through stress, anxiety and fear. Welfare reform measures have disproportionately discriminated against Disabled people without sufficient mitigations put in place. Instead of supporting Disabled people’s “right to the continuous improvement of living conditions”, evidence instead shows retrogression.

 

We recommend the following minimum measures to ensure adequate mitigation:

 

  • That the planned £30 a week cut to income for those in the ESA WRAG is reversed.

 

  • All Disabled people, including those not in receipt of DLA or PIP, should be exempt from the benefit cap.

 

  • In the immediate term, PIP “Moving around” descriptor to be moved back to 50m and Upper Tribunal ruling on “Following a journey” descriptor to be implemented; for the longer-term PIP to stop being a points based, tick box assessment and be replaced with a needs based assessment with guidelines on the thresholds.

 

  • Problems with MR need to be urgently addressed – either through removing MR altogether to enable claimants to go straight to appeal or by a) allowing benefits to be claimed during MR and b) reviewing the MR process so that is independent of the original assessment with new medical evidence properly considered.

 

  • The WCA, which is based on the discredited bio-psycho-social model of disability must be replaced with an assessment based on a social model of disability.[202]

 

  • Legal aid for welfare cases to be restored alongside adequate funding for welfare advice services.

 

  • All new welfare legislation and policy measures to be considered in terms of impact on the most excluded groups of Disabled people as outlined in the Committee’s recommendation 114 (i).

 

 

6. Access to justice

Since 2010 Disabled people’s access to justice has been curtailed. As well as the relevant recommendations above we also support the following recommendations by UKIM[203] which call on the Government to:

 

  • Publish the findings of its post-implementation review of Employment Tribunal fees, and address any disproportionate impacts on disabled people.
  • Review the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 on access to justice and other CRPD rights for disabled people.
  • Further review the operation of the telephone gateway service with regard to its accessibility and effectiveness for disabled people, and mitigate any adverse impacts identified.

 

7. Actively consult and engage with Disabled people and our organisations

We dispute the Government’s claim to have a “strong record in engaging with disabled people, disabled people’s organisations”. The Response cites an overwhelming number of consultations that have taken place since 2010. We agree we have been given opportunities to submit our views and these have enabled the Government to consider the equality impacts of its legislation and policies, however engagement has not led to our views being taken on board in preventing retrogression and avoiding or adequately mitigating against adverse impacts. There is no greater testament to Disabled people’s experience of not being listened to by the UK Government than the fact that this inquiry was triggered.

 

The recent announcement that the Government has abandoned its plans to devolve Attendance Allowance[204] is extremely welcome and we hope that going forwards the views and experiences of Disabled people will be listened to in an open and constructive manner.

 

In order to prevent further retrogression we recommend:

 

  • A comprehensive review of proposals in the Government green paper “Improving Lives”[205] in response to concerns raised by Disabled people and our organisations

 

8. Appropriate measures to combat any negative and discriminatory stereotypes or prejudice against disabled people

The Response is strikingly silent on the issue of high ranking officials promoting an inaccurate message about the reasons for welfare reform and levels of benefit fraud mentioned in paragraph 85 of the Report. This has amounted to a deliberate scapegoating of benefit claimants and increased hostility towards Disabled people.

 

As minimum measures we call for:

  • A public apology by the UK Government for its role in the demonising of benefit claimants.

 

  • A Government-sponsored publicity campaign to promote the value of an inclusive society that values Disabled people who may at times be unable to work.

 

9. Monitoring mechanism

The Response states that the “UK is a strong parliamentary democracy with a system that invites scrutiny and challenge” (paragraph 106) and cites Parliamentary procedures and Committees as examples of this. In its investigation, the Committee read a number of reports from Parliamentary Committees with long lists of recommendations related to welfare reform that the Government has ignored. There is clearly a need for more robust monitoring mechanisms within the UK.

 

We agree with the Committee’s recommendation that the Government should “Set up a mechanism and a system of human rights-based indicators” (paragraph 114 (j)).

 

We also call as a minimum measure for:

 

  • An independent inquiry into links between adverse trends in mental health and welfare reform.

 

 

10. Response to Disability Committee Report and Recommendations

Other than a leak to the media to discredit the Report, the Government failed to disseminate the findings and recommendations in any way. It is also not available on the UKIM website.

 

As a minimum measure we recommend that the Committee:

 

  • Ask the UK government to submit a follow-up report.

 

  • Publish this response in the inquiry section on the website alongside the Report.

 

 

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3909276/Controversial-task-force-slams-Britain-s-welfare-cuts-says-disabled-people-unfairly-bearing-brunt.html

[2] The UK Government’s decision to cut Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA), namely removing assistance with Non-Medical Helpers Allowance, has resulted in adverse effects on potential and existing Disabled students. Plymouth University stated that the increased financial pressure to fund additional support will inevitably affect admissions tutors’ attitudes when recruiting Disabled students. RANDSTAD, a Higher Education Support Agency, stated that 34% of Disabled students would definitely not be able to attend university without DSA support

[3] Written submissions and personal testimony were given to the inquiry. Research is due to be published by Inclusion London in February 2017. A Work and Pensions Committee inquiry report on Access to Work (2014/15) covered many of the issues experienced at the time: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmworpen/481/48102.htm

[4] Since the introduction of employment tribunal fees in 2013, disability discrimination claims have fallen by 54%. See: House of Commons Library, Employment Tribunal Fees, 22 June 2016.

[5] According to Civil Service benchmarking surveys, staff reporting that they have experienced disability discrimination within the past 12 months increased from 7% in 2010 to 10% in 2016: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/568870/Civil_Service_People_Survey_2016_-_Benchmark_Report.pdf

Research has shown how the introduction of performance management systems in the civil service discriminate against Disabled workers

French, Steve Civil Service Performance Management Diversity & Inclusion outcomes data 2014/15 – an analysis, Keele University. http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/pcs_comment.cfm/pcs-report-highlights-dangers-of-civil-service-performance-management

[6] Analysis carried out by the BBC and Community Care suggests mental health trusts suffered a real terms cut of 8.25% to their budgets, the equivalent of £598 million. Freedom of Information requests, annual reports and other research was used to compare the budgets of mental health trusts in England in 2010/11 with 2014/15: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31970871. Up to 15,000 beds have been lost in the past 15 years and many people are forced to travel miles to get support as units are shut and crisis teams merged to save money. Experts have warned that 75% of patients do not get the treatment they need. Figures from the NHS’s health and social care information centre, obtained through a parliamentary question, show that the number of qualified nurses working in psychiatry dropped by 10.8% from 41,320 in 2010 to 36,870 in 2015. The King’s Fund think-tank found that evidence of poor quality care is widespread, with less than a fifth of people feeling they received appropriate care in a crisis. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/mental-health-under-pressure

[7] http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/key-facts-and-statistics/

[8] Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show a 10% rise in detentions between 2013/2014 and 2014/15. This is the fastest on record. http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB18803/inp-det-m-h-a-1983-sup-com-eng-14-15-rep.pdf

[9] The number of suicides among women in the UK has increased to its highest level since 2005.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics released at the end of 2016 show that 6,188 people in the UK intentionally took their own lives in 2015, up from 6,122 in 2014.

[10] Thirty-three mental health trusts out of a total of 57 in England responded to Freedom of Information requests carried out by the BBC programme Panorama. In 2012/13, the trusts reported a total of 2,067 unexpected deaths. By 2015/16 that had risen to 3,160.

[11] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/08/damian-green-dismisses-offensive-un-report-on-uk-disability-rights

[12] Copies of the letter and key concerns can be found at: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-human-rights-work/monitoring-and-promoting-un-treaties/un-convention-rights-persons-disabilities

The EHRC has now received a response from the Minister of State for Disabled people stating her belief that the findings are “completely wide of the mark”. This can also be found at the above link.

[13] The Committee spoke to over 200 individuals in the course of their investigation. Since publication of the Committee’s Report and UK Government Response, Disabled People’s Organisations and members of the House of Lords have written to the Government asking that they reconsider their response. Our concerns have been consistently dismissed. https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/equality-and-human-rights/governments-dismissal-uns-recommendations-disabled-peoples-rights/

[14]  Implied questioning of the Committee’s competence in written statements by Government Ministers is concerning. See letter from Damian Green to Baroness Jane Campbell. https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/equality-and-human-rights/governments-dismissal-uns-recommendations-disabled-peoples-rights/

[15]  Disabled People Against Cuts and Inclusion London will be submitting evidence across the Articles through a shadow report to the routine scrutiny of the UK in 2017 as part of the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance.

[16] There is substantial evidence of retrogression in each of the areas cited in paragraph 7 of the Response as “significant measures” as detailed in Appendix A.

[17]  Our evaluation of the impact of the specific policy initiatives cited in the Government Response is included under our response to the respective Articles below.

[18]  Paragraph 2 of the Response says: “It now spends around £50bn a year on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions, which is over £6bn more than in 2010. That is around 2.5% of GDP, or over 6% of government spending. The UK spends more on disabled people and people with health conditions than the OECD average, and countries such as Germany, France and the USA”.

[19] https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/budgets/gb2017/gb2017ch6.pdf

[20] http://www.oecd.org/social/expenditure.htm

[21] Examples of mitigating measures cited in the Response that were the result of public pressure campaigns are included at Appendix C.

[22] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201212/ldhansrd/text/120117-0001.htm

[23] The biopsychosocial (BPS) model of mental distress, originally conceived by the American psychiatrist George Engel in the 1970s and commonly used in psychiatry and psychology, was adapted by Gordon Waddell and Mansell Aylward to form the theoretical basis for UK Government thinking on disability. Waddell and Aylward developed their approach while working at the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research, Cardiff University.  This Centre has worked extensively for the Department of Work and Pensions, and from 2004-2008 was sponsored by the US health insurance company Unum Insurance.  Two key publications by this team have been The Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits (2006) and Models of Sickness and Disability Applied to Common Health Problems (2010).  This latter document represents the most recent and extensive statement of their perspective on the BPS.  The model reframes employment support for disabled people within a ‘support’ discourse, arguing that ESA should be seen as a mechanism to support people who experience health or disability-related barriers to work in accessing employment.

For a critique of Waddell and Aylward’s model, examining its origins, its claims and the evidence it employs:  Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability (May 2016) https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/58235/1/1351_Shakespeare.pdf

For the links between Aylward and Waddell, the Department for Work and Pensions and Unum see: New Labour, the market state, and the end of welfare by Jonathan Rutherford http://www.midmoors.co.uk/Unum/unum_in_uk.pdf

[24] See ‘annex outlining key concerns’ to Letter to the Minister of State for Disabled People in response to the CRPD committee inquiry (December 2016) https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-human-rights-work/monitoring-and-promoting-un-treaties/un-convention-rights-persons-disabilities

[25] In December 2016 civil society organisations wrote an open letter calling on the Government to implement Section 1 of the EA 2010: https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/joint-letter-sunday-telegraph-calls-section-1-equality-act-be-brought-force

[26] EHRC (2015), ‘Equality, human rights and access to civil law justice: a literature review’ (November 2016). https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/equality-human-rights-and-access-civil-law-justice-literature-review. The literature review highlighted a number of shortcomings in the Ministry of Justice’s 2014 review of the telephone gateway service, see pp 62-64.

