Sep 212018

Reading Borough Council is proposing cuts to concessionary fares for disabled people

It would leave 6,000 Access Pass holders in Reading having to pay to board a bus before 9.30 am and after 11pm

Another proposal is scrapping the companion bus pass scheme which allows carers of Access Pass holders to travel free of charge

Access Pass holders will also have to pay to use Readibus services if the proposals are approved.

Contact Berkshire DPAC for information or support at

The protest will be outside Reading Borough Council, The Civic Office, Bridge Street, RG1 2LU at 6pm Monday 24 September.

If you can’t get to the protest, you can tweet to Reading Borough Council on @ReadingCouncil to let them know what you think of this.

 Posted by at 22:02
Sep 172018

Its Libdem party conference today and tomorrow (17th 18th Sept), lets send them a message over twitter that we haven’t forgotten what they did to disabled people as part of the Tory Libdem coalition that blighted so many disabled people’s lives

Use the hashtag #LDConf2018 and send them your message to say we haven’t forgotten what they did and we haven’t forgiven them

You are welcome to download (right click and save) and send this meme with your tweet

We won’t forget We won’t forgive We won’t forget and we won’t forgive that the Libdems enabled the Tory party’s vicious assault on disabled people in the coalition years 2010 – 2015 We hold the Liberal Democrats jointly responsible with the Tories for: Austerity, Welfare Reform, Remploy Closures, Closure of the Independent Living Fund, the tightening of Employment and Support Allowance rules, the Work Capability Assessment, Bedroom Tax, Personal Independence Payments, Universal Credit, Sanctions, cuts to Legal Aid and the whole hostile environment benefits regime enacted by the coalition, and the avoidable deaths and suicides of benefit claimants during the coalition years. Our message to the Liberal Democrats is – you don’t get to walk away from your actions in those years – disabled people will remember.

 Posted by at 15:29
Jun 232018

Kamil Ahmad, a disabled man, fled his home in Kurdistan, having been tortured and imprisoned. He arrived in Bristol, in 2012, hoping to find peace and safety. Instead, his application for asylum was refused, and on 7th July 2016 he was murdered.

There has been a murder trial and a safeguarding review. Of course those responsible need to be held to account and lessons need to be learned. However, it is important to recognise that Kamil was failed long before this period.

In this short film, Kamil speaks of his experiences four years before he was murdered. Some of his experiences may have been the result of oversights (which is bad enough) but others are the result of deliberate policy. The hostile environment is designed to be hostile.

We can, and should, blame the government for many things, but until now the government has known that removing rights from asylum seekers, and particularly disabled asylum seekers, will not cause protests. That is our collective responsibility and that is in our power to change.

On 29th June, an event will be held in Bristol, in honour of Kamil, Bijan and other disabled asylum seekers and refugees who have been failed by the system. The event is supported by disabled peoples organisations, the asylum sector, trade unions, mosques, and many allies. At a time of such sadness and anger there is also determination to build a broader movement of real solidarity, to begin to address the systemic change which is needed.

Rebecca Yeo

Bristol DPAC: Honouring Kamil: Exploring Disability and Migration Fri 29 June 2018, 14:30 – 20:00 BST

 Posted by at 14:55
Jun 162018
Vigil 12:30 – 2:30 Tuesday 19 June
Home Office, 2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF

Two organisations with impressive, longstanding track records providing support and succour to people seeking asylum and other immigrants, are joining forces during Refugee Week to call for an end to the government’s hostile immigration environment.

London Catholic Worker hold a prayerful vigil at the Home Office every third Tuesday of the month in remembrance of all who have been killed trying to cross borders. Women Against Rape’s Refuge from Rape and Destitution campaign has been highlighting the horrific price women and children pay in rape and other violence as a result of being made destitute when asylum claims are closed (see 13 June letter in the Guardian).

Windrush has made visible the horrors of a callous, racist and unjust immigration system. These two organisations are joining forces to protest the war and theft of resources and people by Western governments and multinationals which drives people to flee; cruel legislation denying the right to safe passage and forcing many thousands of people into dangerous and sometimes lethal journeys to escape; that deprives some of the most vulnerable among us from housing, money and healthcare, undermining everyone’s entitlement to the basics of life.

Those with first-hand experience will be speaking at the vigil and available for interview there or afterwards. We will read the names of migrants and refugees who have died and remember them with photographs, music, prayer and silence.

Becky Titah from Women Against Rape’s  Refuge from Rape & Destitution campaign says, “We are glad to come together to make our voices heard at the Home Office. Asylum-seekers have suffered similarly with Windrush people. The hostile environment has forced women like me into exploitation to avoid destitution: we are forced to rely on working for free as “domestics” or sex with men offering a bed for the night.”

Nora Ziegler from London Catholic Worker says “Jesus said blessed are those who mourn. The Home Office sees migrants as nameless and faceless. That is why they are so easy to refuse and deport, their deaths so easy to ignore. We are holding this vigil to bring the names, faces and the demands for justice of all migrants and refugees to the Home Office”.

Our demands:

·       Stop destitution, deportations and detention.

·       The right to work, housing and benefits.

·       Abolition of laws that recruit landlords, employers, banks, etc. to report on migrants.

