May 092019

Caxton House cover-up: DWP hid benefit deaths papers from WCA review team

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted failing to send its own independent reviewer documents that ministers knew would have linked their fitness for work test with the deaths of disabled benefit claimants.

Following intervention from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), DWP has finally admitted that two letters written by coroners, and a series of secret “peer reviews” into the deaths of claimants, were hidden from the team set up to review the work capability assessment (WCA).

It is the strongest evidence yet of the need for an independent inquiry into deaths linked to the government’s social security reforms, and for any evidence of criminal misconduct in public office by ministers and senior civil servants to be passed to the police.

The need for an inquiry and for evidence of misconduct to be handed to police are two of the key demands from the Justice for Jodey Whiting parliamentary petition.

Disability News Service (DNS) has been trying since April 2018 to use freedom of information laws to find out if DWP passed the documents to Dr Paul Litchfield, the independent expert ministers hired to review the test in 2013 and 2014.

Litchfield carried out the fourth and fifth reviews of the WCA but has refused to say if he was shown the two coroners’ letters and the peer reviews.

Litchfield, who was recognised by the prime minister with a CBE in last June’s birthday honours, published his two reviews in December 2013 and November 2014, but neither of his reports mentioned the documents, which all link the WCA with the deaths of claimants.

DWP has previously claimed in a freedom of information response that it holds no information in its records to show whether the documents were passed to Litchfield while he was reviewing the WCA.

Following that claim, DNS lodged a complaint with ICO about DWP’s refusal to state definitively whether it passed the documents to Litchfield’s team of civil servants.

But ICO has now given DNS a summary of its discussions with DWP, which prove that neither the peer reviews nor the coroners’ letters were sent to Litchfield.

A senior ICO case officer said DWP had contacted those members of Litchfield’s team who were still working for the department and asked them to conduct searches of electronic and paper records.

The ICO case officer said: “Consultation with the ex-review team elicited statements that no such information was received from DWP nor were any physical files sent to stores.”

Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, declined to comment on the new evidence this week.

But Stephen Lloyd, the independent MP for Eastbourne, has become the first MP to openly speak out on the need for a criminal investigation since the Jodey Whiting petition was launched in March.

After being shown the evidence by DNS, he said: “It is clear that there is a public demand to ensure the government and the DWP do not sweep this under the carpet.

I support the petition and I also support [its] objective that, if there is evidence of criminal misconduct or cover-ups by civil servants or ministers, necessary criminal proceedings should be brought forward, including in the Litchfield case.

The other question for me is: was there a cover-up by Caxton House, DWP’s HQ? If so, it is only right that there is a police investigation.”

Since DNS revealed the existence of the documents in the years after Litchfield’s final report was published, concerns have grown that DWP and some of its ministers deliberately covered-up evidence showing the fatal impact of the assessment on disabled people.

The ICO response is now the strongest evidence so far of a deliberate cover-up by DWP, aimed at ensuring that its independent reviewer was not shown evidence linking the WCA with the deaths of claimants.

The coroners’ letters followed the deaths of two men with mental health conditions in 2010 and 2013, and were sent to DWP in the spring of 2010 and early 2014, each warning of further such deaths if changes were not made to the WCA.

Peer reviews – now known as internal process reviews – must be carried out by DWP civil servants into every death “where suicide is associated with DWP activity”, as well as when other deaths and serious and complex cases have been linked to DWP activity.

DWP has admitted that at least seven peer reviews written in 2012 mentioned the WCA, and there are almost certainly more that were written by the time Litchfield wrote his final report in late 2014.

One of the aims of a peer review is to “determine whether local and national standards have been followed or need to be revised/improved”, so DWP would find it hard to explain why they would not have been shown to Litchfield, whose job it was to review how the WCA was working.

But neither of Litchfield’s reviews mentioned either the peer reviews or the coroners’ letters, although the second coroner’s letter was not written until he had begun work on his second review.

Professor Malcolm Harrington, who carried out the first three WCA reviews in 2010, 2011 and 2012, has told DNS he believes he was shown neither the first coroner’s letter (the second letter had not been written by the time he completed his third review) nor any WCA-related peer reviews.

DWP had failed to comment by noon today (Thursday).