[27] Cuts that hurt: the impact of legal aid cuts in England on access to justice: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur45/4936/2016/en/

[28] Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

[29] https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/independent-living-social-care-and-health/ilf-one-year-on/

[30] A recent indication of the scale of the crisis was demonstrated by Surrey County Council’s Conservative Cabinet planning a Referendum for residents to vote on a Council tax rise of 15% in 2017–18 to fund social care services. The Council website said: “The Cabinet believes this increase is the only way to protect vital services following substantial cuts in Government funding and an increase in demand for services every year”. The Referendum was cancelled at the last minute with leaked texts suggesting a “sweetheart deal” with central government: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38920416

[31] A recent report from the National Audit Office has shown that the Better Care Fund has failed to ease pressure on NHS hospitals or to save. The total Better Care Fund budget for 2015/16 was £5.3bn (some local authorities added extra money to the £3.8bn earmarked by the government). Within the first year of the Fund being introduced: the number of emergency hospital admissions has gone up, not down; the number of people stuck in hospital because they have no suitable care package available to them in the community – be that a place in a care home or adequate homecare – has also risen. https://www.nao.org.uk/report/health-and-social-care-integration/

An investigation by The Observer in December 2016 revealed that data from 98 of the 151 local authorities in England with statutory responsibility for social care showed only 218 (42%) of 515 targets to improve social care in their area had been met, with the other 297 (58%) missed.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/10/tory-plans-making-social-care-worse

[32] Even where the precept is implemented there is still a large shortfall in funding: https://sentinelnews.co.uk/2016/04/05/osborne-tax-leaves-adult-care-services-facing-billion-pound-black-hole/

King’s Fund analysis of how the precept was used by Councils this year (2016/17) shows that it is deeply flawed as a way of securing sustainable funding for adult social care. It was used by 95% of councils, but raised just £382 million – less than 3% of what Councils plan to spend on adult social care. It will not even cover the £612 million estimated cost of the National Living Wage this year, let alone demographic and other cost pressures. Increasing the precept from 2 to 3% will barely make a dent in this, and many councils will be mindful of the impact of council tax rises on working families with low incomes. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-care-older-people

Not all Councils have chosen to implement the social care precept. For 2016-7, 5% chose not to: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Widespread-council-take-up-of-social-care-precept/40595

There are concerns that in poorer areas with greater social care needs Local Authorities will be less able to raise revenue this way. Dr Fernández, London School of Economics, explained that a 2% increase in council tax will not translate into the same increased revenue for local councils across the country. This is important because wealthier councils with the greatest opportunity to raise resources are also those likely to be faced with least demand for social care. Ray James, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said :“In the most affluent areas you will raise about two-thirds of your council spend through council tax. In the most deprived areas you will raise less than 20% of your council spend through council tax. The precept raises least money in areas of greatest need.” The 10 most affluent areas will raise more than two and a half times (£41m) the amount of the 10 areas with the greatest level of pensioner need (£17m). https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-care-older-people

[33]https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/field/field_publication_file/Autumn_Statement_Kings_Fund_Nov_2016_3.pdf

[34] https://www.bma.org.uk/news/2016/december/transfer-of-care-delays-threaten-to-capsize-the-nhs

The Local Government Association estimates a £2.6 billion gap in funding for adult social care by 2020. This figure takes into account the Government’s promises of extra funding through the Better Care Fund and the optional council tax rise: http://www.local.gov.uk/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/7991319/NEWS

[35] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/10/observer-editorial-government-must-increase-funding-social-care

[36] In December 2016 the chair of the British Medical Association warned that the NHS will not be able to cope unless the Government gets to grips with the current social care crisis:

https://www.bma.org.uk/news/media-centre/press-releases/2016/december/new-year-message

[37] Chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, Izzi Seccombe, said extra funding through the Better Care Fund and extra Council tax raising powers would not be an adequate response to “worst ever funding crisis” in social care: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/10/tory-plans-making-social-care-worse

[38] Social care for older people, a report published by the Kings Fund and Nuffield Trust in September 2016, highlights the severity of the crisis facing the care system: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-care-older-people

[39] In October 2016 the Care Quality Commission raised concerns that the sustainability of the adult social care market is approaching a tipping point: http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/adult-social-care-approaching-tipping-point

[40] http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/communities-and-local-government-committee/news-parliament-2015/prime-minister-health-and-social-care-correspondence-16-17

In November a report by the Health Select Committee called on the Government to urgently address the underfunding of adult social care to relieve pressure on NHS A&E departments:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/health-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/planning-for-winter-pressure-in-accident-and-emergency-departments-inquiry-16-17/

[41] For a fuller analysis of the inadequacies of these initiatives see Appendix D

[42] https://www.nao.org.uk/report/care-services-for-people-with-learning-disabilities-and-challenging-behaviour/

[43] Appleton, A, Leather P and Mackintosh S. ‘Evaluation of the Independent Living Grant (ILG)’ – commissioned by The Welsh Assembly (2012)

[44]http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/14042827.Southampton_s__super_care_home__moves_closer_to_becoming_reality/

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/threat-to-independent-living-as-council-plots-raid-on-high-cost-care/

[45] http://www.healthwatchlambeth.org.uk/extracarereview/

[46] Innovators and champions of the Lifetime Homes standard, Habinteg, issued a briefing comparing the technical specification provided in the 2015 Building Regulations M4(2), that incorporated the 2016 amendments, ‘accessible, adaptable dwellings’, with the 16 design criteria set out in its predecessor, the Lifetime Homes Standard (2011):  http://www.lifetimehomes.org.uk/pages/lifetime-homes-and-part-m.html

[47] The Government rejected a recommendation from the Lords’ disability committee that local authorities should follow the example of London and revise their planning policy to require a significant proportion of new dwellings to comply with Part M accessibility standards. The Equality Act 2010: the impact on Disabled people: recommendation 51. https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201516/ldselect/ldeqact/117/11702.htm

https://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-committees/equality-act/Govt-Response-to-HoL-SC-Report-on-the-EA2010.pdf

The Government also recently voted down an amendment to the policing and crime bill which sought to implement another of the Lords’ recommendations which would have forced bars, shops and restaurants to ensure their premises obey laws on accessibility when renewing their alcohol licences. https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2016-12-07/debates/71350001-A57A-4C90-B8FB-D9199A6776CD/PolicingAndCrimeBill

[48] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/huge-drop-in-women-and-disabled-people-participating-in-sport-after-the-olympics-10011771.html

A survey conducted in January 2016 suggested that more than 80% of Disabled people still feel prejudice when participating in sport and leisure activities.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/feb/03/paralympic-legacy-failed-widen-access-exercise

[49] https://www.sportengland.org/news-and-features/news/2016/december/8/record-numbers-of-women-getting-active/

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/campaigners-call-on-minister-to-reject-rail-access-funding-delay/

[50] Campaigner Doug Paulley recently won a partial victory in the Supreme Court requiring bus drivers to give wheelchair users priority over pushchairs. How this will be implemented by bus drivers remains to be seen. The question over who has priority has arisen due to bus over-crowding and the inadequate provision for wheelchair users. The ramps on single-deckers are often broken and only one wheelchair user can travel per bus.

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2015-0025.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-38795688

[51] https://www.leonardcheshire.org/support-and-information/latest-news/news-and-blogs/research-reveals-difficulty-for-wheelchair-users

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/campaigners-call-on-minister-to-reject-rail-access-funding-delay/

[53] https://www.networkrail.co.uk/who-we-are/publications-resources/our-plans-for-the-future/the-hendy-review/

[54] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/opinions-and-lifestyle-survey-fulfilling-potential-outcomes-and-indicators-2014-data

[55] Research carried out by Inclusion London looking at the situation for ex-ILF recipients one year after closure points to the lack of enforcement measures in the Care Act 2014 and due to the loss of entitlement to legal aid the difficulty people face in making a legal challenge against cuts:

https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/news/ilf-one-year-on/

[56]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/584417/independent-living-fund-post-closure-review.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/584417/independent-living-fund-post-closure-review.pdf p.53

[58] http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/07/18/time-pressures-compromising-social-work-practice-council-finds-review/

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/03/08/dear-senior-managers-feels-deliver-cuts-cast-service-users-adrift/

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/02/10/councils-disregard-care-act-triggers-user-group-complaint-cqc/

[59] See Annex B of the technical consultation paper for proposed grant amounts: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/499151/Former_ILF_Recipient_Grant_Consultation.pdf

[60] http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s48259/Independent%20Living%20Fund%20Report.pdf

[61] Freedom of Information requests submitted by Channel Four found that 80% of Local Authorities had made cuts following closure of the ILF. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGrSn7t3TIQ

In response to Freedom of Information requests submitted by Inclusion London in June 2016 four London boroughs reported reductions to over 50% of the social care packages for former ILF recipients. Eight boroughs reported cuts to individual packages of 50% or more. https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/news/ilf-one-year-on/

[62] The Post-ILF Closure Review study commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions found that former recipients of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in England experienced a loss of support, a greater reliance on unpaid care and an “adverse” impact on their physical and mental health after its closure due to worry, or the physical demands of having to perform everyday activities without the support of a carer; heavy reductions in care produced effects including loneliness, weight loss and frailty and denied opportunities to participate fully in society including less support for engaging in leisure activities, work and volunteering. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/584417/independent-living-fund-post-closure-review.pdf

DPAC has collected testimonies from former ILF recipients detailing their experiences. http://dpac.uk.net/2016/09/the-abuse-disabled-people-face-from-social-services-and-cuts-to-funding-since-closure-of-ilf/

[63] Following a judicial review, the High Court rejected a challenge to Worcestershire Council’s “maximum expenditure policy”, which would set a limit on the amount the council will spend on supporting a disabled adult in the community equivalent to the cost of meeting their eligible needs in a care home.

[64] The policy will apply to packages costing the council £500 a week or more. Where reviews find “insufficient” council funding is available for a person’s “preferred” package, the council will propose an alternative placement or offer the option of paying top-up fees. The council estimates the policy will save £700,000 over the next four years. An impact assessment suggests the changes could lead to an increase in residential care placements and a reduction in community care packages among the service user group affected, although the council believes this would be “marginal”.

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2017/02/22/care-package-savings-drive-risks-shift-care-home-placements/

[65] Research by Fleur Perry found that 44 out of 122 CCGs who responded to her request has policies of concern:

http://disabilityunited.co.uk/2017/01/nhs-staff-can-decide-disabled-people-live-even-choice/

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/more-than-40-nhs-organisations-have-policies-of-concern-on-institutional-care/

[66] http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/department-of-health-ignores-nhs-continuing-healthcare-human-rights-warnings/

[67] The judges found that found that briefings given to then disability minister Esther McVey by officials did not adequately make clear “the potentially very grave impact” the closure of the ILF could have on service users. Lord Justice McCombe said responses to the consultation indicated that “independent living might well be put seriously in peril for a large number of people”. https://www.scomo.com/documents/Bracking_v_DWP.approved%20Judgement.pdf

[68] http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2014/4134.html

[69] http://revitalise.org.uk/news/care-act-fails-in-first-year-finds-revitalise-study/#.V1CO0TKl6Ig.facebook

[70] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmhealth/139/13902.htm

[71] http://www.ukhca.co.uk/pdfs/ukhca_homecare_deficit_2016_final.pdf

[72] A September 2016 Kings Fund report looking mainly at the situation for older disabled people aged over 65 found: social care system struggling to meet needs of older people after 6 years of cuts; huge pressures on the social care market; many social care providers dependent on LA contracts in difficulty; situation for older people compounded by pressures in the NHS especially community services. The most visible manifestation of pressures on health and social care budgets is the rapid growth in delayed discharges from hospital. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-care-older-people

[73] https://www.leonardcheshire.org/support-and-information/latest-news/press-releases/flying-15-minute-care-visits-still-bleak-reality

[74] Even when eligible needs have been agreed and social care support offered, most Councils have in place charging policies.  Many expect Disabled people to contribute half of their Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment Care component and all of the Severe Disability Premium in Employment and Support Allowance towards the cost of care provided to them. In Bristol, Disabled people may be expected to contribute up to £300 a week towards their care funding: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/social-care-health/what-you-may-have-to-pay-for-your-care-and-support

In Scotland cuts to allowances before charging has been reduced by £45 per week in some LAs. http://www.ldascotland.org/index.php/stop-the-care-tax/316-right-to-a-real-life-without-unfair-care-charges

[75] http://revitalise.org.uk/news/care-act-fails-in-first-year-finds-revitalise-study/

[76] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/care_charging_84#incoming-909785

[77] Findings from a recent survey by In Control show: 33% of respondents said level of choice and control they enjoyed over support had reduced /reduced significantly; significant numbers reported more restrictions on how support money could be used; 58% reported their quality of life had reduced or reduced significantly over the past 12 months; 38% have to rely more on family and friends; 25% told support would be reduced because of cuts/savings and/or limits to the amount of money for a particular service. The survey also asked former ILF recipients about their experiences since its closure and found: 41% former ILF recipients had less/a lot less support; 33% said quality of support was worse/ a lot worse; 34% of former ILF recipients reported new restrictions placed on support. http://www.in-control.org.uk/news/in-control-news/report-on-the-independent-living-survey-2016.aspx

[78] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/25/huge-rise-in-hospital-beds-in-england-taken-up-by-people-with-malnutrition?CMP=share_btn_tw