·       No collaboration by charities and NGOs with deportations, including “voluntary return”.

·       Reinstate legal aid – lives are at stake.

·       Abolish fees for Family Reunion etc. – stop the government making money out misery.

·       Safe passage for refugees – no more deaths – every life matters.

·       Stop arms sales, proxy wars and the continuing theft of resources causing wars and environmental devastation that force people to flee.

·       Stop privatisation of asylum services.


From the 792 deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean in 2018 so far [1], to Lillian Oluk and her two-year-old daughter who starved to death in Kent in 2014 after their Home Office application was rejected [2], to Dexter Bristol, a Windrush victim, who died after losing his job and having his benefits taken away [3], the government must not be permitted to “carve us up” [4] – we are all victims of the same immigration system. This vigil aims to bring people together on this premise that we all have the right to be here and that no one should be subjected to a hostile and punitive environment based on their immigration status.






Contacts: 07923697218  020 7482 2496




 Posted by at 15:51
Jun 142018

Update: The Government have been refused permission to appeal this decision

[From Leigh Day Solicitors with permission]

The first legal challenge against Universal Credit has found that the Government discriminated against two men with severe disabilities who were required to claim the new benefit after moving into new local authority areas

14 June 2018

In a landmark judgment handed down today at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Lewis ruled that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (SSWP) unlawfully discriminated against two severely disabled men who both saw their benefits dramatically reduced when they moved Local Authority and were required to claim Universal Credit.
The legal action was brought by our two claimants, known only as TP and AR.
TP is a former Cambridge graduate who worked in the financial sector in the City and around the world. In 2016 he was diagnosed with a terminal illness; Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and Castleman’s disease.
In October 2016 when he became sick he moved temporarily from London to his parents’ in Dorset but after a few months he returned to Hammersmith and Fulham, a Universal Credit full service area, on the advice of his treating clinicians in order to access specialist healthcare.
AR is 36 and suffers from severe mental health issues. In 2017, he moved from Middlesbrough to Hartlepool, a Universal Credit full service area, as he could no longer afford the property he was living in due to the imposition of the bedroom tax.
Prior to moving, both TP and AR were in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) and Enhanced Disability Premium (EDP), which were specifically aimed at meeting the additional care needs of severely disabled people living alone with no carer.
Recently released figures from the DWP suggest that 500,000 individuals are in receipt of the SDP . Both the SDP and EDP have been axed and are not available under Universal Credit.
When they moved both TP and AR were required to make a claim for Universal Credit as they moved into local authorities where the controversial new benefit was being rolled out. According to both the men, they were advised by DWP staff that their benefit entitlement would not change.
Despite repeated assurances from the government that “no one will experience a reduction in the benefit they are receiving at the point of migration to Universal Credit where circumstances remain the same” both claimants saw an immediate drop in their income of around £178 a month when they were moved onto Universal Credit.   
When they asked for top up payments they were told that Government policy was that no such payments would be paid until July 2019 when managed migration would begin.
As both claimants testified to the court, the sudden drop of income had a devastating impact on them, both physically and psychologically.
TP has been struggling to address his care needs and AR has been unable to afford basic necessities.(see paragraphs 8 and 9 of the judgment)
According to their lawyer Tessa Gregory from the human rights team at Leigh Day: “Nothing about either of the claimants’ disability or care needs changed, they were simply unfortunate enough to need to move local authorities into a Universal Credit full service area.”
Late last year Leigh Day issued judicial review proceedings on the Claimants’ behalf arguing that what had happened was unlawful on three grounds:

  1. The SSWP has breached the Equality Act 2010 in failing to have due regard to the impact of removing the premiums on severely disabled people
  2. The 2013 regulations discriminate against the severely disabled living alone with no carer, as compared to other severely disabled people, contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights
  3. The implementation of Universal Credit and the absence of any ‘top up’ payments for this vulnerable group as compared to others constitutes discrimination contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights

