Jan 192018
 

At quarter to four this afternoon the Government sent PLP a letter confirming that they will not be appealing RF’s win at the High Court. This means that as of tomorrow – Regulation 2(4) from the 2017 Regulations is quashed and the original 2012 Regulation on planning and following a journey stands. The MH judgement also still stands (see further below), so those with psychological distress can be considered for all descriptors in planning and following journeys (Activity 11).

The Government have announced that they will now go through all affected cases and work out where backpayments/increases are due (see link from Hansard and excerpt below) http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-01-19/HCWS414/

The key difficulty May be that they have said during litigation that they don’t have records of who is affected, so how they will begin that process is unknown. Mind estimate around 160,000 people will be affected.

If you might have been affected by this illegal change sneaked in last March then please get in touch with DWP and/or your MP to ask for your money to be reinstated and backdated.

The decision not to appeal was apparently made by lovely Esther who said “I hope that by making this statement it is clear that the Government is committed to improving the lives of people with a Mental Health condition.”

I am sure all of you who have a MH condition will be very pleased to know this although you might also be rolling around laughing at her empty words.

 Posted by at 17:07
Jan 152018
 

Have you experienced barriers to legal action re your Human rights?

Please let me know If you have ever taken legal action regarding your rights under the Human Rights Act 1998 or if various barriers has prevented you from doing this, such as

The lack of:

·        information about how the Human Rights Act 1998 applies to Deaf and Disabled people

·        information about how to take legal action, including how to find a lawyer

·        legal aid or any other finances

Please send your experience to Henrietta.Doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk by 22 January.

Your experience will help inform Inclusion London’s evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights ‘Defending Rights: attitudes to enforcement inquiry. Information about the inquiry is below:

‘Scope of the inquiry

The United Kingdom has a proud tradition of respect for human rights.

Those rights are supported by political parties, and such rights have long been an integral part of common law, as well as being enshrined in statute by the Human Rights Act 1998.

However much rights may be recognised and protected within the legal framework, there can be barriers to achieving a culture which understands and respects human rights and practical barriers to those who wish to enforce their legal rights.

In this wide-ranging inquiry, the Joint Committee on Human Rights is calling for evidence on factors which may impede individuals from using the UK’s human rights framework effectively.’ 

 Posted by at 21:33
Jan 132018
 
 

 

 

 

This is from a post sent to us asking us to make people aware of the issues

Brighter Berkshire/Conservatives for Mental Health

I am worried about labour politicians being co-opted into promoting Conservative mental health policy in mental health initiatives that have cross party support. There is metal health awareness campaign in Swindon started by a conservative and is using Conservatives for Mental Health to work under. The women who has started it is calling on people from all parties to work together. http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/15559149.Activist_launches_cross_party_campaign_to_tackle_mental_health_issues/ This is the organisation that she is working with https://www.conservativesformentalhealth.co.uk/

There is a mental health awareness raising campaign called Brighter Berkshire that looks quite similar. It says it has cross party support but to my mind shows conservative bias and has Theresa May on the front page and Richard Benyon, Tory MP for Berkshire is heavily involved. They tweeted support for Richard Benyon in the run up to the General Election. They get involved at about the time they were both talking about new Conservative mental health campaigns.

Looking at this closely it seems there is an emphasis on cutting services and putting pressure on getting people back to work as cheap labour. Here is a link to Brighter Berkshire http://brighterberkshire.com/ Unfortunately a small number of labour politicians have got involved and endorsed the campaigns, one being Matt Rodda MP for Reading East.

I am worried that Brighter Berkshire become a model for mental health awareness campaigns across the country and that they will be used to promote Tory policy and make them look good. So I would be grateful if you could discuss this and address it at a national level and warn labour MP\’s to be careful before attaching themselves to any mental health campaigns to make sure they are not biased campaigns or promote Tory policies.

I have set up a facebook group about this. The founder of Brighter Berkshire is on group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/199827027227205/ Feel free to share it around or join.

 Posted by at 20:57
Jan 132018
 

Whatever happened to free speech and freedom of opinion? It seems that this is something Tory MPs don’t believe in especially when it is a disabled person exercising those rights.

Mick Hardy, a veteran disability rights campaigner from Norfolk, is being taken to court for shouting at Chloe Smith MP at the Norwich Pride Parade 2017 where she gave a speech. What exactly could Mick have said that would lead him to be charged with allegedly inciting public disorder and threatening behaviour ? What could he possibly have shouted at the Tory scumbag that would lead her to take him to court?