[79] Figures in the Health Service Journal suggested there had been 5.6% more deaths in England and Wales in 2015 than in the previous year, the biggest increase in the national death rate since the 1960s. This supported the picture presented by a separate report by Public Health England which reveals a large number of local authorities showed a fall in life expectancy at age 85 in 2014.

https://www.hsj.co.uk/topics/policy-and-regulation/exclusive-rocketing-death-rate-provokes-calls-for-national-investigation/7002408.article

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/life-expectancy-recent-trends-in-older-ages

[80] Freedom of Information requests published in 2015 showed a 63% decrease in Council Meals on Wheels provision since 2010: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/03/meals-on-wheels-elderly-declined-coalition

[81] Hiam Lucinda, Dorling Danny, Harrison Dominic, and McKee Martin Why has mortality in England and Wales been increasing? An iterative demographic analysis and What caused the spike in mortality in England and Wales in January 2015?, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

https://www.rsm.ac.uk/about-us/media-information/2017-media-releases/new-analysis-links-30000-excess-deaths-in-2015-to-cuts-in-health-and-social-care.aspx

[82] In 2015/16, care homes in England asked local Councils to approve 195,840 applications to deprive a resident of their liberty – most of them older people – under the deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) legal framework. The figure was the highest since the system began in 2009 and a big jump on the 137,540 applications in the previous year. http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB21814

[83] The Government is currently analysing feedback from its “Self-sufficient local government: 100% business rates retention” consultation. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/self-sufficient-local-government-100-business-rates-retention The decision not to devolve Attendance Allowance to LAs has already been taken and is welcome: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7729/CBP-7729.pdf

[84] https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/58235/1/1351_Shakespeare.pdf

[85] This report is the only supporting evidence named in response to this Freedom Of Information request: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/324369/response/799048/attach/html/2/FoI%201104%20reply.pdf.html

[86] As research by DPAC has uncovered, the only evidence to support the claim that “work makes you better” is a single review which “focused on adults of working age and the common health problems that account for two-thirds of sickness absence and long-term incapacity” [page viii of Is Work Good for your Health and Wellbeing]. The remaining third of the relevant population were not considered in any detail. http://dpac.uk.net/2015/09/the-ids-files-better-off-in-work-idsfiles/

[87] According to the latest report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, 17% of people of working age are disabled. 49% of them are in paid work, compared with 81% of non-disabled people. https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/budgets/gb2017/gb2017ch6.pdf

[88] The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1510 per 100,000 workers. This is up from 440,000 cases in 2014/15, a prevalence rate of 1380 per 100,000 workers. The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2015/16 was 11.7 million days. http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress/stress.pdf?pdf=stress

[89]https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/articles/contractsthatdonotguaranteeaminimumnumberofhours/september2016

[90] A summary of concerns are outlined by the Mental Wealth Foundation here: https://allianceblogs.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/mwf_jobcentretherapy_letter/

In relation to ME/CFS treatment there is ongoing controversy surrounding the PACE trial, a study part-funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and carried out by researchers with links to the insurance industry. In 2015, Dr David Tuller, of the University of California, wrote a comprehensive investigative report into the PACE study called Trial by Error. This report documented many flaws including violation of the declaration of Helsinki and unsuitable use of statistical methods. http://www.virology.ws/2015/10/21/trial-by-error-i/

[91] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/380027/wca-fifth-independent-review.pdf

[92] Regulations 29 and 35 provided protection to claimants whose mental health would be at risk if denied benefits or told to engage in work-related activity, and specifically include people at risk of suicide or self-harm. Government issued new guidance to staff carrying out WCA tests on how to interpret the regulations. Under the guidance used in 2015, if the rules meant a claimant should not return to the workplace due to the risk to their health, they would likely mean they should not participate in work-related activity either: “…it is unlikely that someone who is at substantial risk for work would not be at substantial risk for work related activity and therefore for all practical purposes it is likely that it will apply to both.” https://www.rethinkingincapacity.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/WCA-Handbooks-revisions-2016-vs-2015.pdf

This statement was removed in the new guidance which now says: “The flexibility in the DWP approach, tailoring work-related activity to each claimant’s circumstances and health condition, and the requirement that claimants must not be asked to do anything that could put their health at risk, make it unlikely that many claimants will be at substantial risk if required to carry out work-related activity.” https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/535065/wca-handbook-july-2016.pdf

[93] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-december-2016.

[94] The DWP was asked in a Freedom of information request in November 2016 “about the number of ESA claimants in either the WRAG or Support group that the DWP has found fit to work in 2016 despite having in its possession at that point a letter from the claimant’s doctor or consultant or psychiatrist or psychologist, etc that returning to work may put the claimant’s life at risk”. In response, the DWP acknowledged it held some information falling within the description specified in the request, but estimated that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate  limit  of  £600.

[95] National Audit Office (NAO) https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Contracted-out-health-and-disability-assessments.pdf (Published January 2016)

[96] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/575604/esa-wca-summary-december-2016.pdfn

[97] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmpubacc/727/727.pdf (Published April 2016)

[98]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/525714/treasury_minutes_web.pdf

[99] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/575604/esa-wca-summary-december-2016.pdf

[100] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/575604/esa-wca-summary-december-2016.pdf

[101] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/575604/esa-wca-summary-december-2016.pdf

[102] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/558953/esa-wca-summary-september-2016.pdf

[103] SSAC: Social Services Advisory Committee

[104]  ..concerns have been raised that claimants with strong cases may in practice be deterred from appealing and that vulnerable users have experienced difficulties in navigating the process. Another concern is that individuals with severe medical conditions have reportedly been unable to cope with reconsideration telephone calls.’  (Published March 2016)

https://ukaji.org/2016/03/09/decision-making-and-mandatory-reconsideration-response-to-ssac-consultation/#_ftn3

[105] http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7820

[106] Appendix E contains three case studies from emails sent to DPAC during November/December 2016. They evidence the brutal impacts of sanctions on individual Disabled people and their families.

[107] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/jobseekers-allowance-and-employment-and-support-allowance-sanctions-decisions-made-to-june-2016 See table 2.3.

106 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/jobseekers-allowance-and-employment-and-support-allowance-sanctions-decisions-made-to-june-2016 (Published in November 2016)

[109] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/jobseekers-allowance-and-employment-and-support-allowance-sanctions-decisions-made-to-june-2016  calculated from data on table 1.6

[110] https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/welfare-reform/benefit-sanctions-inquiry-inclusion-londons-evidence/

[111] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/473425/admu3.pdf

[112] http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/part/4/crossheading/reasonable-adjustments

[113] FOI – Freedom of Information

[114]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/375140/response/916042/attach/3/FOI%202016%204602%20Response.pdf  (Figures given from Jan 2015 – Jun 2016)   https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/376109/response/916780/attach/3/FOI%202016%204696%20Response.pdf   (Figures from April 2014-June 2016)  https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/192084/response/494453/attach/3/FOI%202014%2079%20response%20final.pdf  (Figures from October 2008 – June 2013)

[115] http://www.methodist.org.uk/news-and-events/news-releases/new-data-more-than-100-people-per-day-with-mental-health-problems-are-having-their-benefits-sanctioned

[116] http://beta.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/british-psychological-society-signs-statement-opposing-welfare-sanctions

[117] http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/one-in-five-benefit-related-deaths-involved-sanctions-admits-dwp/

[118] https://www.nao.org.uk/report/benefit-sanctions/  (Published 30 November 2016)

[119] https://www.nao.org.uk/report/benefit-sanctions/

[120] https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmpubacc/775/77502.htm   

[121] In February 2016 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) unearthed a “draft” report that ministers failed to send to a coroner six years previously, following concerns he raised about a suicide linked to flaws in the “fitness for work” test. Coroner Tom Osborne wrote to the DWP on 30 March 2010 linking the suicide of Stephen Carré in January 2010 with serious flaws in how the WCA was used to test the eligibility of people with mental health conditions for out-of-work disability benefits. Osborne ruled that the trigger for Stephen Carré’s suicide had been DWP’s rejection of his appeal against being found “fit for work”, and he called in his Rule 43 letter for a review of the policy not to seek medical evidence from a GP or psychiatrist if the claimant has a mental health condition. Ministers never produced an official response to the Rule 43 letter, as they were legally obliged to do. The DWP has admitted that it did exchange letters with Osborne during the summer of 2010, and even produced a “draft final response” to his letter in September 2010 but they are unable to confirm whether it was sent or whether the coroner received it. Ministers made key decisions in the summer of 2010 about the WCA process including that it would be rolled out to hundreds of thousands of long-term claimants of incapacity benefit (IB) the following year. They also failed to show the Rule 43 letter to Professor Malcolm Harrington, even though they had commissioned him to review the “fairness and effectiveness” of the WCA. The following year, in December 2011, a long-term IB claimant – Ms D E – took her own life after being told she was not eligible for ESA, a death later linked by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland to similar WCA failings to those that led to Stephen Carré’s death. In 2014, another coroner wrote an almost identical letter to Osborne’s, again warning of concerns about the safety of the WCA, after the death of a north London man, Michael O’Sullivan, who also took his own life after being found fit for work.

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-media-reports-ignore-benefit-deaths-and-ids-resignation/

[122] http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/comment-long-awaited-peer-reviews-suggest-ministers-failed-to-act-after-deaths-of-vulnerable-claimants/

[123] The study shows that that, for every 10,000 IB claimants who were reassessed in England between 2010 and 2013, there were an additional six suicides, 2,700 cases of self-reported mental health problems, and an increase of more than 7,000 in the number of anti-depressants prescribed. The most significant increases took place in the most deprived local authority areas of England.

http://jech.bmj.com/content/70/4/339

[124] In February 2017, we heard how a Disabled woman took her own life just two days after being told her Personal Independent Payment appeal had failed. The body of Susan Margaret Roberts was discovered by a care worker at her warden-assisted flat near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, surrounded by letters telling her that she had been found ineligible

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/pip-investigation-woman-took-her-own-life-two-days-after-learning-of-failed-pip-appeal/

In January, Lawrence Bond collapsed and died just minutes after leaving a back-to-work appointment. He was reportedly awaiting the result of an appeal against being found fit for work and therefore ineligible for employment and support allowance (ESA). An inquest will be heard later this year.

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/coroner-orders-inquest-into-fit-for-work-man-who-collapsed-after-leaving-jobcentre/

[125] Consultation feedback invited by the DWP was limited to a questionnaire format which made it difficult to draw attention to the most worrying aspects of the proposals not covered by the set questions.

For Inclusion London’s full report see: https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/employment/improving-lives-work-health-disability-green-paper-inclusion-londons-response/

Spartacus Network have produced a 237 response entitled “Smokescreen” that carefully details the dangers posed by the green paper: https://spartacusnetwork.wordpress.com/

A joint response by professional bodies representing the psychological therapies highlights the dangers of pushing Disabled people into unsuitable employment and calls for an end to: http://www.bps.org.uk/system/files/consultationpapers/responses/final%20joint%20Green%20Paper%20response%20BPS%20BACP%20UKCP%20BPC%20BABCP.pdf

The response from anti-poverty charity Z2K highlights ongoing problems with ESA: http://z2k.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Z2K-response-to-%E2%80%98Improving-Lives-the-Work-Health-and-Disability-Green-Paper.pdf

[126] http://dpac.uk.net/2013/02/11-was-never-intended-to-be-the-number-of-people-in-the-support-group-dwp-big-blunder-annie-howard/

[127] Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability: Tom Shakespeare, Nicholas Watson, Ola Abu Alghaib

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0261018316649120

[128] The Response states that the green paper proposals “cover the roles played by the welfare system, the health and care system” (paragraph 8). This is inaccurate. Social care is conspicuous by its complete absence.

[129] The Response under Article 27 states that 22% of people supported to start their own business by the New Enterprise Allowance are self-declared disabled. We are concerned whether Disabled people are being pushed into self-employment to reduce claimant figures and how many are able to earn an adequate income. New Access to Work rules tie support for Disabled people in self-employment to the ability to produce a “sustainable business plan”. We wonder how many Disabled people supported through the New Enterprise Allowance meet the criteria.

[130] From StopChanges2AtW report due to be published March 2017.

