Linda

Nov 112016
 

Youth and Student CND oppose DSA cuts- Join us!

November 24th 18.30 – 21.00 at Student Central, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY – ticketed event available through facebook page

Whilst most students are no strangers to debt and cuts enforced by the Conservative’s austerity policy, one group of students is being hit much harder- £30 million harder. Disabled people make up around 10% of students in the UK and a recent survey (‘The Pound in your Pocket’, NUS) found that 59% of disabled respondents agreed that they had worried about not having enough money. 55% had seriously considered leaving their course. 53% felt that they had little control over their financial situation. And this was before the cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs). This academic year, disabled students will be £30 million poorer than previous years, with recent figures suggesting 70,000 students will be effected.

The importance of the DSAs are obvious- reports have shown that students receiving DSA are more likely to finish their course than students who do not, as well as being more likely to reach a first or upper class second honours degree. For thousands of students, having access to laptops, voice recorders, screen readers and other assistive technologies is essential to their studies. However, students starting university this year will have to face the cuts to DSAs meaning that if they require this technology, these will not be funded. So what options remain for a disabled student? Either spending their student loan, meant for rent and daily life, on essential technology, or do without, at a risk to their studies. Less than one in three disabled students agreed that they were able to concentrate on their studies without worrying about finances, so buying a laptop upfront for many is unimaginable and simply not an option. Even as a non-disabled student, I’m no stranger to worrying about my finances, and I can’t begin to imagine this extra stress on top of the workload of a university degree.

How does the government justify the vicious cuts to vulnerable students? To save £30million, at the detriment of 70,000 individuals and their aspirations. The statement from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skill claims ‘the changes will ensure DSAs provide support where it is needed the most’, by asking universities to foot the bill for other items deemed unessential. With universities fees already rising above £9,250 and most universities being notoriously stingy, its questionable how exactly this will work. Meanwhile, our Prime Minister believes it would be ‘sheer madness’ to not spend £205 billion on our country’s nuclear weapons system…

Proposed cuts have of course been met by fierce backlash from disabled activists and the NUS in the past, with the government delaying proposed cuts in 2014, and this will continue. Youth and Student CND opposes all cuts to DSA, and believes no one should face hurdles to education. We’re happy to have the support of DPAC for our upcoming rally ‘No War! No Austerity!’ this month, featuring John McDonnell, Larry Sanders, Tariq Ali and Kate Hudson, as well as speakers from NUS, Stop the War and Cut the Rent. We’re hoping this will be an opportunity for different campaigns to unite so please do come along!

By Ellie Kinney

No War! No Austerity!: https://www.facebook.com/events/1788763484693004/

YSCND: https://www.facebook.com/yscnd/ and              @youthstudentcnd

 Posted by at 20:27
Nov 112016
 

GMCDP uninvited

On 28th October, Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) were contacted by the office of Debbie Abrahams, the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and invited to provide a key speaker for the launch of the Labour Party Disability Equality Roadshow on November 11th 2016.

The Labour Party said they wanted

“to ensure that we listen directly to the views of disabled people on a wide range of issues as we begin to develop Labour’s policies for the next election. We hoped to have brief introductory speeches from Jeremy Corbyn, Debbie and yourself, before breaking out into smaller groups to discuss policy themes, drawn from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”

The invitation cited GMCDPs “promotion of a rights-based approach to disability, extensive experience of campaigning to assert the rights of disabled people” and we, of course, were pleased to accept.

Two of the major issues that have been important to disabled people, we said, are Independent Living and Assisted Suicide, and we would like to talk about them. This seemed to worry our contact, who said that Labour had not got a formal policy position on the future funding of the ILF and he was concerned that this might be a difficult issue for Jeremy Corbyn and Debbie Abrahams to respond to if this was brought up. We explained that this was broader than the ILF and we wouldn’t be looking to put anyone on the spot, or expecting any commitment from Labour about this on the day.

Despite such reassurances from ourselves the Office of Debbie Abrahams has now withdrawn its invitation to GMCDP to provide a speaker.  Although we will still attend, we are immensely disappointed.We have been a part of – and are linked into – disabled people’s organisations and networks and have offered to speak on two of the most serious matters facing disabled people today. We are astounded that the Labour Party does not want to hear us. Because of this we have decided to make our views available widely and are posting this message on our website. Please circulate it as widely as possible, so that the Labour Party knows just how important these matters are.

Please see below the speech we intended to deliver. Please circulate it as widely as possible, so that the Labour Party knows just how important these matters are.

1 Introduction:

Firstly I would like to thank Jeremy, Debbie and the Labour Party for inviting GMCDP to speak today at the launch of your Disability Equality Roadshow. Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People have no political affiliations, we have worked with past governments, Labour and Tory alike. We have also protested against both parties.

However, we are now living through an unprecedented period of sustained attacks on disabled people; the services we receive, the support we require and our very right to exist. You will no doubt have read the UN report published on Monday that state austerity policies ‘amount to violations of disabled people’s rights’. I mention this just so you don’t think that disabled people are making all this up.

We face inequality it all aspects of our lives, whether it be transport, housing, education or employment. Employment is a prime example of where we face inequalities at every level, from recruitment, retention, promotion and dismissal. To compound these difficulties the employment support programme Access To Work is being cut. Yes that’s right its being cut!  At a time when we should be investing in support, the government is making cuts to this programme. This is impacting particularly upon Deaf People who require British Sign Language interpreters within the work place. If we want to see Deaf lawyers, Deaf teachers and Deaf members of parliament, cutting support is not the way to go about it!

However, for GMCDP and for disabled people’s organisations in the UK, there are two issues that are of greatest concern, two issues that we want to reach out to Labour on.

2 Independent Living

Firstly, the principals of Independent Living for disabled people are being dismantled. The Independent Living Fund has gone. It was established to support disabled people with the highest support needs to live independently within the community rather than locked away in residential care, and the government scrapped it! Jeremy knows this because unlike the majority of politicians who shrugged their shoulders and walked away, Jeremy stood with us outside the Court of Appeals in the cold and stood up for us in parliament and campaigned for the retention of the ILF.

So what has the closure of the ILF meant for disabled people? It’s meant that some disabled people are having their care support cut in half, some disabled people told to wear incontinence pads at night, despite the fact they are not incontinent. Southampton CCG are saying that anyone needing more than 8 hours care support a day now face the threat of going into residential care. Here in Greater Manchester, Rochdale council is planning cuts to its Learning Disability Services by moving some people who have existing tenancies into residential care.

What we need is a national, needs-led system, independent of local authorities to administer independent living support, free at point of delivery and paid for through taxation. This system should build on the learning from the Independent Living Fund and be a key strategic mechanism for ensuring Disabled people’s rights under the UNCRPD are fully and consistently realised across the country.

3 Assisted Suicide

The other big issue, the scariest issue, the most misunderstood and misreported issue is disabled people’s opposition to the legalisation of Assisted Suicide.

At times it feels to us that we are fighting a pincer movement.

On the one side we have austerity and the narrative that has been spun by successive governments that disabled people have had it too easy for too long, that we are bleeding the county dry and that we are unsustainable and an unacceptable expense (I thought that was the banks, but apparently not). There was the punitive introduction of Workfare, the bedroom tax, cuts to Disabled Students Allowance, cuts disguised as reforms to ESA, DLA which are relentless and ongoing.

On the other side we have repeated attempts to introduce Assisted Suicide legislation. Let us be clear that GMCDP, DPAC, Inclusion London and all the other major UK disabled people’s organisations or disability charities strongly oppose any attempt to introduce any Assisted Suicide legislation. At a time when we are facing massive cuts to services and benefits, we need support to live, not assistance to die.  It is not only disabled people who oppose Assisted Suicide. The British Medical Association and Royal Colleges of Physicians, GPs and Surgeons and The Association for Palliative Medicine are all opposed to changing the law in relation to Assisted Suicide.

Despite this, supporters of Assisted Suicide claim that disabled people’s opposition to Assisted Suicide isn’t relevant as any such legislation would only apply to people who are terminally ill with less than six months to live and that safeguards would be put in place to protect the vulnerable (I think that means people like me). Well our concerns are relevant because we have the evidence from countries like Belgium, Holland and parts of the USA where Assisted Suicide is already lawful. In almost all cases there has been some kind of ‘mission creep’ on the criteria of who is eligible. It’s follows a similar pattern. At first it is limited to those with ‘less than six months to live’, then is extend to those in ‘chronic pain’ and eventually encompasses those found to be experiencing ‘unbearable suffering’. All such criteria is subjective and ultimately divides society into those deemed worthy to live and those deemed not worthy of life. So we vehemently oppose legislation that would give the state the power to end our lives through fear and coercion and then sold to us as ‘choice’.

Conclusion

Imagine the power we could harness if all those, either for or against Assisted Suicide could instead turn their energies to fighting for better palliative care for all. Fight for a better funded NHS and a social care system that enables people to maintain their choice, control and dignity. Not being able to wipe your own bum, or hold a spoon or dress yourself are not reasons to kill people or lock them away in residential care or withdraw their support so they become prisoners in their own homes.

So we are asking the Labour leadership to talk to disabled people’s organisations about Independent Living and about our opposition to Assisted Suicide. Today is a great start but if you want your policies to be the policies that disabled people support, that disabled people endorse and ultimately vote for, then there must be an ongoing dialogue. So here’s our contact details not just GMCDP but our sister organisations, Not Dead Yet UK, the Alliance for Inclusive Education and the other organisations I have already mentioned. Work with us. You provide the tea and coffee and we’ll bring the biscuits.

Thank you.

 Posted by at 13:35
Nov 102016
 

It is with great sadness that we have to tell you one of our co-founders, Debbie Jolly has died following a short hospital stay. As disabled people everywhere we’ve lost a friend and advocate and a fighter for our movement.

Debbie has played a hugely influential part in the development of DPAC since 2010 and she and I have worked together virtually every day since dealing with the day-to-day things that needed to be done to make DPAC the successful campaign group we have become.

Debbie was one of the main people involved in initiating the UN inquiry into the UK’s grave and systematic violation of disabled people’s human rights which will be a lasting testimony to her life and work.

Debbie was a warrior and tireless campaigner for disabled people’s human rights and most of all she never wanted to be hailed as a heroine or praised by others for the work that she did.

All of the steering group and our allies from Black Triangle campaign are in deep shock and I have felt very lost in the past few weeks without Debbie to support me and be by my side. Many thanks to those who have responded to my requests for help during this time.

However we know Debbie would want us to gather ourselves together and fight on so we are asking that people join us in her memory to protest next Wednesday, November 16th at parliament. Meet Old Palace Yard at 5.30 pm highlight the damning findings of the UN report.

We will also now use all means at our disposal to toxify the Tory “brand” so thoroughly that they will be remembered for generations as the party that perpetrated grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s human and civil rights and we will not rest until this government is no more than a terrible part of our history.

Linda and all of the DPAC steering group

 

 Posted by at 13:27
Nov 032016
 

Following the receipt of several requests for support from people which included phrases such as “my benefits have been cut because we give too much money to immigrants” or “if we didn’t waste so much money on food aid our benefits wouldn’t be cut” this is just a quick reminder to everyone that DPAC campaign from a non-racist, non-homophobic, non-sexist position.

 

We do not agree with hate fuelled rhetoric against any group of people, pedalled by the likes of the Daily Mail and Express, and do not support the divisions into ‘them’ and ‘us’ which allow the government to weaken any joint fight back against attacks to claimants and others.

