Bob

Apr 182018
 

Today is DPACs National Day of Action on Universal Credit

Here are details about the central London protest and the protests happening round the country

If you can’t get to one of the protests you can still join in online. Tweet or post to facebook on the hashtag #StopAndScrapUniversalCredit

Check with the DPAC Twitter Account @dis_ppl_protest for latest updates on the prostests

We are especially asking people to tweet during PMQs – 12 noon till 1pm – add the hashtag #PMQs to your posts

Some links, images and information about UC have been included below that you can use in your twitter and facebook posts.

And you can still join in by joining DPAC’s campaign to lobby MPs on Universal Credit

Links that you can include in tweets and facebook posts

Images that you can include in tweets and facebook posts

Universal Credit, A Crime Against Claimants

Universal Credit, A Crime Against Claimants, NAtional Day of Action 18th April

Badge saying "STOP & SCRAP Universal credit"

Stop and Scrap Universal Credit Dead People Don't Claim

Information that you can include in your tweets and facebook posts

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

UC has too many flaws to be simply paused and fixed – it must be stopped and scrapped.

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 although only £1 billion is likely to be saved by 2020.

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.

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.

 

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.
 Posted by at 11:34
Apr 172018
 

18 April – Join the vigil for justiceVigil for Justice, 18th April 7-8pm, Outside Ministry for Justice
Join the fight to save our justice system at a vigil outside the Ministry of Justice from 7-8pm on 18 April.
Cuts to legal aid mean too many people are being priced out of justice. When legal aid was introduced 8 out of 10 people were entitled to free legal advice. Now fewer than 1 in 10 receive it.
Join the vigil for justice in London, organised by the Justice Alliance and Speak Up For Justice.
Where?
Outside the Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France, London SW1H 9AJ
(near St James tube)
Tweet your support #Time4Justice

 Posted by at 17:00
Apr 152018
 
We need you to do something for DPAC!
We want to get as many people as possible emailing their MP in the early part of this week, Monday or Tuesday asking for a response about their position on Universal Credit
Let us know when you have emailed the MP and let us know if they have responded and what they have said. Even if they don’t respond, please let us know you have written and they didn’t come back to you.
At the end of the week we want to be able to publish a list of MPs and what they responded with, and also a list of those that did not respond.
Many MPs will only respond to emails from constituents, so when you email them make clear that you live in their constituency.
MPs will also not respond to standard template letters, so we need you to write something in your own words, it needn’t be a long email, and there are some pointers of things you can say below this message
Please do this!
We need individual people, maybe you have never written to your MP before but it is really quite easy!
You can find your MPs email address by putting your postcode or town into this webpage and it will take you to the MPs contact details page
You can let us know which MP you have emailed and what they came back with by adding a comment to the comments section at the end of this page
————————————————-
Here are some things you can put into your email:
  • Universal Credit is totally flawed and will unfairly impact on disabled people/voters, women/ women voters, self-employed people/voters and anyone/voters on a low wage.
  • Its roll out must be stopped and it must be scrapped.
  • Disabled People Against Cuts will be collating a list of MPs, which will be made public on our website, of MPs who support stopping and scrapping Universal Credit and those who don’t.
  • DPAC will also be publishing a list of those who failed to respond
  • Could you please email  with your position on UC for publication.
  • If we do not receive a response by April 25th we will assume you support keeping this devastating welfare reform in place.
 Posted by at 22:48
Apr 152018
 

Join us outside the high court on Tuesday 1st May to support the first judicial review against the Government’s decision to bring in Universal Credit. The case will focus in particular on the removal of the Severe and Enhanced Disability Premiums which will have a devastating impact on Disabled people. When the Government introduced Universal credit they said no one will be worse off, but this simply isn’t true. Research in 2013 estimated that 450,000 households containing a Disabled person would lose essential income.

The case is being taken by Leigh Day solicitors on behalf of a man who is terminally ill and through the removal of SDP and EDP has lost £178 per month.

Vigil called by Disabled People Against Cuts and Winvisible.

 Posted by at 22:20
Apr 112018
 

Important local & mayoral elections take place in many parts of England on 3 May and the deadline to register to vote is less than a week away (Tuesday 17th April).

If you’re not registered to vote you can register at the government’s voter registration page (it only takes a few minutes).

And if you get any problems with registering to vote or voting due to denial of your access need and reasonable adjustments that you may require please let us know about it at mail@dpac.uk.net

Also if you are not allowed to vote because you are not able to produce Id at the polling station, again, please let us know at mail@dpac.uk.net

 Posted by at 15:06
Apr 102018
 

The RMT are  holding a national rally in London at 11.30 am at Old Palace Yard, London, SW1P 3JY opposite the Palace of Westminster (in front of the George V statue).

This important rally coincides with the 2nd anniversary of the start of RMT strike action against Driver Only Operation. Since then members in six companies have taken action in opposition to this privatised rail assault on jobs, safety, security and accessibility.
 

 

 

 Posted by at 12:16
Mar 232018
 
New job opportunity – Campaigns and Outreach Officer 

We are looking for a new Campaigns and Outreach officer! Please have a look at our job advert below and forward to anyone you think may be interested – or consider applying yourself if you meet the criteria.

Campaigns and Outreach Officer
£29k, Brixton, London

Transport for All (TfA) has been championing the cause of accessible transport in the capital for over two decades. Whilst progress has been made, still today Disabled and older people have to restrict their lives or even become housebound because they are failed by inaccessible transport services.