[131] ‘The changing characteristics of UK disability benefit recipients’ can be seen here http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/7756

[132] See analysis by Bernadette Meaden: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21740

[133] https://www.jrf.org.uk/mpse-2015/disability-and-poverty 2015

[134] https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/monitoring-poverty-and-social-exclusion-2016

[135] From 17.0% in 2014/15 to 25.7% in 2020/21 – and an increase in absolute child poverty from 16.7% in 2014/15 to 18.3% in 2020-21. Both figures are remarkable in their own way: the increase in relative poverty will undo almost all of the work done reducing poverty from 1999-2010. And the increase in absolute poverty (also up from 17.6% in 2010/11) will mean that, over a decade, the income of families towards the bottom has actually gone down – something without precedent in modern times.

https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/8171

[136] 45.1% and 22.4%: Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2012, Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2012 report, pp.114-115, (online), available at: https://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/comm124.pdf

[137]The average income of families with disabled children is £15,270, which is 23.5% below the UK mean income of £19,968. 21.8% have incomes that are less than 50% the UK mean: Contact a Family, Research (online), available at: http://www.cafamily.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns-and-research/research/

[138] http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06294/SN06294.pdf

[139] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/homeless-rough-sleeping-figures-increase-rise-conservatives-housing-shelter-vertical-rush-a7550251.html

[140] As confirmed by a Parliamentary Briefing published December 2016 ‘ Household food insecurity measurement in the UK’: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CDP-2016-0238/CDP-2016-0238.pdf

[141] https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2016-11-16.53439.h&s=foodbanks#g53439.q0

[142] https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2016-04-08.33196.h&s=foodbanks#g33196.q0

[143] The Trussell Trust publishes statistics on foodbank users at the UK and regional level. In 2015/16, 1.11 million three -day emergency food parcels were distributed by Trussell Trust foodbanks.  Usage of Trussell Trust foodbanks expanded rapidly over the past decade: the number of three-day emergency food supplies given out went from 2,814 in 2005-2006 to a record number of 1,109,309 in 2015/2016. Although this number does not represent the number of unique users, likely to be around 554,000 in 2015/2016, the Trussell Trust is far from being the only foodbank provider. More recent statistics show 519,000 three-day emergency food parcels were distributed in the six months to September 2016, 13,000 higher than the same period last year.

https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/

[144] Between 2012, and 2015, ‘For every 10 additional sanctions applied in each quarter of the year, on average five more adults would be referred to foodbanks in the area. As sanctioning decreased, foodbank use also decreased, which the report suggests is evidence of a strong link between sanctioning and people not having enough money to meet basic needs. The researchers used foodbank data from the Trussell Trust, the only source of routinely collected surveillance for the past decade’.

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2016-10-27-strong-link-between-increased-benefit-sanctions-and-higher-foodbank-use

[145] https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/sites/default/files/pdf/holesinthesafetynet.pdf

[146] http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7251/CBP-7251.pdf

[147] Currently £73.10 for people aged 25 and over.

[148] http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7649/CBP-7649.pdf

[149] http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/uploads/documents/Parli_Briefings/Welfare%20Reform%20and%20Work%20Bill%20Lords%20Report%20Stage%20Briefing%20Clauses%2011%20to%2014%20FINAL.pdf

[150] https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-11-30/debates/7E82E75D-63A3-460C-952E-0B29BE98620B/ESAAndPersonalIndependencePayments

[151] http://www.mind.org.uk/media/3170647/esa-wrag-review-december-2015.pdf

[152] For more detail on this see section on ESA WRAG cut in Inclusion London response to the green paper: https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/employment/improving-lives-work-health-disability-green-paper-inclusion-londons-response/

[153] http://www.mind.org.uk/media/3170647/esa-wrag-review-december-2015.pdf

[154] https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2016-03-21.31811.h&s=speaker%3A24778#g31811.r0

[155] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/564759/benefit-cap-statistics-to-august-2016.pdf

[156]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/443195/Policy_costings_summer_budget_2015.pdf

[157] https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2017-01-09.59210.h&s=speaker%3A10596#g59210.q0

[158] https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/facts-and-information/employment/improving-lives-work-health-disability-green-paper-inclusion-londons-response/

[159] PIP originally expected to reduce working-age DLA caseloads and expenditure by 20%, giving savings of around £1.5 billion a year by 2016/17. Estimates published by DWP, December 2012 suggested by 2018, around 607,000 fewer people would receive PIP than would have got DLA (a 28% reduction in the caseload). DWP also estimated once fully introduced, 428,000 fewer people would qualify for enhanced mobility rate than would have qualified for the higher rate DLA mobility component. http://hqnetwork.co.uk/document/6365 Page 29

Latest statistics published by DWP up to October 2016 show between the introduction of PIP in April 2013 and October 2016, there were:  2,255,500 registrations (this figure includes new claimants and DLA reassessments); 2,042,500 clearances; 1,091,200 claims in payment. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/577399/pip-statistics-to-october-2016.pdf

[160] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/577399/pip-statistics-to-october-2016.pdf

[161] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunals-and-gender-recognition-certificate-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2016

[162] 299,900 related to new claims, and 168,000 to reassessed DLA claims. Only 42,400 (15%) led to a change in new claimant’s awards, and 32,200 (22%) MRs for reassessed DLA claimants led to a change in award.  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/577399/pip-statistics-to-october-2016.pdf Page 5

[163] http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/hansard/20002020/2017-NN-0013.pdf Table SSCS.2

[164]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/538836/decision-making-and-mandatory-reconsideration-ssac-op18.pdf

[165] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33020987

[166] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmpubacc/727/727.pdf

[167] http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/pip-reassessments-mean-35000-will-lose-motability-vehicles-in-2016/

[168]https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/sites/default/files/word/DR%20UK%20response%20to%20%20Second%20Independent%20Review%20of%20PIP.docx.

[169] Westminster Hall Debate on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence payment (PIP), 30 November 2016: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2016-11-30/debates/7E82E75D-63A3-460C-952E-0B29BE98620B/ESAAndPersonalIndependencePayments

[170] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/387981/pip-assessment-first-independent-review.pdf

[171] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/593392/pip-assessment-criteria-equality-analysis.pdf

[172] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/conservatives-halt-pip-disability-payments-160000-people-1608554

[173] Annex outlining key concerns – UKIM Letter to the Minister of State for Disabled People https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-human-rights-work/monitoring-and-promoting-un-treaties/un-convention-rights-persons-disabilities

[174] http://www.in-control.org.uk/news/in-control-news/report-on-the-independent-living-survey-2016.aspx

[175] https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/immoral-capita-offered-200-bonuses-to-social-workers-to-slash-care-packages/

[176]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/373860/response/903991/attach/html/2/WSCC%20Response%20751900.docx.html

[177] http://chrishatton.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/the-riddle-of-model.html?m=1

[178] https://www.habinteg.org.uk/download.cfm?doc=docm93jijm4n1390.pdf&ver

[179] http://www.lse.ac.uk/website-archive/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2016/07/1.8-million-disabled-people-struggling-to-find-accessible-housing.aspx

[180] http://www.housinglin.org.uk/_library/Resources/Housing/OtherOrganisation/Housing-adaptations-briefing-final.pdf

[181] http://www.transportforall.org.uk/news/shocking-upsurge-in-tube-lift-closures-due-to-shortage-of-trained-staff-

[182] https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rssb-admits-doo-trains-disadvantage-disabled-passengers/

[183] http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7845/CBP-7845.pdf

http://www.ippr.org/publications/welfare-earnback

https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2014/january/work-programme-still-fails-disabled-people

[184]https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmpublic/care/140109/pm/140109s01.htm

[185] https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2014-0125-judgment.pdf

[186] http://www.cafamily.org.uk/news-and-media/new-housing-benefit-regulations-wont-help-all-disabled-children-unable-to-share-a-bedroom/

http://www.itv.com/news/story/2013-03-08/mencap-bedroom-tax-david-cameron-campaign/

[187] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/13/local-housing-allowance-cap-evictions-hostels-supported-housing

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/15/housing-benefit-cap-exemptions-hostels-supported-housing-uk-government

[188] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-20078999

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-34548638

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10865390/NHS-breaks-promise-after-Winterbourne-View-scandal.html

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/nhs-long-stay-closures-are-too-little-and-too-late/

[189] https://www.nao.org.uk/report/care-services-for-people-with-learning-disabilities-and-challenging-behaviour/

[190] http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB20247/ld-census-further-sep15-rep.pdf

[191] https://www.ndti.org.uk/news/national-development-team-for-inclusion-responds-to-building-the-right-supp

[192] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/475155/Gvt_Resp_Acc.pdf

[193] http://www.itv.com/news/2017-02-03/shocking-numbers-of-police-incidents-involved-mental-health/

The individual in this report is a Deaf man: http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/health/mental_health_patient_kept_in_norfolk_police_cell_for_three_days_1_4884371

[194] A good over-view is presented in this House of Commons Briefing paper: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN03011/SN03011.pdf

[195] DCLG (2011) Disabled Facilities Grant allocation methodology and means test: Final report, London: DCLG.  http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/pdf/1850571.pdf

[196] The Papworth Trust – Home Solutions to our Care Crisis (2013) http://www.papworthtrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/homesolutionstoourcarecrisis_121113100850.pdf

[197] http://www.foundations.uk.com/media/4665/dfg-report-final-interactive-converted-draft-6-small.pdf

[198] Research by LSE showed that 1.8 million disabled people have an unmet housing need: https://www.habinteg.org.uk/hidden-housing-market

[199] http://www.leonardcheshire.org/sites/default/files/Leonard-Cheshire-Disability-The-Long-Wait-for-a-Home.pdf

[200] http://www.housinglin.org.uk/_library/Resources/Housing/OtherOrganisation/Making_a_House_a_Home.pdf

[201] UN CRPD Article 27

[202] There have been various attempts initiated by civil society to research what this could look like. For example, https://www.rethinkingincapacity.org/author/ben/ and a research project currently under-way led by Stef Benstead at Ekklesia (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/).

[203] Annex outlining key concerns: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-human-rights-work/monitoring-and-promoting-un-treaties/un-convention-rights-persons-disabilities

[204] http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7729

[205] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/564038/work-and-health-green-paper-improving-lives.pdf

 Posted by at 18:43
Feb 232017
 

ALLFIE’s February Briefing and call for action

We need your stories about disabled children and young people’s experience of attending residential special schools and colleges. We are responding to The Lenehan review of experiences and outcomes in residential special schools and colleges.

ALLFIE’s February Briefing and call for action

Posted by: Alliance for Inclusive Education in DDPO news on 16 February 2017

Please see ALLFIE’s latest campaigns briefing: ALLFIE’s February 2017 Campaign Briefing – No.53

CALL FOR ACTION: 

Responding to The Lenehan review of experiences and outcomes in residential special schools and colleges

We need your stories about disabled children and young people’s experience of attending residential special schools and colleges.

We are also interested in hearing from disabled children and young people and parents who have been pressurised by their local authority (or resisted the pressure) to consider a residential special school or college placement.

Does your local authority have a residential school or college placement policy that we should know about?

Please contact us if you can help us – we need your response by Deadline 1st March 2017.   For further information please see our briefing.  

Please contact me if you would like more information.

In solidarity

Simone Aspis

Campaigns and Policy Co-ordinator
Alliance for Inclusive Education
Tel: 020 7737 6030
Email: simone.aspis@allfie.org.uk
Website: www.allfie.org.uk

 Posted by at 12:52
Feb 142017
 

 

The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “Force the government to act on the eleven recommendations of the UNCRPD report”.

Government responded:

This Government engaged fully with the inquiry process. However, we strongly reject the findings and believe that the core intentions of many of the recommendations are already being fulfilled.

This Government engaged fully with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Convention) inquiry process. In their report, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee) expressed appreciation for our support throughout the process, which included facilitating a visit to the UK and providing written evidence on numerous occasions.

On receipt of the report, we considered the findings alongside our own evidence. In making this comparison, it was clear that there were individual facts in the report that were incorrect. Additionally, the report failed to place the reforms investigated in the wider context of improvements made and the support available. For example, in discussing Article 27 ‘Work and Employment’, the report barely mentions the raft of work-related support available to disabled people and therefore presents a highly partial view.