*To sign the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition, click on this link. If you sign the petition, please note that you will need to confirm your signature by clicking on an email you will be sent automatically by the House of Commons petitions committee

9 May 2019



DWP confirms single assessment plans, despite Tomlinson confusion

The government has confirmed that it is pushing ahead with plans to test how it might be able to merge two disability benefit assessments into one, despite comments from a minister that appeared to suggest that no such plans were being discussed.

The plans were originally sketched out by work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd at a high-profile speech in April.

Rudd had said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) would test introducing just one assessment to decide eligibility for both employment and support allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment (PIP).

She said in her speech: “We will therefore explore how a single assessment could improve the experience of those who apply for PIP and ESA/universal credit at the same time.”

Last week, these DWP plans were confirmed by the Tory peer Baroness Buscombe, who had been asked if the government had “opened consultation on merging PIP and ESA assessments”.

Responding on 29 April to the disabled Liberal Democrat peer Baroness [Celia] Thomas, she said DWP was already working on the new test, and that ministers were looking for ways to address concerns about “the feeling of duplication across the current assessment processes”.

She said: “By testing the feasibility of a single assessment for ESA/universal credit (UC) and PIP we can seek to understand if it will improve the assessment process for our customers, and ensure that they still get the right decision.”

But her answer came just five days after the minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, appeared to tell fellow MPs, during a debate to mark 10 years of the work capability assessment (WCA), that there had been “a bit of confusion” about the government’s plans and that there would not be a single assessment after all.

He said: “The view was that it ultimately would be a panacea whereby people would go for one single assessment for PIP and for the work capability assessment.”

Instead, he said, for the “very few people” who apply for both benefits at the same time, the government’s plans would merely see those people having “both of the assessments on the same day instead of having to come in on the Monday and then again on the Wednesday”.

But DWP has now made it clear to Disability News Service that testing of a single assessment will be going ahead.

A DWP spokesperson said: “The minister [Justin Tomlinson] was referring to the integrated service for PIP and work capability assessments, which will be introduced from 2021.

The service will reduce the need to submit information multiple times, and some people may be able to have both their assessments on the same day.

This is not about creating a single assessment. Under the integrated service, customers will still attend separate assessments for ESA/UC and PIP.”

But she added: “Separately, we are undertaking a small-scale test to explore the feasibility of a single assessment for PIP and [ESA/UC] for the small number of people who are applying for both benefits at the same time.”

Many disabled campaigners have warned against merging the assessments for ESA and PIP into one single assessment.

One disabled activist, Lisa Egan, has launched a parliamentary petition – which has nearly 7,000 signatures – calling on ministers to abandon their plans for a joint assessment because PIP and ESA are “different benefits with different purposes” and “have very different eligibility criteria”.

Her petition says: “Merging assessments would cause huge harm, especially for PIP claimants in work or planning to move into work.”

She told Disability News Service: “At the moment, people who are in receipt of both benefits have the slight safety net of still receiving one benefit if they have the other one taken at reassessment and have to wait months for an appeal to get it back.

If both get taken at the same time, that would be an incredibly difficult situation to survive.

If our social safety net was functioning safely, this might not be such a dangerous proposal.

But our social security is not secure, and this plan could cost a lot of lives.

You would have thought they’d learned from universal credit that merging unrelated benefits doesn’t work.”

9 May 2019

More than £100 million in public funding… and no accessible showers

A train company that has received more than £100 million in public subsidies to pay for new carriages for a sleeper service from Scotland to London has failed to provide any accessible on-board showers, even though it is providing such facilities for non-disabled people.

The Scottish government contributed £60 million towards the replacement of the Caledonian Sleeper fleet, while the UK government has provided another £50 million.

Caledonian Sleeper has put the cost of the new fleet at £150 million, while the Scottish government – through its transport agency Transport Scotland – claims it cost £120 million.

But Caledonian Sleeper, which is run by the outsourcing company Serco, has confirmed that while the new fleet includes cabins with ensuite showers and toilets, none of the wheelchair-accessible cabins have such facilities.

And although the carriages include accessible toilets, none of them offer accessible showers either.