Neither do we support the scapegoating of migrants and refugees

 

If you do hold a racist, homophobic, ageist, or sexist viewpoint please seek support elsewhere. We’re sure your local UKIP branch would be happy to welcome you.

 Posted by at 17:30
Oct 312016
 

If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and have to use readymade meals cooked in a microwave because a lack of lack of social care and support or personal assistance please let me know by emailing me on Henrietta.doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk.  If your children also have to eat the readymade meals please highlight this.

Inclusion London is intending to write Frank Field MP to alert him that Disabled people are not given enough support to prepare and cook fresh food. We are doing this because Frank Field has sponsored a ‘Housing Standards’ private members Bill, available at:  http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2016-17/housingstandardspreparationandstorageoffoodbytenantsinreceiptofuniversalcreditorhousingbenefit.html

Frank Field says:  ‘For some families, regardless of whether they rent privately or through a housing association, the only cooking facility available at home is a microwave. It is nigh on impossible to feed a hungry family in those circumstances. My bill therefore seeks to equip every household in the country with the basic equipment they need to prepare meals.’ Read more at: http://www.frankfield.co.uk/latest-news/press-releases/news.aspx?p=1021354 

Frank Field also chair an All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger, information is available at: http://www.frankfield.com/campaigns/feeding-britain-appg-hunger.aspx

We wish to inform Frank Field that it is not only the lack of equipment that prevents access to freshly prepared cooked food. We wish to highlight that a lack of social care and support or personal assistance can force Disabled people and their children to be dependent on microwaved readymade meals.

 Posted by at 21:31
Oct 312016
 

Wanted - Damien Green - For Crimes Against Disabled PeopleToday Damien Green announced a consultation into the Work Capability Assessment a toxic and lethal test of disabled peoples’ ability to work. DPAC have consistently called for this to be completely scrapped as in spite of numerous attempts to reform the tick box computer tests they are still not fit for purpose. How many times do you keep trying to fix the unfixable?

It comes as no surprise either that Disability Charities welcome the changes which are being consulted on – why wouldn’t they after all there’s likely to be lots of financial pickings for them from the further misery of disabled claimants. Already Tom Pollard previously Campaign and Policy Manager for MIND has taken his thirty pieces of silver and moved to work for the DWP.

Overview and what these changes might mean

Now like Lord Freud the banker who wrote the guidelines for welfare reform for New Labour in 3 weeks and without any previous experience of our social security system Damien Green today has said “In the long run there is nothing more expensive than saying to someone, ‘Here’s a benefit you can have for the rest of your life…” Not that I’m sure what he means by that since this does not happen and disabled people face continuous repeat assessments to ensure they haven’t grown back any limbs or had a miraculous cure.

The consultation announced today places an emphasis on getting all disabled people back into work as fast as possible on the false assumption that working in a zero hours or low paid dead end jobs may somehow improve people’s health outcomes. Green seems to particularly single out forcing people with Mental Health and Musculoskeletal conditions back into work as fast as possible for as long as possible. Musculoskeletal conditions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

This is against a background of massive cuts to MH services to help those with a MH condition receive the support they need. Added to which there are caps to the Access to Work budget , social care funding has been slashed, to access train services in many cases disabled people have to book 24 or 48 hours in advance, Disabled Students’ Allowance has been cut making it more difficult if not impossible for young disabled people to gain qualifications, and people are being forced to give up work as they lose entitlement to PIP and their Motability vehicles are taken away.

Further between 2011 and 2015 the number of Jobcentres employing a full-time advisor to help disabled people navigate the support system and find employment fell by over 60 per cent from 226 to just 90, with reductions in every recorded year.

Does Damien really not understand that without the right support services in place disabled people even if they want to cannot work? Is it really too complex for politicians to grasp that support services must be available to allow disabled people to work if they want to and feel able to. Do they really not understand that for some disabled people working is not and never will be an option?

And what of employers?  of course they’re queuing up to retain and employ disabled people and all workplaces are accessible as we all know. The much lauded Disability Confident campaign resulted in a whopping 40 private firms signing up in 3 years.

But not just Damien also Jeremy Hunt, the much trusted health secretary also suggests getting people back to work had major health benefits. He is reported to say that as it cost £7bn a year to treat long-term health conditions that kept people out of work, and employment could be a part of recovery.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said “People in work generally have better health.” Something that I would have thought is obvious as people not in work often have long term health conditions or impairments which prevent them from working. Thus an utterly meaningless statement if ever I’ve heard one.

One particularly worrying statement is “No one wants a system where people are written off and forced to spend long periods of time on benefits when, actually, with the right support they could be getting back into work.” Which we feel means they plan to scrap the Support group.

This would certainly fit in with the announcement on October 1st when Damien Green announced there would be an end to repeat WCA assessments for people with permanent or progressive conditions. There was little detail on the announcement with more questions being raised that answers given (such as which conditions would be excluded from repeat assessments) The DWP promised to release guidelines to clarify exactly what this change means – to date no such clarification has appeared.

My Challenge to Damien Green and why these proposals are a crock of  ****

Dear Damien find an employer for this person. I know having to work as well as survive will help her wellbeing. Please note Damien at the moment she has no money to feed herself or her family due to the barbaric and flawed WCA assessment.

“I am writing this email as I feel desperate and alone after I had a phone call today saying I scored 0 points on my esa assessment. I don’t know where to turn or what to do.

I will start from the beginning. From being young I have had hip disabilities and went through many many operations between the ages of 12 and 19. In my early twenties I broke my left hip 4 times. Also in my early 20’s my spine started to deteriorate and to date I have had 3 emergency operations to try to correct this. During one operation I was left with that much damage and scar tissue I have loss of feeling and severe foot drop in my left foot.

Due to my hip problems I have arthritis in both hips and I am awaiting hip replacements in both hips. Due to my left femur being broken 4 times it is no longer straight meaning the hip replacement surgery will be very difficult which is why my surgeon is trying to leave it as long as possible as the surgery could end very badly.

I have suffered with chronic pain all my life but have always worked until earlier this year when I had my contract ended by work as I was no longer fit to do my job due to my disabilities. This is when I started claiming ESA.

Recently I have had major changes to my health leaving me doubly incontinent. I have to self catheterise twice daily. I am experiencing that much pain I am taking copious amounts of medication including morphine every 3 hours. My mobility is very restricted and my partner has had to give up work to care for me. I can’t cook, clean, go to the shop. My emotional and mental health is suffering terribly and I am on anti depressant medication.

I attended my ESA assessment last week and the decision maker telephoned me today telling me that I had not scored any points at all during the assessment and my benefits have been stopped.

Because my partner has come out of work our tax credits claim was ended and we have had to re apply meaning we are not receiving any money from tax credits at the moment. The only money we had support us and our two children was the ESA payments of £72 per week and £36 per week child benefit.

When the advisor phoned me with the news today I broke down in the phone. I feel as though I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I can not go to work as I am too unwell. I spend a lot of my time feeling sleepy and not with it due to my medication, I can not control my bowels, I am in constant severe pain, my mobility is limited, my bladder does not empty itself so I have to self catheterise, I have short term memory loss and confusion due to medication, the list is endless. As the rent is now not being paid and with our previous arrears which I was paying off before this I am terrified my kids are going to lose their home. I can’t put food in the cupboards, gas and electric on. I feel hopeless and desperate.

I don’t know how this works. I have always worked I am not trying to get anything under false pretences. If I could work I would. I have lost my independence and I feel that the DWP are taking away my dignity along with it by making me beg to be able to live.

I am unsure why I have sent you this email but I don’t know where to turn. I am so sorry if this makes no sense. ”
What you can do

Write or email Damien to let him know what you think

ministers@dwp.gsi.gov.uk or Caxton House, 12, Tothill Street, London,SW1H

also please respond to the consulation

Full consultation here

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/work-health-and-disability-improving-lives

take part in consultation here

https://consultations.dh.gov.uk/workandhealth/consult/

 

 

 

 Posted by at 18:51
Oct 252016
 

The Sustainability and Transformation Plans

Reblogged from National Health Action Party with thanks.

Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) – the biggest threat to the NHS since the Coalition’s Health & Social Care Act (2012)

The STP programme was launched in December 2015.

It splits England into 44 areas called ‘Footprints’ which will be the basis for how the NHS will be run in future. They are taking the ‘N’ out of the NHS.

This is designed to drive forward the 5 Year Forward View. It takes as its central point that there will never be funding for the NHS at any point in the future sufficient to fund it to current levels of service. On this basis the NHS will be reduced. Jeremy Hunt has said it will be on a ’10 year diet’.

This dismantling emphasises ‘out of hospital care’ using technology to replace face-to-face contact and moving people out of hospitals into community care. But funding for social care and public health have both been savagely cut.

Among other things the STPs rely on reducing the number of A&Es, selling ‘surplus’ land and assets to fund the STPs themselves and changing the skills mix of NHS staff. This means that people will no longer see doctors as a matter of course. The new system is based around patients using vouchers and personal health budgets, a form of ‘self-pay’.

In 2013 we had 140 full A&E hospitals in England. When the STPs are complete there will only be between 40 and 70 left.

According to the STPs, to make the NHS affordable and sustainable we, the public, must get used to longer ambulance journeys for emergency care, longer waiting times for treatment and the possibility of paying extra to be seen by a doctor. And we must learn to look after ourselves. This was planned in 2013, but shelved until after the 2015 election as being ‘politically sensitive’. In other words, the Tories knew they would have lost the election. THE PLANS SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN PLACE BY JUNE 30th 2016., but were delayed as so few of the ‘footprints’ could achieve it.

To sign a petition and find out what else you can do to stop this destruction of our NHS visit  http://nhap.org/the-biggest-attack-on-the-nhs/

Or sign the petition here https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-plans-to-dismantle-our-nhs

 

 Posted by at 16:18
Oct 242016
 

I’m Martyn and I sit on the NUS (National Union of Students) Disabled Students Committee.

This Wednesday (26th October) from 1pm, we will be launching a new campaign where we will be fighting the high prescription costs that the NHS has been charging over the last few years. While this area of work will mainly be focusing on students, we will also be looking at the impact that these prescription costs have on the general public as well as fighting the charges to either have them scrapped or heavily reduced.

The current cost of an NHS prescription is £8.40; and in the last five years alone medication costs have increased over £1. When you are on no or a limited income, this is a charge that is not needed and can result in an even greater financial pressure for us to just maintain a basic level of health. Furthermore it is bad enough when you have to pay this once, but when you have to pay this every month for several items the cost soon mounts up. Add on other costs such as optical and dental charges and this annual total can be too much for people on a decent income to afford, let alone disabled people.

Even though there are some financial options for saving money such as pre-payment certificates, this is still not enough. Similarly a few of us are lucky to be exempt from these charges for a variety of reasons, however the majority of us don’t qualify for this. With the increasing cuts that the government are placing on us, this is becoming even harder to get.

As such, we are launching and running the cut prescription costs campaign and it will be great if as many of you can support us as much as you can. From 1pm this Wednesday, it would be amazing if you could take to social media using the hashtag #freeprescriptions to both promote the campaign and share your experiences of prescription costs and having an impairment. There will also be further information coming shortly on the different things that we will be doing and working on in order to fight the prescription charges and have them cut. This will also be an indirect fight at the cuts that the government have been imposing on people like us who are disabled. Again, it will be great if you could support us and get involved with it. The more people there are, the stronger we can be and the more likely it is that we will win.

