Nov 072014


 DPAC fully support disabled students taking part in this march even if the NUS disgracefully say they no longer support it. We’d like to ask all disabled people who can to join with disabled students fighting for inclusion and rights to come along and join the march. Access information will be available shortly on the facebook page and we will add it to the website as soon as we have it.


19 November at 12:00


Assemble – Senate House, Malet Street, London



On 19 November, school, college and university students from across the country will be marching in London under the banner “Free Education: No fees. No cuts. No debt.” Disabled students will be there! It’s time to put this issue onto the political agenda and to fight for a public, democratic education system that serves the vast majority in society and is free and accessible to everyone.

Disabled student will be meeting at the front of the march, outside Senate house. For more information on accessibility and anything else please email
Free education is not just about abolishing fees, disabled students demand:

-Full living grants for all, and abolish tuition fees

-Full financial support for all access needs, save DSA but even more. We need to cancel DSA cuts, not just delay them.

-Decently funded support services on campuses for disabled students and university psychological services

-Defend the NHS from privatisation and fund it properly, improve mental health care resources

-Smash high rents, provide good quality accessible student housing. Ensuring Universities invest in accessible accommodation.

-Fund institutions to upgrade for full accessibility

To achieve these, we need a democratic, public education system controlled by communities, students and workers, and we need to fund it using the resources of those who can afford it – by taxing the rich, and by putting the wealth of the banks that we bailed out under democratic control.

****Invite your friends and colleagues!****

The demonstration is being organised by the National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts (, the Student Assembly Against Austerity, and the Young Greens.

******More information on access on the demonstration coming soon********

 Posted by at 17:54
Nov 072014

We’ve had some complaints about poor access at Marylebone station and at other points along the Chiltern railway line. We are interested in hearing from anyone else who has experienced problems with access.


  • In particular we want to know whether you had problems due to lack of staff being available to support you. Did this mean you missed your train? What problems did this cause?


  • Whether you had problems at any of the unmanned stations covered by Chiltern eg. Warwick Parkway, Stratford


  • Whether you’ve had problems physically being able to fit onto the trains due to overcrowding. If this has been a problem could you let us know what time you travelled and whether it was after a match day event in London.


Please email us at


 Posted by at 15:41
Nov 042014

Join us to support Doug Paulley in his fight against FirstBus discrimination

Meeting Tuesday 11th November, 9.15am outside the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, WC2A 2LL (nearest station Blackfriars – stepfree to platform)

Doug Paulley, a campaigner and wheelchair user from Wetherby, takes his battle over wheelchair priority on buses all the way to the Royal Courts of Justice next week.

And we want to have a strong supportive presence outside the court to show FirstBus that disabled people everywhere are standing up for our right to ride.

Back in September 2012, Doug won a case against FirstBus over their ‘first-come, first-served’ policy which denied bus access to wheelchair users when the buggy space was occupied. But FirstBus are now appealing this decision, seeking to overturn the judge’s support for disabled people’s right to travel.


If Doug wins, it will set an important precedent and show bus companies across the UK that wheelchair users have a right to the wheelchair bay – a right protected in law.

The case will probably be heard from 10am. Transport for All members will be outside the Royal Courts of Justice with our placards from 9.15am with our voices raised, to show FirstBus that we stand beside Doug and the right of all disabled people to travel with freedom and independence. Join us!

Please email to let me know if you can make it, if you would like to be met at the station, or for any help with journey planning.

The Royal Courts of Justice are served by buses 11, 23, 26, 76 and 172.

 Posted by at 18:23
Oct 162014

 Defend the Right to Protest National Conference 


Sunday 16th November, 11am til late, SOAS




I am writing to invite your organisation to Defend the Right to Protest’s annual conference “We Do Not Consent” – a one day conference to discuss how we tackle the criminalisation of protest, state violence and injustice in a climate of austerity, rising racism and inequality.


It takes place in the context of a continued assault on civil liberties, including recent threats by the Tories to withdraw from the ECHR and introduce new “extremism disruption orders.” It follows the stream of revelations about police corruption and under cover policing, repeated attacks on the right to protest and the ongoing scandal of deaths in police custody.


We hope the day will provide a forum to address these issues and for groups and organisations campaigning over these questions to make links and  build support. 


We are still finalising the timetable but there are already a great range of people and campaigns involved – see:

There will be sessions on cover cops and the secret state, protest policing, deaths in custody, racism and the fight for justice; universities, know your rights, international solidarity and more to be announced.

We wish we had more time and space for many more speakers and campaigns – but from 11am – 5.30pm plenaries and forums will provide lots of scope for participation from the floor.

From 6pm to 11pm there will be film, music and refreshments! 

We are also dedicating a room to campaign stalls – if you would like to book a space email 

We really hope you can come, and also help us to make this an event a hub of debate, experience sharing and organising. Get in touch if you have ideas or suggestions for the day and spread the word to your friends colleagues and supporters. 

More information and updates can be found on the DtRtP website here:

We also have a Facebook page for the conference:  

Text for email circulars and websites is also included below. 

We hope to see you there!

Best wishes

Hannah Dee  & Susan Matthews

Defend the Right to Protest

WE DO NOT CONSENT:  Defend the Right to Protest Conference 2014

Sunday November 16th, 11am till late 

SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, WC1H 0XG London

Get updates on the FB event page

A one day conference to discuss how we tackle state violence and injustice in a climate of austerity, rising racism and inequality.