We are now seeking a Campaigns and Outreach officer to help change this situation and win a transport system that all of London’s citizens can use with freedom and Independence. This is an exciting opportunity to join one of the leading Disabled people’s charities campaigning for accessible transport in the UK.

Motivated by a passion for equality and the rights of Disabled people, our ideal candidate will develop and lead multi-layered campaigns that seek to capture the imagination of supporters and the attention of campaign targets.

You will have the experience of running successful campaigns using a variety of methods including e-campaigning and direct. As a ‘people’s person’ you will also motivate supporters and members to get involved at all levels of campaign planning and development.

Pitching stories on a regular basis you will be able to harness the power of the media to deliver maximum exposure for our campaigns and causes.

A confident communicator, you will be able to sustain relationships with a wide range of stakeholders from local pensioner groups to government ministers.

What we offer:

  • A friendly working environment and supportive team
  • Flexible working hours and the ability to work from home
  • Attractive pensions package
  • Holiday entitlement

Our office is based in Brixton with its vibrant markets and excellent transport links.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Thursday 12th April 2018. The Interview date will be Friday 20th April 2018 and be held at our offices in Brixton.

For further details please contact Dagmara DePaula on 020 7820 7315 or via email dagmara.DePaula@harrishill.co.uk.

Please email your completed application forms to dagmara.DePaula@harrishill.co.uk.

Download the Job Pack
Best wishes,

Raphael Harfaux
Communications and projects manager

 Posted by at 20:29
Mar 222018
 

We got this in the DPAC email today:

As you will have hopefully heard via the TUC and your own unions already, the movement is currently planning for, and beginning to mobilise, for a national demo in London on Saturday 12th May 2018.

Like past demos, we will march from Embankment through London to Hyde Park, with the usual speeches at the other end. There will of course be accessible marching points and short marches for those who can’t do the whole thing.

Yet another big pointless march ending hidden in Hyde Park with pointless speeches from well paid union bosses

Pointless…

At DPAC central we’ve long been disillusioned about these mega marches. Oh sure, they look good enough, banners and placards flying and mass protesters marching through the streets. And the mass rally in Hyde Park with big wig speakers saying inspiring things to stir the blood. And everyone feels great, they’ve done something!

But what exactly have they done and has it really been any use?

Then everyone leaves, the placards get collected up to create more landfill, marchers go home and switch on the news. They expect to see their day broadcast to the country, and change will surely follow …. but there is nothing, no media coverage, not a word, especially on a Saturday when there are only skeleton news staff, and no MPs in Westminster to see the march go past.

Accessibility….

Another big problem is where organisers lay on transport, they don’t arrange accessible transport for disabled people – even their own union members -wanting to be there.

As one of our members (who wishes to remain anonymous) says:

I am a member of two unions: UCU and Unite – I can guarantee that I’ll get an email from UCU first urging me to attend but not offering any help with transport. About a week or two later I’ll get an email from Unite saying that there is a coach and if I then enquire about accessible transport I’ll be told there is none due to lack of demand.

I have been told of a wheelchair user in Liverpool who was booked onto a coach and not told by Unite that it was not accessible. In the end four men lifted her onto and off the coach. How demeaning! But it is typical of the attitude of the big unions.

Voiceless….

Our third big problem with these events is the choice of speakers. They could, if they wanted, give a platform to grass roots groups representing homeless people, unemployed people, and yes, disabled people, and countless more groups who struggle to get a voice. But they chose not to, it’s always the same ‘safe’ corporate union establishment faces saying the same things year after year.

They don’t represent us

Our problem with the big corporate unions is similar to our problem with the big corporate charities. They don’t represent us, and they want to prevent us from representing ourselves, as that lessens the power that they enjoy so much.

Unions and march organisers need to fully recognise disabled people’s access needs and representation. They need to make their protest activities relevant to ordinary people and effective in order to gain real social change.

Until they do that, rather than go on the march, we present………

How to make your own TUC March

1) Stand around your front garden for two hours with no information or explanation why.

2) Walk around your house for 2 and a half hours making sure the heatings off and you’re fucking freezing. Hold your piss all this time.

3) Search TUC March 2012 Speeches on YouTube and press play. Put it really far away so you can just about see the people on stage and keep saying  ‘who is it now?’ and ‘what did they say?’

4) Hold your piss still as you take 2 hours to walk to your bus stop/train station.

5) Get home two hours later and realise you’ve spent 30 quid on fuck knows what and you’re still starving.

6) Have 17 minute long piss.

7) Watch everything online about today’s march from 29 different angles (all of them including Len McLuskey holding a banner) til bed.

8) Promise never fucking again.

[“Hold your own TUC March” by Andy Greene]

 Posted by at 15:51
Feb 262018
 

We are sorry to announce that due to the bad weather forecast for London this week, and the associated travel difficulties this will bring, we have taken the decision to CANCEL the planned action this Thursday 1st March at the Houses of Parliament.

All of the online actions planned for 1st March will continue as planned

We leave decisions about local actions to the local groups and urge organisers to update us with any decisions (to proceed or to cancel) as soon as possible so we can get the word out. 

We are very sorry for any inconvenience this causes

 Posted by at 21:23
Jun 212017
 

The EID STREET PARTY will take place on : Sunday 2nd July Between  5pm and 7pm on Dynevor Road (Outside 93a, N16 0DB) – Opp. Sainbury’s Local

On behalf of Musallaa an-Noor Mosque I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to our EID STREET PARTY, where we plan to celebrate the Eid festival with our neighbours, Faith Leaders, Community representatives and the wider community.