Furthermore, on November 19th, NUS and UCU will be marching through London against many different issues that we are facing. Disabled people’s issues such as these will be at the forefront of the demo. For further information, see NUS National Demo on Facebook or Google search it.

If anyone has any questions, wants more information or wants to be kept in the loop with what we are doing, feel free to drop me an email at: M.Brown18@uni.brighton.ac.uk

Our website is http://www.prescriptionchargescoalition.org.uk/

I will be keeping DPAC notified of everything that we are doing so that you don’t miss out on this campaign including any information and so that you can get involved with what we are doing.

I hope that many of you can get involved in some way. It will be amazing if you can take to social media from Wednesday at 1pm of promote our campaign AND share your experiences!

 

 

 Posted by at 18:28
Oct 212016
 

As some of you will know there were changes in Blue Badge entitlement as a result of the introduction of PIP which meant that anyone who could walk regardless of other impairments such as Autism, MH or visual impairment were no longer able to qualify for a Blue Badge.

This change affected one of our supporters whose son had previously been entitled to a Blue Badge for around 30 years and the Local Authority involved refused to renew their badge when it ran out earlier this year. The result of that has been that the person became virtually housebound as he frequently had meltdowns and his PAs needed to be able to get him into the car quickly.

We referred this person to one of the solicitors we often work with Louise Whitfield of Deighton Pierce Glynn and we are delighted to report a very successful outcome.

Not only have the Local Authority backed down and renewed the Blue Badge but even without the case having to go to court The Department for Transport have agreed to carry out a review of the entire Blue Badge policy and its approach towards people with “non-physical disabilities.

The DfT have said: “I can confirm that the review process has now begun internally. The Department’s Blue Badge policy team is undertaking the review. They intend to involve the Department for Work & Pensions, Department for Health, lawyers, local authorities, DPTAC, disability organisations and mental health experts.  

They will look at how the scheme works for people with non-physical disabilities, with a view to ensuring that equalities issues are addressed and that the scheme continues to be sustainable for disabled people. Following the initial work, a public consultation is likely. Local authorities are also likely to need fresh guidance. It is not possible to give timescales at this stage but further information on the review will be provided in due course.”

 

 

 Posted by at 20:38
Oct 012016
 

For those who were able to come to our conference on September 10th  I’m sure you all remember the absolutely harrowing video from Greece which was shown of disabled children being bound into cots and beds. For anyone who missed it you can see it again here

http://dpac.uk.net/2016/09/greeces-shocking-secretthe-work-of-zero-tolerance/

In a solidarity action with our OCAP allies in Toronto we plan to deliver a letter to the Greek Embassy in the UK. (below) demanding changes in Greece and human rights for disabled people there.

Meet Wednesday, October 5th at 10.30am outside the embassy at 1A Holland Park, London, W11 3TP

 

For those of you not able to attend in person please join in on twitter #GreeceSolidarity and tweet to @GreeceinUK or email  gremb.lon@mfa.gr using the below as a template.

Dear Mr. : This letter is being hand delivered by a delegation from Disabled People Against Cuts. We are here in solidarity with the Emancipation Movement of People with Disabilities: Zero Tolerance in Greece. In November of last year, they occupied a centre for disabled children and young adults in the town of Lechaina and exposed conditions of neglect and cruelty that clearly constituted an abuse of their human rights. This went to lengths of prolonged confinement in tiny spaces and the tying down of children to their beds round the clock. You may be aware that Human Rights Watch has taken up this matter and spoken in the clearest terms on the enormity of the abuses involved. You may also be aware that the horrors being perpetrated at the Lechaina centre are simply the tip of the iceberg. It is estimated that eighty five such centres are operating throughout Greece and that a huge and appalling abuse of the rights of disabled people is being perpetrated. Your Country is, of course, facing an externally imposed agenda of the most brutal austerity. Regrettably, your Government has decided to accept the logic of this agenda and embrace the infamous notion that ‘there is no alternative.’ With regard to the disgusting treatment of these disabled children, we wish to convey to Mr. Tsipras and his colleagues that an alternative must be found and the obscene warehousing of human beings that has been exposed here must come to an end. DPAC wishes to join with the Emancipation Movement of People with Disabilities: Zero Tolerance, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and with many others internationally in demanding decent, adequate and humane conditions and services for these children and all disabled people in Greece. Thank you for your attention to this matter and we await your response. Yours truly, Ellen Clifford on behalf of the DPAC steering group

 Posted by at 20:35
Oct 012016
 

CEO and President of Maximus Scramble to Dump Their Shares – Going Fast and Cheap.

Is the May government and Damien Green really going to deliver the promise that they would be different to a Cameron government well no I really don’t think so as both voted through swingeing welfare cuts when part of that government including voting to take away £30 a week from disabled people not fit for work to ‘incentivise’ them to get non-existent jobs. They voted also in favour of the discredited and hugely costly Universal Credit, the Bedroom Tax, the Benefit Cap, and limiting the annual rise in social security payments to 1%. They gleefully voted through the closure of the Independent living Fund a ring-fenced pot of funding to help disabled people to live independently in the community.

They still plan to steam full speed ahead with cuts of £96 billion from tax credits from the working poor and working age social security payments. None of which sound humane to me.

Having heard the news that Damien Green was promising something more humane for a minority of disabled people and that at long last the Tories seem to have at last grasped what campaigners have been saying for years that retesting people with long term impairments or chronic conditions was a waste of money my suspicions as to why were immediately raised and so I decided to delve a little further into the murky world and finances of the Maximus the American corporation carrying out ESA assessments. A further question of course is why if ending retesting is the humane thing to do then why not also end costly retesting of disabled people for Personal Independence Payments. Many of those people retested for this additional payment to meet the extra costs of being disabled were previously awarded Disability Living Allowance for life as they have conditions that will not improve.

Anyhow back to Maximus who will be paid £1.6 billion over 3 years to carry out these assessments. Way back in September 2015 the share value of Maximus plummeted by 26% as they were failing to keep to their agreed targets to assess disabled people. Between November 2015 and the following January the CEO of Maximus Richard Montoni and the President Bruce Caswell are reputed to have sold between them  £11.4 million worth of shares and a quick google shows that since then most months one or the other has continued to sell off a sizeable number of shares, together with a number of other high level employees. Obviously those on the inside within Maximus can’t wait to offload their shares in the company.

In the meantime between 2014 and 2015 the average staff cost rose from £26,000 to £44,000 per annum and half of those hired never completed their training. Together with a more than 100% increase in the average wage the cost of each assessment rose by £85 each to a staggering £190. At the same time the national Audit Office found that there was a backlog of  280,000 claims with many new claimants waiting over 6 months for assessment and in fact the situation was so bad that all retesting had to be halted as Maximus could not mange to carry out the assessments.

So I think what we need to ask ourselves is whether Green’s announcement is the start of something good for disabled people or just another cover up of the failings of Maximus and cheap political propaganda?

 

 Posted by at 17:41
Sep 282016
 

Francis Ryan and The Guardian are desperately trying to find a disabled person who’s appealed a benefit decision with written evidence only (so not in person giving oral evidence at tribunal). Francis is doing it to highlight the problems with the government’s proposal to shift appeals online as advocates tell her that – as difficult as giving evidence in person is – doing it purely over paperwork severely reduces a claimants’ chance of success.

If you’ve appealed  via paper/written evidence only and  struggled please get in touch with Frances if you’re willing to speak about this. Her email is

francesryan.journalism@gmail.com

 

 Posted by at 13:27
Sep 272016
 

Please submit evidence to this enquiry by October 21st  if you use care and support or Personal Assistants or are a parent of someone who uses these services. It is important that individuals let the rapporteur know what has happened since the closure of the ILF both to new applicants in 2010 and to all in 2015 and due to the cuts to Local Authority funding.

 

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disability/SRDisabilities/Pages/Provisionofsupporttopersonswithdisabilities.aspx

 

Questionnaire on the “provision of support to persons with disabilities” – Call for submissions

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, is currently preparing a study, to be presented at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2017, on the provision of support to persons with disabilities.

The Special Rapporteur welcomes inputs, in accessible formats (Word), in English, French, Russian or Spanish, from Member States, international and regional organizations, UN agencies, funds and programmes, organizations of and for persons with disabilities, civil society, national human rights institutions and other national independent mechanisms designated or established to monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, disability or equality Ombudspersons, scholars, research institutions and policy think tanks, private sector businesses and networks, community movements, and private individuals, to provide information on the provision of support to persons with disabilities.

Submissions should be sent by e-mail to the address sr.disability@ohchr.org no later than 21 October 2016. Concise responses are encouraged, inclusive of relevant attachments where available.

Kindly indicate if you have any objections with regard to your reply being posted on this website.


Questionnaire on
 the provision of support to persons with disabilities

 

  1. Please provide information on the following services that are available for persons with disabilities in your country, including data on their coverage, geographic distribution and delivery arrangements, funding and sustainability, challenges and shortcoming in their implementation:
  2. Personal assistance;
  3. In-home, residential and community support;
  4. Support in decision-making, including peer support; and
  5. Communication support, including support for augmentative and alternative communication.

 

  1. Please explain how persons with disabilities can access information about the existing services referred to in question one, including referral procedures, eligibility criteria and application requirements.

 

  1. Please elaborate on how these services respond to the specific needs of persons with disabilities throughout their life cycle (infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and older age) and how is service delivery ensured in the transition periods between life cycle stages.

 

  1. Please provide information on the number of certified sign language interpreters and deafblind interpreters available in your country.

 

  1. Please provide information on the existence of any partnership between State institutions and private service providers (e.g., non-governmental organizations, for-profit service providers) for the provision of support to persons with disabilities.

 

  1. Please describe to what extent and how are persons with disabilities and their representative organizations involved in the design, planning, implementation and evaluation of support services.

 

  1. Please provide any other relevant information and statistics (including surveys, censuses, administrative data, reports, and studies) related to the provision of support to persons with disabilities in your country.

 

 

 Posted by at 20:13
Sep 262016
 

As well as general demands for improved rights of disabled people DPAC, Mental Health Resistance Network and Recovery in the bin have drawn up a set of specific demands for Mental Health.

After decades of oppression we believe that disabled people must be afforded self determination from the grass roots level. “Nothing About Us Without Us” must become a reality.

No Longer will we tolerate large disability charities which see us as nothing more than marketable commodities from which to make profits for their own benefit speaking for us and deciding our futures. We expect a Labour Party which claims to support disabled people’s rights to ensure that it is our voices that are listened to and not the empty voices of our oppressors. Without this guarantee DPAC cannot approve of the disability policies of any political party.

DPAC priorities for setting Mental Health  Disability Policies.

We deplore the appropriation of the Recovery Model by statutory services and government departments in order to justify the withdrawal of services and benefits from people who need them. 

Compulsory MH Training for Professionals in Various Fields

  1. Mental health training should be compulsory for all health care professionals, including doctors and nurses, and suicide awareness training should be given to all health care professionals. Such training should be kept up to date.
  2. All Police Forces should have full mental health awareness training, stop using section 136, and acknowledge that custody suites and lock-ups in police cells are not safe places.
  3. Mental health awareness training and crisis awareness training should be available for all teaching staff in primary and secondary schools, and further education institutions.
  4. A person suffering from mental distress should be treated with respect, courtesy, dignity, and consideration at all times as should and their families and friends.