Speakers include: Helen Steel McLibel defendant & Spies out of Our Lives, Rob Evans author Undercover, Carole DugganMerrick Badger#Campaign Opposing Police Violence, Susan Alexander mother Azelle RodneyOwen Jones author The Establishment, Jules Carey lawyer who represented Ian Tomlinson’s family, Dave Smith Blacklist Support Group, John McDonnell MPJenny Jones GLAFidel Santigi Fully Focused, Hamja Ahsan Free Talha Ahsan Campaign, Nina PowerSheila Coleman Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Stephen Graham Cities Under Siege,  Matt Foot legal aid lawyer of the year 2013, Kevin Blowe NETPOL, Hannah Dee DtRtP Chair, Marcia Rigg sister Sean Rigg, Simon Pook defence lawyer representing fracking protesters, Areeb Ullah KCLSU VP Education, Raj Chada lawyer representing Fortnum Mason, Critical Mass, Dale Farm, Rachel Harger paralegal police actions, Robert Reiner Emeritus Professor of Criminology LSE, Waquas Tufail Northern Police Monitoring Project, Mike Jackson Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners

Workshops and plenaries include under cover cops and the secret state, protest policing, deaths in custody, racism and the fight for justice; austerity and the assault on civil liberties, neoliberalism & the police, know your rights, international solidarity and more to be announced.

Conference 11am-5.30pm – plenaries and workshops 

6pm -7pm Screening of Burn, Ken Fero ’s new film with Q and A

Plus food, drink and music – special guests tba till late.

Tickets £3 unwaged, £5 waged, £10 solidarity (suggested donation)

Book here

Fb event 

Tickets £3 unwaged, £5 waged, £10 solidarity (suggested donation)


 Posted by at 21:25
Oct 162014

We say Lord Freud should resign after his disgusting comments that disabled people are not worth the minimum wage.

Freud is the architect of the government’s noxious welfare reform programme that is pushing disabled people off benefits and causing untold distress and misery, in too many cases leading to suicides and avoidable deaths.

The policies Freud designed show utter contempt for disabled people. His latest comments made to a Tory councillor at a party conference fringe meeting confirm this.

What kind of a society are we that the lives of disabled people are left in the hands of someone who thinks disabled people have lesser worth and refers to them as stock.

There are 11 million disabled voters plus their families in the UK. Do the Tories think allowing this type of reprehensible comment to be made by one of their senior ministers will encourage any of us to vote for them? If they wish to retain credibility (if they have any that is)and Freud refuses to resign they must sack him immediately.

Join us to demand  Freud resigns or is sacked. Monday October 20th at DWP head office, Caxton House, Tothill Street, 12.30pm til 2.30pm ….. and if you can’t make the Caxton House Protest – you can join the Twitter Protest


 Posted by at 14:47
Oct 162014

Can you donate 50p to DPAC’s work?


We all know the attacks we’re all facing as disabled people and next year in the run up to the General Election we want to make sure that the 11 million disabled people and their families get their voices heard by politicians. But to do that we need money for a battle bus tour, leaflets, and other publicity costs and events. The grant we hoped to get to cover these costs was turned down on the grounds that our campaigning would be ‘too political’ We want to remain too political and ungagged in spite of the gagging laws introduced to silence campaigners by the Condems and to make sure all of our voices are heard.

We’re now left with no other choice but to ask you, our supporters, if you could donate 50p towards our plans for next year so that we can afford to make sure disabled people’s concerns are heard loudly and clearly.

You can donate to us via paypal on our website or directly via BACs to Disabled People Against Cuts 08-92-99 account number 65454743.

Brief summary of cuts we face.

A recent Demos report from April 2013  ‘Destination Unknown’ shows that hundreds of thousands of disabled people will be hit simultaneously by up to six different welfare cuts. This does not include cuts to care and support funding in addition.

By 2018 disabled people will have lost £28.3 billion of financial support affecting up to 3.7 million disabled people.

The losses come against a backdrop of flat-lining incomes and spiralling costs of living for disabled people, for whom daily life already costs more. At the same time it’s becoming harder for disabled people to be part of the community.

Councils – facing average budget cuts of more than 28% – have been forced to ration social care support leaving as many as 40% of disabled people without help to get up, get washed, get dressed and go out.                   

 Benefit and other attacks.                            


  • Scrapping of Incapacity Benefit and failure of Work Capability Assessments.
  • Loss of right to appeal and Mandatory Reconsiderations during which time disabled people are left with no income for an unspecified length of time.
  • Legal Aid and advice and advocacy centre cuts.
  • 1% cap on benefit rises
  • Time limitation for Contributory ESA of WRAG
  • Freezing child benefit
  • Overall Benefit Cap
  • Scrapping of Disability Living Allowance and introduction of Personal Independent Payment
  • Universal Credit
  • Abolition of Independent Living Fund and cuts to social care funding.
  • Bedroom Tax and Changes to Local Housing Allowance.
  • Discretionary Housing Payments only given to 1 in 3 disabled people.
  • Uprating and cuts to Tax Credits
  • Localisation and at least 10% cut for Council Tax Benefit
  • Cuts to Access to Work funding
  • Loss of access to inclusive education.
  • Loss of free bus travel.
  • Reductions in MH services across the board.
  • Growth in Food Bank usage.
  • Increasing Fuel Poverty.