This means that any wheelchair-user who wants to take a shower is likely to have to do so in a train station instead.

The new service launched last week between London Euston and Glasgow Central or Edinburgh Waverley, and will be followed later this year with a route between London and Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William.

Accessible transport campaigner Doug Paulley said the failure to provide accessible showers made him “very angry and very sad”.

He said he believed the use of public money on the project meant the UK and Scottish government were breaching their public sector equality duty (PSED) under the Equality Act.

He said: “It strikes me that accessible showers would be considerably more important for disabled people than for non-disabled.

It is a great shame that the vehicles don’t include accessible showers, and retrofitting them seems unlikely.

Perhaps the vehicles will be in use for 40 years, like the old sleepers were.”

The carriages themselves probably meet the technical requirements for rail accessibility, so the company itself is unlikely to be guilty of discrimination under the act, said Paulley.

But he added: “I don’t see how investing £110 million of tax-payers’ money in stock that has facilities for non-disabled people to have showers but not disabled people meets the requirements of the public bodies involved under the PSED.”

Paulley has tried to discover what discussions took place about including accessible showers through a freedom of information request.

He told the Scottish government: “Many disabled people’s impairments, including mine, mean that they need showers more than non-disabled people.

The same impairments mean that it is much more effort to use showers in stations – getting dressed and undressed, and dried and all the rest of it, is a massive effort, logistically and otherwise.

Going direct from bed to a shower then back onto the bed to get dried and undressed cuts out so much of this.”

But he was told the Scottish government holds no information on discussions about whether accessible showers could be installed.

Among other campaigners who have raised concerns about the lack of accessible showers is Baroness [Tanni] Grey-Thompson, who said it meant disabled people did not have the same choices as non-disabled people.

And “Jelly Head”, who tweets at @LordOrk, said: “Let’s not forget these new trains will be in service for decades so consequently disabled people will be disadvantaged long into the future which simply isn’t morally reasonable or acceptable.”

Even though the UK government contributed £50 million towards the project, the Department for Transport has refused to answer questions about the lack of accessible showers or its own PSED legal duties.

Transport Scotland has refused to say whether it ever considered the need for accessible showers or had any discussions with Caledonian Sleeper about the possibility, despite investing £60 million into the programme.

It said the decision for leasing and ordering the trains “rests wholly with Serco” but refused – despite repeated requests from Disability News Service – to say whether it ever discussed the issue of accessible showers.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson added: “All accessible rooms are located directly beside the accessible toilets. 

We understand the option to include accessible showers was declined based on safety grounds but we do not hold the details.”

She added: “We don’t believe that Transport Scotland is in a breach of its public sector equality duty.”

A spokesperson for Serco Caledonian Sleeper said the company had not been able to “find a safe or acceptable way” to provide accessible showers on board the train.

Magnus Conn, new trains programme director for Serco Caledonian Sleeper, claimed the company had “worked extensively with accessibility experts to investigate all options and develop an offering that goes above and beyond while complying with relevant legislation” and had “sought to ensure the best experience possible for disabled users”.

The price of an accessible room on the service includes the use of accessible showers at the company’s own first class lounges at Dundee, Inverness, Fort William, Leuchars, Perth and Stirling, and to shower facilities run by other rail providers at London Euston, Glasgow Central, Edinburgh Waverley and Aberdeen.

9 May 2019



Visitors to new wing ‘will feel the power of the disability protest movement’

A new archive and learning zone dedicated to the disability arts movement is set to inspire a new generation of young people to fight for their rights.

The National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA) facility was launched last week at the High Wycombe campus of Buckinghamshire New University, and features more than 3,500 pieces of artwork, most of which is stored in digital or physical form in the archive.

It is the first study space to be dedicated to learning about the disability arts movement, and it includes both an archive repository and the NDACA learning wing, which features original pieces from the disability arts movement.

The idea behind the learning zone was to create a physical experience that recreates what it was like to be involved in the early years of the disability arts movement in the 1980s and 1990s.

The hope is that it will encourage both disabled and non-disabled people to learn more about the movement’s contribution to the fight for rights and to changing how disabled people are viewed by society.