Treatment Changes

 We demand the abolition of forced treatment and Compulsory Treatment Orders (CTOs).

  1. All treatment should be with the full agreement of the person being treated and with their full understanding of the side effects of treatment, both pharmaceutical and psychological.

7.We demand the right to refuse treatment as it is ratified under the United Nations Convention Rights People with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

8.We want recognition of the link between abuse and trauma, and mental distress. The British Psychological Society has already made this link.

9.We demand the recognition that child abuse prevention is also mental distress prevention.

  1. We want the abolition of the medical model of mental distress to be replaced with an acceptance that mental distress is part of the human condition and is a normal response to adverse events and circumstances. Appropriate care and support should be the right for all people suffering from mental distress.
  2. Long term psychological treatments should be provided freely to all who need them and talking therapies should not be restricted to short term interventions. We recognise that not everyone wants talking treatments and this should be respected.
  3. The person experiencing mental distress should decide their care and always have their wishes respected.
  4. There should be a recognition that the use of alcohol and drugs are a form of self medication for many in mental distress. Drugs should therefore be decriminalised.

14.Access to detox and drug rehab programmes should be available to everyone.

15.We demand recognition that many social values that are common place, such as competition being intrinsic to human relationships, are erroneous and cause harm to people’s mental health.

  1. Bereavement counselling should be made available for all children who lose a parent or supporting person. 

Financial Needs – Individual and Other Support

  1. We demand recognition that the WCA and PIP assessment processes are detrimental to people’s mental health and should be scrapped. The money saved by not paying Private Companies to carry out these assessments should be re-invested into better services.
  2. We demand guaranteed financial security and appropriate housing for everyone experiencing mental distress.
  3. No aspect of the social security system should cause distress or deterioration in a claimant’s mental health condition.
  4. Funding should be provided for Crisis Care to be made available for help and support 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
  5. Funding should be made available for the setting up of Crisis Houses as safe spaces. Access to these should be every person’s right and should include ‘sitters’ who will be there to support people throughout these times.
  6. We want hospital beds to be replaced with beds in settings similar to domestic environments.
  7. More provision of services for children and young adults. 1 in 10 children are being denied mental health service support which is having a huge impact on the family and schools.
  8. Concessionary travel passes should be made available to all people living with mental distress to enable independence in the community and to attend appointments with health care professionals, thus aiding mental wellbeing.
  9. We want special support centres for young men who are suicidal and a paradigm shift away from the “norms” which are set as ideals of masculinity and may contribute to the high rate of suicide in young men.

26.Funding should be made available for research into mental health care that is based on a Social Model of mental distress; such funding should at least equal the current amount of money available for pharmaceutical research.

27.We demand the provision of special support for people with mental distress to ensure their children remain with them as a family.

  1. We demand a holistic approach to care – where a person has both a physical and a mental health problem, such impairments should be treated equally with respect and with dignity and with full understanding that a physical impairment can impact on a mental health impairment and vice versa.
  2. We want specialist support to be made available for ALL armed forces veterans who experience mental distress and for housing to be made available to them.
  3. We deplore the underfunding of mental health services in the NHS and the current practice of discharging people with mental health problems from secondary care into primary care where their needs cannot be met. These services should be properly funded.

 

Other

  1. Any crime against someone with a mental health condition should be treated as a hate crime.
  2. We want an ongoing campaign to end all bullying in schools and work places and within families and general society where such bullying is linked to mental distress.
  3. Action should be taken to end the ongoing discrimination against LGBT people as such discrimination can lead to mental distress.

Further Investigations Needed 

  1. We demand a full investigation into the effects of long term use of psychiatric medications and demand that mental health professionals treat reports of side effects of medication seriously.
  2. We want a full investigation into the appropriateness of the continuous use of medication as the main form of treatment for people in mental distress.

 

  1. We demand a full public inquiry into the impact on people in mental distress of being detained in Prison Environments.
  2. We want a full investigation into why so many people from BME communities are being diagnosed with a mental health condition.
  3. We want an investigation into the harmful effects of E.C.T.
  4. We demand an inquiry into the success or otherwise of the use of personal budgets for day care provision for people living with mental health problems.
  5. We demand a full public inquiry into the significantly shortened life expectancy of people with mental health conditions and a full report produced with recommendations which should be implemented.

 

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

www.dpac.uk.net

mail@dpac.uk.net

@dis_ppl_protest

 Posted by at 21:47
Sep 262016
 

This is what we have asked the Labour Party to support and will also be asking others as soon as possible to do the same.

After decades of oppression we believe that disabled people must be afforded self determination from the grass roots level. “Nothing About Us Without Us” must become a reality.

No Longer will we tolerate large disability charities which see us as nothing more than marketable commodities from which to make profits for their own benefit speaking for us and deciding our futures. We expect a Labour Party which claims to support disabled people’s rights to ensure that it is our voices that are listened to and not the empty voices of our oppressors. Without this guarantee DPAC cannot approve of the disability policies of any political party.

 

The UNCRDP and our human and civil rights must be fully implemented, promoted and enforced.

Disabled people are affected by the cuts 9 times more than everybody else. People with the most severe disabilities are affected by the cuts 19 times more than everybody else. This discrimination against disabled people must end.

 

DPAC priorities for setting disability policies  – Policy Pledges we are seeking from Labour

 

A Legal Right to Independent Living and Self-Determination:

The creation of a specific independent living law: a legal right that fully enacts and enforces, as domestic law, the UNCRPD incorporating the 12 pillars of independent living as its key goals and ensures provision of independent living support is free at the point of need and paid from general taxation.

 

A continuing right for disabled people to receive a Direct Payment to fund their own care and support and have a right to choose what option they wish to use to provide that care and support.

 

There should be a single nationally transportable social care system and an end to localism and the current postcode lottery that exists. Funding for care should return to a 4 tier rather then a 2 tier system with low and moderate needs being met for all as well as substantial and critical. This would, as in the past, act as a preventative measure which would allow disabled people to retain independence and dignity longer.

 

Set up an Independent living task force, co-produced with disabled people to review independent living in order to identify how best to improve, develop and extend independent living support building on the successful model of ILF provision.

 

Legislation to end 15 minute home care visits and any move to replace face-to-face visits with telecare options.

 

Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the use of agencies to provide home care provision with a view of bringing home-care (where provided as a service) back into local authority control.

 

An end to zero hour contracts for home care staff. Local Authorities to provide sufficient funding for those using Direct payments to meet all their financial responsibilities as an employer.

 

Serious changes should be made to how family carers are better supported both financially and practically.

 

Access to Health and Support Services: NHS funding must be protected and all forms of privatisation of our NHS should end with immediate effect.

 

Funding for mental health services including crisis teams should be protected and where necessary increased to former and safer levels. There should be an end of rationing of primary MH care services and treatment tailored to needs.

 

More funding investment is needed for children’s adolescent mental health services.

 

GP and nurse training should include compulsory training on mental health conditions and treatment.

 

There must be changes made to the Mental Capacity Act which is failing people it is supposed to protect. The Best Interests concept means that substitute decision making has become the default position rather than supporting people who are disabled or have Learning Difficulties to make their own decisions.

 

Welfare Support : There must be a publicly run welfare system and an end to paying private firms massive amounts of public money to carry out disability assessments badly. Instead that money should be invested into providing decent, liveable benefit levels.

 

An end to the Work Capability Assessment which is too flawed to amend. No aspect of the social security system should cause distress or deterioration in a claimant’s health condition.

 

An end to replacing Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payments where assessment processes are in complete chaos. Flawed assessments are depriving many disabled people of the support they need to get to work or to take part in society.

 

A full public, independent inquiry into deaths of social security claimants   leading where appropriate to criminal proceedings against ministers, civil   servants, and employees of service providing companies, ATOS, Maximus Capita who were found to have broken any laws with respect to this

 

 

Engagement with any back to work services must be optional for all claimants.

 

An immediate end to benefit sanctions which have led to deaths and increasing poverty. Ensure that there is no conditionality of JSA or ESA WRAG on seeking treatments and no linkage with treatment and receipt of benefits.
There must be a statutory right ensuring all people have ‘enough to live on’  and no-one is left destitute without money for food and fuel as a very minimum.

 

A total rethink on any move to Universal Credit and instead serious consideration to be given working with disabled people and DPOs to a move to a single system of welfare support based on the concept of a disabled person’s citizen’s income.

 

Policy recognition that there will always be disabled people who are unable or too ill to work. These individuals must be supported by a publically funded system.

 

Housing:

A strategic and sustained programme of building social housing to the standards of universal design and accessibility is carried out.

 

An end to bedroom tax and the Benefit Cap.

 

Until there are adequate levels of social housing available an increase in LHA rates to fully reflect the real costs of housing to meet the needs of disabled people and disabled children.

 

Access, Inclusion and taking part in society:

The creation of legal status for British Sign Language, and disabled people’s access on an equal basis with others to the physical environment, to transportation, justice, family life, the arts, to accessible information and all forms of information technology.

 

Enact and maintain a fully accessible public transport system with free transport available for disabled people.

 

Fully Inclusive Education:

Education is the key to creating an inclusive society. This can only be achieved by having one fully inclusive mainstream education system, funded by the state. Without inclusive education you will not get an inclusive society

 

Cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowance should be reversed

 

All Disabled People have a right to Work and get a Job:

A comprehensive plan of action is developed with disabled people and our organisations to tackle the discrimination and exclusion disabled people face in work and employment.

 

Access to Work (AtW) must be extended to include unpaid voluntary positions and recent changes that limit and reduce the support provided through AtW should be reversed.

 

The recently introduced (August 2013) fees for taking an employer to Employment Tribunal must be repealed.

 

Ensure that all government contracts, at a national, regional and local level, are only awarded to companies that are fulfilling measurable targets for the employment of disabled people.

 

Access to Justice:

All legal aid changes must be repealed and disabled people’s rights to access justice must be restored.

 

Disability Hate Crime laws and sentencing must be strengthened.

 

Reversal of the watering down of disabled people’s rights with the move from DDA to the Equality Act.

 

Restoration of funding for advice advocacy services such as CABs.

 

Legislation to prevent assisted dying.

 

Local Authority Statutory Services:

There must be no redefining of Local Authority Statutory Services to reduce their obligations even further.

 

Real and Effective Co-Production with user-led Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations across the UK:

Ensure meaningful, well-resourced and accessible co-production with disabled people and their organisations at local, regional and national levels on all issues affecting us.

 

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

www.dpac.uk.net

mail@dpac.uk.net

@dis_ppl_protest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After decades of oppression we believe that disabled people must be afforded self determination from the grass roots level. “Nothing About Us Without Us” must become a reality.

No Longer will we tolerate large disability charities which see us as nothing more than marketable commodities from which to make profits for their own benefit speaking for us and deciding our futures. We expect a Labour Party which claims to support disabled people’s rights to ensure that it is our voices that are listened to and not the empty voices of our oppressors. Without this guarantee DPAC cannot approve of the disability policies of any political party.

 

The UNCRDP and our human and civil rights must be fully implemented, promoted and enforced.

Disabled people are affected by the cuts 9 times more than everybody else. People with the most severe disabilities are affected by the cuts 19 times more than everybody else. This discrimination against disabled people must end.

 

DPAC priorities for setting disability policies  – Policy Pledges we are seeking from Labour

 

A Legal Right to Independent Living and Self-Determination:

The creation of a specific independent living law: a legal right that fully enacts and enforces, as domestic law, the UNCRPD incorporating the 12 pillars of independent living as its key goals and ensures provision of independent living support is free at the point of need and paid from general taxation.