 Posted by at 14:42
Oct 092014

You are invited to an open meeting on 23rd October 6pm to 8pm to find out more about the changes to Access to Work and how Deaf and disabled people and interpreters have been opposing these changes and how you can get involved.  

The meeting will be on:

·       23rd October 2014 – 6pm to 8pm

·       Venue: 336 Brixton Road, London SW9 7AA

·       BSL interpreters available – let us know if you have other access needs

·       Refreshments available.

For further details contact Ellen Clifford – – please let Ellen know if you are coming.

 Posted by at 18:08
Oct 092014
Potential legal challenge to PIP delays.Anyone who has/is experiencing delays with regard to their PIP application might be able to mount a legal challenge. If you are in this situation and would be willing to speak to a solicitor with regard to making a legal challenge please email us at South Today programmeBBC South Today, regional TV News for Hampshire, Dorset, West Sussex and a bit of Surrey still need to find people willing to appear on TV about PIP. They’re looking into what impact the change to Personal Independent Payments has had on people with disabilities in the South  They need a case study for someone who has unsuccessfully applied for PiP – or has had severe delays with their application. Maybe it’s had a financial impact or just been more stressful than the old system. Anyone able to help should contact you could contact Katy Austin on 02380 374540, 07732 986357 or email


 Posted by at 17:05
Oct 022014

DPAC have supported Transport for All in campaigning and carrying out numerous protests to make sure that all Crossrail stations will be accessible when it is built. Originally this was not going to be the case but late yesterday evening Transport for All were informed that all of London’s Crossrail stations will now be fully accessible when it opens in 2019.


We would all like to thank everyone who wrote letters, attended protests. lobbied and tweeted for an accessible Crossrail. This shows that when we all work together and are willing to get out on the streets as well as campaigning in other ways we can and do change things.


 Posted by at 11:51
Aug 182014

We’re currently producing a brochure for campaigning work and wanted to include a few examples of how each cut has affected disabled people. We already have examples for most things but if you have been affected by the bedroom tax, council tax reduction changes, or the overall benefit cap, cuts to social care or increased charges for care could you please send us a short email about what has happened to you and how this has affected you to


Many thanks for help with this.


 Posted by at 21:01
Aug 052014

Permission has now been granted and the second  ILF Court Case will go ahead.

The papers went to a judge today and he has granted both permission and expedition (which means speeding up the usual timetable for the court case). The hearing should be “as soon as possible”, which could mean anything at the moment, as the judges are on holiday and the court has a very bad backlog, but we would hope we will get a trial date for some time in September/October as planned.

On behalf of all ILF recipients we’d like to say a continuing thank you to those involved in taking the case. We know from experience just how gruelling and stressful taking legal challenges can be and we offer our solidarity with you all.



 Posted by at 19:09
Jul 082014
Here is information on making complaints to IPCC
They have  guidance just read the section and you will see link.
Here is link to MPS complaints
You can make individual complaints and also organisational complaints.
Those directly affected by the restriction of medication , food and drink should individually complain.
It will take time for the complaints to be processed so I suggest people do this asap.
If you need help making a complaint they can approach MP, Citizens Advice and some DPOs may assist too.
The MPS has already launched an inquiry into policing at the Westminster demonstration

 Posted by at 18:10
Jul 012014

Urgent – Legal Challenge to PIP 20 metre descriptor to be held in Birmingham Administrative Court, Bull Street next week on July 9th and 10th.


The solicitors have asked for a room for observers to the case and are waiting for confirmation of that. They would like anyone who can to attend to show how important this case is to disabled people.


There will also be a vigil outside the court from 1- 2pm on July 9th. Bring placards, banners and friends and supporters.


To get updates on room availability and to check the case will not be affected by strike action on July 10th please email




 Posted by at 21:30
Jun 062014
Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage. We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact. We expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare; encourage organisations to pledge to boycott it; and actively inform people of their rights.

PCS need to ballot for non-cooperation on workfare and sanctions!

dpac-logo-3-amendment-1-smallblack-trianglebw logoMembers of PCS union work for the DWP and job centres so are involved in the day to day delivery of workfare and sanctions. Members have shown they oppose it by voting for national policy against workfare and sanctions. Now Disabled People Against Cuts, Black Triangle and Boycott Workfare are asking them to use their power to help put a stop to these punitive measures. 

Disabled People Against Cuts, Black Triangle and Boycott Workfare joint statement on PCS Union and non-cooperation:

1. We note that motion A81 that recently passed at the PCS conference makes reference to the PCS Union working with Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle. (1)

2. We note that motions E340-E342 submitted by DWP branches also called for the PCS to work with Boycott Workfare, but that references to Boycott Workfare were dropped by the NEC from motion A81. (1)

3. Black Triangle and Disabled People Against Cuts wish to express their solidarity with Boycott Workfare who we believe have organised a broad based and successful campaign against workfare and sanctions.