After the success of last year’s event, we are again inviting all local residents & businesses, as well as all Hackney community, social and voluntary organizations and the wider Hackney community to share an enjoyable evening of food, drink and festivity with us.

We aim to display the true characteristics of Islam and of Muslims to all our neighbours who live beside us and to portray the message of love, harmony and peaceful co-existence that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught and strived his whole life towards.

We learn from his sayings; “A true believer is not one who sleeps on a full stomach whilst his neighbour is hungry”.
He also said, “Mankind are the household of God Al-Mighty, and the most beloved to God is the one who is most caring of His household” (Prophet Muhammad)

We hope you will accept our invitation and grace us with your presence.

We have on the menu lamb biryani, vegetable curry, naan bread, samosas, dessert & drinks
(All food & drinks are compliments from the Musallaa an-Noor Mosque)

We will also be having a henna table and an Arabic calligraphy stall to showcase Islamic art.

There will also be a bouncy castle, an arts and crafts table and other fun activities for the
kids – and grown ups, if you dare the bouncy castle

The EID STREET PARTY will take place on : Sunday 2nd July Between  5pm and 7pm on Dynevor Road (Outside 93a, N16 0DB) - Opp. Sainbury’s Local

 Posted by at 13:47
Jun 152017
 
Demonstrate:  Justice for Grenfell!
6pm, Friday 16th June
Department for Communities and Local Government
2 Marsham Street, SW1P 4DF
fb event and map
At least 12 people have died in the fire at Grenfell Tower. They deserve justice. We demand answers.
Please let us know if you can make it.

Grenfell House- tenants repeatedly warned this tower block was unsafe. They were told to shut up.
Tenants die when landlords don’t listen

Message from Defend Council Housing:
Tenant groups are horrified and scared after the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in west London last night. The fire has killed and injured many, and is devastating the lives of hundreds.
In sorrow we send our sympathy and offers of practical support. And in anger we demand an end to the murderous disregard and contempt for tenants, by the landlord in Kensington: see Grenfell Action Group warning
Across the country other landlords are ignoring safety warnings from tenants and others – Fire safety report on 4,000 blocks ignored. Government cuts funding for major repairs and maintenance, promotes demolition and describes our homes, estates and communities as ‘brownfield sites’. This is the context of the disastrous failure to act on tenants’ warnings.
Across the country landlords ignore tenants’ warnings, in order to cut costs or avoid works.
We need a full, immediate safety enquiry into Grenfell and every other block. We need full funding for any improvements including sprinkler systems, recommended by fire services. And we need to listen to tenants views on redevelopment and warnings about the risks to homes and lives.

Protests follow terrible fire
Tenants will protest tomorrow, 15 June from 8am outside a Developers’ forum in Berkeley Sq W1J. Kensington and Chelsea council is one of 22 councils paying to attend, along with Lendlease and other developers and companies. Tenants groups are banned from attending.

A housing protest on 24 June to demand action on homes and repeal of the Housing and Planning Act will also demand action on safety: 24 June from 12 noon at Parliament Square SW1P 3AD – see leaflet.

Join us in Southwark
SDCH Saturday Stall

12pm-1pm Saturday 17th June
Rye Lane, Peckham, Outside Boots
SE15 5BS
Map here

March for Homes protest
12pm, Saturday 24 June 

Parliament Square
Control rents
Stop demolishing good homes
Council housing not social cleansing
Secure homes for all

Leaflet here

Solidarity,
Tanya, Chair Southwark Defend Council Housing

Solidarity,
Tanya, Chair Southwark Defend Council Housing

 

 Posted by at 22:03
Jun 152017
 

Save Eastern Avenue Job Centre!

This week from Monday 12th June to Friday 16th June, PCS union members at Eastern Avenue Job Centre are on strike.

Clare Goonan, local PCS rep explained that 78 Job Centres up and down Britain are earmarked for closure:

“Staff at Eastern Avenue have voted with their feet, we’ve had a 96% Yes vote to our strike ballot. Our jobs are safe, staff would be moved elsewhere, the strike is about defending the community from negative impact of the proposed Centre closure.

If we close, service users will have to attend the offices in Sheffield city centre in order to perform job searches and attend mandatory interviews.
For people who live nearby the Centre, this would mean a 6 mile round-trip, however for service users living further out the distance will be even greater.
We’re doing this to support the community and i’m so proud that our members care so much about that.”

Sheffield DPAC were invited to speak at a public meeting at the start of the week along with Unite Community, Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore, PCS reps and PCS union boss Mark Serwotka.

Jennifer Jones of DPAC Sheffield talked about her personal experience of currently going from DLA on to PIP and how distressing the whole experience is, and comparing difference between dealing with ATOS staff over the phone she said “… its a far-cry from dealing with Job Centre staff face to face who know you and know about your illnesses and with who you have built up a relationship.
At Eastern Avenue I can sit in a side room with my advisor, to support my anxiety and mental health and keep me calm, my advisor goes through the information that I need with me, at a pace that I can understand and will ensure that I’m absolutely clear about what I need to do. Without that help I wouldn’t be able to cope…

Stuart P of Unite Community talked about the impact of closure on poverty stricken claimants who would have to make the journey on foot in all weather. The elderly and disabled, as well as people with young children. He referenced I Daniel Blake, we will only see more scenes like those in the film. He added:
…these areas affected, especially the Manor estate in sheffield, are not only the most poverty stricken areas but they have a high amount of elderly population. Alot of support is needed to help these people with job searches, a lot cant use a computer, they aren’t of that generation and simply aren’t going to get the help they need..