 

A continuing right for disabled people to receive a Direct Payment to fund their own care and support and have a right to choose what option they wish to use to provide that care and support.

 

There should be a single nationally transportable social care system and an end to localism and the current postcode lottery that exists. Funding for care should return to a 4 tier rather then a 2 tier system with low and moderate needs being met for all as well as substantial and critical. This would, as in the past, act as a preventative measure which would allow disabled people to retain independence and dignity longer.

 

Set up an Independent living task force, co-produced with disabled people to review independent living in order to identify how best to improve, develop and extend independent living support building on the successful model of ILF provision.

 

Legislation to end 15 minute home care visits and any move to replace face-to-face visits with telecare options.

 

Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the use of agencies to provide home care provision with a view of bringing home-care (where provided as a service) back into local authority control.

 

An end to zero hour contracts for home care staff. Local Authorities to provide sufficient funding for those using Direct payments to meet all their financial responsibilities as an employer.

 

Serious changes should be made to how family carers are better supported both financially and practically.

 

Access to Health and Support Services: NHS funding must be protected and all forms of privatisation of our NHS should end with immediate effect.

 

Funding for mental health services including crisis teams should be protected and where necessary increased to former and safer levels. There should be an end of rationing of primary MH care services and treatment tailored to needs.

 

More funding investment is needed for children’s adolescent mental health services.

 

GP and nurse training should include compulsory training on mental health conditions and treatment.

 

There must be changes made to the Mental Capacity Act which is failing people it is supposed to protect. The Best Interests concept means that substitute decision making has become the default position rather than supporting people who are disabled or have Learning Difficulties to make their own decisions.

 

Welfare Support : There must be a publicly run welfare system and an end to paying private firms massive amounts of public money to carry out disability assessments badly. Instead that money should be invested into providing decent, liveable benefit levels.

 

An end to the Work Capability Assessment which is too flawed to amend. No aspect of the social security system should cause distress or deterioration in a claimant’s health condition.

 

An end to replacing Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payments where assessment processes are in complete chaos. Flawed assessments are depriving many disabled people of the support they need to get to work or to take part in society.

 

A full public, independent inquiry into deaths of social security claimants   leading where appropriate to criminal proceedings against ministers, civil   servants, and employees of service providing companies, ATOS, Maximus Capita who were found to have broken any laws with respect to this

 

 

Engagement with any back to work services must be optional for all claimants.

 

An immediate end to benefit sanctions which have led to deaths and increasing poverty. Ensure that there is no conditionality of JSA or ESA WRAG on seeking treatments and no linkage with treatment and receipt of benefits.
There must be a statutory right ensuring all people have ‘enough to live on’  and no-one is left destitute without money for food and fuel as a very minimum.

 

A total rethink on any move to Universal Credit and instead serious consideration to be given working with disabled people and DPOs to a move to a single system of welfare support based on the concept of a disabled person’s citizen’s income.

 

Policy recognition that there will always be disabled people who are unable or too ill to work. These individuals must be supported by a publically funded system.

 

Housing:

A strategic and sustained programme of building social housing to the standards of universal design and accessibility is carried out.

 

An end to bedroom tax and the Benefit Cap.

 

Until there are adequate levels of social housing available an increase in LHA rates to fully reflect the real costs of housing to meet the needs of disabled people and disabled children.

 

Access, Inclusion and taking part in society:

The creation of legal status for British Sign Language, and disabled people’s access on an equal basis with others to the physical environment, to transportation, justice, family life, the arts, to accessible information and all forms of information technology.

 

Enact and maintain a fully accessible public transport system with free transport available for disabled people.

 

Fully Inclusive Education:

Education is the key to creating an inclusive society. This can only be achieved by having one fully inclusive mainstream education system, funded by the state. Without inclusive education you will not get an inclusive society

 

Cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowance should be reversed

 

All Disabled People have a right to Work and get a Job:

A comprehensive plan of action is developed with disabled people and our organisations to tackle the discrimination and exclusion disabled people face in work and employment.

 

Access to Work (AtW) must be extended to include unpaid voluntary positions and recent changes that limit and reduce the support provided through AtW should be reversed.

 

The recently introduced (August 2013) fees for taking an employer to Employment Tribunal must be repealed.

 

Ensure that all government contracts, at a national, regional and local level, are only awarded to companies that are fulfilling measurable targets for the employment of disabled people.

 

Access to Justice:

All legal aid changes must be repealed and disabled people’s rights to access justice must be restored.

 

Disability Hate Crime laws and sentencing must be strengthened.

 

Reversal of the watering down of disabled people’s rights with the move from DDA to the Equality Act.

 

Restoration of funding for advice advocacy services such as CABs.

 

Legislation to prevent assisted dying.

 

Local Authority Statutory Services:

There must be no redefining of Local Authority Statutory Services to reduce their obligations even further.

 

Real and Effective Co-Production with user-led Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations across the UK:

Ensure meaningful, well-resourced and accessible co-production with disabled people and their organisations at local, regional and national levels on all issues affecting us.

 

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

www.dpac.uk.net

mail@dpac.uk.net

@dis_ppl_protest

 

 

 

 Posted by at 21:41
Sep 192016
 

Contact a Family have advised the following for anyone who has a disabled child or is a carer for an older adult. We think this advice should also apply to anyone who might qualify for PIP and who hasn’t yet claimed.

 

Over the next ten days the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will write to all those families who are going to be affected by changes to the household benefit cap in November. These letters will be sent out between 19 and 29 September.

The good news is you are exempt from the benefit cap if you have a dependent child who is on either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

If you have a disabled child but haven’t claimed DLA/PIP for them yet, think about doing so now. Getting an award of DLA or PIP at any rate will mean you don’t have to worry about the benefit cap hitting your family.

If you are disabled and think you may qualify even for the lowest rates of PIP please apply now.
What is the household benefit cap?

The household benefit cap limits the total amount of benefits that an out of work family can receive. At the moment the cap is £500 a week for lone parents and couples.

However, from 7 Nov 2016 the government intends to lower this figure to £442 in London and to £384.62 elsewhere for couples and single parents with children living with them. For single people without children the cap will limit overall weekly payments to £296.35 in London and £256.69 outside Greater London.

An extra 88,000 households are expected to be affected by this lower cap. If your benefit income is above the cap then the excess amount is cut from your housing benefit, or from your Universal Credit if you get this instead. The cap is lower for single people without children.

Are families with disabled children exempt from the household benefit cap?

All families with a dependent child on DLA or PIP are exempt from the cap. It doesn’t matter what rate of DLA or PIP your child gets – even if they only get the lowest rate you will still be exempt from the cap.

Am I still protected from the cap if my son or daughter stops being treated as a dependent child?

If a disabled child aged 16 or above either leaves education, turns 20 or claims certain benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, they stop being treated as a dependent. This means that their parent may then lose their exemption from the benefit cap.

However, the government has said in the autumn it will change the benefit cap rules so that you are also exempt if you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance or get a carer element in your Universal Credit. These changes to the rules for carers will help some parents who care for a disabled young person to remain exempt from the cap despite their child no longer being a dependent. These changes for carers have already been introduced in Northern Ireland.

Benefits included in the cap

The cap applies to the total amount people in your household (you, your partner and any children living with you) get from the following benefits:

Payments towards carer’s costs in Universal Credit won’t be affected by the benefit cap from autumn 2016.

Benefits that aren’t included

You’re not affected by the cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:

If you have adult children or non-dependants living with you and they qualify for any of these benefits, you may be affected by the cap. This is because they’re not usually included in your household.

 

 

 Posted by at 20:45
Sep 052016
 

View and download the full ILF One Year On Report (PDF)

Inclusion London has produced a report detailing the negative effect of the closure of ILF in June 2015. These are just a few examples of cuts people have faced to the vital support they need to live independently.

The full report will be available shortly at https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk

The foreword by Dr. Jenny Morris sums up the grave and systematic erosion of support for independent living. Here is a brief portion of her summary.

For the first time in the history of modern social policy, we are in danger of going backwards in terms of the support available to disabled people. From the early 1970s, disabled individuals and their organisations campaigned for, and won, important changes to policy and legislation which – for many – meant for the first time they could aspire to the same ‘ordinary lives’ as non disabled people.

One of those achievements was the Independent Living Fund, set up in the 1980s as a direct result of opposition to changes in the benefit system. Using eligibility criteria which applied wherever someone lived, the ILF topped up the funding available from local authorities, in recognition that those with the highest levels of support needs require assistance which local authorities did not provide. Moreover, resources were provided in a way which enabled people to have choice and control over the support they needed.

The ILF made a major difference to people whose needs had previously meant their only options were residential care or a very limited life for them and their families.

The Fund closed in 2010 to new applicants and no-one monitored what has happened since then to people who would previously have qualified for support. In the meantime, local authority adult social care budgets have been cut back, undermining their ability to deliver the Care Act’s promise of well-being, choice and control to those whose ILF funding transferred last year to local councils.

See also –  http://dpac.uk.net/2016/09/the-abuse-disabled-people-face-from-social-services-and-cuts-to-funding-since-closure-of-ilf/

The case studies below are of course examples of cuts and practices which are all too common and exacerbated by the lack of a cohesive national system of social care provision leaving people condemned to dependence on a post-code lottery where the level of support provided depends simply on where you live. Changes to the way in which Local Authorities will now be funded are set to make this even worse in the future.

 

Case Study 1

“I had my reassessment last week. It was very poorly executed and arranged. I had received an email the week before from a care manager claiming to have tried to contact me by phone several times and needing urgently to perform the review. I spoke to her on the phone the following day and once again she stressed the urgency of the matter.
I pointed out to her that the reality was that the ILF transfer was not a sudden thing and that they have had the last three years to plan it yet they wait until less than a month before end date to contact me! in order to satisfy her urgent need i had to arrange leave from work in order to do it.

On the day of the review she arrived with a second person without asking which i felt was extremely rude. When i challenged her on this she just casually informed me it was all last minute. During the course of the visit i pointed out that the whole closure of the ILF was causing immense stress that was compounded by the lack of any clear message from LA – i didn’t really feel that either of them took my comments seriously.

At two points during the interview the idea of using a conveen and inco pads as an alternative toileting solution was raised. This i felt was completely inappropriate given the fact i have no medical need for either and no continence issues at all. It wasn’t directly said but it felt like it was being put forward as the solution to cutting of hours, even over night stays.

There was never any effort to reassure me or to offer me advocacy of any sort. I have

no idea what the outcome of the reassessment will be and now just have to wait.”

– Former ILF recipient

 

Case Study 2

“In September 2010, I started my university degree. I was really looking forward to starting my course and experiencing the student life, but as a disabled student I needed additional help. I lived in halls of residence for three years but not without its challenges. In order to live in halls I needed my personal assistant (PA) to live with me full time. However, the cost of my PA’s room at university was very expensive. I heard about the ILF a year prior to going to university so I thought that I could use it to help pay for the room. I was shocked to find out that the fund had been stopped that year. As a result of that, it became very difficult to pay for the carer’s room. A charity kindly helped to pay for half the cost of the room, and it was very stressful trying to find payment for the other half. Eventually I had to use my student loan to pay for the other half, when it should have been used for other expenses.