4. We note that the legal advice received by the PCS in 2013 accepted that the tactic of non-cooperation could be used as part of a campaign of industrial action consisting of action short of a strike. (2)

5. We note that the PCS currently have a live mandate for industrial action and will be consulting members on 12th June about coordinated strike action. (3)

6. Disabled People Against Cuts, Black Triangle and Boycott Workfare therefore call on the PCS NEC to consult members on adopting a tactic of non-cooperation with workfare and sanctions.


(2) (Motion A533)

 Posted by at 22:48
Jun 062014

PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release

Judicial review launched of repeat DWP decision to close the Independent Living Fund

The Department of Work and Pensions is facing a judicial review challenge by a group of disabled people of the decision of Minister for Disabled People Mike Penning to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in June 2015, taken just weeks after the Court of Appeal quashed a previous, almost identical decision as being unlawful.  ILF provides vital support and funding to some 18,000 severely disabled people in the UK to enable them to live independent and fulfilling lives.  To be eligible people must already receive a substantial care package from local authority social services, but ILF funding provides a top-up for those with particularly high support needs. The ILF system was set up in 1988 in recognition of the fact that more severely disabled people are at high risk of social exclusion and face particular barriers to independent living and working, but their needs in this regard were not adequately addressed by council provision with its focus on meeting basic needs.   The claimants, represented by Deighton Pierce Glynn and Scott-Moncrieff & Associates, fear that loss of ILF support would threaten their right to live with dignity, and they may be forced into residential care or lose their ability to participate in work and everyday activities on an equal footing with other people.

The Court of Appeal had ruled in November 2013 that the previous closure decision had breached the public sector equality duty in the Equality Act because the Minister had not been given adequate information to be able to properly assess the practical effect of closure on the particular needs of ILF users and their ability to live independently.

However following the new closure decision announced on 6th March 2014, the DWP admitted that in considering the proposal once again it had not consulted with any organisations or individuals outside of Government. It had not gathered any additional information from local authorities or other sources about what level or type of support former ILF users would receive from social services once the ILF element was removed and how many people would be likely to go into residential care or lose their ability to work or study.

The new legal challenge is on the same basis as the first that once again the Minister had not discharged the public sector equality duty because he did not have adequate information to be able to properly understand what the impact of closure would be on the particular people affected. This made it impossible to properly weigh up the pros and cons of the proposal with the necessary focus on removing disadvantages for disabled people, meeting their needs, increasing participation in public life and advancing equality that the law requires in all decisions by Government.

The Claimants are asking the court to again quash the decision to close the Fund.


  1. The ILF is a body of the DWP but under the management of independent trustees. Since it was created in 1988 it has helped many thousands of disabled people to live independent lives. It has targeted support at the most severely disabled people in the UK who face the greatest barriers to independent living, and has also played a key role in overseeing social services provision from local authorities for this group of people, to ensure that the combined ILF/local authority support packages meet criteria of promoting independence and inclusion and avoid unnecessary escalation of costs from people being cut off from their communities .  In 2010 the Fund was closed to new applicants because the Government had reduced the amount of money it gave to the Fund.  It is now proposing that the Fund close completely in 2015, leaving users to rely on local authority adult care services.  This is at a time when the funding for local authorities is being dramatically reduced and many authorities are cutting services for disabled people.


  1. Further information, including individuals’ stories, on the campaign against the closure of ILF is available at the DPAC website:


 Posted by at 11:44
Jun 042014

DPAC is delighted to extend an open invitation to celebrate Independent Living Day with us on the 4th of July at the ‘Independent Living Tea Party ‘.

The party will begin at 2pm at the DWP, Caxton House in Tothill Street SW1. There will be fun & games, and entertainment; and of course, some civil disobedience.

We have come a long way since the demand for Independent Living was first made nearly 50 years ago. Then, as now, IL was our solution for how society supports disabled people to take our place as equals. For how society addresses inaccessible institutions, structures and process it created, which do more to disable people than their impairments ever could.

There are many strands of Independent Living, and all are under threat. Cuts to:

  • Support funding – such Social Care, the ILF & Disabled Students Allowance;
  • Education – in areas like the wholesale destruction of SEN Statements and the continued segregation of disabled children into ‘special’ schools;
  • Transport – the withdrawal of Taxi-cards, freedom passes and the halting of planned works to make infrastructure more accessible, amongst a host of other cuts combine to make disabled people second-class citizens in society.

But we have fought this fight before – and won. Our Disabled Peoples Organisations, legal gains and the policy victories we have won previously are testament to the power, know how and skills disabled people have to develop solutions to problems created by society.  We must celebrate these achievements and remind ourselves that each of these successes have had to be earned, no-one ever gave them to us without a struggle.

So celebrate with us, or alternatively create your own party. Get together with friends and supporters, and create the kind of vibrant, positive spaces we have always created. Bring the noise – bells, whistles, drums, pots & pans etc. Bring food to share. Bring your enthusiasm.

if you are planning your own party, here are some suggestions:

1) Choose your target –

focus on the important issues locally; support, education, transport etc – its up to you. Identify what you want to celebrate and who represents the biggest threat to that locally. Is it your local council or Uni? Is it a transport provider? Or is it someone else?

2) Tell everyone –

yes, EVERYONE. Media, campaign networks, activists, local people. DONT FORGET TO TELL DPAC so we can list and support your action!

3) Be heard, be seen –

make your event loud and proud. Bring music, choirs, drum, bells, whistles. Remind everyone out there that we won‘t be separated from society, we are society. We won ‘t go quietly.