You might have guessed but if not Mick shouted “Chloe Smith you’re a fucking little Nazi.” Surely for any MP being heckled like this is just part of the job- and for a Tory MP being called a Nazi must be par for the course. And of course Chloe Smith is little about the same height as me so it can’t be that word she took offence at.

Mick is not online. Mick has both physical and mental health conditions. Chloe Smith knows who Mick is because he stood against her as the Disabled And Not Dead Yet Party candidate at the 2015 general election.

Mick says ‘this is a very stressful time and he wants to thank everyone from the bottom of his heart for all their support. He refuses to be intimidated because he is only highlighting what is happening to those most vulnerable to Tory cuts in society! Solidarity.’

120,000 people have died because of ‘economic murder’ inflicted by Chloe Smith and her party as reported in The British Medical Journal. If we leave the system unchanged until 2020 then 200,000 people will have died because of Tory policies. Mick says “When are we allowed to mention the Nazis? How do we make them stop if we don’t protest?”

The treatment of disabled people under this government has been described as a ‘Human Catastrophe’ by the United Nations.

If people living nearby want to come to court to support Mick come at 9am on the 9th February to Norwich courts. BBC will be there.
It gave Mick a great lift to know people are talking about his case and offering support.

Depending on the outcome of this totally vacuous case we may need to help crowdfund for Mick’s court costs all because he exercised his right to free speech.

Mind and DPAC protest at the Transforming Mental Health Contract

Solidarity Mick from all at DPAC.

 

 

 Posted by at 13:49
Jan 112018
 

Why Universal Credit must be stopped and scrapped.

Universal Credit is the punishing regime due to be more widely imposed on people with low incomes both those in and out of work.

DPAC believes that UC has too many flaws to be simply paused and fixed – it must be stopped and scrapped. UC is rotten to the core.

Universal Credit replaces six benefits – Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Working Tax Credit.

Seven million households will be affected, including over one million low paid part-time workers. For the first time ever people in work could face being sanctioned (having their benefits stopped) if they don’t prove to the job centre that they’re searching for better paid work or more hours. Pensioner couples will also be affected if one of them is under pension age.

Universal Credit is an economic and political disaster bringing further distress and impoverishment to those forced to endure it.  To date at least £15.8 billion has been wasted on its implementation.

 No civilized Government should impose this on its citizens and no opposition party should want to simply pause and fix it.

Areas already subjected to UC have reported serious hardship with visits to food banks soaring along with rates of people sanctioned and left without any income for 3 months or more.

Just some of the many problems with UC are listed below.

General Problems

  • UC is based entirely on conditionality for those both in and out of work. Failure to meet these conditions can lead to the imposition of cumulative sanctions which could last 3 years.
  • Everyone will have to accept the Claimant Commitment and log in daily to Universal Job match account and complete your to do list and journal. There is harsh conditionality within Universal Credit such as 35 hour per week job searches.
  • Even with the changes brought in at the end of last year claimants face a 5 week wait which in many cases seems to be 3 months or longer for their first payment.
  • Loss of Mortgage interest payments which will now mean people have to take out a second loan if they are buying a home.
  • Hardship Loans are repayable meaning the full amount of money someone is entitled to isn’t paid for months as 40% of their entitlement can be taken away to repay a loan.
  • With UC, housing benefit isn’t paid straight to the landlord but to the claimant who may be in need of money to use in an emergency. In pilot areas this has resulted in up to 60% of claimants going into rent arrears.
  • Letting agents are already refusing to rent to anyone claiming UC.
  • Under the troubled families programme people could see their kids taken into care if the claimant is not meeting conditions set by DWP/Work Coach
  • Under UC data is shared by DWP, HMRC and banks to ensure no additional income is undeclared.

For Disabled People

  • UC is claimed and managed entirely digitally which is difficult or impossible for many disabled people. Any mistakes on the form will likely lead to loss of benefit or a claim being disallowed.
  • Health and Work conversations are mandatory and any failure to attend will lead to your claim being closed.
  • People in part time work could be forced to give up work that suits their Disability or family life in order to take up worse paid full time work or risk sanctions,.
  • UC brings in the loss of Severe and Enhanced Disability Premiums which mean single disabled people lose around £2,000 per annum and a disabled couple over £4,000 per annum.

Coercion of Mental Health claimants.