The absence of the ILF also meant not having enough money to pay for the amount of care that I at needed at university. My PA had to live with full time, but my local authority did not give me enough care hours. If I had the ILF it could have helped to pay towards my care. Due to the local authority’s refusal to pay for the carer’s room and refusing to give me extra hours, my mum had to help with my care at the weekends to give my PA a break. This was frustrating for my mum and I because she had to drive down to the university every weekend, when she also the main carer for my Grandmother who has dementia. This made me very angry because I felt that I was not having the full university experience since I had to rely on the help of my mum a lot.
Having the ILF could have made life a lot easier and stress free for my family and I. This in effect contributed to extra financial worries during my time at university. I believe that by removing the ILF it is preventing disabled people from living fully independent lives. We have the right to have the same quality of life as our non–disabled peers; we just need extra help to do this, which is what the ILF can give us. The ILF can help pay for essentials such as care, which is extremely important for disabled people, because having the right care helps on our path towards independence.”

– Disabled young person who missed out on the ILF

 

Case Study 3

Wayne is 44 years old. He suffered from tumours in his brain which had left him with significant physical impairments. He had been receiving 72.5 hours to meet his needs including ILF funding. Following his re-assessment his package was cut to 38 hours per week. The reason given for the decision was that the Independent Living Fund had finished. This would have left the person in a position where his hours would be taken up with his personal care and subsistence needs. As a person who has many interests and is very involved in the community it would have left him isolated at home and unable to maintain his quality of living.

 

Case Study 4

“Before I was referred for funding from the Independent Living Fund I lived without having my most basic needs met, spending hours unable to have a drink or go the toilet, without dignity and without any quality of life, existing between TV and hospital.

I can’t bear to think of a return to life without these opportunities.

Unfortunately in my job I see many people who are suffering the dreary lifestyle that I had once had as they have missed the chance to apply for ILF funding. One client says that she feels she is treated “worse than a dog – at least dogs get taken for a walk every day” – as she spends all but a couple of hours a week in bed. She doesn’t have  a package flexible enough to have someone around to help her back to bed when her muscles no longer allow her to maintain her position in her wheelchair. The hour that she can spend in her chair, while the care worker is doing housework, she drives from room to room like a caged animal “just to make sure the other rooms are still there”!

I have no doubt that ILF funding would have made her life much, much better.”

– Former ILF recipient

 

Case Study 5

“Apparently all I need is to be clean & fed. My County Council will only pay for ‘hands on personal care’ which can all be condensed into a couple of hours a day. I don’t have the right to expect any quality of life or a clean home. I will be kept all clean & shiny but if my home is a cesspit that doesn’t matter.

[The social worker] told me all LAs (Local Authorities) knew the closure of the ILF was a cut – no more, no less. And the main reason why it was closed in her opinion? Because now each individual’s LA has to be the one to break the news that their lives are too expensive. Her words were: “…they transferred responsibility for Social Care funding to the LAs so that they (central Government) would not have to tell anyone what was going to happen. It’s a cut, pure and simple.

When I went along to a DWP consultation when the ILF closure was announced they told us that it made sense to have one funding stream only and it most definitely wasn’t a cut. A barefaced lie, in other words.”

– Former ILF recipient

 

Case Study 6

“[The] County Council ILF money is not ringfenced. They originally reassessed my son and cut his budget by £700 a week although his situation has not changed. I fought this and eventually got that money back. Then they got together with Health and the Health Authority cut his budget from £1,600 a month to £54 saying he did not need complex manual handling. Luke is quadriplegic and blind and has had complex manual handling funding for 18 years. His physical condition has worsened. We are fighting that, but they have stopped paying the money, which means he will not be able to pay his carers.”

– Family member of a former ILF recipient

 

 Posted by at 13:22

The Abuse Disabled People Face from Social Services & Funding Cuts Since ILF Closure #Right2IL

 News  Comments Off on The Abuse Disabled People Face from Social Services & Funding Cuts Since ILF Closure #Right2IL
Sep 042016
 

What I find worst about this is it’a a mainly Labour Party council. Shocking.

My beloved friends, most of you know that I have been battling my local council NOT to cut the essential care support I need to maintain my independence & social inclusion. Their drastic cuts will leave me virtually housebound: with just enough care to get me up in the morning & be put to bed at night & have a quick meal at midday and one short toilet break a day, as well as just enough care to go out once a week and 25 minutes a day for help with dish washing, household cleaning, laundry, shopping, etc., and absolutely none for help with showering & other personal care or for food prep & cooking, or anything else. They suggest I purchase ready made, microwavable meals via the internet instead – something I simply cannot afford and even if I could, due to my complex disabilities it would not meet my nutritional needs and would result in my condition deteriorating rapidly, as being made housebound would too.

Just to update you all on the current situation…. Following the council’s reassessment in November I had a follow up meeting with Social Services on the 9th of June 2016 at which this happened & this is how it left me feeling.

As with the attached post that I shared last year in June before the ILF was closed, letting you know the council was proposing I use incontinence pads fo up to 12 hours a day, instead of using the toilet when I needed it, my account following this last visit from Social Services is about the traumatising effects of it all and it is deeply personal and very exposing, but despite my normally being an extremely private person & wanting to guard my privacy & confidentiality as much as I possibly can, I felt compelled to share my story to stop the dehumanising cuts and statistics & figures allowing the devastating and deeply traumatising & damaging human impact of all the cumulative cuts, austerity measures and welfare reforms, including the ILF closure, to be overridden & ignored and hidden. Thus I plucked up the courage to read this extremely personal account out at the end of my talk at Glastonbury Festival (official) about the ‘Disability Rights Massacre’ which is occurring in the UK, after which I was urged me to speak about it once again at the festival and to also take my talk to other festivals too, in order to raise a lot more and very much needed additional awareness, which I duly did.

The closure of the ILF is affecting over 18,000 people; I am just one of them.

“Last month, the amazing Ellen Clifford from Inclusion London, sat beside me, as my advocate, when I met with my Social Worker, who had supposedly come to meet me in order to go over the re-assessment Social Services had conducted following his original, very flawed assessment, to address all my questions and concerns regarding it and to correct all the inaccuracies it contained, but he proceeded to tell me that a panel discussion had already taken place and that the panel’s suggestions were to be implemented in a month’s time: a cut of 46 hours a week, from the 9th of July!

The Panel’s suggestions it seems also included that once the new care hours commenced, that a team of people would attend and observe, over several days, maybe even a couple of weeks(!), my every action during the new care times they say I will have, and the actions of my personal assistants too, from my going to the toilet and having a shower, to eating and to getting in & out of my wheelchair and bed etc., so that they could check if the new levels of care being prescribed was actually going to meet my needs. And I must accept this incredible, humiliating, dehumanising invasion of my privacy & home, this stripping away of every last vestige of my dignity, as it is up to these people to decide if the care hours are sufficient, it is they who might save me, by reporting back if the new package of drastically reduced hours is insufficient: if they think I should be given more care hours, then it seems the Council will increase their funding & care provision accordingly.

I’m ashamed and afraid to admit I broke! I just broke! And I lost my composure, my dignity, my sanity, and my temper, with I and all of them being affronted, attacked and pushed beyond endurance simultaneously, by the council’s ‘person centred’ cuts and this man obliviously, calmly sitting there and telling me a team of people, strangers, including ‘support workers’, he tried to reassure me, would be coming into my space; violating the haven, sanctuary and privacy of my home, my toilet, my shower, my bedroom; observing me naked, defecating, urinating, wiping my bum; observing and reporting on my every move, word and action! Due to having been sexually, physically, mentally & emotionally abused as a child and as an adult, including being raped, in addition to my physical disabilities I not only suffer from depression and PTSD but I also have massive debilitating body, privacy and image issues, which have been heightened since becoming disabled & having to give up all claims to my privacy and dignity on every level: physically, financially, spatially, etc: Benefits and Council and Social Service agencies can decide to come into my home, look at my daily living and life choices, my finances and bank accounts and the contents & layout of my home, at my entire life, at me, at my body, at will and I have to accept it, and because I am on benefits and in need of care I must be beholden to them and accept all their intrusions and assaults and demands on my privacy and dignity and sanity.

Due to my complex physical and mental disabilities, I already have to have someone with me 24 hours a day. I have no space to hide, not even inside of my own head, as they (Social Services and the Government) pick & question and ask and push & demand & prescribe & demean & break me!

He has no idea how violated I feel by all of this process and his words and suggestions. He has no idea how far beyond endurance he has pushed me that I, who normally am covered from head to foot, stripped off my clothes and exposed myself in front of him & all present; he has no idea how physically suffocating, nauseating and & traumatising it feels to feel so assaulted by his words and the thought of being observed like a piece of flesh and nothing else, or how shameful & exposed, dependent & vulnerable I feel, and am: like a goldfish in a bowl, lacking privacy, freedom, spontaneity, rights, dignity; dreading when the plug is going to be pulled by people who think it’s okay to leave one without the funds and care & mobility support which keep me afloat; that they have the power to leave me totally unable to cope, to feel like the government through them are pulling the rug from under my feet and willing me to die, so that they can save a little bit more money. Is that how little our lives matter? He had no idea of the cruelty of his words and actions; he thinks he is ‘just doing his job’!

I just keep breaking down & crying & rocking like a baby trying to comfort myself & hold onto my sanity & not really succeeding. I trust the personal assistants I have around me, they have been supporting me for years, it has taken years to feel truly safe with them, for them to know how to support & help me, with not just my physical problems, but with my mental, emotional & spiritual health and needs too.

If the Council cuts my care I will lose them, as they will need to take on other jobs. Losing them, means losing all the paid, as well as all the unpaid hours of care & support which they also provide too. I get funded currently for 12 hours of care a day, but I have someone with me virtually 24 hours a day, thanks mainly to all the unpaid care that they, my personal assistants, provide me with: unfunded care that they will no longer be able to provide if they have to take on other jobs.

The thought of being left without funding and care and without my current, trusted team of personal assistants is terrifying and this terror is compounded by the terror of having to recruit and train & learn to trust a whole new set of people – if I were to lose the support of my current PAs as a result of my care being cut. The thought is unbearable & truly terrifying!

The thought of going back to being virtually housebound due to the lack of care & support is petrifying!

And the thought of having to go to the toilet, shower, dress, undress, etc., observed by a team of ‘people’ has me in floods of tears again & again & again. I am trying to hold on to my sanity & I’m finding it almost impossible, and I am one of the lucky ones: I have friends and a fantastic support network, my heart breaks when I think of all those who are fighting this on their own! For example, I have a friend who uses a wheelchair and lives in a flat on the first floor, without a lift, or the care support she needs to even get out of her flat! It’s absolutely heart-breaking!

Please, my friends, help me, help them, and help all those who are being pushed so far that they are dying before their time. We need you to stand with us against this assault, and to demand an end to it.

Thank you.”

I also urged everyone to join DPAC’s week of Action in September:
“This September, DPAC will be using the interest surrounding the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio to draw attention to the cumulative impact of the cuts on Disabled People that are taking disabled people’s rights back decades with attacks in every area of our lives from education to independent living to employment to income.”