The UK supported the development of the Convention and was among the first countries to sign it in 2007. Our approach to disability equality, which focuses on inclusion and mainstreaming (with additional support provided as necessary) and on involving disabled people in decision-making, is very much aligned with the Convention. The report itself recognised that “at a national level, it appears that the welfare system together with a social and health care system provide a solid base for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities and that the system has allowed persons with disabilities to achieve an acceptable level of autonomy and
DWP E-Petitions Response independence”. It also recognised measures to reinforce choice and control in the UK through the increased personalisation and localisation of services.

This Government considered the recommendations made by the Committee. Many of the recommendations promote approaches and actions that we already take, such as actively engaging disabled people in policy design and delivery. Others promote actions that the UK Government has already identified as areas for improvement; the Government response sets out some of the work being done across the UK to ensure progress in these areas, such as increasing the accessibility of information and tackling negative attitudes towards disabled people. Several recommendations are prescriptive in nature, sighting specific methodologies that should be implemented. The UK is committed to meeting its obligations of progressing towards the full participation and inclusion of disabled people in all aspects of life on an equal basis. However, how we ensure this progression remains for the UK Government, and the wider parliament, to decide.

The UK is a strong parliamentary democracy, where the voices and opinions of disabled people are represented and listened to, and disabled people’s rights are respected, promoted and upheld. It is also a world leader in disability issues. We are proud of the work we do to support people with disabilities and health conditions, both domestically and abroad. And we believe that the core intentions of the recommendations are already incorporated into UK policies and practices, and delivered in a way that fits with the values and structures particular to the UK.

However, we do recognise that there is more to do to meet the Convention’s ambition of full participation and inclusion, and this Government is committed to continuing progress towards this. Taking employment as an example, our aspiration is for disabled people to get the same opportunities as others to find work while ensuring that people who cannot work because of a disability or health condition receive the support they need. That is why this Government is committed to, and working towards, halving the disability employment gap. The ‘Improving Lives’ Green Paper seeks views on how to ensure that health and welfare systems support people who can work with better opportunities to stay in employment, while protecting people who can’t work, with a view to meeting the Government’s ambition.

This Government champions work because of its power to transform people’s lives. We strongly believe that, though welfare provides necessary social protection, it is not the only way to help disabled people live independent, inclusive lives in which they can fulfil their potential. Implementing the Convention articles requires more than higher welfare payments. It requires society-wide shifts in attitudes and behaviours, innovative approaches to health provision, and concerted efforts to break down persistent barriers preventing disabled people from living independently, working, and enjoying full inclusion in their communities. This Government remains committed to working across government and sectors to ensure that these changes take place, supporting disabled people in the UK to fully participate in all aspects of life on an equal basis.

Department for Work and Pensions

Click this link to view the response online:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/172393?reveal_response=yes

The Petitions Committee will take a look at this petition and its response. They can press the government for action and gather evidence. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the Committee will consider it for a debate.

The Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government. Find out more about the Committee: https://petition.parliament.uk/help#petitions-committee

Thanks,
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament

 

 Posted by at 12:54
Feb 132017
 

Unite Community (Coventry and Warwickshire Branch) along with co-sponsor UCU and supporting organisations Peoples Assembly and Coventry Recovery Centre will be screening the film I Daniel Blake.

Our aim is to raise awareness of the sanctions regime in the benefits system and to highlight the desperation and indignity that this imposes on thousands of people in Britain today.

The theatre will open at 18.00 and we advise that you be seated by 18.05 The film will start at 18.15 and lasts for 1 hour 40 minutes.

After the film there will be a question and answer session in the theatre led by the director of the film Ken Loach, which everyone watching the film is invited to. The Q&A session will last approximately 1 hour.

 

DATE AND TIME

Wed 22 February 2017

18:00 – 21:00 GMT

Add to Calendar

LOCATION

The Goldstein Lecture Theatre

Alan Berry Room

Coventry University, Jordan

Coventry

CV1 5FB

 

There are limited numbers of tickets available. To book tickets  and advise on access needs please email us at mail@dpac.uk.net

 Posted by at 19:50
Feb 132017
 

Meme for the Southampton Protest#CareHomesStink

 

#RightsNotTelecare

 

#SupportNotCuts

 

Details of the Protest in Southampton & Online

 

This letter has come from the leader of the council.


Dear Tim,
I appreciate that some of you prefer to demonstrate against the Labour Council rather than the Tory government. But if you are going to do this please have the decent thing and contact us and check whether the thing you are demonstrating against is true. I know we are in the era of ‘alternative’ truth and ‘false news but we do expect you to know better.

The Facts
1. The Care act came in in April last year and requires us to complete annual reviews of all those in receipt of a care package. This created an additional burden on our already stretched social workers. It was proposed and approved that the Council employ through Capita additional social workers to carry out these reviews.
2. No instruction was issued with regard to the outcome of these reviews. No incentive was given to Capita to save money we simply wanted the reviews done.
3. Capita were unable to recruit enough Social workers to complete the work and an offer was made to the ones they had to work some weekends for an extra payment (£200).
4. The vast majority of these reviews (all of which were carried out by fully qualified and registered social workers) lead to no change. Some were adjusted to change the way a service was delivered using modern technologies and these have lead to a saving to the Council. A saving that means less jobs will be cut this year and less other services reduced.
5. An appeals process exists with these assessments’ which has been used by precisely zero clients.
6. As part of our arrangement with Capita we are gradually taking over this work with our in house team working alongside Capita employees. We expect in due course to take over all these reviews.

These are the facts – so please tell me what you are demonstrating about.

Simon


So if those are the facts why do the leaked emails say – either the Labour council leader has no idea about what is happening in Southampton or -well – or he’s just downright lying. Take your pick.

1) From Sue Thomas, sent 15/9/16

Hi All,

The cavalry is on the way!!!

Have just heard from Adam Tait we have 3 new colleagues joining us on Monday, pulling the stops out to make sure they can ‘hit the road’ with you with the minim delay.

Adam is also suggesting some incentives for the Team. He is well aware of some of the difficulties we have had, and that you are giving me the best performance you are able.

But, now we need MORE!! The suggestions below are  cut & paste from Adams e-mail to me.

FROM ADAM’S E-MAIL

I’m not sure how weekend working might go down with the existing team (as a one off) but if we included these days we have an extra 4 days available for eight of the team people and two available for 11 of the team until we have TIB on 27th September. I would suggest we offer an extra incentive if any of the team are prepared to work these weekends or part of…. starting this weekend. It’s short notice but if we paid their existing rate at time and half or double time you may get some take up? I’m not sure if we would need to report these days within the MI suite but that’s not my call. An alternative might be payment of increased hours worked in the week. Again as a one off.

In addition, as the next week or so is so critical I am happy to roll out an extra incentive scheme at the earliest point whereby if a person manages to improve their performance by x% from the previous 4 week average they receive a £y bonus. 10% = £100, 20% = £200 etc. This can be measured across both productivity levels and the savings achieved. If one person improves their productivity by 20% and savings by 20% they receive a £400 bonus.

AGREED WEEK-END RATE TIME & HALF

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AND CONTACT ME NO LATER THAN 5PM WITH YOUR RESPONSE (EVEN IF YIOU ARE NOT INTERESTED) THIS IS NOT A LONG TERM COMMITMENT – IT’S EMERGENCY FIRST AID TO ENSURE OUR SURVIVAL!!!!

If you want to discuss with me you’ve got my numbers.

Regards – Sue

Sue Thomas – Lead Practitioner,

Capita Review Team,

Adult Social Care,

Southampton City Council,

Southampton SO14 7LY


2) From Sue Thomas, 8 November 2016:

Good Morning,

Another late night last night – Conference Call. Followed by several hours ‘bashing my brains’ for answers.

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY – THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT

As you know our Productivity and the Financial Efficiencies we are making are under  great scrutiny.

Looking at all the figures in the Reports last night it was very clear that both Productivity and Efficiencies have fallen dramatically.

The senior managers who are leading this transformation want to know why it appears we are failing to realise the results in service delivery and savings they anticipated

By commissioning this Project. They in turn are being asked to explain to Councillors of SCC.

Issues such as changes to the Team, Reduced size of Team, Annual Leave, Bank Holidays etc. have all been taken into account but things still don’t add up.

I have stressed how hard you are all working – but we don’t appear to be getting the results we had during the Pilots.

As I said at the Team Meeting yesterday I think it may be about the ways in which we are working – IF IT’S NOT ABOUT HARD WORK, IT MUST BE ABOUT SMART WORK!!!

I HAVE PUT MY NECK ON ‘THE CHOPPING BLOCK’ – YOU HAVE PRODUCED THE RESULTS BEFORE, I KNOW YOU CAN AND I BELIEVE YOU WILL DELIVER THE RESULTS REQUIRED.

NOW I HAVE TO PUT MY MONEY WHERE MY MOUTH IS – PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!

REMINDERS

  • BE ASSERTIVE WHEN MAKING APPOINTMENTS – SCC ARE REQUITRED BY LAW TO COMPLETE THESE ASSESSMENTS/REVIEWS (NEW LEGISLATION 2014)
  • AS MANY VISITS AS POSSIBLE BEGINNING OF THE WEEK – WEDNESDAY PM – RECORDING
  • CASE ‘OPEN’ DAY OF VISIT – MINIMISES DAYS CASE LEFT OPEN (ASSUMING INACTIVE/UNPRODUCTIVE)
  • CLOSE WHEN ANY REFERRALS HAVE BEEN MADE (MAX 2 DAYS)
  • L.D WILL TAKE A LITTLE LONGER – THIS IS RECOGNISED BY ALL.
  • 15 min. CALL OUT!! TELECARE –IN!!
  • ASSESS NEED NOT WANT.
  • ACTIVELY ENCOURAGE DIRECT PAYMENTS
  • CAREFUL ATTENTION WHEN RECORDING WORK SHEETS, YOUR WORK SHEETS INFORM THE WEEKLY REPORTS FOR THE DECISION MAKERS – DON’T SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FEET!!
  • THE WORK SHEET IS CHANGING THIS WEEK PLEASE TAKE EXTRA CARE.

THINK ABOUT ASSET BASED ASSESSMENT, FOR THOSE OF YOU NOT FAMILIAR  I WILL BE SENDING INFORMATION.

We don’t have very much time to turn this situation around. if we can’t/don’t do it all the hard work you have put in so far will have been for nothing.

Not to put too fine a point on things WE ARE ALL ON THE WAY HOME.

I AM NOT ASKING YOU TO STAND BEHIND, ME I’M ASKING YOU TO STAND BESIDE ME SO WE CAN BRING THIS PROJECT TO A SUCCESSFUL (FOR ALL OF US!!) CONCLUSION TOGETHER.

Regards – Sue

Sue Thomas – Project Lead Practitioner,

Capita Review Team,

Adult Social Care,

Southampton City Council,

Southampton SO14 7LY


DPAC’s response to Simon:

  1. Capita offered their staff bonuses of up to £400 to cut people’s packages (Capita said  that this was never introduced but they haven’t denied that they made the offer).
  2. Capita’s freelance social workers were paid more than £1,000 a week (after tax) and put up in three-star hotels while they were encouraged to cut people’s packages.
  3. The emails clearly show that they were asked by the council to produce savings (ie cuts).
  4. The Council Leader says “. Some were adjusted to change the way a service was delivered using modern technologies and these have lead to a saving to the Council.” We do not believe Telecare is an acceptable alternative to human support and nor are packs of incontinence pads. If the council leader thinks the following email from a Capita manager is acceptable, then he should be ashamed of himself and needs to resign: The manager suggested an “extra incentive” for the team if they could improve on their previous “performance” and suggested that the bonus “can be measured across both productivity levels and the savings achieved. If one person improves their productivity by 20 per cent and savings by 20 per cent they receive a £400 bonus.” The council never commented on the ‘extra incentive’ email,  we can’t think why not.
  5. Does he also think the other email that was sent by capita to their team is acceptable? “The senior managers [from the council] who are leading this transformation want to know why it appears we are failing to realise the results in service delivery and savings they anticipated by commissioning this project. They in turn are being asked to explain to Councillors of SCC [Southampton City Council].”
  6. Another thing to note is that the whistle-blower said that it was the service-users with no support networks to advocate on their behalf with the council who were often the ones who were having their packages cut. This might explain why there have not been any appeals (if that’s true).
  7. I suspect that, if you take away the care packages that included residential care (which are almost impossible to cut), the proportion of direct payments packages that were cut is significant.
  8. I notice the council leader says that ‘No incentive was given to Capita to save money’. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t tell Capita that they wanted them to save money (which they did). My understanding is that Capita knew they would lose the contract if they didn’t make those savings. That seems like an incentive to me…
 Posted by at 14:24
Jan 272017
 

The BBC would like to interview someone in the West Midlands ideally Monday January 30th who has been reassessed by Maximus and moved from the Support Group to WRAG after their assessment.