  • As part of the Health and Work Programme we are seeing the use of the DWP nudge unit and psycho compulsion. This effectively means the introduction of forced treatment through the use of IAPT therapists based in job centres. If claimants don’t take the treatment prescribed they face being sanctioned.

Loss of Womens’ Rights

  • Changes to benefit payments will make women financially dependent on men trapping many in endless domestic violence.
  • The appalling Tax Credit ‘rape clause’ means that women can only get Child Tax Credit payments for their first two children unless they can prove they were raped. This involves filling out a detailed 45 page form about being raped..

For those in work, self-employed or on zero hours contracts

  • Even those in work will be expected to look for more hours up to 48 hours a week so you are not reliant on state support or face Sanctions for failing to comply. Warning- if your earnings exceed qualifying levels in a month they can close your claim and your online history will be erased when they close your claim down without warning. Make copies of all your actions to copy into your Journal or To Do List so you have evidenced back up files. To get this reinstated can take 8 months without money.
  • Going on Holiday? Think Again- If you fail to do your job match account even over Christmas and other bank holidays you will have your money stopped and you must always be available for interviews.
  • For every £1 earned Universal Credit takes away 63p meaning people are working for 37p for every pound earned per hour.
  • Self employed people will have to submit their monthly, instead of annual, income before any UC payment, including for housing costs, will be made for that month causing untold chaos and hardship. If they earn too much in any month their claim will be closed and they’ll have to start all over again.

 

Motion for unions 

Universal Credits – Stop and Scrap

This Meeting notes the following:

That Universal Credits, UC, was designed as an integral part of the Welfare Reform Act brought in by the Coalition Government following their election in 2010.

That underpinning the Act has been an ideological drive to making being on Welfare Benefits as degrading and punishing as possible with the intention of forcing as many claimants off benefits as possible.

Welfare Reform including the introduction of UC was accompanied with the rhetoric of benefit dependency, skivers and strivers, cheats and malingerers as a way of winning public support for pushing through the biggest changes in welfare since the 1930’s.

UC is just one part of these reforms which include the discredited and hated Work Capability Assessments, the change from DLA to PIP with a 20% budget reduction target and cuts to the Access to Work programme.

These changes are interconnected and form the core of the Tories making work pay programme.

That in November 2017 at a National Housing Summit meeting in central London Axe the Housing Act, other Housing campaigns and Disabled People Against Cuts, DPAC, called for a National joint Campaign to Stop and Scrap UC and to call a Day of Action early in 2018.

This meeting believes:

That UC can not be fixed.

That UC has to be scrapped.

That as with the Work Capability Assessments an entirely new scheme needs to be created making sure that Disabled Peoples Organisations and other groups affected are included at the heart of how these schemes are designed.

This meeting agrees:

To adopt a position of Stop and Scrap Universal Credits.

To support the national Stop and Scrap campaign called by DPAC, Mental Health Resistance Network, Housing campaigns and others.

To publicise the campaign and promote it to our members urging them to support the campaign.

To lobby the Labour Party and other organisations who currently have a Pause and Fix approach to UC and urge them to adopt and work with the Stop and Scrap campaign.

To support and build for a National Stop and Scrap UC Day of Action.

Proposed: Seconded:

 

 Posted by at 21:01
Jan 112018
 

More details to follow but there will be a national day of action to call for Universal Credit to be scrapped on March 1st. We hope local groups will be able to support this and please send us details of any planned events to mail@dpac.uk.net. Please save this date to take action against this vile Tory creation and beware the IDS of March.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Posted by at 14:36
Jan 092018
 

DPAC Norfolk:

Lobbied against Norfolk STP

Protests against WCA outside Maximus assessment centre

Protest against PIP at Atos assessment centre Norwich

Took part in Norwich Pride parade in July

 

ROFA -UN CRPD delegation with DPAC.

Dpac Glasgow have built link with RMT, unison & PCS. We are co producing with PCS  a benefit survival tool kit booklet. We aim to distribute it to various locations across the city & continue to build solidarity & members. We have a meeting with PCS officials to strengthen our links & co working to fight welfare reform & office closures. We attended STUC disabled workers conference.

We had a few demonstrations with the RMTand have several actions organised with RMT including a meeting with transport minister all under the banner of access for all. We continue to have our monthly picket at Cadogen St outside ESA MAXIMUS assessment office. 

Suffolk DPAC.

1: UN report briefing on violations of disabled peoples rights (houses of parliament) Tuesday 24th January 2017, chaired by Baroness Deech.