Thanks to Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)‘s fundraiser I have a wonderful solicitor who is supporting me and has written to the Council to challenge them. So please keep your fingers crossed and please add your support for DPAC’s fundraiser. https://www.gofundme.com/9up7iw
<3 Thank you. <3

<3 Other things you can do to help. <3

Join & Be Part of and spread the word about DPAC’s Week of Action, in September Rights not Games
<3 Week of Action – 4th to 10th September 2016 <3
Contact DPAC to find out more & how you can get involved and share supporting events that you can organise. http://dpac.uk.net/…/september-2016-week-of-action-septemb…/
https://www.facebook.com/events/158867957877728/

Join and add your support for DPAC Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/DPAC2011/

Lobby your MPs to end this inhumanity & abuse. TheyWorkForYou
https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

Our ignorance is bliss for those who use it to divide & control and use it against us, especially to abuse those least able to defend themselves; our knowledge is our power to end the abuse & change the world around us for the better. Don’t be part of the problem when you can stand up & speak out & be a powerful part of the solution. Actively learn & share more & offer your support to all those around you who are suffering as a result of the cuts especially those who are being hit the hardest: people of all ages who are sick, infirm, disabled and struggling to manage with all the cuts to their benefits, services, mobility, social inclusion, human rights, independence and care.

Our news media is being heavily censored and used for propaganda purposes so we all need to become the daily sharers of the truth and the real news. <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 20:02
Aug 142016
 

Support the DPAC #RightsNotGames Week of Action by signing up to the Thunderclap

DPAC Week of Action Logo with "DPAC Week of Action, September 4-10th 2016" underneath

At the end of last year the UK became the first country in the world to be investigated by the United Nations for grave and systematic violations of Disabled people’s rights.

This is as a direct result of the disproportionate impact of austerity on Disabled people and ideological attacks waged by the Tory government that have seen Disabled people and the poorest members of society hit by cut after cut after cut.

In 2012 DPAC in partnership with UK Uncut were able to use the media interest around the London Paralympics to draw attention to the disgraceful practices of Atos, one of the Paralympic sponsors and the company responsible for carrying out the notorious Work Capability Assessment that has caused so much harm and suffering. Two years later Atos pulled put of the contract to run the WCA which had become unworkable due to the success of the campaign against them.

This September DPAC will be using the interest surrounding the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio to draw attention to the cumulative impact of the cuts on Disabled people that are taking Disabled people’s rights back decades with attacks in every area of our lives from education to independent living to employment to income.

Whilst we will not be protesting against the Games themselves, we will be using this opportunity to raise awareness of the increasing numbers of Disabled people whose access not only to sport and recreation but also to basic human rights such support to eat, drink and use the toilet is being taken away as a result of the cuts.

Below are the events we have planned but please do organise your own and let us know so we can publicise.

Week of Action


Woman standing in front of an exhibition. She is holding a poster which says "Cut your crap not our lifelines"

Photo: Christopher John Ball

Sunday 4th September 2016
#Art4Rights Exhibition

To kick off our week of action Disabled People Against Cuts, PCS Culture Sector and allies will be launching an exhibition by Disabled artists to highlight the impact of austerity on Disabled people felt through the devastating range and scale of cuts experienced since 2010.

The exhibition will be popping up in a central London location and simultaneously launched on-line at art4rightsdpac.wordpress.com from 2pm.

 


Man at protest holding NO ILF NO LIFE placard

Photo: DPAC

Monday 5th September 2016
Demanding the Right to Independent Living #Right2IL

Join Independent living campaigners in Parliament for the launch of ‘One Year On: a report into the impact of the closure of the Independent Living Fund’ by Inclusion London. For access info or to book a place please contact ellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.org.uk

2-4pm Committee Room 21, House of Commons. BSL provided.

 


Protest against cuts to legal aid outside Norwich City Hall

Photo by Roger Blackwell

Monday 5th September 2016
#Right2IL Pop-Up Street Theatre

Join the DPAC crew for a unique show paying homage to Independent Living with poetry, spoken word & performance art plus Masterclasses by the artists at one of the worlds most iconic venues.

Meet outside the Houses of Parliament Exit at 5pm.

 


The 'Atos Miracle Cure' -'Atos's own Reverend' blesses and lays his hand on the head of a man in a wheelchair at the Closing Atos Ceremony by DPAC & UK Uncut outside Atos's offices.

Photo: Peter Marshall

Tuesday 6th September 2016
National day of action for #RightsNotGames

DPAC is calling on campaigners across the UK to come out onto the streets in protest against the many different cuts and attacks with campaigners choosing local targets reflecting the issues that
are affecting Disabled people locally. Please get in touch if you are planning anything to: mail@dpac.uk.net

For more information about where protests are taking place, and resources for local protests see http://dpac.uk.net/2016/08/rightsnotgames-week-of-action-national-day-of-action-tuesday-september-6th/

 


People with banners at a protest which say NO MORE DEATHS FROM BENEFIT CUTS

Photo: Peter Marshall

Wednesday 7th September 2016
No More Benefit Deaths #CutsKill

12pm. Meet outside Downing Street to remember the victims of welfare reform during the first Prime Minister’s Questions after Parliament comes back from recess. We will be calling on the new Prime Minister to make public the findings of the UN investigation into the UK for violations of Deaf and Disabled people’s rights, to scrap the Work Capability Assessment and commit to preventing future benefit-related deaths. Please bring white flowers. Mourning dress optional.

 


DPAC banner which says Disabled People Against Cuts: Rights not Charity

Photo: Disabled Go

Wednesday 7th September 2016
#RightsNotGames virtual protest

From 9.30pm. To coincide with the Paralympics opening ceremony we invite campaigners from across the world to join with us in a virtual protest against the disproportionate impact of global austerity on Deaf and Disabled people using a groundbreaking online tool developed for us by students at the Royal College of Arts. For more information see http://dpac.uk.net/2016/08/rightsnotgames-online-day-of-action-thursday-september-8th/

 


People walking in front of the Resource for London building

Photo: Resource for London

Saturday 10th September 2016
Conference: DPAC Disabled Peoples’ Resistance: building beyond borders #GlobalResistance

Join us for a one day conference bringing together perspectives and allies in the fight against austerity and neo-liberalism from the UK, Europe and Canada to look at geographic resistance and independent living. Speakers include John Clarke (Canada), Antonois Rellas (Greece), Catriona Kenny (Ireland), Kapka Panayotova (Bulgaria), The ak MoB (Germany) and John McDonnell MP. For more info or to book a place contact mail@dpac.uk.net.

 


Lizz Carr with placard which says ASSISTED SUICIDE IS NOT THE SOLUTION

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September 2016
Assisted Suicide: The Musical

To celebrate the end of the week of action we will be kicking back and enjoying ‘Assisted Suicide: The Musical’ by writer/actor/activist Liz Carr which is being performed at the Southbank Centre on 10th and 11th September.

For more information go to: http://unlimited.southbankcentre.co.uk/events/assisted-suicide-the-musical

 


Online actions

Throughout the week there will be a range of online actions that campaigners can take part in.
For more information see www.dpac.uk.net.

Travel costs

If you would like to take part in one of the events above but need help with reasonable travel costs please contact: mail@dpac.uk.net

Access

For access needs please contact mail@dpac.uk.net or 07505144371 (text only)

Donations

All donations however small to help make the week of action happen are extremely valuable. To donate you can go through the paypal button on the DPAC website or to make a direct transfer contact mail@dpac.uk.net


Download the PDF flyer here:

#RightsNotGames Week of Action single page flyer - A5

#RightsNotGames Week of Action single page flyer – A5

Rights not Games Flyer

Support the DPAC #RightsNotGames Week of Action by signing up to the Thunderclap

 

 Posted by at 21:58
May 172016
 

By Ian

On the 3rd of May I was one of the 300 people who shut down the UK’s largest coal mine; a place called Ffos-y-fran in South Wales. Going on any action can cause its share of trepidations—even if you don’t identify with the ‘disabled’ tag; but the decision to take action against coal, for the local community, and ultimately for the future was actually a joy to take.

Facilitated with the Reclaim the Power network, who had set-up camp on the commons above Merthyr Tydfil, we then proceeded to have five days of action-planning, skilling-up, networking and ultimately connecting with others. I was amazed by the truly multinational scope of the camp, with people from all over Europe, America, India and beyond. The local resistance organisation UVAG (United Valleys Action Group) provided us with support and a vital personal perspective on their ten-year long struggle against the opencast mine.

Walking over the narrow hillpath and down into the mine and seeing the small communities nestled cheek-by-jowl nearby it saddened me how these people were being treated with such callous disregard; unfortunately, a familiar feeling for any who experience long-term health conditions.

A tiny bit of history then: The Ffos-y-Fran ‘Land Reclamation Scheme’ is the UK’s largest coal mine, and proposed to become much bigger if the developing company Miller Argent get their way. Locally and nationally controversial, the Welsh Assembly has already called for a moratorium on opencast coal mining in 2015, but Miller Argent ignored them. They proposed to build another huge mine at the adjacent site of Nant Llesg, and despite being rejected by the County Council, then raised the threat of legal actions should they be refused!

The actions of the day were many; from those of us who could making our way, column-style, down into the mine itself (following a gigantic red-dragon from Wales!), with other affinity groups already locking on to machinery, or blockading the front gates. Despite any reservations we might have had; there was a carnival atmosphere that day, as the space was transformed from a dull and poisonous wound, to the feeling of a spontaneous summer party.

I am aware of how lucky I am of being able to be there. My disability is (mostly?) an invisible one—a mental health condition that has curtailed my activism over the years, during the different seasons of mood that I can go through. Knowing that action-camp life can sometimes be strenuous (especially the come-down after the action) I took the opportunity of going to the Well-Being Tent run by the camp’s Tranquillity Team. This was a quiet, supportive place where people could catch a few hours’ sleep, a cup of tea, or have just simple and supportive conversations should they need it. Unlike the clinical care that I have received in the past, this space felt entirely different: you didn’t have to be mad to go there, just as you didn’t have to be ‘ill’. No judgements were passed you were allowed to sit and read, or zone-out, talk, or whatever you needed to. This actually felt very supportive and self-led care rather than the mainstream ‘top-down’ approach to care. I also took time to speak with GBC (Green and Black Cross, a legal advisory group for activists) about the possibility of being arrested and what to expect as a disabled person, the pros and cons of carrying medicine on me etc — more on that in another action-report.

Sometimes there can be a sense of wariness over disability and activism, as if one might preclude the other. From what I saw at the Reclaim the Power camp (I saw at least one wheelchair user there as well) this view is entirely outdated. Disability rights and access to safer spaces is a vital part of the climate struggle, just as the climate struggle is a key part of disability rights here and abroad. The right to live visibly and with dignity is the right to a safer space for all of us: the right to live on a world which is not being destroyed under our feet and over our heads! Fuel Poverty Action (a campaigning group also represented at the camp) state on their website that as well as polluting our environment, fossil fuels are also increasing in cost.” Unconventional and extreme fossil fuels such as opencast mining, deep-sea drilling and fracking are all driving up the costs of heating our homes, as well as endangering our planet. Academics from the Universities of Leicester and York found back in 2015 that disabled people in the UK [and the world] bear a much higher burden of fuel poverty, and a much higher risk of climate change due to substandard housing, inefficient insulation, and institutionalized economic poverty.

I’m coming to the view that direct action is actually good for the heart, just as acts of civil disobedience are good for civil society (where would we be without the Suffragette movement, without the chartists, the bus-boycotter’s and the peace campaigners?). Despite how my Impairment might define me in some ways, they did not impede me taking action to defend our planet—and being a part of a community taking action was joyous.

 

 

 Posted by at 17:36
Jan 292016
 

Following the winning of two Bedroom Tax cases this week by the grandparents of a young disabled man and the survivor of domestic violence in the Court of Appeal the government announced within hours that it intended to appeal against this decision and has allocated an unlimited amount of our money to defend their totally unjust policies.