This is in relation to a report that is coming out next week from the DWP select committee.

If anyone can help please contact Anne Delaney anne.delaney@bbc.co.uk

Tel. 07740818333 directly.

 Posted by at 13:41
Jan 222017
 

If anyone is coming to the event about the UN inquiry on January 24th the venue is now Committee room 12 in House of Commons and no longer in the Wilson room, Portcullis House. Time is still 2.30 pm start but time to get through security is likely to be longer.

 Posted by at 20:13
Jan 192017
 

Blakeway Productions is making a Channel 4 programme looking at the impact that the new benefit cap will have on households. We are keen to speak to people who have been told that they will be capped. At this stage it would be for an initial chat which wouldn’t mean definitely being included in the programme.
Call or text Bethan for more information on: 07786 901026
Blakeway will process personal data in accordance with their privacy policy.

 Posted by at 17:57
Jan 132017
 

A brief look at Stephen Duckworth’s career. He’s being nominated for another honour and details of where to send any recommendations re-Stephen’s honour are at the end of this outline of his work with New Deal for disabled people, Serco, Capita and now the Shaw Trust. He is also an advisor for the new Work and Health unit. Please feel free to respond as you see fit.

Articles

Why Britain should expect more from the disabled for their own good, by the paralysed doctor in charge of assessing benefits claims

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2415778/Paralysed-Dr-Stephen-Duckworth-Why-Britain-expect-disabled-good.html#ixzz4VgCc7zkV

Stephen Duckworth: ‘The new disability benefit is enabling’.  The new head of Capita’s personal independence payments says disabled people must be central to the process

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/mar/05/stephen-duckworth-new-disability-benefit

 


Stephen Duckworth OBE, PhD, MSc, LRCP, MRCS, FDSRCS

Berkeley House, Rectory Hill, West Tytherley, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP5 1NF

Profile

Results orientated and innovative strategic thinker with sound independent judgement.  Leader with exceptional interpersonal skills combined with the ability and a willingness to influence, challenge and probe.  Keen analytical mind that revels in new concepts. Strong national and international connections with the UN, WHO, International Labour Organisation, World Bank and International Disability Alliance. Personal values driven by integrity and ethical standards combined with a strong sense of fun. 

Shaw Trust

2015 –            Shaw Trust: Chair, Programme Board – Rehabilitation International Global Congress on Disability and Inclusion, Edinburgh 2016. This attracted over 1000 people from 68 countries with 200 speakers and 7 Ministers. Currently working with Ministers in China and India having previously developed a new approach to disruptive innovation that has now become known as frugal innovation allowing ideas from low income countries to be adopted by higher income countries. 

Capita plc

2014 –            Capita, Director – Disability Assessment Services

2012 – 2014  Managing Director – Health & Disability Assessment Service covering  Wales, the Midlands and Northern Ireland with job based in London

Serco plc

2012–2012    Strategic Development Director – responsible for the company’s relationship with the Heart of Government.

2011-2012     Director, Serco Institute that aims to foster the development of sustainable public service markets through an outward-facing programme of research and communication.

2010-2011     Strategic Development Director, Serco Welfare to Work, supporting a 45 strong business development team to secure £210 million of business (Work Programme) to help disadvantaged people return to work.

2009-2010     Director West Midlands Flexible New Deal, Welfare to Work. Responsible for £20 million annual contract supporting over 5,000 long-term unemployed jobseekers to return to sustainable employment.

Non-Executive Positions

  • Adviser to the Minister for Disabled People supporting the establishment of the Joint Work and Health Unit (2016 – ongoing)
  • Association Member BUPA (2015 – ongoing)
  • Commissioner – Commission on Assisted Dying Chaired by Lord Faulkner (2010 – 2011)
  • Board Member Olympic Delivery Authority £9.2 billion budget Board Champion for Equality and Diversity, Chair Health, Safety and Environment Committee (2006 – 2012).
  • Board Member National Quality Board Chaired by David Nicholson DoH (2009 – 2010).
  • NED Business Link in London (2009-2010)
  • External Member – Disability Equality Delivery Board Chaired by Sue Owen, Director General, DWP working across government departments to achieve Equality for Disabled People by 2025 (2009 – 2012)
  • Adviser to the Secretary of the State, Minister for Welfare Reform and Minister for Disabled People (2005-7) to initiate the restructuring of the employment service provision for disabled people.
  • NED – Route2Mobility Ltd a FSA regulated company providing ethical finance to disabled customers (2003 -2009).
  • Member of the Council of the University of Southampton (1999-2007)

1999-2004     Initiated and designed and Award Winning New Deal for Disabled People return to work programme – The Gateway Partnership and developed a Project Lead Recruitment Process in partnership with the Employers Forum on Disability and Centrica. Continue to lead organic growth to establish a business with a turnover in excess of £2 million.

 

 

Honours Research <honours.research2017@gmail.com>

Subject: Stephen DuckworthDear Colleague

You may know Stephen Duckworth quite well or may have only met him once. More about his background is in the attached CV – the incredible thing is that he broke his neck in a rugby accident aged 21 and is more or less completely paralysed.

I have been commissioned to gather supporting evidence about his suitability for a higher Honour’s Award. In 1994 at 34 years of age he became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire and was presented with his OBE by the Queen. Subject to other information gathered he will be considered for a CBE or Knighthood.

Please treat this email strictly confidentially as neither he nor his immediate family know about this approach to you. I have managed to track down your address through a former secretary and hope you do not mind me contacting you. The application is being sponsored by a member of the House of Lords

I am attaching the template for a letter of support that should make your life much easier to complete and send back to me as an attachment to an email. I hope you won’t mind spending a few minutes to do this over the festive season. The awards process generally takes 12-18 months so I would appreciate you replying as soon as possible.

I have been advised that he recently organised an International World Conference on disability and rehabilitation and is hoping to be supporting projects in China, India and Africa over the next few years. If you feel he deserves the higher award then I would be grateful if you could emphasise his national and international activities as this will prove to be very helpful.

Many thanks indeed in anticipation of a positive response. I hope that you will be able to get back to me early in the New Year or at the very latest by the end of January 2017.

Lisa Coleman

Research Assistant

Independent Honours Research

For Further Information

The Honours System https://www.gov.uk/hono urs/types-of-honours-and-award s

 

 

 

 Posted by at 21:05
Jan 132017
 

reblogged from Transport for All (mostly)

Wheelchair-user Doug Paulley had successfully sued First Bus Group in 2013 after he had been denied access to one of their buses because a bus driver didn’t enforce priority in the wheelchair space and a buggy owner refused to make room for him. But this decision was overturned by the Appeal Court in November 2014. The Supreme Court will now give their verdict on Wednesday.

After months of waiting, the judgment in Doug Paulley’s case vs First Bus Group is finally to be handed down at the Supreme Court next Wednesday January 18th at 9.45am. 

As you may know their decision could have wide implications for wheelchair and mobility scooter users who want to travel by bus in the UK. If the original verdict in Mr Paulley’s favour is upheld by the Supreme Court, then the requirement in law to give a wheelchair/mobility scooter user access to the wheelchair space will be absolutely undeniable, and all bus companies will have to enforce it. This is the reason why Transport for All has supported Doug from the beginning.

On this day, we would like to gather with as many Disabled and older people as possible to show First Bus Group that disabled people everywhere are standing up for our right to ride.
Join us to show our support for Doug Paulley on this historic day.

 

WHEN: 9am, Wednesday 18th January 2017
WHERE: In front of the Supreme Court 
(nearest accessible Tube station is Westminster. Buses: 148, 211).

 

Please email Raphael if you would like to join the rally:

raphael@transportforall.org.uk

Please note that at 9.45am, one of the Justices will deliver a brief summary of the Court’s decision lasting around five minutes. Due to the appalling access at the High Court the number of spaces for wheelchair users is unfortunately very limited. On top of the space booked for people who’ve got a close connection to this case, there are an extra 6 places available which will be allocated via ballot by the Supreme Court .

 Posted by at 16:14
Jan 052017
 
 Posted by at 15:40
Jan 052017
 

If anyone is willing to help with either of these requests please contact the relevant person directly.

Loss of Motability Vehicles 

I’m a TV producer based in Southampton looking into PIP and Motability.  I’m looking for someone to film who is having to hand back a car and would like to speak to people who might be affected by this especially anyone willing to be filmed when their car is removed.

Feel free to circulate this email.

Jane Goddard

Assistant Editor Inside Out South

jane.goddard@bbc.co.uk

BBC South, Havelock Road, Southampton, SO14 7PU – 07740 732402

Removal of Benefits from people

My name is Jemma and I am a Producer making a BBC Three documentary with Stephen Manderson, also known as Professor Green, exploring the issue of families raising children with low incomes across the UK. I came across your campaign group in my research and I am hoping you may be able to help. Stephen Manderson, grew up in Hackney and is an award winning rap artist and documentary filmmaker. The film we are making follows on from the success of his recent BBC Three documentaries: ‘Suicide and Me’ about his personal experience of losing his father to suicide and ‘Hidden and Homeless’. In this new documentary, Professor Green will set out to understand the experience of families facing hardship in the UK. As an important part of Stephen’s journey we would like to speak to families with children who feel their benefits status or payments shifted at a time when they were unwell or vulnerable. I completely appreciate the sensitivities around this area as many have lost loved ones which is heart breaking and I understand even more so where they feel they have been let down by the benefits system. I would like to open up a conversation with you at DPAC to see if you may be able to help us reach out to families who might be open to having an initial chat about their experiences with the DWP? If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact me on the below numbers or via email. I very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jemma Gander Producer The Garden One America Street London SE1 0NE T: +44 (0) 20 7620 6734 F: +44 (0) 20 7620 6724 M: + 44 (0) 784 000 3976 E: jemma.gander@thegardenproductions.tv

 Posted by at 14:55
Jan 022017
 

Basic Income:

Progressive Dreams Meet Neoliberal Realities

John Clarke

Up until now, the concept of Basic Income (BI) has enjoyed a greater history of being proposed than of being implemented. We may well be approaching a period, however, when this changes. The Ontario Government is holding consultations on setting up a BI pilot project. The Legislature in another Canadian Province, Prince Edward Island, has agreed to test out a version of BI. Pilot projects are also impending in Finland, the Netherlands and Scotland.

Raise the Rates

Basic Income has been suggested in an exceptionally wide range of forms, often with completely different objectives in mind. In fact, we can draw a line between the models that are concerned with improving lives and raising living standards and those that are focused on intensifying the capacity for capitalist exploitation. Among those in the ‘progressive’ category there is considerable diversity. There’s the ‘universal demogrant’ that provides an income to everyone and the concept of a ‘negative income tax’ involving some level of means test. BI proposals come from liberal quarters that are responsibly redistributive, reduce poverty and inequality and ease up on bureaucratic intrusion. The above mentioned proposal for an Ontario pilot project would be part of this camp. Then there are the models that have more radical, transformative objectives in mind. These suggest that BI could be used to take from employers the power of economic coercion itself by severing the link between work and income. Often such ideas are tied to the notion of preparing for sweeping technological displacement and a ‘workless future’ by providing secure, adequate and unconditional income. Given the vast extent to which forms of unpaid labour are performed by women in this society, it is hardly surprising that there are also feminist arguments for BI.

I have to say that the one really common thread that I see running through all of the notions of a progressive BI is that they pay great attention to explaining how nice their systems would be but give little if any thought to the concrete prospects of implementation. Before looking further at these deficiencies and proposing an alternative approach, it might be useful to consider more seriously the neoliberal version that is hanging like a sword over all our heads.

Neoliberal Version

The deeply reactionary ideas of Charles Murray have extended to some very sinister proposals for BI. There are two basic elements that shape his system. Firstly, the universal payment, after the compulsory purchase of private health insurance, is set at the dreadfully low amount of $10,000 a year. Secondly, he is utterly insistent that all other systems of provision must be dismantled as a BI is put in place. Canada’s right wing Fraser Institute, recently used its blog to stress the same points as Murray, making clear that the level of provision must not interfere with the supply of low waged workers.