A four-day hearing took place on 1 -4 May 2018 during which the Equality and Human Rights Commission intervened in support of the Claimants’ case.
Today the judge found in the Claimants’ favour on ground 3, noting in the judgment:
“The impact on the individuals is clear. They were in receipt of certain cash payments (the basic allowance and SDP and EDP). They are now in receipt of cash payments which, overall, are significantly lower than the amount previously received. They are a potentially vulnerable group of persons as the Government in its own material recognises. On the material before me, there appears to have been no consideration of the desirability or justification for requiring the individual to assume the entirety of the difference between income related benefits under the former system and universal credit when their housing circumstances change and it is an appropriate moment to transfer them to universal credit. That is all the more striking given the Government’s own statements over a number of years that such persons may need assistance and that there was a need to define with precision the circumstances in which they would not receive such assistance. In all the circumstances of this case, the operation of the implementation arrangements in the way they do is manifestly without reasonable foundation and fails to strike a fair balance”. [para 88]
The judge concludes: “The implementing arrangements do at present give rise to unlawful discrimination contrary to Article 14 ECHR read with Article 1 of the First Protocol to the ECHR….A declaration will be granted that there is unlawful discrimination. The defendant will then be able to determine how to rectify the unlawful discrimination.” [para 114]
Following months of litigation, on Thursday of last week Esther McVey the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, carried out a policy U-Turn and committed the Government to ensuring that no severely disabled person in receipt of the SDP will be made to move onto Universal Credit until transitional protection is in place and committing to compensating those like the claimants who have lost out. 
Despite this, following hand down of today’s judgment the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has sought permission to appeal, maintaining that there was nothing unlawful with the way the claimants were treated.
Commenting on the case, Tessa Gregory a partner at Leigh Day, who represented both claimants, said:
“This is the first legal test of the roll out of Universal Credit and the system has been found to be unlawfully discriminating against some of society’s most vulnerable.
“Whilst we welcome the Government’s commitment to ensuring that no one in our client’s position will now be moved onto Universal Credit until top up payments are in place, it comes too late as it cannot make up for the months of suffering and grinding poverty our clients and many others like them have already had to endure.
“We call upon Esther McVey to compensate our clients and all those affected without any further delay, and urge her to focus on fixing Universal Credit rather than wasting more public funds appealing this court decision.
“Today’s decision shows again that Universal Credit is not delivering what was promised at the outset. It is not working. It’s not working for the disabled, it’s not working for parents, it’s not working for low-income and part-time employees and it’s not working for the self-employed.
“The government needs to halt the rollout and completely overhaul the system to meet peoples’ needs, not condemn them to destitution. If this doesn’t happen further legal challenges will inevitably follow.”
TP, the first Claimant stated
“In my 51st year my life was completely and suddenly thrown upside down with the diagnosis of a life changing end stage non-Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer. Having had a successful career I became reliant on financial support from the welfare system. To add to the stress of being seriously ill and undergoing very arduous treatments that have left me unable to work, I have had to take time off convalescing to fight in the Courts for subsistence level benefits. In being compelled to migrate to Universal Credit where I lost the Severe Disability Premium I was deprived of a key mainstay of support for a disabled person living alone with no carer. The financial strain from the cutting of the SDP has made it so much harder for me to cope as it has been an additional daily stress. It has been detrimental to my health.”
“I always believed that I had been treated unfairly and in a discriminatory manner by the DWP, having lost out in this move into Universal Credit. I am delighted that the Courts have concurred that I have been unlawfully discriminated against. I feel vindicated in bringing this important Judicial Review of the DWP’s stance towards me, which also affects numerous others of the most vulnerable people in our society. I am pleased to have been able to have brought this case to the public’s attention, which casts a dark shadow on the fairness of the Universal Credit system.”
AR, the second claimant added
“I know a lot of people have been awaiting the outcome of this hearing as so many people have been badly affected by the roll out of Universal Credit. I know it is a time of austerity but I do not understand why the Government are trying to penny-pinch with what is a relatively small and very vulnerable group, namely, severely disabled people without a carer. I thought we lived in a society where as a vulnerable group we would be protected not unlawfully discriminated against.”

 Posted by at 12:56
Jun 072018

We are looking to make contact with families who currently have their Disabled (including SEN) children in mainstream school but are being pressurised into accepting a special school placement by the London Borough of Hackney. We are looking into SEN budgets cuts, which are having a negative impact upon Disabled pupils’ right to mainstream education, and whether the cuts can be challenged.

We are supporting local groups campaigning against SEN budget cuts and their impact upon Disabled children’s education. We are specifically concerned about the implications of the budget cuts upon Disabled pupils’ inclusion in mainstream education. We need to act now – contact Simone Aspis (Policy and Campaigns Coordinator) on 0207 737 6030 or by email.

For more information about the Hackney Crisis in SEN campaign and our support for their campaign work please see our campaigns briefing.

Twitter: @allfieuk


 Posted by at 16:14
May 312018


A Very Queer Nazi Faust Awarded Unlimited Funding!

Jan McLachlan as Lucifer and Vince Laws as John Faust, photo by Ann Nicholls.A Very Queer Nazi Faust is an experimental participatory performance created by Norfolk-based poet, artist, and disability rights campaigner, Vince Laws. Funded on a shoestring, starring 13 local legends and the DEAD PEOPLE DON”T CLAIM banner, the piece was performed at Norwich LGBT+ Pride in 2017 to great acclaim. Now, with support from Unlimited, there will be participatory workshops at Silver Road Community Centre in central Norwich during summer 2018.


Poet John Faust is suicidal. His benefits have been stopped without warning, the bailiffs are due to evict him, his dog is in the vets dying, his car needs a new clutch, and he can’t finish his poetic masterpiece while the voices inside his head torment him. In despair, John throws himself off Beeston Bump, Norfolk’s highest peak, clutching ‘The Tragic True Life & Deserved Death of a Benefit Scrounger by Himself’, but Lucifer won’t let him drown because she loves his book and wants a bigger part.


A Very Queer Nazi Faust highlights the plight of disabled people under the current government, described as ‘economic murder’ in the British Medical Journal, and as ‘a human catastrophe’ by the United Nations. The performance contains adult themes and language, suicidal thoughts, Lucifer, The Naked Abseilers and poetry, but no Nazis. Unlimited support will enable text projections by Andrew Day for greater accessibility, and a soundscape created by Dandelion Snowley.