You can read the full  so-called justification for this from the so-called minister for disabled people, Justin Torysnake in this link here
Under-occupancy Penalty (28 Jan 2016)
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2016-01-28a.415.0&s=%22housing+benefit%22#g424.0
“Justin Tomlinson: We are not ignoring the ruling; we are appealing it.
We are doing that because we feel that discretionary housing payment is
the correct way to do it. Reforms take time to come in, as I said
earlier. *Housing benefit* cost £24.4 billion this year. Had we not
brought in reforms, every single one of which was opposed by the Labour
party, it would have cost £26 billion this year.”…..

 

Until this appeal has been heard in the Supreme Court anyone currently appealing against a bedroom tax decision will have their appeal ‘parked’ pending the outcome however in the meantime the government has produced new guidance for anyone affected specifying that their extra costs should be met from a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Bulletin for HB staff HB U1/2016, effective from 28 January 2016

The important point is that this states very clearly that any additional costs incurred in meeting disability related housing needs should be met by a DHP. The bulletin states -:

Court of Appeal judicial review decision concerning the maximum rent (social sector)

  1. Yesterday the judgment of the Court of Appeal was handed down in the joined judicial review cases R v. Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, ex parte Rutherford and R v. Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, ex parte A. The full judgment is available at: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2016/29.html

 

  1. The Court has found that the claimants have suffered discrimination contrary to A14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the Court of Appeal repeated the finding at first instance that the Secretary of State had complied with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

 

  1. The Court has granted the Secretary of State permission to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, and it is the Secretary of State’s intention to appeal.

 

  1. No action needs to be taken by local authorities following this judgment. It has not changed the applicability of the maximum rent (social sector) provisions and no action should be taken to re-assess the Housing Benefit (HB) of claimants in the appellants’ situation.

 

  1. The Department remains of the view that Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are the appropriate means of protecting HB claimants in the appellants’ circumstances.

 

  1. Provided below are some Q&A to enable you to respond to any enquiries you might receive.

 

Q&A

 

  1. Is the government going to appeal?

 

  1. The Court of Appeal granted permission to appeal and it is the government’s intention to appeal.

 

  1. What does this mean for claimants with panic rooms or a disabled child who requires overnight care?

 

  1. The maximum rent (social sector) must continue to be applied to all claimants as before yesterday’s judgment.

 

  1. As a local authority should we continue to apply the maximum rent (social sector) in these cases?

 

  1. Yes, the legislation underpinning the size criteria remains in force. DHPs remain the appropriate mechanism for providing support where there is an under-occupancy deduction because of a panic room or a bedroom used to accommodate an overnight carer for a disabled child.

 

Applying for and Being refused a DHP

We know that although DHPs should be being made to people this is yet another post-code lottery and whether or not you get one and how long it is for varies from one LA to another.

We know that some LAs take DLA into account as available income when they should not do so.

You can’t appeal against being refused a DHP but you can still challenge it being refused through a Judicial Review. DPAC would encourage anyone who is refused a DHP to seek legal advice with regard to making a legal challenge against being refused and also they should apply again. (It is possible to have more than one JR against refusals at the same time).

 

Why discretionary DHPs are not an adequate replacement for rights

Disabled people need Rights not Charity or Discretionary Payments and access to this right was proven in a previous case relating to Local Housing Payments using right enshrined in article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights. In particular the arguments used by the solicitor representing Trengrove vs Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council are particularly relevant in arguing this.

http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2012/05/19/housing-benefit-system-discriminated-against-disabled-people-rules-court-of-appeal/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 20:05
Jan 252016
 

With thanks for reblog to Johnny Void

https://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/big-disability-rides-to-the-rescue-with-too-little-much-too-late/

Big Disability Rides To The Rescue With Too Little Much Too Late

Posted on January 25, 2016 by johnny void |

In an unprecedented show of absolutely fuck all, members of the Disability Benefits Consortium – which includes some of the UK’s largest disability charities – have written a stern letter to Iain Duncan Smith asking him not to cut disabled people’s benefits.

goofy-on-horse

In the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, due to be debated in the House of Lords next week, plans have been announced to slash some out of work sickness and disability benefits by almost a third.  New claimants in the so-called Work Related Activity Group, meaning people assessed as likely to be fit for work at some point in the future, will receive just over £70 a week – the same amount as those currently on the dole.  People in this group include those with degnerative or progressive diseases such as Multiple Schlerosis, Parkinson’s disease or cancer.  This vicious benefit cut is not being done to save money, but to ‘incentivise’ people to find a job.  It is about as vile as anything that Iain Duncan Smith has done so far, and he’s done a lot.

In response the Disability Benefits Consortium have written a letter, which only half of their members bothered to sign, and which was published in the Daily Mirror over the weekend.  Big fucking deal.

According to their website the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is a“national coalition of over 60 different charities and other organisations committed to working towards a fair benefits system.”  They include Disability Rights UK, an organisation who have recently been handed a huge contract to work for Maximus – the shady US conglomerate who carry out the despised Work Capability Assessments which will be used to decide which disabled people face a benefit cut under the new rules.  Other charities involved in pretending to defend social security are MIND, RNIB, Leonard Chesire and Mencap – all of whom happily accepted lucrative sub-contracts to run Iain Duncan Smith’s  mandatory Work Programme which disabled people are forced to attend under the threat of vicious benefit sanctions.  Also on the list are the workfare supporting Papworth Trust, along with Age UK who in 2013 were accused of running a ‘workfare warehouse’ in East Sussex.  Citizen’s Advice, who welcomed the introduction of the Claimant Commitment under which unemployed people are forced into pointless jobsearch for 35 hours a week under threat of benefit sanctions, are also included in this fight for a fairer benefits system.

Despite the vast resources possessed by the 60 charities who make up the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), their website is hosted for free on wordpress.com.  It looks like someone knocked it up on a cheap smartphone during their fag break.  Last year this group of fearless campaigners made a total of 12 posts on their blog – and I thought I was getting slack.  According to the website they have not been arsed to contribute to a government consultation on welfare reform since 2012.

Compare this to the now defunct Disability Works campaign – launched with a glitzy House of Lords reception by many of the DBC charities and used to lobby the government to hand them juicy welfare-to-work contracts and you see the true priority of these organisations.  Money.

The very worst thing that could happen is big disability charities hijacking the fight against welfare reforms, although there is little danger of that.  The fucking awful Hardest Hit demonstration they organised in 2011 was little more then a march to protect disability charity funding, not disabled people’s benefits.  And it’s been downhill ever since.  For every statement released by charities condemning social security cuts a story emerges of them quietly sidling up to the DWP in the hope of lucrative contracts. Until disability charities form a united stance of complete non co-operation with this government then their words mean fuck all when their actions are complicit in destroying the lives of sick and disabled people.Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

And just to illustrate what Johnny means for anyone with any doubts.

Action for Children unions ballot for industrial action in pay dispute

 

High-handed action by bosses over pay at the charity Action for Children has prompted Unite and UNISON to ballot their members for industrial action.

 

The unions said that management intends to impose a one per cent pay award for 2015/16, with no cost of living rise for 40 per cent of the 5,000 strong workforce. They also intend to remove contractual pay increments for new starters, refuse to pay the UK living wage of £8.25 (£9.40 in London) and cut mileage rates.

 

Both unions’ ballots for industrial action short of a strike and/or strike action open on Tuesday 26 January and close on Tuesday 16 February.

 

The charity’s chief executive Sir Tony Hawkhead has refused the unions’ request to involve the conciliation service Acas to resolve the dispute and has stated his intention to impose the pay offer overwhelmingly rejected by the joint union membership in consultative ballots.

 

While squeezing the pay of the workforce, the number of senior executives at the charity earning over £70,000 a year increased from 16 to 21, and there is now an additional member of the management team on £120,000.

 

The unions said that in the last three years Action for Children has made an average surplus (profit) of £5.4m each year, while it would have cost about £2m a year to have given each member of staff a cost of living pay rise in line with inflation.

 

Unite national officer for the not for profit sector Sally Kosky said“What we have here is an all too common case of a profitable organisation, with highly paid executives, unwilling to give a decent pay rise to our members. Average pay of the workforce has fallen in real terms by 52 per cent since 2010/11.

 

“The management is behaving in a high-handed manner trying to bulldoze a wholly inadequate pay offer onto our members and point blank refusing to involve Acas in the dispute. Just because people work for a charity they don’t deserve the prospect of poverty wages.

 

“The organisation has a healthy surplus and some of these reserves should be used to fairly reward its hard-working staff.”

 

UNISON national voluntary sector officer Simon Watson said: “The dedicated staff who work for Action for Children are without doubt its best resource. Every year they help thousands of vulnerable families in communities up and down the country.

 

“Action for Children claims that it is strapped for cash, yet it has managed to find the money to increase the number of its highest paid managers. Meanwhile staff haven’t had a pay rise in six years.

 

“The decision to move to a ballot for action is always a reluctant one, but despite over a year of negotiations, the charity still refuses to see sense. As a result many employees are being forced into extreme hardship. Some are having to use the same food banks as the families they are trying to help. It’s still not too late to prevent action, and we hope the charity uses the coming weeks to think carefully about its next steps.”

 

ENDS

 

For more information please contact:

Unite: Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869

UNISON: Liz Chinchen on 0207 121 5463 or 07778 158175

Some further information on Action for Children’s funding. You can see their charity return here –

 

http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1097940&SubsidiaryNumber=0

 

In short they brought in £173,070,000 last year, and spent £159,887,000. That’s a surplus of £13,183,000. And, like the unions say, they make a surplus year on year, often over £10M –

 

http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/FinancialHistory.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1097940&SubsidiaryNumber=0

 

There are many questions that go with these sorts of incomes, including –

 

–       What do they do with the surplus? Is it sitting in a bank somewhere making someone loads of interest?

–       Why are they not spending this surplus – as a charity they are not meant to sit on money, while they are continuing to raise new money from the public.

–       Does the public know they are not spending this money? And if they are not spending it why not? The money is raised to help children, presumably, which is not doing if it is sitting in a bank.

 

To deny their staff the living wage is a scandal.

If we look at the charity sector as a whole this very quickly adds up to unimaginable amounts of money. And yet they’re still opening charity shops and rattling tins

 

 Posted by at 18:22
Jan 212016
 

We need people who would be willing to speak to the press who are in ESA WRAG about the £30 a week cut to funding which is being proposed and how this would affect you.

 

We also need to have anyone living in Supported Housing who will be affected by the cuts to Housing Benefit and the amount allowed being restricted to LHA rates.

 

If you would be willing to help with either of these things please email us at mail@dpac.uk.net

 

 Posted by at 19:44
Jan 092016
 

Are you in the ESA Work-Related Activity Group?

Would you be willing to share your experiences and views on welfare support with a PhD student to develop research in welfare policy and the effects on disabled individuals?

I am looking to conduct 30 minute interviews (face to face or via telephone based on location) with people who are in the Work Related Activity Group of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). All participation will be anonymized.

For further information or to get involved, please contact me at: Jo Brown email: j.brown.6@research.gla.ac.uk

Thank you for taking the time to consider this

 Posted by at 18:34

A Bleak Time for Many DDPOs

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Rhian Davies:

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

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

 

*ENDS*

Notes to editors 

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

 

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

Dyfodol Anabl

 Posted by at 17:06