So there are artefacts such as Tony Heaton’s Shaken Not Stirred sculpture, which has been recreated using the original charity collection cans, and which played a key part in the 1992 Block Telethon protest against ITV’s charity Telethon and its “patronizing position of disabled people as pitiful receivers of charity”.

There are photographs and newspaper cuttings from the direct action protests of the Campaign for Accessible Transport, which helped lead to the first Disability Discrimination Act in 1995.

There are also copies of every edition of Disability Arts in London (DAIL) magazine, which was published by London Disability Arts Forum – set up in 1986 to provide a cultural wing of the disabled people’s movement – and a library of books and other literature.

And visitors can take away free tee-shirts with slogans from the disabled people’s movement, such as Piss On Pity and Proud Angry Strong, and Tear Down The Walls and Not Dead Yet fridge magnets.

There are also hydraulic desks for wheelchair-users; a chill-out room, featuring NDACA cushions; and tactile versions of Heaton’s Shaken Not Stirred and Great Britain from a Wheelchair sculptures.

The archive room includes almost all of Tanya Raabe-Webber’s Who’s WhO collection of portraits of leading disabled figures, tee-shirts donated by activists who took part in disability rights protests, and boxes and boxes of other artefacts, such as magazines, postcards and photographs.

The opening of the learning zone and archive room is just the latest stage in a project that stretches back more than 30 years to conversations between Heaton, NDACA’s founder, and fellow disabled artist Allan Sutherland about the need for a collection and archive that would capture the history of the disability arts movement and ensure that key artefacts were not lost for ever.

A 364-page timeline of the disability arts movement, written by Sutherland, will soon be added to the NDACA website and will be available to download, while there will also be a physical copy of it in the NDACA learning zone.

The close links between the disability arts movement and the wider disabled people’s movement are clear throughout the NDACA wing.

There are exhibits such as a framed copy of Vic Finkelstein’s Fundamental Principles of Disability, and a black and white photograph featuring many of the movements’ leading figures, such as Barbara Lisicki, Colin Barnes, Alan Holdsworth, Vic Finkelstein, Sutherland and Heaton, Mike Oliver, Anne Rae, David Hevey, and Adam Reynolds.

Students and staff at the university will use the facilities for their own learning and teaching, while postgraduate students from other universities are already visiting the collection.

Members of the public will also be able to visit the NDACA learning zone by booking in advance, and can make appointments through the NDACA website.

There are also plans for artefacts from the archive, including some of Raabe’s portraits, to tour the country and hopefully be exhibited internationally.

Hevey, the NDACA project and creative director and chief executive of Shape Arts, which is delivering the project – whose photography features in the archive – said the message of the learning zone was “simple but not simplistic” and about the removal of barriers in society.

The NDACA wing is, he said, “full of character” and “a space in which you can feel the power of the disability protest movement”.

The disability arts movement helped to make disabled people more visible in society, he said, and helped usher in the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995.

He said: “It challenged society, achieved great social change and inspired a remarkable body of creative work.”

Hevey, probably best known for producing and directing BBC’s 1997 ground-breaking history series The Disabled Century, said the success of the disability arts movement was “clearly a message to contemporary disabled people facing barriers and fighting for justice and fighting reactionary positions and austerity”.

He said: “We want people to say, ‘Yes, disabled people are winners and they can change the world.’

If this helps to contribute to the fight against austerity, that’s OK by me.”

He added: “Victories are worth promoting. I think it will inspire a new generation to say, ‘If they can win, we can win.’”

Funding for the project has mainly come from the National Lottery Heritage Fund – which contributed more than £850,000 – with other funding from Arts Council England and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The NDACA project has already seen the launch of its interactive website, which allows visitors to access digital copies of some of the movement’s most significant work, read essays about significant disabled artists, and by the end of this year will also feature about 50 short films.

Heaton said: “The learning wing is the realisation of a dream I had more than 30 years ago – to collect the unique heritage, and demonstrate the power, of the disability arts movement.

One that fought barriers, helped change the law and made great culture about those struggles.”

Alex Cowan, NDACA’s archivist, has worked with significant figures in the disability arts movement over the last three years to identify “standout material” from their personal collections.

He said: “I am proud to have been able to participate in a cultural movement that has shaped British art, society and politics and to have played my part in highlighting disabled people’s long struggle for individual and collective recognition.”