PCS Union boss Mark Serwotka praised his staff, he said the Union was so proud of what they are doing:
“When I joined the service (then the DHSS) in 1980 the motto was : do whatever you can to help. fast forward to 2017 and it’s a Tory imposed Draconian service where staff can do less and less to help.
Tories have decided to close 78 Job Centres as a cost cutting exercise.
They don’t care about the effects on staff or the people that use the service.
7 out of the 8 council wards effected in Sheffield have higher benefit claimant rates than the rest of the city.
People are already travelling for 3 times longer than the 20 minutes acceptable travel time that ministers have set out in order to attend Eastern avenue, this is set to increase if closure goes ahead.
It’s clear from this election that people don’t support public sector cuts.
This is the first PCS dispute since the anti trade union laws came in. The Yes result was 96% . Even Theresa May cant argue with that!

Sheffield DPAC are supporting the strike, this is absolutely an accessibility issue that will affect the disabled community greatly.
The claimants living furthest out on the affected areas will have to make a whopping 20 mile round trip in order to go to appointments in town and this isn’t acceptable.

We continue to fight for and end to WCA , to benefit sanctions and for the restoration of DLA , ILF and more but we ask you all to support us by sharing news of this strike and the reasons for it.

We have been told that other Job Centres out of the 78 are currently balloting for strike action so keep out for a picket near you.
Solidarity!

 Posted by at 22:02
Jun 142017
 

Join the protests:

Protest: May Must Go – No Coalition of Chaos and HatredSaturday 17 June, 2-4pm, Whitehall, London, Called by Owen Jones. https://www.facebook.com/events/290268031384019

Protest the Queen’s speech – no to May/DUP racism & bigotry!Monday 19 June, 6pm–8pm, Parliament Square, London, SW1P. Called by Stand Up to Racism. https://www.facebook.com/events/136916370208377

Not One Day More #ToriesOut National Demonstration SATURDAY 1 JULY – NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION.  Not One Day More #ToriesOUT. Assemble 12pm, Saturday 1 July 2017. BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA. March to Parliament Square


While certain disability charities are trying to hook up with the new government, Disabled People Against Cuts is calling on Deaf and Disabled people and their organisations to boycott engagement with any government involving the DUP. Collusion with an anti-equalities party who openly oppose women’s right to choose and gay marriage while denying climate change is nothing less than shameful. Disabled people must be united in resisting the politics of hate.

Immediately after the election, Disability Rights UK released a statement offering to work with the new government. This bizarre move smacks of an organisation so out of touch that it called the wrong outcome and is now at sea with how to respond. Their “offer” is a desperate attempt to retain influence that not only stands in contempt of the years of suffering Disabled people have endured under the Tories but also disregards the harm and division that any form of alliance with the DUP represents.

The Tories are in chaos and cannot credibly remain in government. Now is the best chance since 2010 to end a government that has carried out a regime of conscious cruelty against Disabled people and systematically and deliberately dismantled our rights. We stand on the bring of social change built from the aspirations of the many not the few. Labour has made firm commitments to the issues that Deaf and Disabled people have been fighting to achieve for years such as enshrining our rights under the CPRD in domestic legislation, working with Disabled people to develop a national system of social care, and scrapping out-sourced benefit assessments.

Instead of helping build the grassroots movement for social justice that has shaken the political establishment in the UK to its core, DR UK would rather get in bed with the Tories and their anti-equalities partners. The demands they now apparently want to work with a hard right wing government on implementing are the same ones they failed to support when they were demanded by Disabled people on the streets and pledged by parties on the left.

DRUK’s position rests on a false notion that disability rights exist in a bubble that floats above Party politics and left and right ideological divisions. This is utter nonsense. The ideological division between left and right is based on a real difference in interests over whether society is better run when in the interests of the many (from which flows a belief in the importance of rights and equalities) or to secure profits for the few. At a time of economic prosperity governments can afford to make concessions in order to reduce opposition, but in a period of economic decline inequality grows as the many are made to shoulder the cost of the crisis.

Inequality has grown sharply since the last financial crash in 2008 and as a result of the austerity measures imposed as the response by Tory led governments since 2010. While still suffering under those impacts the economic outlook for the UK continues to weaken: as economist Michael Roberts notes in his post election analysis1, “In the first quarter of 2017, the UK’s real GDP grew more slowly than any other top (G7) economy”. These are not the economic conditions under which governments make concessions. They are the conditions under which they step up attempts to scapegoat and divide.

Bring in the DUP. A party with a track record of specialism in the politics of hatred and violence. In 1977 founding member Ian Paisley launched a political campaign to prevent the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Northern Ireland called “Save Ulster from Sodomy”. In 2008, DUP MP Iris Robinson stated in Parliament that homosexuality is “viler” than child abuse and the party today continues to oppose equal marriage which is still not legal in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile the 1967 Abortion Act, which established legal abortion, has never applied in Northern Ireland. The law is far stricter and even pregnancy as a result of rape is not a circumstance in which an abortion can be performed legally. The High Court recently ruled that this was incompatible with the human rights of women, but the law can only be changed by legislators. Already an ex-Tory minister has hinted there could be a Commons vote on increasing abortion limits as his party looks to cement its alliance with the DUP.