I deal with fluctuating health due to HIV, depression, and anxiety, and I know how much creative activity helps me,” said Vince. “You don’t need to be queer or disabled to take part, but people with disabilities are encouraged to get involved. Workshops / rehearsals take place every Sunday afternoon / evening from June, culminating in a performance at Norwich Arts Centre in September, as the official launch party of Norfolk Disability Pride & Independent Living Event 2018. Bravo!”

The workshops and performance may be photographed, filmed and live-streamed.

Commissioned and supported by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists, with funding from Spirit of 2012. If you need help to take part, let Vince know, he’ll do his best to make it happen.

Contact for more details.


An artist with something to say, and fearless in saying it.”

Marcus Dickey Horley, Curator, Tate Modern

“…at turns well-written, beautifully choreographed and utterly hilarious.”

Colin Hambrook, Disability Arts Online, Editor


The Norwich Radical

FOR PUBLICATION: Contact for more details.

Norwich Arts Centre performance on Weds 12 Sept 2018.

Tickets: £6.66


The Norwich Radical magazine.


Jan McLachlan as Lucifer and Vince Laws as John Faust, photo by Ann Nicholls.

Who: Vince Laws and Unlimited

What: Experimental Participatory Workshops & Performance

Why: To highlight the plight of disabled people under the current government

When: Sundays June-September. Afternoons & evenings.

Where: Silver Road Community Centre, 34 Silver Rd, Norwich NR3 4TA

 Posted by at 15:23
May 192018

Monday 21st May 2018 marks the first day of the new Govia Thameslink (GTR) timetable.

Buying a ticket means you have entered into a contract with the GTR. That contract is the same contract for all those who purchase a ticket. Your chosen train will deliver you to your chosen destination at the time agreed upon. The GTR however deems that it has the right to refuse access, remove passengers or alter their mode of transport provided these passengers are of reduced mobility. PRMs according to the GTR, Disabled people according to the rest of humanity. Not because the individual is obnoxious. Not because the individual is dangerous. But because the GTR holds Speed, Efficiency and Shareholder’s Profits supreme.

Wheelchair using passengers can be dumped at will on the altar of Speed and Efficiency. People who become ill during a journey have the right to be taken to the nearest safe stop and not just to the next stop on the journey. Leaving a wheelchair using passenger on an unmanned station is not professional.

If you are disabled your journey can be disrupted for no more reason then that the GTR cannot ensure a decent level of staffing and is committed to the Driver Only Operations (DOO) of the train. No second member of staff is assured on any journey since the introduction of DOO. This is a logistical nightmare that they are trying to cover up by offering up the freedom to travel of disabled people. Disabled people are individuals who purchase tickets just like any other traveller, not objects to be transported at will.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and the Association of British Commuters (ABC) are taking the lead in protest against this highly discriminatory time table. The first protest will be held at London Bridge Station on 21st May at 5pm

 Posted by at 14:46
May 192018

Co hosted by the Association of British Commuters

The full story behind the RMT story yesterday is even more shocking than the newspapers made out, and has created a huge wave of anger within the disabled community. With the Thameslink timetable launching on Monday the press will be out in force and there is a small window of opportunity to own the headlines again on this issue.

We’ll be meeting at the Shard entrance outside London Bridge at 5pm to form a People’s Picket and would greatly appreciate the attendance of as many of our friends and allies as possible.

Over the weekend and during the day on Monday, we’ll also be trying to secure the attendance of MPs at the protest – if you are able to help at all with this on Monday, it would be greatly appreciated.

We’d be very grateful if you could spread the word through your networks.

Please notify the Facebook Event page if you are going so we can estimate numbers

Our demand: Keep The Guard On The Train
The GTR staff training guide that the RMT released on Friday was even more shocking than we feared. It also showed that the company has now begun a ‘call ahead’ policy when boarding passengers, which has led to members of our groups being refused boarding even though the train was sitting right in front of them at the station.

The removal of a guaranteed guard from the train creates a loophole that we believe will only lead to further, institutionalised breaches of the Equality Act. With the ‘call ahead’ policy, it is now clear that this will have an equivalent effect on pre-booked and ‘turn up and go’ passengers, so the myth that pre-booking will be a solution under DOO is disproven.

Removing a wheelchair user from their chosen form of transport because of the company’s inability to staff the network adequately is blatant discrimination. We do not consider taxis a reasonable adjustment, especially with the extended waiting times at unstaffed/rural stations. It is only a matter of time before this Equality Act breach is confronted in court – and that’s not our opinion, but the verdict of a 2-year buried Rail Delivery Group report on the matter.

  • We believe the current industrial dispute could be solved easily with the simple guarantee of a second member of staff. This is clearly the precedent on which all future staffing plans will be based, and the easiest way to ensure the principles of the Equality Act are met. There can be no justification for an endless taxpayer-funded dispute that aims to break a trade union at the expense of disabled people’s rights.
  • We have no faith in current consultations involving the DfT and the RDG, who have shown themselves to be deliberately evading this issue. There is no sense in professing to take disabled access seriously when on the other hand, you are trying to remove an important staffing precedent for workers and passengers alike.