4) We’re also holding a Twitter Party on the Hashtag
#IL4JULY so that people at the DWP and at other events round the country
can tweet in pictures of their events and we can all join in. Further
details to follow, watch this space.

The famous Boston teaparty led to a revolution against the British government let’s see where our teaparty leads…..


 Posted by at 18:56
Jun 042014

Disabled people’s experiences needed

Please send me short descriptions of disabled people’s experience on 3 employment related issues.   I can tidy the case studies up and make sure they are anonymous so you don’t need to spend too much time writing them up –  I just need proof of the points I’m making!  See details below:

·       If you have examples of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claimants where the loss of £40/50 will have a serious impact on the ability to pay for food and other essentials please let me know. There’s a consultation on the increase of ‘waiting days’ for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA).  Claimants will lose, on average, £40 or £50 respectively.  More information is at:

·       I also need examples of disabled people that have experienced difficulties either obtaining or maintaining Access to work e.g. cuts in their budget etc., changes to BSL interpreters conditions for the Access to work inquiry at:

·       Lastly I would welcome recent examples (i.e. from beginning of Sept 2013) of difficulties caused by the WCA/ESA including issues around difficulties in paying bills due to benefit delays as above as well inaccurate assessments, lack of mental health champions or recording equipment or any other issues for the 5th and final review of the Work Capability assessment (to be announced shortly, see information below).   


Henrietta  Doyle

Policy Officer

Inclusion London

Twitter: @inclusionlondon


 Posted by at 13:59

Ask Your Local Councillors and others to sign up to Save ILF Statement

 News  Comments Off on Ask Your Local Councillors and others to sign up to Save ILF Statement
May 282014

Our Next Move ? We can Lobby Our Councillors

Please ask your local Borough and County Councillors and others to sign up to Save ILF Statement:

Here is a template letter to use (and the statement is below it):


I am/we are writing to ask you to support disabled people and their families by signing up the attached statement and confirming your opposition to the closure of the Independent living Fund.

The Independent Living Fund was established in 1988 to provide funding to help disabled people with high support needs live an independent life in the community rather than in residential care.

Under current government proposals the ILF will close and full responsibility for meeting the social care support needs of disabled people in receipt of ILF will transfer to Local Authorities. However, The government have allocated some transition funding to LAs in 2015-16. However, this is not ring-fenced and there is no indication whatsoever that there will be any additional funding given to LA’s to enable them to maintain the levels of support ILF users currently receive.

Given the huge cuts to LAs and social care, the lack of specific funding from the government to maintain ILF levels of support will in all likelihood mean significant cuts in this essential support to disabled people with the highest support needs.

The government’s original decision to close the ILF was quashed by the Court of Appeal in November 2013. However, in March the Minister for Disabled People, Mike Penning, announced that the government have retaken their decision to close the Fund from June 2015.

Research has shown that disabled people with the highest level of support need are being hit by cutbacks 19 times harder than the average person in the UK. The closure of the ILF is part of this disproportionate targeting of disabled people.

The end of the ILF effectively means an end to the right to independent living for disabled people. Most people don’t want to see disabled people sent back to the institutions and the return of segregation.

We are calling on everyone who wants to live in a diverse and inclusive society where disabled people have the opportunity for equal participation to give their support to our campaign to save the ILF.

Please confirm if you are happy to sign up to the attached statement.

I look forward to your response.



Save the Independent Living Fund Statement

The planned closure in June 2015 of the Independent Living Fund is an unjustified attack on those disabled people with the highest support needs, which if unchallenged will result in disabled people becoming prisoners in their own homes or forced into residential care against their wishes. The Independent Living Fund is a model of support that works, giving disabled people choice and control over their own lives, enabling them to enjoy fulfilling lives and contribute to their communities while running on relatively low overheads and providing employment.

At a time of increasing pressure on and crisis in social care the government should be expanding not closing the ILF.  Disabled people and their families need a clear and vocal message of support from our elected leaders on this matter.

We support the demands of the Save the ILF campaign that:

 1. The ILF should not only be retained for existing recipients but re-opened to new applicants as the Scottish government have committed to.

2. That an independent living task force should be set up co-produced with ILF users, to review independent living and specifically the ILF to identify how to best develop independent living support, building on the successful and cost effective model of ILF provision.

3.. At the very minimum the ILF funding should be ring-fenced for the care and support of those with the highest needs when funding is transferred to Local Authorities and devolved administrations.”

 send names and contact details of all signatories to or to

 Posted by at 21:47
May 162014

Emoji  Inspiration for everyone
From The Guardian. “Power to the people: a happy ending to peaceful protest in South Yorkshire

When transport chiefs in South Yorkshire decided to axe free rail travel for elderly and disabled passengers on 1 April, angry passengers decided to fight back – by turning up en masse for busy services and trying to board trains without paying. Declan Lloyd reports.”

Read the full piece here:

 Posted by at 21:26
May 132014

I went to the Work and Pensions Select Committee meeting in Newcastle today at the Newcastle FC in the Bobby  Moncur  Suite. Access to the building was fine although parking was a fair distance from stadium, but the best they could get. Signers and induction loop were available. I enquired with Sheila Gilmore MP the terms of reference for the meeting.