These issues are not irrelevant to Disabled people who are not only Disabled but also Black, gay and women. We do not stand in isolation from our communities but rather fight against cuts that segregate and separate us.

The DUP’s position on welfare will also be familiar to those who followed the sustained attempt by other parties to block the welfare reform bill in Northern Ireland, despite fines from Westminster of £9.5m per month for non-implementation. Due to devolution of powers, this could only be introduced by passage through the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont. With a population that experiences greater levels of mental health issues, campaigners were concerned about the impacts welfare reform observed in areas of the UK where cuts had already been rolled out.

The Department for Social Development which oversees benefits in the North admitted that a full 25% of people currently receiving DLA would not receive anything under PIP while a further 33% would receive a reduced award. Nevertheless, DUP social development minister Mervyn Storey put a legislative consent motion to MLAs (members of the Northern Ireland Assembly) which was voted through, transferring power over welfare reform from Stormont to the Tory government in Westminster and paving the way for cuts.

Another DUP MP, Gregory Campbell, made a name for himself claiming that rising levels of DLA claims were due to fraud and pointing specifically to numbers receiving the “taxpayer-funded hand-out” in West Belfast. He claimed that “it would appear from these figures that there are people in some areas who are able to claim DLA long after you would assume they were no longer entitled to it” drawing a distinction from what he called “legitimate claimants”.

As the BBC, in its newest role as DUP apologist, keeps pointing out, DUP demands on the Tories include that the introduction of means testing for Winter Fuel Allowance, pledged in the Conservative manifesto, will not apply in Northern Ireland, as well as extra capital spending and more cash from the UK Treasury for Northern Ireland’s schools and hospitals. We shouldn’t let this fool us into seeing the DUP as a party with social principles. Had they really cared about the impact of cuts, they could have mitigated the effects with the funds that were instead ploughed in to paying businesses to heat empty properties in the “cash for ash” scandal.

Disabled People Against Cuts have led a bitter fight against the Tory cuts for 7 years, our #TrashTheTories campaign helped deliver a serious blow to the Conservatives at the general election. We can’t let this attempt by Theresa May to cling on and do more damage by trading away our rights to secure a deal with the vile bigots of the DUP go unchallenged.

1 https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/uk-election-british-capital-in-disarray/

 Posted by at 16:57
Jun 142017
 

The Secretary of State for Health is addressing the Confed17 NHS Conference. The NHS Confederation is a group which represents some 85% of NHS providers and commissioners.

He is scheduled to speak at 11.45 am although we are told he will appear at 10am (but that may change).

So people from various NHS activist groups, community groups and trade unions will be there to welcome him from 07.30am outside the venue. Others will be at the venue with banners and loud voices from 10.00am. Please come along if you can – if you can’t make it for 7.30 am please come along later at 10.00 am

Why not go along and let him know what you think about our NHS and about his plans for it – meet up outside the Arena!!!

For information the NHS Confederation describes itself as “the only membership body that brings together and speaks on behalf of all organisations that plan, commission and provide NHS services. Members are drawn from every part of the health and care system and join 560+ organisations connected to the NHS Confederation”.

Here is a link to the Conference schedule and description: http://www.nhsconfed.org/ confed17

If you need reminding about Jeremy Hunt and his style of operation read this open letter from Dr Louise Irvine to the new/old secretary of state:

https://nhaswsurrey.wordpress. com/2017/06/12/the-facts-dont- lie-and-nor-do-i-an-open- letter-to-jeremy-hunt-mp/

 Posted by at 12:23
Jun 132017
 

X by X are holding our AGM 2017, our theme this year is Deaf and Disabled* people’s Rights and Responsibilities in 2017. Everyone is welcome but you will need to fill in an X by X membership form to take part in the AGM vote. We have invited significate speakers from Disabled People’s User Led organisations covering topics like;
~ Our Rights in 2017 – Where Deaf and disabled people are at with so many changes
~ Our Responsibilities – What campaigns are coming up and how we can get involved in 2017

Friday 30 June

1.00pm – 4.30 pm

light Lunch Provided

Bromley Civic Centre
Committee Room 1,
Stockwell close, Bromley, BR1 3UH

Deaf and Disabled people’s Rights and Responsibilities in 2017 Event
Speakers from: London People’s Assembly, DPAC,
Inclusion London, ALLFIE, Transport for All and
Stop Changes to Access to Work

Information stalls of Local Deaf and Disabled people’s services

Please contact Justine to book your place, request any access needs or any further info by 23 June justine@xbyxbromley.com or 020 8650 2102

 

*By Disabled People we include people with physical impairments, sensory impairments, mental health survivors, people with learning difficulties or learning disabilities, people with long term health conditions

 Posted by at 22:41
Jun 082017
 

The Around the Toilet project are currently asking for contributions to a zine we’re creating on the topic of toilet accessibility. We wondered if you might consider sharing our call for contributions on your website and social media platforms? We hope it might be of interest to some of your readers and members of your organisation. We’re open to submissions on a range of topics, but we’ve listed disability and accessibility as well as funding cuts and the closure of public toilets as two topics we’re especially interested in. The link to our website and further details about the zine is here.  The deadline for submissions in Friday 14th July.


What can I submit?

Contributions in a range of formats are welcome: personal experiences, creative writing/stories, drawings, poetry, political essays, experimental pieces, or whatever you feel like doing. Contributions can be written anonymously if you prefer.

Please keep submissions to under 1,000 words.

What’s a zine?