To read ABC’s full analysis of the controversial report that hit the press recently, click here:

 Posted by at 14:27
May 162018

PRESS COMMENT – Immediate release

twitter: @fuelpovaction

It is a breakthrough that, after months of refusing to do so, the government has finally agreed to fund the replacement of flammable cladding on social housing tower blocks.  They are offering £400 million for replacement of cladding, and, we presume, insulation. This should significantly speed up the process.   However, it is not nearly enough.  Having conceded the principle, the government should now commit to fully covering the cost of the disaster that has been revealed by the Grenfell fire.  

Inadequate regulation and inspection regimes have led to dangerous buildings across the UK.  Residents must be fully protected from fire – and from cold  –  immediately and until the completion of works.   

Fuel Poverty Action has since January been running a campaign for Safe Cladding and Insulation Now (SCIN) and has gathered support for 10 demands from a very wide range of grassroots organisations, trade unions, and MPs, with more coming in every day.  The demands can be seen here.

The Prime Minister’s statement represents significant progress in that direction.  However,
            1)    Private blocks are not covered.  Leaseholders in these blocks often have trouble meeting even their normal heating bills, and many go cold each winter.  Now they have been asked to fund re-cladding projects, costing tens of thousands each, or continue to live in fire-trap homes.  We are working with them. This crisis was not of their making, and there is no justice in a proposal that penalises some residents.

2)    There is no mention, so far, of student residences, schools, or hospitals clad in the same materials, nor of buildings below the arbitrary 18M height limit.  Will that be in James Brokenshire’s announcement?

3)    Cold, like fire, kills.  Even in a normal year, thousands die each year when they cannot heat their homes.  Residents in many blocks already going through re-cladding know that when cladding is off in the winter, uninsulated flats are places of constant cold, condensation, damp and mould, and astronomical bills.

4)    BBC research in December last year found that the cost of planned post-Grenfell fire safety measures for councils and housing associations alone had already reached at least £600m, a figure said to be likely to be a considerable underestimate.  Meanwhile MHCLG handed back £817 million to the Treasury in unspent cash (originally earmarked for the Starter Homes, affordable homes and estate regeneration).

5)    The other demands of our campaign remain crucially important, including proper consultation with residents, and immediate safe, good permanent housing in the area of their choice for all Grenfell survivors.

6)    Funding alone will not prevent the same thing happening in the future.  Tighter regulations need to be combined with accountability, and with the will and the capacity to monitor and inspect.  New and refurbished homes should be safe and well-insulated in practice, not just in theory.

7)    Crucially, the health and safety of residents must not be sacrificed during the process that the government now promises to fund.  Works have gone on for months; some are scheduled for nearly two years, with housing way below any legal decent homes standards, and families constantly ill.  Some local authorities, more than others, have taken steps to mitigate this nightmare.  Will the government now guarantee that every possible measure will be taken to ensure residents’ safety and health during the process of re-cladding?  Will they fund such a guarantee?  And will they set deadlines for removal – and replacement – of cladding and insulation to ensure there are no further delays?  The time for this work to happen is now – while the weather is warm.


This breakthrough is largely the result of pressure from grassroots organisers, beginning with Grenfell survivors who, in the worst conditions, have still included the fate of other tower block residents in their concerns.   

We await James Brokenshire’s statement this week with great interest.

 Posted by at 21:49
May 082018

Kamil AhmadOn June 29th help us honour the memories of Kamil Ahmad and others who have been failed by the system. We are holding an event as part of Bristol Refugee Festival to:

  • bring together the disability and the asylum/immigration sectors
  • get the voices of disabled asylum seekers / refugees better heard
  • build awareness of policies and practices that currently divide us
  • challenge divisions and develop solutions

Our event is in honour of Kamil Ahmad a disabled Kurdish man who came to Britain seeking sanctuary, after having been imprisoned and tortured in Iraq. He was murdered in his supported accommodation in Bristol on 7th July 2016.

Kamil never gave up his loving nature and sense of justice, despite the horrific experiences he had been through. It seems fitting that one of the ways of honouring his memory, together with others who have been failed by the system, is to create a stronger movement for positive change.

All welcome. Help us honour Kamil and build a stronger movement for justice.

Tickets are free but donations to help cover the costs of the event are welcome. To donate go to:

Please visit our Facebook page for the latest updates.

Programme for Fri June 29th

14.30 – City Hall – (College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR)
We will install a copy of the mural which Kamil helped to create in the foyer of City Hall, as a memorial to him and other disabled asylum seekers and refugees who have been failed.
15.30 – Procession from City Hall to We the Curious – please bring banners, musical instruments.
16.00 – We the Curious (Anchor Rd, Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5DB)
Talks, discussion, workshops, film, learning from disabled asylum seekers.
What is the Problem? What needs to change?
Followed by food and music from LARA and others – (musicians include asylum seekers, refugees, disabled and non-disabled)

Please contact with any access requirements when booking.

The event is supported by: Bristol City Council, City of Sanctuary, Disabled People Against Cuts, SARI (Stand Against Racism and Inequality), Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers, Bristol Disability Equality Forum, Bristol Hospitality Network, Bristol Refugee Rights, SW Region of the FBU, TUC SW, SW Doctoral Training Partnership, University of Bath, Unison, Bristol West Constituency Labour Party, Bristol National Education Union: NUT section, Aslef.