Dame Anne Begg opened the meeting which was to gather information from people on personal ESA/WCA experiences only. The meeting was well attended by individuals and also charities with case studies which were presented to the committee in report form. The horrors I listened to made me cry openly which is pretty hard I can tell you, as I’m not one for showing my emotions in public or private easily, and those who know me personally know this to be the case. The committee were also struggling to remain composed.  The committee had come to Newcastle because it had the highest complaints across the entire system, so decided a one off trip to hear from people was appropriate.

Many cases of failure were given and it was brought up time and again of fabricated reports, people being humiliated by HCP’s which we have known about for years. Many cases of suicide were mentioned , many cases of where the claimant was terminally ill yet denied what they were rightfully entitled to in their time of need and that documentation from GP’s /consultants were being ignored as ‘they know better’.

I mentioned the fear of ‘brown envelope syndrome’ and that disabled peoples’ voices were not felt to be heard and our human rights were being abused on a daily basis. I called the WCA a ‘wicked regime’ which has targets even if they deny so, and is cost cutting exercise and nothing more. I also brought up as did others the fact most people would work if they could but many cannot, as getting through a day by day basis was as much as many could cope with. I also asked where the jobs were for those  who wish to work and why those meant to help like Shaw Trust/Action for the Blind were also vilified by claimants for failures when they are supposed to help? Whether they could help as the claimants’ impairments mean that employers wont take  them on  so they are abandoned to their own devices.

It was mentioned frequently during the meeting about JCP disability advisors being no use and they also, didn’t understand conditions either; often bullying the claimant into jobs they can’t perform, and that education for those who needed to gain skills was being denied .

Decision Makers are trained by ATOS I found out today  so that is a conflict of interest  which I found disgusting  given the level of control they have over peoples’ lives and the  cumulative impact on a disabled person’s well being. I mentioned that this model used is flawed and didn’t take into account those with fluctuating conditions and the cost of tribunals and re-assessments of those with long term progressive illnesses , was a waste of taxpayers’ money unless changes had occurred .

I explained how we are demonised and treated as liars and criminals when, in actual fact all we are, is disabled or have a long term health condition. I asked why shouldn’t we be afforded the same rights as non-disabled people such as holidays which we have to save for, or have a pet , or go to the supermarket without the fear of being seen as a potential fraudster, when actual fraud was 0.8% including deptartmental error. I brought it up that many claimants have had support needs, financial and other, refused saying it wasn’t available.

On a lighter note the committee  were understanding, listening and attentive and genuinely DO CARE  and were encouraged by the turnout and assured us that those who sent in personal  stories were not being ignored by them and that they were ploughing through each and every one of them, but they would encourage any further submissions of case studies by groups or individuals.

I have to say I found today harrowing as much as I do daily on facebook the horror stories that people are suffering. It has to stop!


 Posted by at 21:17
May 072014

Another Tory cut targeting disabled people

On Monday last week, Tory Universities and Science Minister David Willetts announced plans to ‘modernise’ the Disabled Students’ Allowances [DSAs] for higher education students from England. What he really means is another Tory cut.

DSAs are grants which pay for disability-related support for students. Since their introduction in 1990, DSAs have helped thousands more working class disabled students get to university who would otherwise have been unable to afford it, and to get the extra support they need when there.  In 2011-12, DSAs provided over £125 million of additional support for over 53,000 full-time undergraduate higher education students. Individual grants can be for several thousand pounds, including specialist equipment and tutorial support.

The report says that students with specific learning difficulties  such as dyslexia & dyspraxia “will continue to receive support through DSAs where their support needs are considered to be more complex”.  This means that students judged to have less complex needs will no longer be eligible.  The government will “no longer pay for standard specification computers”, using evidence from a report from Endsleigh Insurance conducted by the NUS which claims “almost all students now own or have access to a computer.” But even if this were true, the government’s own website says disabled people are less likely to own an internet-enabled computer or use a public terminal.*

The report says the government wants to “rebalance responsibilities between government funding and institutional support.”   This move to make universities pay for the additional support needs of disabled students might seem fair.  After all, universities rake in huge amounts from student fees. But it’s unlikely to work out like that.  Richer universities can afford to pay (as can richer parents), but the huge squeeze on Higher Education funding means others will try not to. Most students can’t afford to go to court to force them to cough up. So all this will lead to disabled students dropping out of their courses because they can’t get the support they need, and that less disabled students from poorer backgrounds get to university at all.

Willetts says the changes will ensure support is provided “where it is needed the most.” This argument has been used to justify other benefits cuts, and on each occasion it has led in practice to actually removing support from most who need it. That’s why we need to expose and resist DSA changes as cuts helping the Tories to make education something only the rich can afford.

Roddy Slorach

*Office for Disability Issues – see

NUS blasts David Willetts over changes to disabled students’ support

David Willetts is “arrogant and out of touch” in seeking “unfair” cuts to disabled students’ funding, according to the National Union of Students.


Mr Willetts, the universities and science minister, says today in a written ministerial statement that he wants to “modernise” the Disabled Students’ Allowance.

The NUS said dyslexic students needing support for computer equipment to aid their studies would lose out, and warned the costs of specialist accommodation for disabled students may not be met by DSA.