The university’s link with NDACA originally came through the music theatre company Signdance Collective, which was previously the university’s resident theatre company.

The university has other close links with the creative and cultural industries, and three of its film and television production students have worked voluntarily as runners on some of the short films produced as part of the NDACA project.

Professor Nick Braisby, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: “We are proud to host the NDACA wing, which represents the significant importance of the disability arts movement and all that it achieved.

We look forward to welcoming researchers to the university, and giving our students and staff access to the archive which will inform our curriculum and teaching across our course portfolio.”

Stuart Hobley, head of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, London, said NDACA was “a major milestone for disability heritage”, with its “stories of ordinary people who led extraordinary lives and changed the UK’s arts and political landscape”.

He said: “A core aim of all National Lottery funded projects is to make heritage accessible to as many people as possible and this archive and learning wing is a fantastic example of how this can be achieved.”

9 May 2019



UN’s torture committee probes UK on ‘grim and unacceptable truths’

A UN body has been questioning the UK government this week on the “grim and unacceptable truth” that disabled people and other groups are still being subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment – and even torture – in taxpayer-funded services.

The UK and devolved governments have been scrutinised for two days by the UN’s committee against torture (UNCAT) over their record on torture and ill-treatment in the UK and abroad.

Among the evidence being considered by UNCAT is a report by a coalition of civil society groups and experts, including Disability Rights UK and the National Survivor User Network (NSUN), while NSUN has also submitted its own separate evidence.

In its own submission, NSUN tells the committee of the “destitution” and “inhuman and degrading treatment” caused by the government’s austerity policies, and the “disproportionate and often devastating impact” of those measures on people with mental distress.

NSUN also calls on the UK government to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

And it says the government must invest in services and resources so as to make progress in stopping detentions and forced treatment, particularly by investing in alternative and user-led services, in order to end the “inhumane approach” of current mental health law and the failings of the Mental Health Act (MHA).

In a short oral submission – she and others were given just one minute 10 seconds each to deliver their presentations – NSUN’s Dorothy Gould told the committee in Geneva on Monday: “Following visits from the UNCRPD in 2015 and 2017 and last year’s visit from the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, there cannot be any doubt that levels of destitution in the UK amount to inhumane treatment and that people with mental health diagnoses have been disproportionately affected.”

She added: “Discrimination and hate crime against us are also prevalent, intersectional crime still more so.

It is hard, too, to see current mental health legislation in the UK as anything other than inhumane.

Under this legislation, the use of detention in psychiatric institutions and forced treatment is misinterpreted as care.

These measures are employed at the very times when we are most vulnerable and despite serious challenges to the scientific basis for psychiatric diagnoses and medication.

We are also detained on the basis of potential risks to others, although no-one else is detained on this basis.”

The following day, UNCAT ‎members posed detailed questions to the UK delegation, while yesterday (Wednesday) there were further questions from the committee and responses from government representatives.

Committee members will now consider the evidence they have received before preparing their concluding observations on the UK’s progress in implementing the convention.

Among that evidence is the civil society coalition report, which was compiled by the international human rights organisation REDRESS and was targeted at the UK and Welsh governments, and which raised several key concerns about the treatment of disabled people.

Among them is the rise of more than a third in the number of detentions under MHA since 2010, the disproportionate use of MHA on black and minority ethnic groups, and the number of people with learning difficulties and autistic people detained in long-stay hospitals, as well as the use of tasers in mental health settings.

It also raises concerns about the use of restraint and seclusion on disabled children in schools, including autistic pupils, and calls on the UK to abolish all methods of restraint against children for disciplinary purposes in all institutional settings, including special schools, and to ensure it is used against children only to prevent harm to the child or others and only as a last resort.

Another issue highlighted in the report is neglect and ill-treatment in care homes, and the need for local authorities to have enough funds “to sufficiently investigate and address allegations of abuse”.

The REDRESS report also highlights the level of unreported disability hate crime, and the fall in disability hate crime prosecutions, as well as the failure to make reasonable adjustments for disabled prisoners, including those who are deaf.