A zine is a self-published mini-magazine. They can be collaborative or written individually. We’re making a collaborative zine because we’re hoping to express the wide range of different uses and experiences we have of toilets.

What are the themes?

One of our aims is to raise awareness about the ways that toilets can be unsafe, uncomfortable, and inaccessible for some people. However, we also welcome submissions that reflect on positive toilet experiences, the important role they play in our lives, and the privacy and quietness they can often provide for some of us. Themes may include:

  • Toilets and mental health
  • Disability and accessibility
  • Transphobia and public toilets
  • Racism, Islamophobia and public toilets
  • Intersex, body policing and public toilets
  • Toilets and intersectionality (especially experiences from trans, non-binary, queer and/or disabled people of colour)
  • Fatness and fat phobia in toilet spaces
  • Sex and sex work and public toilets
  • ‘Invisible’ impairments/disabilities and toilet-use
  • Parenting/childcare and public toilet facilities
  • Drug-use and toilets
  • Homelessness and public toilets
  • Funding cuts and the closure of public toilets
  • Periods/menstruation and toilet facilities
  • Importance of gender neutral toilets
  • Toilet door signs/labels
  • Queer and radical potential of toilets
  • Toilets, campaigns and protest
  • Critical ideas about ‘access’

How do I submit?

All zine submissions should be sent by Friday 14th July 2017 to aroundthetoilet@shu.ac.uk or, if you would like to submit your contribution anonymously, then please use our electronic form. You’re welcome to email us an online document, scan or photograph of your contribution, or you can post something through the mail if you’d prefer.

All contributors selected for the zine will be given a small gift of thanks.

Please note: we’re hoping to include a wide range of submissions in the zine but we want to keep the zine readable and easily reproducible, so we can’t guarantee everything we receive will be included in the final publication. We’ll be in touch to let you know either way.

Please get in touch with us via aroundthetoilet@shu.ac.uk if you have any questions or if would like to discuss your ideas with us.

Thank you to the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCPPE) for funding this zine.

Toilet Zine flyer.png

 Posted by at 15:46
Jun 082017
 

With thanks to @RRowanOlive for giving us permission to reblog this important piece, please share it widely

Elections are frightening times for those of us who need the safety net the state is supposed to provide. Everyone is impacted by political decisions, but for those of us who rely on the NHS to keep us alive and on benefits to keep rooves over our heads, elections remind us of our powerlessness and our vulnerability. If you have someone in your life who’s chronically ill or disabled, get in touch with them this week if you can. It’s a good time to be reminding people they’re not alone.

I had a suicidal crisis just after the 2015 election and not long after the Brexit vote, so I’ve been thinking about how I can get ready for Thursday night and Friday morning. I know Labour have been doing better in the polls, but I’m not getting my hopes up – I was blindsided by the results before. This time I can be prepared. I’m going to try to volunteer with my local candidate’s campaign on Thursday evening, if my anxiety allows. I’ve got a plan to go to my art studio on Friday, and I know that a GP I know well is running the duty service that day. I’ve arranged an appointment with my usual GP for the following week. I’ve made plans so that I don’t spend the weekend alone. I’m writing a list of things to remember on election night. I’m sharing it in case anyone else needs it.

1) Whatever the result, nothing in our day to day lives is going to change instantly. We aren’t going to wake up on Friday morning to find the sky rent in two and the horsemen of the apocalypse riding, even if the worst happens and the Tories increase their majority. Nor will we wake up to find our benefits have instantly been removed or that the NHS is instantly ten times more underfunded. This election matters, but it takes time to push through changes, and there are many ways to resist. We will have time to breathe, to gather ourselves, to feel devastated and frightened and then to pass through to the other side of those feelings, and start fighting back.

2) It’s ok if you feel like shit. Curl up in a ball under a blanket. Wait for the dust to settle before you react.

3) The Samaritans are always there. It’s free to phone them. You can also text them on 07725909090, or email jo@samaritans.org

4) Cats are still good.

   
5) Dogs are still good.

 Posted by at 10:54
Jun 032017
 
Trash the Tories Sticker

#TrashTheTories – film preview, Q &A and discussion

with film makers Anthony Swords and Danielle Kummer, disability campaigner Jenny Hurst and DPAC’s Paula Peters

 

Sunday 4 June 4 – 5.30pm – 1 Matthews Yard, Off Surrey Street, Croydon, CR0 1FF

 

As the GE2017 reaches its final week come DPAC invites you to join us to launch the final chapter in our #TrashTheTories election campaign.

While the mainstream media keeps the focus on Brexit and the economy, Deaf and Disabled people have taken to the streets and to social media to tell the public why this election matters so much to us and what the consequences of another five years of Tory misrule will be.

On Monday, 5 June, DPAC will be go live on social media with a set of short films generously produced for us by media production company Tough and Rumble aiming to expose the human cost of cuts and the reality behind the Tory narrative of welfare reform.

Join us this Sunday for a preview of the films followed by a Q and A and discussion. Light refreshments will be provided.

The venue is wheelchair accessible but please note there are cobbles and a steep incline in front of the building. The Matthews Yard website provides information about an alternative approach if needed: http://www.matthewsyard.com/find-us/

 

For other access requests or any questions please text Ellen on 07505144371.

 Posted by at 11:50
Jun 022017
 

2 days ago, on 31st of May, we wrote the following letter to the Green Party co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley asking them to respond to our concerns over their social care Manifesto proposals. We’ve not yet had a response, but we will publish any response we receive.