The changes “look to rebalance responsibilities between government funding and institutional support,” Mr Willetts says in his statement.

Times Higher Education reported last week that the level of support offered to some disabled students varies widely between different universities.

DSA can pay for assistance including specialist equipment such as computer software; non-medical helpers, like a note-taker or reader; or extra travel costs. The maximum funding per student is £5,161 for specialist equipment (for the whole of a course), £20,520 for the non-medical helper allowance (per year) and £1,724 for a general allowance (per year).

Total government funding for DSA, the level of which varies from year to year depending on claims, came to £125 million in 2011-12, covering over 53,000 full-time undergraduates. The government said that in 2008-09, funding came to £91.7 million, covering 40,600 students.

Mr Willetts identifies a number of key changes in his announcement. The government will only pay “for higher specification or higher cost computers where a student needs one solely by virtue of their disability,” he says. The government is “changing our approach to the funding of a number of computer equipment, software and consumable items through DSAs that have become funded as ‘standard’ to most students,” he adds.

Students with specific learning difficulties will continue to receive support through DSAs where their support needs “are considered to be more complex,” Mr Willetts says. The government will only fund “the most specialist Non-Medical Help. The additional costs of specialist accommodation will no longer be met by DSAs, other than in exceptional circumstances.”

And the government will “define disability in relation to the definition provided by the Equality Act 2010, for the purposes of receiving DSAs”.

The changes, which would apply from September 2015, are subject to an Equality Impact Assessment, which assesses policies to make sure they do not unfairly disadvantage minority groups.

Hannah Paterson, NUS Disabled Students’ Officer, said: “The prospect of deeply unfair cuts to support for disabled students should concern us all. It is arrogant and out of touch to assume that disabled students can access ‘basic’ equipment or that universities will accept the new responsibilities ministers are seeking to place on them.”





 Posted by at 13:34
Apr 192014

“You have to love your own baby becos everone says they are a nusance”

 Sally age 8

I have come to recognise another truism! – If you are a parent of a disabled child. The school will give whatever support, you believe, is necessary for your child – as long as it matches with what the school is prepared to offer.If you want something different ,You! “The parent”  who is typically the mother, become “A problem” . The more articulate you are the more you are seen as “bloody awkward”.Colourful labelsgrow, the more you persist : “too pushy”, “in denial”, “neurotic”, “deranged”,”obsessed”, “too emotional”, “irrational” “naive” are a few of the polite names given to parents.


The rhetoric from schools and education authorities promoting partnership, between parents and professionals is common. This laudable aim, if realised,could save a great deal of pain and heartache for all concerned. The ultimate goal for most parents is for their child to feel safe welcomed and a belonging to the school. This is “gold dust” one parent said. Initially parents will “bend over backwards” to keep on the “good side of school” they are motivated by the desire to make this goal a reality for their child to experience. However, because there currently exists an unequal distribution of power and authority between parents and professionals the potential for “partnership” is only likely to happen when parents conforms to the plans of professionals.


After twenty five years being with parents advocating for their disabled child, I have not met a parent who had wanted conflict with the school. It is however, the professional who has the responsibility to change what they are doing to ensure the child can feel safe welcome and belongs to the school.A consequence of seeing the parent as a problem is that it is a distraction from supporting the child. There is a shift to devaluing and marginalising the parent ,which generates a struggle that can continue for weeks, months and sometimes years.


One mother said:


“They (the professionals) made me a monster. At first, I was totally compliant with everything they told me about my son. I would have balanced on my head if they wanted me to . Then I realised they lied to me and started bullying me- now professionals are having to manage the monster they created.”


The very act of questioning the practice of a school or an authority by a parent can result in unleashing of an assault that can leave the parent exhausted. The struggle increases if the parent challenges more than one statutory service and therefore multiple professionals. Such a position can overwhelm parents, with formal letters, procedures , phone calls ,e-mails, and now texts. The communications often contains implied threats or advice encouraging the parent to simply accept that which is being offered by professionals, even when they know this will go against what the parents believe is not in the interests of their child.


Does this mean that parents are always right and professionals wrong about a child’s support requirements? Such an assertion would be absurd. However, when a parent lacks confidence in the support provided by the school or when they are unable to influence the schooling experience for their child,when parents  witness their child is disrespected, denied important opportunities, with no friendships the parent is likely to be propelled into demanding change. When a parent is forced to take such an exposed yet principled position, they will be subject to scrutiny and interrogation, by a number of professionals who will hold a different position, at a case conference or annual review. Whilst such formal settings are routine for professionals for parents they can be traumatic.

If individual professionals were subjected to the same degree of scrutiny and interrogation before a panel of critical parents they would, quite rightly, be calling upon their professional associations to represent their position.


The professional in a protracted dispute with a parent will have access to supports throughout the process : they have time away from work, they can hand over to another colleagues, they can have someone to type letters,make phone calls, arrange meetings, they get travelling expenses, they get time off in lieu if they work beyond contracted hours, they can even move to another job whilst in the middle of a serious dispute with a family, and they receive a salary- Professionals have protection from a school or system culture, where professionals will protect each otherkeeping internal disagreements behind closed doors, allowing them to present a united front.No such accommodations are available to parents engaged in the same protracted dispute not of their initiation. When the professional decision is made it becomes bizarrely impenetrable. Parents are patronisingly encouraged to follow the ” Complaints Procedures” if they are “‘unhappy” with the decision. This would be another professional procedure that can take months, with little expectation of changing the original decision.