If governments today, as they intensify the neoliberal agenda, are starting to consider the possibilities of BI, I see three factors at work. Firstly, there is the not unimportant issue of legitimacy. Particularly because they are being provided with a generous amount of ‘progressive’ cover, they are able to present their deliberations on BI as a responsible weighing of the common good. The Ontario Liberals stand out as international champions in this regard. Their BI pilot project consultations, have enabled them to put in place yet another round of fake dialogue, with the empty promise of a “better way” diverting attention as they push people even deeper into poverty. The World Bank and the IMF have been worrying out loud about the backlash against their austerity agenda and its devastating impacts. That IMF economists are themselves musing about BI, is perhaps significant in this regard. It advances their agenda but can be dressed up to look progressive. It may be the best thing for the institutions of global capitalism since the myth of ‘poverty reduction’.

The second element of BI that I think is of interest to the architects of neoliberalism is that it can fine tune economic coercion as they create an ever more elastic workforce based on the most precarious forms of employment. The income support systems that emerged out of the Poor Law tradition, stressed intense restrictions and moral policing. Along with horribly inadequate benefit levels, this has been very useful in driving people into low waged work to an unprecedented extent. It may, however, be time to rethink this to a degree. If people are moving between poverty wages and poverty level benefits more frequently in a precarious job market, perhaps they can be more effectively prodded into the worst jobs with less intrusive benefit systems. A less rule bound delivery of poverty income, that gives people a chance of retaining their housing, may be needed to keep them job ready. Linked to this, of course, is the huge boost to the employers of a BI system that constitutes a form of wage top up. Provided the payment is meagre, it will not impede the flow of low paid workers but it will mean that their employers receive a subsidy that absolves them from having to pay living wages or come under pressure to increase the amount they do provide.

Thirdly, the great advantage of neoliberal BI is that the inadequate and dwindling payment it provides turns those who receive it into customers in the marketplace. In my opinion, BI would be far from the best way to strengthen the social infrastructure at any time but in the context of an intensifying agenda of austerity and privatization, it is a recipe for disaster. It’s really about the commodification of social provision. Your payment may actually be less conditional and somewhat larger but, as you shop through the privatized remains of the social infrastructure, with inadequate means and very few rights, you are dramatically worse off. That, in my view, is what is being prepared by those who will actually implement a system of BI and the hopes and wishes to the contrary of its progressive advocates don’t count for very much.

Progressive Dreams

I said previously that proposals for redistributive or transformative models of BI are generally marked by a tendency to focus on the desirability of what is being advanced while paying much less attention to actual prospects for implementation. I’ve yet to see, quite bluntly, any serious attempt to assess what stands in the way of a progressive BI and what can be done to bring it into existence. It simply isn’t enough to explain how just and fair a given model would be if it could be adopted. In order to credibly advance BI as the solution, there are some questions that must be settled.

Firstly, income support systems came into being because, while employers welcome an oversupply of labour and the desperation that comes with it as something that boosts their bargaining power, the total abandonment of the jobless creates social unrest. Some measure of income support, provided as a reluctant concession, has proved to be necessary. However, the systems of provision that have been put in place have always been as inadequate as possible so as to undermine employer strength as little as possible. A widely delivered or even universal adequate payment would greatly tilt that balance back the other way. What reason is there to think that this is likely to be implemented?

Secondly, over the last several decades, concessions made during the post war years have been taken back. Trade unions have been weakened, workers’ rights undermined and low waged work has increased considerably. The degrading of income support systems has been central to creating the climate of desperation needed to achieve this. Not only have benefits for the unemployed been attacked but other systems, especially for disabled people have been undermined so as to generate a scramble for the worst jobs. This has led to a shift in the balance of forces in society and we are fighting a largely defensive struggle. Given this very unfavourable situation, in which unions and movements are not in the ascendancy, how can it be supposed that those profiting from the present situation are likely to accept a measure of redistributive social reform that is at least as sweeping as anything put in place during the post war boom? What is the plan to make this happen?

Thirdly, as right wing governments and political parties directly linked to the most reactionary business interests consider BI and set up pilot projects that provide meagre payments and focus on how to ensure people on social benefits become low waged workers, what reason is there to imagine that a progressive BI, rather than the neoliberal variant, is being cooked up?

Regardless of these issues, it is sometimes asserted that an adequate system of provision must be put in place simply because we are moving toward a “workless future.” In such a society, it is suggested, masses of people who have been displaced will have to be provided for and the capitalists will have to think like Elon Musk, of Tesla Motors and support BI because it is the only sensible and rational solution. To imagine such responsible provision for the future is to place undue faith in a system based on the making of profit. If they won’t stop building pipelines in the face of environmental catastrophe, there’s little reason to expect them to worry too much about sensible solutions to technological displacement. There simply is no post-capitalist capitalism and no social policy innovation that is going to bring it about.

At a recent panel on Basic Income that I spoke at, the moderator posed a challenge. She accepted that BI might not be a way forward but asked, if that were so, what “bold vision” could be advanced in its place. It’s a fair question but a realistic appraisal of what we are up against is still obligatory, even if that has some sobering aspects to it. The great problem that we have is that the neoliberal years have done a lot of damage. The level of exploitation has been increased and working class movements have been weakened. While what we demand and aspire to is very important, the bigger question is what we can win. What’s disturbing about the left wing turn to BI is that is seems to think there is a social policy end run around the realities of neoliberalism and the need to resist it. There is no such thing.

British Labour Party and BI

With very good reason, there has been considerable excitement internationally around the Jeremy Corbyn leadership in the British Labour Party. His close ally, Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has been paying some attention to adopting BI, as part of a platform that would express a break with the austerity consensus. McDonnell, from a position on the left of a major social democratic party, raises the possibility of a ‘best case scenario’ for progressive BI. For that very reason, the question is posed of whether the ‘bold vision’ I spoke of should be framed around the universal payment concept or devoted to other objectives.

Basic Income, when all is said and done, is a vision for nothing more than the means to be a customer in an unjust society that decides what is for sale.

In my opinion, if we are to consider goals we set and demands we put forward in the face of neoliberalism, that are based on the needs of workers and communities and create the conditions for challenging capitalism itself, we sell ourselves well short if we settle for something so limited and inherently conservative as the universal payment. BI, when all is said and done, is a vision for nothing more than the means to be a customer in an unjust society that decides what is for sale. How much bolder and more meaningful to fight for free, massively expanded and fully accessible systems of healthcare and public transportation? How much better to focus on the creation of social housing and try to expand it so that, not only the poorest, but most working class people enjoy its benefits? There is universal child care and vast array of important community services to pay attention to. Moreover, we can work to wrest as much power as possible out of the hands of the mandarins of state bureaucracy and fight to increase the control working class people exercise over the public services they rely on. When it comes to existing systems of income support, we should not for a moment accept their poverty level benefits, bureaucratic intrusion and forms of moral policing steeped in racism and sexism. There is a fight to be taken forward for living income, full entitlement and programs that meet the real needs of unemployed, poor and disabled people, as opposed to the present ‘rituals of degradation’ they embody. At every point, let’s try to ensure that these expanded services are not paid for by other working class people but by forcing the corporations, banks and those who own them to pay by increasing their tax burden and imposing levies on their wealth.

The struggle to expand and improve public services would have to, of course, be linked to workers’ struggles for living wages, workplace rights and real compensation for injured workers. Beyond this, let’s challenge as much as we can the ‘business decisions’ that deplete resources, pollute and threaten us with ecological disaster.

I am suggesting that our movements need to challenge, rather than come to terms with, the neoliberal order and the capitalist system that has produced it. For all its claims to be a sweeping measure, the notion of progressive BI is a futile attempt to make peace with that system. In reality, even that compromise is not available. The model of BI that governments are working on in their social policy laboratories will not ‘end the tyranny of the labour market’ but render it more dreadful. The agenda of austerity and privatization requires a system of income support that renders people as powerless and desperate as possible in the face of exploitation and that won’t change if it is relabelled as ‘Basic Income’. •

John Clarke is an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP).

 Posted by at 21:14
Jan 022017
 
My name is Helen and I am a Trainee Clinical Psychologist from Lancaster University. I am conducting research as part of my doctoral thesis about the psychological impact of benefits sanctions following the Work Capability Assessment process and what impact this had, if any, on peoples’ mental health and outlook. I’m involved with Pyschs Against Austerity who DPAC and MHRN both work closely with.

If you have a diagnosed mental health condition? Have you experienced the Work Capability Assessment? Have your benefits been sanctioned because of this assessment? .

The purpose of this research is to understand the psychological impact of benefits sanctions following the Work Capability Assessment process and what impact this had, if any, on your mental health and outlook. If you would like to take part in the study, you would be invited to be interviewed to discuss these experiences for around one hour. . It would be useful for this to be in the North West but I am willing to travel if necessary. I can also help with any travel costs people have up to £20.

If you would like to take part or would like more information, please email the principal researcher, Helen McGauley, email h.mcgauley@lancaster.ac.uk Please share this with anyone else who you think might be interested in taking part. Thanking you in advance, Helen McGauley

 Posted by at 16:57
Dec 232016
 

It’s difficult if not impossible to adequately define the outcomes of Brexit for anyone living in the UK let alone for disabled people. The result where a small minority of the electorate voted to leave the EU has so far caused massive political turmoil but no concrete proposals as the new unelected Prime Minister, Teresa May, thrashes around wildly clutching at straws.

What is certain is that the promise of an extra £350 million a week for our National Health Service has not and will not be forthcoming. In fact this promise promoted widely by the Leave campaigners in the Tory Party and a reason why many UK citizens were conned into voting to leave turns out to have been an outright lie.

Many of the more deluded disabled people who also voted to leave did so simply because they wanted to punish David Cameron the then Tory Prime Minister who was stupid enough to call a referendum in the first place. Having resigned first as Prime Minister and then a little later as a Member of Parliament I’m sure the multi-millionaire Cameron is indeed ‘suffering’. What is certain that disabled people will.

As soon as the outcome of the referendum was known Cameron together with a whole host of Leave politicians turned their backs on guiding the UK through the Brexit process – no doubt so they don’t get blamed for the ensuing disaster.

The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not want to leave the EU and in the case of Northern Ireland the Good Friday agreement and peace process means that there must be a parliamentary vote if Northern Ireland is to leave the EU.  There is also a legal challenge to seek a parliamentary vote on Brexit as the outcome of the referendum is advisory only. So chaos reigns as the UK population dangle precipitously in limbo.

As well as months spent focussed on the referendum campaign, the immediate aftermath was an election for a new Tory Party Leader and a second internal party election to try to remove the previously democratically elected Labour Party leader. During these many months of political bat and ball and trips around the country by various politicians the rights of disabled people have largely been forgotten especially by the media. Serious campaigning has been put back months as the political focus has been firmly placed elsewhere.

On a plus point the fascist party UKIP which very much led the Brexit campaign on an anti-immigration stance have also fallen into disarray and appear on the verge of oblivion. There have already been several elections for a new leader with none of them being successful in finding someone who stayed more than a couple of weeks. As the old British saying goes “every cloud has a silver lining”

What is certain for the UK is that Brexit has led to a massive  increase in race-related hate crime and there is no doubt those who perpetrate these crimes feel their actions are vindicated by the vote to leave. Xenophobia is rampant in parts of the country fuelled by some of the media as well as the Brexit campaign rhetoric. Disability hate crime has been rising year on year since 2010 in part thanks once again to the media-fuelled ‘useless eater’ and scrounger propaganda. For disabled people as well as those perceived to not be British hatred and abuse is only likely to increase in the post-Brexit frenzy that currently pervades the country.

Since Brexit as well the value of the pound has slumped which has already led to an increase in price for even essential daily items including for some the #Marmitegate tragedy where the price of Marmite has already risen in some cases by 12.5 % in shops.

Price increases for food and other essential items is likely to pose a particular problems for disabled people and others in receipt of UK Social Security payments as there is an austerity-led freeze on the amount of benefits which will be paid until at least 2020. The UK already has some of the lowest rates for out-of-work benefit payments in the EU so starting from a very low base rate the value of payments will fall even further as exchange rates fall.