Dear Caroline and Jonathan,

We were very surprised to see, as were a number of our allied campaign groups, in your Disability Manifesto the following statement

“At the heart of the Greens’ disability manifesto is a plan for a community-led Care & Support Service where we will train, support and resource communities to better help each other and the most vulnerable in our society, at the same time saving money by supporting wellbeing and helping communities to identify and meet their needs, alongside councils, the NHS and Government.”

We can only interpret this as meaning that the Green Party are proposing that care in the community is delivered by volunteers who will no doubt disproportionately  be women. We feel it is only right that we ask for clarification of what this policy actually does mean in plain English.

We look forward to a speedy reply.

Disabled People Against Cuts.


 

 Posted by at 10:16
May 312017
 

‘Queer Tours of London – A Mince Through Time’ host Disability Queer Riot! 15th July 2-pm – Meet in Soho Square – Facebook page here and website here

Queer Tours of London, A mince through timeTo book your place please email queertoursoflondon@gmail.com ASAP as there are very limited spaces. Please include in your email any special requirements you have /support needed. Priority places to wheelchair users. Payment on the day is ‘pay what you feel / can afford’. Please share to all those you think will appreciate!

All requests for involvement / press requests please email queertoursoflondon@gmail.com
How can I be proud of my LGBT+ identity at ‘Pride in London’ if I can’t even get to the bar to celebrate? 
How can I mince, flirt and meet others if there is not even 1 LGBT+ bar or club that is fully accessible to the LGBT+ disabled community? 
How can I be proud of my impairments if i’m discriminated to come on Pride? 

Are you part of the LGBT+ disability community? Are you sick and tired of being ignored and tokenised? Want more action and less talk? 

Well join me – Josh – a ‘Queer Tours of London – A Mince Through time’ guide, trainee lawyer and sexual revolutionary whilst we take to the streetsand in true queer provocative style do an informative and interactive tour of Soho to share the lived realities of the LGBT+ disabled community.

There’s only 20 spaces for the tour so get in there quick – please email queertoursoflondon@gmail.com to register your interest or for any press / volunteer support. Suggested donations £10 or whatever you can afford.

Here’s the plan

2pm – Meeting point – Soho Square
2-3pm Placard making with the scores for each venue and the demands
3-5pm – Queer disabled Riot-tour!
5-6pm – Presentation of our demands in central London venue tbc. Invites are being sent to London’s LGBT+ cultural spaces managers.

Our demands 

Equality over profit – LGBT+ venues just stop pretending you are not under to be accessible – you know you should be – are you doing everything you can?

Access 4 All – we’ll chain ourselves to the steps by September if you don’t make an explicit statement of your intentions

MORE TALK LESS ACTION! LGBT+ FREEDOM FOR ALL!

ABOUT QUEER TOURS OF LONDON – A MINCE THROUGH TIME

 

 Posted by at 16:00
May 272017
 

In the vital last 12 days before June 8th we’re asking as many of you as possible to write to your local papers letter page this weekend or this week at the latest.

Most local and national papers will only publish letters of 250-300 words so here are a couple of suggested letters to send/edit. For the most marginal seats we’re also publishing a list of contacts for local papers but for anyone else please also write and you should be able to google your town name and local paper to find details. Mark anything you send Letters to Editor

Template Letter 1 specifically about some disability issues

The legacy of the Conservatives is shocking and we are now shamefully the first country in the world to have been found guilty by the UN for the grave and systematic violation of disabled people’s human rights following a lengthy inquiry.

 It would be impossible in a letter to outline all of the vicious attacks against disabled and older people made by the Conservatives since 2010 but a few of the main cuts include £4.6 billion of cuts from social care funding, 700 disabled people a week losing their entitlement to Personal Independence Payments and access to adapted vehicles, loss of a third of their income for many disabled people from their ESA disability benefits in spite f the additional costs of being disabled. Many disabled people have also lost £14 – £28 from support for their housing costs due to the Bedroom Tax yet are unable to downsize or have homes which have been adapted to meet their needs which makes moving impossible.

Britain’s benefits, including pensions, are already among the least generous in Western Europe. Women born in 1950s have had up to 6 years retirement income stolen from them and now the triple lock on pensions, winter fuel allowances is being threatened by the Conservatives.

 Due to cuts to Disability benefits 2.8 million disabled people are existing in deep poverty – that is they have 50% below the median income.

And even though we’re not yet a third world country shockingly nearly 400 citizens died from malnutrition or hunger in 2015 up 27% since 2010.


Words 258


Template Letter 2 – general about cuts to public services

Public services which we all use at some time in our lives since the Conservatives came to power have been slashed to the bone. On June 8th vote to protect them against another 5 years of Conservative cuts.

Since 2010 Social Care has been cut by £4.6 billion and 440,000 disabled people are no longer entitled to state funded care.

Hospital trusts are on course for a financial deficit of up to £850m at the end of this financial year. A Tory MP Dr Wollaston said “Local clinical commission groups are being forced to hold back £800m to prevent an even bigger black hole at hospitals. Again, this is patient care that is being cut back.”

Mental Health Services have all but disappeared and there has been a £41.3 million reduction in spending to 2015. Devastating cuts mean there are days no crisis beds are available anywhere in the UK..

Our Police service has lost 22,000 police officers and 15,000 support staff. Both security experts plus the Police Federation warned there were not enough police to keep our streets safe. Due to the lack of police we now have armed soldiers patrolling our streets for the first time ever since 1926.