Being a parent who is knowledgeable about the education system,aware of legislation and particular policies, is not a  guarantee that your child will get the support you believe to be  appropriate for your child. Being the “Parent” you can be positioned so that your contributions are devalued if they differs from professionals ” in charge” because it is they who the system invests the authority. A mother of a disabled child, who was extremely knowledgeable and articulate about the complexities of her child’s support requirements, she was aware of different teaching methods,  how to differentiate curriculum, adapt resourcesfor particular children. This woman wasfamiliar with the range of external agencies able to enhance the support available in school. In addition she was familiar with internal workings of thelocal education authority, where her child attended school. This mother started her professional career as a teacher in the same authority, served eight years as a special educational needs co-ordinator(SENCO), followed by seven years as a deputy head teacher, finally taking on the roleof education advisor. But now she was positioned as a “parent” again she was asking for something different from that which the school was prepared to offer. She was described as being “too involved” and “too emotional” and no longer “objective” This mother was forced into a conflict with the professionals, from the authority she had served as a senior educationist.


How can such exhausting disputes be minimised? Professionals have to learn to listen and listen then listen again first to the child and the parent advocating for their child.


The professionals will have had training, they may well have many qualifications, they can have much knowledge about a particular impairment and yet know nothing about the support requirements of Heathar who may have that particular impairment. Professionals can only support Heathar effectively if they are able to develop a relationship with Heathar. The parent, advocating for their child can be a valuable introduction to Heathar.


If professionals ask questions, to which they don’t already assume the answer they are more likely to develop a meaningful understanding with the child and learn about the child. When  a person is genuinely listened too, good relationship happen. This is far more likely to lead to the parent having confidence in the actions of the professionals who are there to serve their child. Professional can also build on a good relationship with the parent when they don’t:


Tell ​a parent their child is not the only one in the school!


Tell a parent the school does not have the resources to support their child!


Tell a parent that support to their child – will result in support being removed from other children.


Tell a parent that you are an extremely busy person!


Tell a parent that you are an expert in this type of condition, when referring to their child.


Tell a parentthe date and time of a meeting without first checking on their availability.


Tell a parent to come to a meeting on their own


Tell a parent you have to leave their meeting early because you have an important                       appointment to attend.


Tell the parents of an important decision, just before you go on school holidays.


Give the parent a patronising smile and nod of your head, when you totally disagree with them.


George Bernard Shaw suggested that it was the reasonable person who adapts themselves to the world as it exists. However, it is the unreasonable person who persists in adapting the world to accommodate a different way of thinking. GBS concluded, that all progress depends upon the “unreasonable” person orthe ” bloody awkward” parent?


Joe Whittaker

April 2014.

 Posted by at 19:22
Apr 192014


Come and learn about why the NHS is under threat and how you can join the fight to save it.


Tuesday 13th Mary 2014 at 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm

HG Wells Centre.

Off St Mark’s Road (Off Masons Hill/High Street)



BR2 9HG.

Speakers:  Dr Bob Gill General Practitioner Welling.

Linda Kurcher – Expert on US/EU Trade Agreement.

Professor Allyson Pollock – Expert on Private Finance Initiative (PFI)


Buses:  61,208, 320, 336, 358, 402.

Nearest Rail Station.  Bromley South ( from central london, Catford, Orpington.  This station is fully accessible with a accessible lift to street level at this station)


Greenwich & Bexley, Bromley, Lewisham trades councils present Banner Theatre with Burning Issue commemorating the miners’ strike £10 (£5) 7pm Saturday 10 May or contact tony.reay@gmail.com07903 755 074

 Posted by at 18:22
Apr 042014

Dozens of young people with learning difficulties and their families have hit out at a decision to slash foundation learning courses for pupils with profound or moderate learning difficulties – from five days a week to three at One, formerly known as Suffolk One, in Ipswich. the link to the article in the East Anglian Daily Times is below.

Suffolk DPAC will be working with them to try to prevent this as the only other alternatives for their education are at special school sixth forms.

As we know segregated classes within mainstream settings do not count as inclusive education. But neither does the forced placement of disabled learners in fully segregated settings of so called special schools, colleges, universities or any other learning environment. DPAC opposes both!

We refer all to our allies ALLFIE (The Alliance for Inclusive Education) for a better understanding of what inclusive education means and how it can be achieved-DPAC strongly supports Inclusive education as a fundamental principle of independent living and as the only way to achieve full equality and inclusion for all disabled people.

Please see the ALLFIE web site for more informaion on inclusive education and get involved in their campaigns

also please see the valuable comment from Joe Whittaker below



Mar 312014

Bedroom Tax demo in Swindon in conjunction with the  Swindon Tenants Campaign Group, on 5th April as part of a national campaign.

At the fountain, Canal Walk, Swindon Town Centre

10.30 am on April 5th

We will have leaflets to distribute and banners.

We also have a project collecting peoples stories about ATOS injustice in Swindon. We will be arranging a meeting with our MPs to present our concerns. People can join the face book group or email SPA or phone 01793 522824 if they would like to be a part of this. All information will be treated with strict confidentiality.

 Posted by at 17:44