On top of this fall in the value of the pound and freeze on increases in social security payments early in November an austerity-led cap on the total overall amount of benefit payments per household will result in massive reductions of £3,000 less per annum being paid to claimants. Many of those affected by this drastic cut will be disabled although other disabled people will be exempt from this cut.

From next April 2017 disabled people who make a new claim for Employment and Support Allowance and who are found not to be fit for work but able to undertake Work Related Activity which involved forcibly being made to jump though inappropriate and unacceptable hoops to continue being entitled to payments will also see their weekly income cut drastically by one-third. All of these changes will as already said be taking place at the same time the value of the pound falls against other currencies. Needless to say fuel prices are also continuing to rise and the number of UK residents on low incomes who have to choose between eating and heating because they can’t afford both continues to rise.

As disabled people and others wait for the mythical 35 million a day that we’re apparently saving by leaving the EU to be redeployed to help fund our National Health Service as promised we find our Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt putting in place plans to drastically reduce both the number of hospitals – down from 9 to 5 in London – and health service funding elsewhere in the UK through the implementation of Sustainability and Transformation Plans. This is very definitely not what Brexit promised for our health service. Hunt has also further undermined our NHS by stating that we want British only doctors in the near future in spite of the fact that around one-third of doctors currently are from other EU countries.

For disabled people who need personal assistance to live and take part in society Brexit is also bad news. Many people employ care workers/personal assistants from EU countries and now not only does the fall in the value of the pound affect the exchange value of wages paid but on a longer term basis no-one, neither the employers or the employees, have any idea about a future right to work here when the UK leaves the EU. It could of course be years before any more is known.

Workers rights generally are very much an unknown quantity at the moment as well. Teresa May has said the Conservatives want to protect those in place yet many people are on insecure zero hours contracts with no legal protections. The introduction of fees for Employment Tribunal hearings has also negatively affected worker’s rights to challenge unfair dismissals. All of these issues regarding employment rights continue to disproportionately affect disabled workers and the fear that once EU constraints on our employment laws are removed is causing major concerns for those disabled people who are in work.

For disabled people not in work the ending of Workfare and Work Choice schemes funded by the European Social Fund can really only be seen as positive. Neither of these schemes worked well in finding disabled people suitable or sustainable employment opportunities.

Workfare schemes in particular have been likened to unpaid slave labour which they were since claimants were forced to work for no pay under threat of having their benefits removed if they did not. Having said that there were a number of locally EU funded schemes to help disabled and other people into work which have worked well and for which there will now be no further EU funding available.

In other areas of life shared by disabled and non-disabled people the loss of European funding from the Social Fund, from the Common Agricultural Policy and from Regional Development grants will nevertheless be grossly detrimental to the overall standards of living and is likely to have a further negative trickle down impact on food prices. The idea that these funding streams will be replaced by our own government’s spending is laughable given their ongoing austerity agenda and determination to replace Trident nuclear weapons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 17:49
Nov 292016
 

Have your say on fewer buses and the need for more changes in central london

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/west-end-bus-changes/

Transport for London are currently consulting on reducing the frequency of buses in Central London and changing the route, and terminus of others. This is bad news for disabled people due to the lack of alternative accessible transport options in the city.

Many journeys across London already require disabled people to change buses, however adjustments to the line of route, and shortening of the routes will make bus changes, and lengthy waits in the dark, cold and rain far more likely. Routes like 73 from Stoke Newington to Victoria and 390 Archway to Victoria are examples of routes that would be affected by these changes.

In particular, getting from Euston and Kings Cross to parts of London where there is no accessible tube service is a major issue and in zones 1 and 2 – much more difficult.

Transport for London are justifying this planned change as they claim more people are using the tube. This is not an option for disabled people as only 15% of Central London tube stations have step-free access and often not to all lines/directions. Central London stations which still do not have step-free access include numerous major hubs such as Bond Street, Oxford Circus, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Tottenham Court Road, Vauxhall, Victoria, Euston, and Charring Cross.

Further, despite promises from TfL and the Mayor of London, that the closure of ticket offices would improve services for disabled travellers up to October 2016 the number of lifts being out of service due to staff shortages increased by a massive 118% compared to the previous year. In some cases lifts were closed for 20 hours.

TFL state in their consultation that the opening of the Elizabeth line (Crossrail) will reduce the need for buses. However, given the issues with acceptable levels of staffing at existing stations to provide lifts, and the fact that Crossrail will not be level from the platform to the train, requiring a bridging ramp, can disabled people trust that they will be able to access the new line’s services?

On top of all of that there are often planned closures of lifts for maintenance work lasting months and with no alternative usable tube stations nearby.

In most areas of central London Blue Badges cannot be used so disabled drivers are unable to park there. For those in work with a Motability vehicle who might need to travel into central London for work by taxi due to the lack of parking available this too is no longer an option as Access to Work will no longer provide taxis for those who have a Motability vehicle – not even so they can work.

At peak time, buses are often delayed due to traffic, or are so full that drivers refuse to allow wheelchair users onboard, meaning commutes are harder, longer and more arduous for disabled people.

These proposals risk causing disabled people more difficulties accessing the community, their places of work, and will reduce their ability to undertake leisure activities.

 

 

 Posted by at 20:32
Nov 292016
 

Benefit sanctions – Disabled people’s experiences

Have you experienced a benefit sanction? If so I would be very grateful if you could let me know what happened to you by sending your experiences to Henrietta.doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk  by 6 December.

I’m sending in evidence to a select committee inquiry and you experience will help inform our response.

Information about the benefit sanction inquiry is at:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/benefit-sanctions-16-17/

 Posted by at 10:21
Nov 202016
 

On 17th November the House passed a cross party motion to delay and review the proposed implementation of the ESA Cut of £29/week to new claimants of the ESA Work Related Activity Group.

 

Disabled People Against Cuts are campaigning to have this cut cancelled but today we are asking you as MPs to lobby the Chancellor to postpone the proposed ESA cut until we know the details of the support on offer, and whether this support compensates adequately the loss of £29 per week for claimants in the WRAG.

 

Please consider the following points

 

  • The ESA cut is worth £450m per year[i]. The employment support for claimants in the WRAG is only £60 to £100 million a year[ii] while the Work Programme received £500-£600 million each year[iii]. This represents a huge reduction in support for disabled people to gain work.
  • This employment support will not benefit claimants who cannot and will not be able to work who are misplaced into the WRAG. These are people with progressive illnesses (1/3 of these claimants are initially placed in the WRAG)[iv], claimants given a 2 year+ prognosis (defined by DWP as unlikely to work again)[v], or claimants wrongly placed in the WRAG, who after Mandatory Reconsiderations or appeals move onto the Support Group[vi].
  • This same group of claimants will not benefit from the flexible support fund, a discretionary fund, which provides local support for costs, related to getting into work, such as travel to and from training and travel costs when in work, for the reasons mentioned above.
  • Extension of hardship fund to new groups. The hardship fund is notoriously hard to access, because of very strict eligibility rules (claimants have to be almost destitute to be entitled), and the payments are also modest, discretionary, and of a temporary nature. Most importantly, payments will become recoverable under Universal Credit, driving more claimants into debt[vii]. Evidence also shows that these payments are not advertised by jobcentres and that their take-up is very low[viii]
  • Deals with third parties to help with expenditure not directly related to employment: broadband costs, phone charges, energy costs and insurance. That could be the only scheme likely to benefit the type of claimants we mentioned.

The Minister for Disabled People has given assurance that these schemes will fully compensate for the loss of the payments for new claimants[ix], but because of the flaws in the Work Capability Assessment, the claimants in the WRAG who need the most support because they are unable to work, and have no prospect of moving into work ever again will be the most severely penalised.

            We already know that a third of ESA recipients are running a budget deficit[x], and that 49% of disabled people rely on credit cards or loans to pay for everyday items such as food and clothing[xi]. This ESA cut is the last thing they need.

 

[i] https://medium.com/citizens-advice/halving-the-disability-employment-gap-22e3a588487f#.iuymk8dhu

 

[ii] http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7649/CBP-7649.pdf

 

[iii] http://www.learningandwork.org.uk/our-thinking/news/dwp-employment-programme-funding-set-80-cut

 

[iv] https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2016-03-21.31811.h&s=speaker%3A24778#g31811.r0

 

[v] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmworpen/302/30206.htm

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498130/3703-2015.pdf

[vi] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498130/3703-2015.pdf

 

[vii] https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Hardship-Payment/Hardship-Payments-of-Universal-Credit#guide-content

 

[viii] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/256044/jsa-sanctions-independent-review.pdf

 

[ix] https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2016-11-17b.413.0&s=speaker%3A24938#g463.3

 

[x] https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2016-11-17b.413.0&s=speaker%3A24938#g463.3

 

[xi] http://www.scope.org.uk/Scope/media/Documents/Publication%20Directory/Credit-and-Debt.pdf?ext=.pdf

 

 Posted by at 18:19
Nov 202016
 

For an ongoing legal challenge we urgently need to hear from anyone whose direct payment rates haven’t increased for years and who use agency carers and have been told by the agency that they can’t fully meet their needs because the hourly rate is not high enough.

We will need to pass contact details onto the solicitor dealing with this case so please could you add a phone number. You can email us at mail@dpac.uk.net

 

 Posted by at 16:29
Nov 172016
 

The first ever DPAC protest in October 2010 saw campaigners march through Birmingham in the pouring rain. We were drenched, soggy, and our wonderful banner that co-founder Tina Hogg had made was destroyed by the deluge.

DPAC Activists gather to pay tribute to the life of Debbie JollyAnd once again November 16th 2016 we gathered in the pouring rain to pay tribute to the life and work of another co-founder Debbie Jolly and also to demand that the Tories act on the 11 recommendations in the report released last week proving the grave and systematic violation of our human rights by their actions.

Thanks to all who came and stayed in spite of the rain and cold. Thank you also to all those who were unable to but sent good wishes. Thanks also to all of you who have made a donation to DPAC as requested by her family instead of sending cards and flowers. Thanks also to all of you who would but can’t afford to. Part of the things Debbie wanted and fought for were a sustainable income for all disabled people.

Gathering in the pouring rain to commemorate the life of Debbie JollyIn the afternoon Labour had tried to force through a vote against the loss of £30 a week from those in ESA WRAG which failed by a tiny number of votes. John McDonnell also paid tribute to Debbie “On a solemn note, I wish to send my condolences to the family and friends of Debbie Jolly. Some Members may have known Debbie, who was a disability campaigner. Over the years, she provided briefings for many Members of the House of Commons and, through Disabled People Against Cuts, was involved in many of the various lobbies of Parliament. She passed away last week, and I would like to send our condolences to her family and all her friends. We all hoped she would survive long enough at least to see this debate. I pay tribute to her for the work she did.

And here is the full debate link https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-11-16/debates/B8A1178A-8DFD-4609-89C9-80735DE4FC17/AutumnStatementDistributionalAnalysisUniversalCreditAndESA

DPAC Activists gather to pay tribute to the life of Debbie JollySomewhat unbelievably the Tory Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work (Penny Mordaunt) also said “May I associate myself with the sentiments expressed by the shadow Chancellor about the late Debbie Jolly? She was a noted researcher and sociologist, as well as a tireless campaigner. I am sure that our comments will be just two of the many tributes that will be paid to her.” Well what can you say apart from they’ll jump on any bandwagon if they think it’ll benefit them.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2016-11-16/debates/B8A1178A-8DFD-4609-89C9-80735DE4FC17/AutumnStatementDistributionalAnalysisUniversalCreditAndESA

A moving tribute to Debbie by Disability News Service http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/debbie-jolly-a-force-for-good-and-a-passionate-social-model-advocate/

And a great round up of the protest by Steve Topple

http://www.thecanary.co/2016/11/17/ken-loach-just-slammed-the-tories-for-brutal-attacks-on-the-real-daniel-blakes-videos/

Plus articles from the Morning Star

http://www.morningstaronline. co.uk/a-fb77-Tories-cannot- brush-off-our-human-rights#. WCytr7KLRdg

http://www.morningstaronline. co.uk/a-fb92-Disabled- campaign-keeps-up-pressure#. WC2FwrKLRdg

Please sign and share this petition to try to get a debate in parliament about the UN inquiry and all 11 recommendations to be implemented. It needs 100,000 signatories to be considered.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/172393

Credit for photos goes to Nicola Jeffrey

 

 

 Posted by at 20:42