2: Brexit Q&A Burlington Baptist Church Ipswich 1st February.

3: Norfolk DPAC meeting Norwich 6th February ( I attended representing Suffolk DPAC).

4: Public meeting on NHS, co-op education centre 9th February.

5: Save NHS Demo London 4th March.

6: Assistance with an appeal for a lady re ESA 10th March.

7: Protest against Housing Benefit Cuts, Parliament Square 1st April.

8: Ipswich May Day Festival 30th April (Paula Peters spoke after John McDonnell MP) 

9: #Not The Fucking Tories demo Old Palace-yard London 2nd May.

10: Ben Gummer (former Tory MP for Ipswich) Q & A at the Greyhound pub Ipswich 17th May, (gave him a right grilling re ESA & PiP).

11: Ben Gummer (former Tory MP for Ipswich) Kingfisher pub Ipswich 30th May.(I gave him a right grilling again).

12: NUT Question Time, Northgate Arts Centre Ipswich (Ben Gummer got a massive grilling at this event).

13: Peoples assembly #ToriesOut National demonstration London 1st July.

14: Interview with Laura Smith from RT at my home re disabled people turning to crowdfunding for wheelchairs etc, 6th July.

15: National day of action for local DPAC groups, Suffolk DPAC joined Norfolk DPAC at st marys house Norwich 18th july.

16: Attended PiP tribunal for a person with mental health issues at HMCTS tribunal services Ipswich as an advocate 21st August (outcome:-PIP awarded in favour of claimant).

17: Burston Rally Norfolk Suffolk DPAC in attendance.

18: Meeting with Sandy Martin MP in Parliament got him to attend a debate re Universal Credit! then home for ISCRE (Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality) AGM, ISCRE has published two booklets called the “3Ds Project” Disability + Disadvantage = Duty. 1st one is for disabled people claiming JSA and the 2nd one is for disabled people claiming Universal Credit both tell you what you need to know before signing the claimant commitment, 19th September.

19: RMT strike at Ipswich train Station 5th October. 

20: Smash the Cap Rally Norwich 14th October.

21: Liberty Human Rights Award London 24th October.

22: National Disabled Peoples Summit London 4th November.

23: National day Of Action on Universal credit Ipswich town centre 2nd December.

DPAC occupation of lobby area of houses of parliament 19th july 2017

And anti – ATOS protest in London 21st July.

 

Berkshire DPAC

Apart from our meetings, the main action we took this year – along with other disability groups, was to take on the Royal Berkshire Hospital Trust. They wanted to close the hydrotherapy pool (the only one for about 30 miles) but prolonged action (demos, speaking at meetings and talking with the CEO ensured that it stayed open in the end. We also demonstrated in Maidenhead Theresa May’s constituency, in the run-up to the elections.

Finally we are engaged in a serious battle with an organisation claiming to support people with mental distress, which is run by an empire builder who doesn’t mind who gets hurt if they are in the way and also struggling to get Reading and District Labour Party to address disability issues properly.

We also improved our online presence and gained new members that way.

 

Bristol DPAC formed in September 2017

Bristol Austerity March in September

At the momentum/people assembly’s demo to #unseat Crabb in Pembroke

And at Weston General Hospital to save the A&E dept

And we greeted Jeremy Hunt when he visited Callington Hospital in Bristol

We also attended Disability History month at Unite Bristol.

 

Sheffield DPAC

We’ve mainly been doing supporting stuff really but that has involved Tory party conference prime minister’s speech protest. Supported Mental Health Action Group Sheffield with article on their campaign, one of the DPAC Sheffield activists was one of the founders of it

There’s the save south Yorkshire women’s aid campaign in Doncaster that we’ve been supporting since the end of August.

We attended to the Orgreave Campaign death of justice march on 31st October in Sheffield

We’ve gone and checked out the Sheffield junk food project, but they don’t have much you can share online etc really they’re still starting up

We had some supported the McStrike strike on September 4th

Something else, we tried very hard to fight the closure of Eastern avenue job centre in Sheffield. The first of the list of over 70 proposed job centre closures nationally. Tim Jones and myself both leafleted, joined the picket, attended public meeting to speak as someone who uses that job centre. Did TV and newspapers interview to support the PCS but mainly the community, coming from disabled people’s perspectives but it has been closed down.

Three times this year we have been to support the RMT keep the guards on the trains

The latest local campaign that we’re helping to raise awareness of is the NHS minor injuries unit in Sheffield and the Barnsley maternity unit that are both at risk of closure.