For more information please contact

 Posted by at 15:27
Apr 302018

GREENWICH ADULT COMMUNITY LEARNING based at the Greenwich Park Site, Royal Hill, SE10 8QB. Greenwich is running courses for learners with a specific learning difficulty or disability. I am running Performing Arts 1-3pm every Wednesday. If you would like to come, or know anybody please let them know. It is student led and I do singing, dancing/free movement, sketches, a bit of drama and whatever people would like to do. You can call me, Lynne Chamberlain on 07884080602 or the college 020 8858 2211. Also Best wishes, Lynne, Performing Arts tutor, B.A. (Hons) Cert Ed

 Posted by at 14:24
Apr 302018

Protest outside family court first Wednesday of every month.


London court  First Avenue Hse, 42-49 High Holborn, WC1V 6NP


Mothers and other carers protest outside Holborn and Brighton family court against the increasing numbers of children taken into care, court secrecy, cuts to legal aid for family cases, forced adoptions, mothers’ and children’s poverty and destitution, sexism, racism and other bias. Join us.


Contact: Legal Action for Women

Single Mothers’ Self-Defence


·         An end to sexist judgements which deny the bond between mother and child, and downgrade the crimes of violent fathers.

·         Fathers who are violent should not have unsupervised contact.

·         An end to the secrecy of the family courts; there must be public scrutiny.

·         Legal aid for all family court matters; no mother should have to represent herself.

·         An end to institutional discrimination on grounds of income, race, nationality, disability, religious affiliation and/or occupation.

·         An end to forced adoptions.

·         Courts and social services must prioritise keeping children with their mother or other primary carer wherever possible. The state must support mothers doing their best for their children.


·         80% of UK women are mothers. Women are primary carers in 90% of households.

·         28% of children live in poverty

·         There are more children “in care” now than at any time since 1985

·         Children from poor areas are 10 times more likely to be taken into care than those in rich areas

·         Domestic abuse features in 70-90% of cases in the family courts yet less than 1% of child contact applications are refused – violent fathers who request contact nearly always get it.

·         One in five children are now referred to children’s services yet the proportion of identified cases of abuse by parents has dropped from 24% to under 8%.

·         Adoptions are at their highest point since complete data collection started: 90% of adoptions are without parental consent.

Suffer the little Children & their Mothers: A dossier on the unjust separation of children from their mothers is available at


 Posted by at 13:32
Apr 262018

Following this article about DWP interference in the way that GPs treat patients who have been refused ESA, DPAC have initiated a letter to the Royal College of GPs and the BMA GP Section, asking those organisations to get involved in this issue.

The letter to the Royal College of GPs is copied below and the one to the BMA is identical. We will publish on this blog the responses we get from them.

To: Professor Mayur Lakhani, President of the Royal College of General Practice


Editor Pulse Today

Editor Disability News Service

Second copy to : Chair of the General Practitioners Committee UK Dr Richard Vautrey

Dear Mayur

We write as a group of concerned health professionals and disability campaigners regarding a recent change by the Department of Work and Pensions which we feel will gravely impact on the doctor / patient relationship between GPs and disabled people claiming benefits.

The DWP has issued a new ESA65B, the form used to inform a patient’s GP of their WCA outcome. This form which requests GPs not to send any further fit notes for ESA purposes after a claimant has been found fit for work, unless they appeal had already been at the centre of a controversy.

A claimant, James Harrison died 10 months after being found fit for work and after the jobcentre asked his GP not to issue further fit notes for ESA purposes. James Harrison wanted a fit note because he was too ill to attend the jobcentre appointments, but his GP refused to issue them (Metro), this being just one bleak example of the distress and hardship enacted on people through the current callous benefit regime.

The new ESA65B form which is headed ‘Help us support your patient to return to or start work’ has an added paragraph

In the course of any further consultations with [Title] [First name] [Surname] we hope you will also encourage [select] in [select] efforts to return to, or start, work. (extract from the DWP’s letter to GPs)

It is all in keeping with DWP’s insistence that not only work is good for health, but also should be a ‘health outcome’. This recurring mantra from the DWP is based on the thinnest veneer of evidence, a single study, which was commissioned by the DWP itself in 2006, which does not even fully support the generalised conclusion that “work is good for you”.

The DWP has also not taken into account other, more in-depth research that concludes that unemployment is less harmful for mental health than a poor quality and insecure job..

There are many reasons, from a clinical point of view, why this action of co-opting doctors by the DWP is wrong and Dr Jay Watts, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, lists some of them:

Health professionals across the country will be horrified at this latest interference from the DWP – a move that undermines clinical expertise and threatens the safety of patients. There are a number of problems. First the letter places the expertise of DWP-funded ESA assessors above that of GPs. This is despite the fact GPs are more qualified to assess mental health, and can do so with the benefits of having known the patient for years, often decades (as opposed to in a one-off assessment).

The DWP letter makes clear that they wish claimants to return to work at any cost, even if that means leaving a current occupation – an attack on the core identity of patients likely to have a damaging effect on mental health.

Second, the letter states that “we know most people are better off in work”. This ignores a considerable literature showing that work can be damaging for mental health, with poor work environments a frequent trigger to mental breakdown. Economic evidence shows that rushing people back into work increases the likelihood of long-term illness.