Cuts to our Ambulance and Fire Services have resulted in have resulted in fewer Paramedics and fire fighters, and fire station closures. Response times for both of these life-saving services have lengthened due to this.

Now the Conservatives are coming after Education funding and funding per pupil is reducing in real terms meaning mainstream schools in England must find efficiency savings rising from £1.1 billion in 2016–17 to £3 billion by 2019–20.

These are only a few of the cuts the Conservatives are responsible for all of which affect our safety and our futures.


Words 297

Contact

Bedford editorial@timesandcitizen.co.uk

Berwick http://www.berwick-advertiser.co.uk/contact-us

Bolton http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/contactus/

Brecon http://www.brecon-radnor.co.uk/contact.cfm

Colchester http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/contactus/

Northants http://www.northantstelegraph.co.uk/contact-us

Crewe http://www.creweguardian.co.uk/contactus/

Derby http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/contact.html

Dewsbury http://www.dewsburyreporter.co.uk/contact-us

Eastbourne http://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/contact-us

Eastleigh http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/contact/

Wales Online http://www.walesonline.co.uk/all-about/letters-to-the-editor

Halesowen and Rowley Regis https://www.expressandstar.com/contact-us/

Halifax http://www.halifaxcourier.co.uk/contact-us

Manchester http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/contact-us/

Ilford http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/contact-us

Ipswich http://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/contact

Lancaster http://www.lancasterguardian.co.uk/contact-us

Morley http://www.morleyobserver.co.uk/contact-us

Bolton http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/contactus

North Devon http://www.northdevongazette.co.uk/contact-us

Northampton http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/contact-us

Peterborough http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/contact-us

Plymouth http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/contact.html

Portsmouth http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/contact-us

Kentonline http://www.kentonline.co.uk/contact-us/contact-editorial/

Cornish Times http://www.cornish-times.co.uk/

Darlington, Durham,Middlesbrough,North Yorkshire,Bishop Auckland,Northallerton. http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/contactus/who/

Sutton http://www.suttonguardian.co.uk/contactus/

Somerset http://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/contactus/our_details/

Shropshire https://www.shropshirestar.com/contact-us/

South Gloucs http://www.gazetteseries.co.uk/

Thurrock http://www.thurrockgazette.co.uk/contactus/

Devon http://www.devonlive.com/contact.html

Denbighshire http://www.denbighshirefreepress.co.uk/about/contact.aspx

Warrington http://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/contactus/

Fakenham http://www.fakenhamtimes.co.uk/contact-us

Wolverhampton https://www.expressandstar.com/contact-us/

Somerset Live http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/contact-us/

Bath http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/contact-us

North Devon http://www.northdevongazette.co.uk/contact-us

Northampton http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/contact-us

Peterborough http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/contact-us

Plymouth http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/contact.html

Portsmouth http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/contact-us

Kent http://www.kentonline.co.uk/contact-us/contact-editorial/

Cornish Times http://www.cornish-times.co.uk/

West London http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/contact-us/

Bristol Post http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/contact-us/

Tivey Side http://www.tivysideadvertiser.co.uk/contactus/

Leek http://www.leek-news.co.uk/contact.html

Cheltenham http://www.cheltenhamstandard.co.uk/contact/

Chingford http://www.chingfordtimes.co.uk/

Barnet http://www.barnet-today.co.uk/contact.cfm

Chester http://www.chesterstandard.co.uk/about/contact.aspx

Ealing http://www.ealingtimes.co.uk/contact_us/

Enfield http://www.enfield-today.co.uk/

Hendon, Finchley, Barnet, Potters Bar, Edgware and Mill Hill http://www.times-series.co.uk/

Harrow http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/contactus/

Tottenham http://www.thetottenhamindependent.co.uk/contactus/getintouch/

Sussex http://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/contact-us

Surrey http://www.surreycomet.co.uk/contactus/

Yorkshire http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/contact-us

Brighton http://www.theargus.co.uk/contactus/

Norwich http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/home/contact-us

Oxfordshire http://www.heraldseries.co.uk/contactus/

Plymouth http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/contact.html

Richmond and Twickenham http://www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/contactus/

Wirral http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/contactus/

Buckinghamshire http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/contact/

 Posted by at 22:25
May 272017
 

Available for download NOW – tell everyone you know!

Captain Ska’s “Liar, Liar” is officially released today. We have one week to get it in the top 40s, forcing the BBC to play it over the airways!

Click on the following links to download:

ItunesAmazonBand CampSpotify

(Please note Captain Ska previously released a version of Liar Liar in 2010 so don’t download the wrong one! Correct track is called ‘Liar Liar GE2017’)

Still_for_Liar_Liar_.jpg

Band member and song writer Jake said:
“We’ve re-mastered our Liar, Liar song for this General Election because we want to do all we can to expose the horrific effects Tory policy has had on ordinary people. Theresa May lies her way through interview after interview without addressing the real issues.”

“We’re sick of her and her party of millionaires privatising and cutting our public services while it’s poverty and deteriorating living standards for the rest of us. The money is there to improve the lives of the majority but it’s in the hands of the wrong people.”

“We want to do all we can to make sure Theresa May is kicked out of Downing St on 8 June. I’m confident we’ll get into the UK Top 40’s which would mean the BBC will have to play it on their chart show next Sunday.”

All money spent on downloads of the track between 26 May and 8 June 2017 will be split between food banks around the UK and The People’s Assembly Against Austerity.

Get downloading folks!

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

 Posted by at 12:42