 

Manchster DPAC

January: Free films screenings of I, Daniel Blake where we spoke to sell out audiences about the reality depicted in the film.

February: Met with Lifeshare charity to discuss ideas for helping disabled homeless people.

March: Planning meeting and questioning mayoral candidates at GMCDP event.

April: GMCDP (Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People) hustings for Mayor elections (Tory candidate failed to attend) and Unite Community Universal Credit talk given.

May: Confronted Government ODI (Office for Disability Issues) member over the UN report of grave and systemic human rights abuses of disabled people live on Al Jazeera.

June: #CripTheVoteUK to increase voting and political representation in the snap general election.

July: Members undergoing PIP assessments supported with our recording equipment (available to all Disabled Great Manchester residents, please ask for details).

August: Plans begin for Tory party conference, liaising with People’s Assembly and assessing access at Partisan communal space (not accessible until 2018).

September: Banner making with GMCDP’s new campaign group, accessibility survey, and final plans for Tory conference. Taking part in creation of Disabled People’s advisory panel to new Greater Manchester Mayor to improve our rights and representation in Greater Manchester.

October: Protest against Tory Party conference. Wall of Noise protest and disruption of Theresa May’s speech on Wednesday, kettling avoided.

 

November: Planning meeting and further work on advisory panel with Greater Manchester DPO’s. London National Disabled People’s Conference & workshops.

December: Working group to be established for Disabled People’s advisory panel in New Year. And finally Thursday 21st Ashton protest supporting Charlotte Hughes.

 

Ceredigion (Cardigan) DPAC – our newest local group

We’re very new, but so far a group of us approached our local MP Ben Lake regarding access for mobility challenged and wheel chair users in our town. We raised concern about Kinora, our local mental health drop in centre being inaccessible for wheel chair users. We met up with the people running the drop in centre to discuss wheel chair access when they move to their new building which we are told will be completely wheel chair accessible. Same with our local women’s aid group which has been running workshops in a basement till now. They now run some workshops in a local church hall to accommodate disabilities more. We are also encouraging them to do more outreach work with disabled people in the area. We are also campaigning to make our local swimming pool wheel chair friendly.

We will be having a follow up meeting with Ben in the new year regarding pavement dips (lack of them). Also had our first protest against UC, got petitions signed and more members on board. We had a Xmas get together and will be organising a Xmas get together for the Jo Cox campaign in our local town and to raise awareness of how isolation and loneliness affect our community.

We’re a very small seaside type town, so all this is very new here. CAB are really interested in working with us, our MP needs a poke every now and then to remind him what we are doing (could do better, were working on him, he’s very new to the role). The labour party here are also involved and support us with our campaign. Hoping for lots more action in the new year and to start fundraising.

 

 Posted by at 21:08
Jan 042018
 
The NHS is facing one of the worst winter crisis in it’s history, but it’s a crisis not caused by the weather alone, it’s caused by this Governments deliberate underfunding, cuts and privatisation. Along with Health Campaigns Together The People’s Assembly are calling a demonstration to demand that the Government fix the NHS crisis now.

NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW

12pm, Saturday 3 February 
Assemble: Gower Street, London WC1

The #NHSWinterCrisis has now descended into a perpetual year round  crisis. A crisis that has brought staff to their knees and patients languishing and even dying in overcrowded waiting rooms and hospital corridors.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

When headlines report there is a “third world” crisis in the 6th richest country in the world, let’s be clear and call this what it is: an entirely manufactured political crisis by the Tories.

It is time this Government stops blaming patients, nurses, doctors, immigrants, flu and the elderly for their shortcomings. It’s time they start listening to the country who is sick of empty promises from the mouths of cowardly politicians. The Tories must heed the call of the public, staff and patients alike who demand that #ourNHS is not only funded properly but brought back into public hands away from the waste and demands of shareholders and bankers’ bonuses.

On the 70th year of the NHS we created – we demand that #ourNHS is given back! We must end the NHS crisis now.

Join the demonstration, called by the People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together, on Saturday 3 February, 2018:

NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW
March and Demonstration
12pm, Saturday 3 February
Assemble Gower Street Central London WC16

Check out the Facebook Event here and share widely.

More info available soon on our website here.

If you want to get involved, get flyers and other materials sent to you, contact us today on office@thepeoplesassembly.org.uk

See you on the streets!

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity
http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/

 Posted by at 18:43