How then can it be right to encourage GPs to coerce patients back to work, a pressure likely to increase the feelings of shame, despair and anxiety at not working that have been exacerbated by the governments relentless and damaging campaign to associate worklessness with worthlessness?

Third, the pressure the DWP is exerting on GPs to ‘encourage’ patients back to work, and desist from providing fit notes, is an attack on clinical expertise and the sanctity of the clinical space and clinical decision-making.

Without a firm denouncement of this letter from Royal College of General Practitioners, we risk a situation where claimants will feel unwilling to make appointments with their GPs, given the level of fear the DWP and the work agenda elicits, with damaging and potentially life-threatening effects on the physical and mental health of claimants.

It is vital that health professionals speak up for claimants rights, and insist that fit notes and therapeutic conversations are dictated by the needs of patients not the DWP.

We the undersigned, both medical professionals and disability campaigners ask that the Royal College of General Practitioners inform its members of the risks to patients from this measure, ask doctors and allied health professionals to use caution and discretion when following DWP instructions.

We will be publishing this letter to you on the Disabled People Against Cuts website, and look forward to publishing your response


Dr Jay Watts

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Anita Bellows

Disabled People Against Cuts

Dr Philippa Whitford


Bob Ellard

Disabled People Against Cuts

Dr Louise Irvine

GP, Lewisham, BMA Council Member

Roger Lewis

Disabled People Against Cuts

Dr Stephen Carty

GP Leith Mount Surgery Edinburgh Medical Adviser Black Triangle Campaign

Denise McKenna

Mental Health Resistance Network and Disabled People Against Cuts

Dr Coral Jones

GP in Hackney

Paula Peters

Mental Health Resistance Network and Disabled People Against Cuts

Anna Livingstone FRCGP

Tower Hamlets GP

Linda Burnip

Disabled People Against Cuts

Ben Newton

Community Worker in Glasgow

Ellen Clifford

Disabled People Against Cuts and Inclusion London

Beatrice Millar

on behalf of Psychotherapists & Counsellors for Social Responsibility

Andy Greene

Disabled People Against Cuts

Julia Evans

Lacanian Psychoanalyst

Miriam Binder

Disabled People Against Cuts

Dr Laura Winter

Counselling Psychologist

John Kelly

Disabled People Against Cuts

Emily Shah

Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Camden and Islington NHS Trust

John McArdle

Black Triangle Campaign

Gavin Robinson


Brian Hilton

Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People

Dr Kara Bagnall

Clinical Psychologist

Recovery in the Bin

Lauren Canvin,

Trainee Clinical Psychologist, University of Hertfordshire

Jennifer Jones

DPAC Sheffield

Dr Richard House,

Chartered Psychologist (BPS), Educational Consultant Alliance for Counselling & Psychotherapy

David Cracker

DPAC Sheffield

Andrew Samuels

Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex: Former Chair, UK Council for Psychotherapy

Kevin Deegan

DPAC NORTH Staffordshire East Cheshire

Robert Jenkins

NHS Primary Care Counsellor (Retired)

Henry Foulds

Momentum Sheffield Disability officer

Debbie Porteous

Counsellor MBACP

Jill Goble

Brighton DPAC

Dr David Porteous

GP Fishponds Family Practice, Bristol

Merry Cross

Berkshire DPAC

Denis Postle


Rick Burgess

Manchester DPAC

Paul Atkinson


Dr Johann McGavin

GP Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre

Dr Danielle Gaynor

Chartered Clinical Psychologist, NHS.

Clare Slaney MA

BACP Accredited

Linda Gask

Emerita Professor of Primary Care Psychiatry University of Manchester and Honorary FRCGP

Stuart Morgan-Ayrs

Clinical psychotherapist

Dr Gillian Proctor

Clinical psychologist and lecturer.

Dr Rich Moth

Registered social worker/SWAN Psychotherapy & Counselling Union

Dr Donna Oxley

Clinical Psychologist, NHS

Frances Taylor,

Therapeutic Counsellor and Supervisor, Diversity Worker, Substance Misuse Counsellor Practitioner

Dr Jade Weston

Clinical Psychologist

Mandy Coghill

Sensorimotor Psychotherapist

Nicola Saunders

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist UKCP

Ian Parker

Psychoanalyst, Manchester

Sarah Wolfe

Clinical Psychologist in Children’s Social Care

Richard Bagnall-Oakeley

Integrative Adult & Child Psychotherapist (UKCP Reg. MBACP)

Valeska Matziol

Equalities Research Coordinator

Juliet Lyons

Integrative Child Psychotherapist

Annie Mitchell

Clinical and Community Psychologist; Associate Professor, Plymouth University.

Dr Sohrab Panday

GP and Clinical Lead, Mental Health Commissioning Team Hardwick CCG

Mark Burton

Former Head of Disability Service

Richard Byng

GP and academic, Community and Primary Care Research Group and PenCLAHRC, Plymouth University.