Sue Bott, deputy chief executive of DR UK, said: “It’s hard to believe that some disabled people are subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment in services funded by the taxpayer, yet that is the grim and unacceptable truth.

Rigorous training for health and social care staff in the [UN disability convention], and relevant UK legislation including the Mental Capacity Act, would go some way to improving the way disabled people are treated.

It would also help change a culture which persists in providing so-called care services which are woefully inadequate, and does little to help support disabled people to live independently.”

In its own report to UNCAT, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – which funded REDRESS’s report – calls for action in areas such as the criteria for detaining people under MHA, the use of restraint, the impact of the UK government’s legal aid reforms on access to justice, and hate crime.

It also calls on the UK and Welsh governments to monitor the impact of cuts to adult social care on older and disabled people, including their right to live independently, and calls on them to develop plans to “progressively close gaps in meeting needs”.

David Isaac, EHRC’s chair, said: “Everyone has the right to be free from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. That is an absolute right.

Failing to adequately protect people from such dangerous and harmful acts is not only a moral failure but breaches our existing international legal obligations.

Improving Britain’s record on preventing ill-treatment in our own country is essential if we want to maintain our long-held reputation as a champion of equality and human rights globally.”

The 10 independent experts who sit on UNCAT are responsible for monitoring how countries including the UK are implementing the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

In his opening statement to the committee this week (PDF), the head of the UK government delegation, Paul Candler, said the UK government “consistently and unreservedly condemns torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” and raises concerns about it “wherever and whenever it occurs”.

He said: “The UK has a longstanding tradition of ensuring rights and liberties are protected domestically, and of fulfilling our international human rights obligations, including through dialogues such as this one.”

He said that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) would not change its commitment to “protect and respect human rights and liberties”, and he said it had no plans to repeal or reform the Human Rights Act after the UK leaves the EU, and that it had “reaffirmed its commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights”.

9 May 2019



Action on Hearing Loss defends holding comedy fundraiser in inaccessible venue

A disability charity has refused to apologise for holding a fundraising comedy night in an inaccessible London venue.

Action on Hearing Loss (formerly known as RNID) was raising money as part of its Deaf Awareness Week with an evening of stand-up at The Comedy Store in London.

Performers included Samantha Baines, Angela Barnes, Eshaan Akbar, Ed Gamble, Russell Howard and John Bishop, three of whom have hearing loss themselves.

But the venue chosen by the charity is not accessible to many disabled people, with The Comedy Store warning on its website that it only has a “chair lift” which “cannot bear the weight of a person in a wheelchair”.

This means that any wheelchair-user “must be able to leave their wheelchair, descend via the chairlift, then retake their wheelchair once at the bottom of the stairs”, so “large electric wheelchairs are unable to gain access” to the auditorium.

Alan Benson, a disabled campaigner and activist from London, said: “Funding is a challenge for everyone so events like this are very important, but it’s vital that we get them right.

In a society that routinely discriminates against disabled people we must make sure that we support each other and run fully inclusive events.

I know that those with hearing impairments routinely face barriers to participation so I would have hoped for better.”

Benson, who uses an electric wheelchair himself, added: “London has many great accessible venues so there is no excuse not to use them.

By using venues like The Comedy Store, we validate their inadequate provision.

To justify the event by saying it was accessible to some disabled people is simply not good enough.”

When questioned about the inaccessible venue, Action on Hearing Loss (AHL) refused to apologise or say why the event was held in a venue which was not accessible for many wheelchair-users.

It also refused to say what kind of message that decision sent to wheelchair-users with high support needs, and whether it suggested that raising money and “awareness” of AHL’s work was more important than including people who use electric wheelchairs.

But a spokesperson said in a statement: “At the launch of Deaf Awareness Week, it was important that the charity gave people with deafness and hearing loss the opportunity to attend an iconic comedy venue that has played host to some of the most famous performers in the world.

To achieve this, the show was supported by BSL interpreters, live subtitling and a hearing loop.

But it was not just those with deafness and hearing loss who came to the show, people with various disabilities were also in attendance, including those using wheelchairs.

We are committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent inclusivity for all and we will continue to work with venues to help improve their accessibility.”

9 May 2019


News provided by John Pring at



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