Kim Jackson-Blott

Trainee Clinical Psychologist

Anna Rose

MEd MA  (Psychotherapist)

Dr Lealah Hewitt

Clinical Psychologist, NHS

Dr Safi Afghan

Consultant Psychiatrist & Primary Care Lead RCPsych

Liam Farrell

Former NHS GP

Jen Daffin

Clinical psychologist in training / psychologists for social change

Dr Sheila Cheeroth, FRCGP

Tower Hamlets CCG, London.

Libby Kerr

Psychotherapist UKCP

Dr Jackie Applebee GP

Chair of Tower Hamlets Local Medical Committee.

Dr Stephen Weatherhead

Senior Academic and Clinical Tutor HCPC registered Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Dr Kambiz Boomla,

Senior Lecturer General Practice.

Dr Rachel Barcroft

Clinical Psychologist Royal Preston Hospital

Rosalind Davy,

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

Dr Grant Ingrams

GP, Oakmeadow Surgery, Leicester

James Randall-James,

Clinical Psychologist

Pauline Miller

GP St Lawrence road surgery

Dr Danny Taggart,

University of Essex

Dr Chris Manning

MRCGP Mental health activist and retired GP with lived experience of major depression(s).

Jeyda Hammad,


Fay Maxted OBE

CEO, The Survivors Trust

Guy Gladstone

Psychotherapist The Open Centre London

Emily Connolly

Trainee Clinical Psychologist

Dr Katherine Macey,

Clinical psychologist working in physical health.

Ron Singer

retired GP and vice president doctors in Unite.

Dr Colm Gallagher,

Clinical Psychologist, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr David Shiers

former Gp (Leek, North Staffordshire) and Carer of a family member with a severe mental disorder.

Dr Simon Stuart,

Clinical Psychologist in Adult Mental Health

Dr Carolyn Chew-Graham

GP Principal, The Chorlton Family Practice, Manchester and Professor of General Practice Research, Keele University.

Anne Wagner

Clinical Psychologist Locality Lead Psychologist

Dr Lloyd Baron

GPST2 Health Education West Midlands

Dr Alice Jones

(FY1 Psychiatry)

 Posted by at 11:51
Apr 252018

25th April 2018

Duncan Lewis Solicitors client promised life-saving cancer treatment in high-profile case

On 24 April 2018, the Royal Marsden Hospital finally committed to giving Duncan Lewis’ client Albert Thompson1 the radiotherapy treatment that he requires to treat his prostate cancer; however the NHS Charging Regulations remain unlawful.


Mr Thompson was first told that he would be likely to need radiotherapy in November 2016, and the treatment was scheduled to start in January 2018. That was until the recent amendments to the NHS Charging Regulations came into force in October 2017.2 As a result of these regulations, in November Mr Thompson was told that he would have to pay for his treatment in advance or prove that he was ordinarily resident in the UK.


Mr Thompson has been a resident in the UK since December 1973. He has National Insurance records, GP records, bank records and benefits records which cover the entire period of his 44 year residence in this country.


Jeremy Bloom, Trainee Solicitor within the Harrow Public Law Team, has been working tirelessly to challenge the application of these Regulations, to regularise Mr Thompson’s status and to ensure that he gets the potentially life-saving treatment that he so urgently needs.


We submitted evidence of Mr Thompson’s residence to the hospital, but they maintained that under the Regulations, they couldn’t give him the treatment they felt was necessary, unless he could demonstrate that he has Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.


We have since submitted an application to the Home Office to regularise his status, arguing that he should be granted ILR on the basis of his private and family life. The taskforce that has been set up to deal with ‘Windrush’ cases will be interviewing Mr Thompson later this week.


The case has also attracted a lot of attention in Parliament and in the media. The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn MP has asked two Prime Minister’s Questions about the case, and the Prime Minister Theresa May broke the news that Mr Thompson would be receiving treatment in the House of Commons. When the Prime Minister made this announcement, our client had not been informed about this good news, and it took a few days for details of the treatment to become clear. Chuka Umunna MP raised a point of order in relation to the case, and wrote to the Royal Marsden directly. The case has been wide-reported in the Guardian, BBC news, and ITV.


It still is not clear why the Royal Marsden has decided to treat Mr Thompson given their initial delay and refusal to treat him without proof of residence or advance payment but we are relieved that Mr Thompson will now be receiving his promised radiotherapy treatment.


We still consider that the NHS Charging Regulations to be unlawful and grossly unfair. As long as they remain in force, their application will continue to deny people life-saving treatment despite the fact that they have been here for decades and should be entitled to this treatment on the NHS. We will continue to challenge these regulations.


If you or someone you know has been unlawfully denied treatment on the NHS, please get in touch with us:

Jeremy Bloom:

Toufique Hossain:

 Posted by at 22:28
Apr 242018

Open discrimination is freely taking place on high streets up and down the country.

No DSS’ signs are a common sight in letting agent windows and websites. They mean that people who earn housing benefit, struggling with housing costs due to rising rents and shrinking wages, are locked out of many homes. They are being discriminated against as a group in an unjustified manner, and we believe that it is likely to be unlawful too.

We need to expose discrimination, and put an end to practices that unfairly penalise those who are receiving benefits.

If you have been discriminated against by a letting agent due to earning housing benefits, please get in touch with Shelter to discuss next steps.

 Posted by at 21:25
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.
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

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

 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