Debbie

Sep 152016
 

DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST CUTS WEST MIDLANDS

DAY OF ACTION

CONSERVATIVE PARTY CONFERENCE

3rd October 2016

No More ‘’Cinderella’’ Role – We Will Go To The Ball!

Assemble: 13:00pm

St Philip’s Cathedral, Colmore Row* Birmingham

 

DPAC WM has organised a Day of Action to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference. Through a series of activities, culminating with a Rally at the Birmingham Council House, DPAC WM will bring to life the grim reality of living in Tory led Britain.

Will you join our cast on the 3rd October, 2016 in Birmingham to help tell our version of events as Cinderella takes on her evil stepsisters and the Big Bad Wolf?

Article 19 – Living independently and being included in the community

States Parties to this Convention recognize the equal right of all disabled people to live in the community, with choices equal to others, and shall take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by disabled people of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the community.

*Colmore Row is a street in the centre of Birmingham running from Victoria Square to just beyond Snow Hill station.

National Demonstration

2nd October 2016

Tories OUT – Austerity Has Failed

Assemble: 11:30am, Victoria Square, Birmingham

Access Information for Deaf and Disabled People

 

The Co-ordinators of DPAC WM have been working with National P.A., West Midlands TUC and the regional Unwelcome the Tories Committee to make this demonstration as inclusive as possible. Discussions are ongoing therefore this information may alter. Our primary objective is to ensure everyone’s well-being and safety therefore we can only outline the conditions we could encounter as we currently see them.

 

Victoria Square Start Station – Whole March

 

The geographical terrain of Birmingham City Centre does not lend itself well to large numbers of people and between 10,000 and 30,000 may gravitate towards Victoria Square and surrounding streets from 11am onwards. The route of the demonstration between Victoria Square and Dale End could present mobility issues as the road is relatively narrow and slightly uneven. [See short march details]

 

We would like to suggest Deaf and Disabled People who want to go on the whole demonstration congregate in Eden Place [between top of Colmore Row and Edmund Street] – it is near the Council House with a Starbucks on the corner – feeding into the demonstration at this point.

 

Lower Bull Street Start Station – Short March

 

We would like to recommend that Deaf and Disabled People who want to go on a shorter route congregate at the lower end of Bull Street by [Wok & Go: 100A Bull St, Birmingham B4 7AA] – feeding into the demonstration at this point as the road widens soon after this stretch.

    

Rallying point [end of demonstration]

 

Precise details in relation to the layout of the site with the stage and accessible portaloos are not currently available. At the end of the demonstration Stewards will indicate where Deaf and Disabled People can follow the most direct and accessible route to the staging area. A cordoned off section will be provided to ensure access to the proceedings for wheelchair users, those with restricted mobility and those who are Deaf and hearing impaired – BSL Interpretation available. It is essential that people in this section assist us in a disciplined way to ensure both access and egress at ALL times.

 

Travel Plans

 

TRAINS

 

If possible using Snow Hill Rail Station would offer the most direct route [turn right out of station up Colmore Row] to both Victoria Square and the lower end of Bull St [cross road, then turn left until the corner and travel South] to the short march station point.

 

New Street Rail Station has good and bad points. Grand Central [upper floor accessed via lifts and escalators] has a variety of food outlets. It is however a steep trek to Victoria Square from the station taking a variety of routes. [Bull St can be accessed via turning right at New St and then going down High St or straight up Corporation St and then right onto Bull St.]

 

Car parking

 

It is unlikely there will be parking in close proximity to either start stations.

 

Buses

 

It is likely bus routes will be either suspended or re-routed into the City Centre = [check on: https://www.networkwestmidlands.com/ways-to-travel/bus/]

 

Food and Drink

 

There are sparse outlets near end of demonstration. City Centre ones vary greatly in terms of access and could be extremely busy or difficult to navigate. We would advise where possible to bring packed food and drink.

 email: DPACWM@outlook.com

Sep 152016
 

 

Hammersmith and Fulham Council were the first to remove charges from social ‘care’ in April 2015 after an excellent campaign by Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition against Cuts HAFCAC

Now Hammersmith and Fulham council  launch a Disabled People’s Commission, as Kevin Caulfield chair of HAFCAC said at the launch of Inclusion London’s report ‘One year on ‘ report on ILF users after the closure of ILF

If they can do so can others”

Hammersmith & Fulham Council launched a Disabled People’s Commission as part of its drive to improve services and accessibility for all communities in the borough.  Too often, disabled people are overlooked when councils are both designing and delivering services. With the launch of its Disabled People’s Commission, H&F will look into the experiences of disabled people in the borough to help make positive changes to increase equality and inclusivity for all those who live in, work in and visit the borough.

 

Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Council, said:

 

I want Hammersmith & Fulham to become the most accessible and inclusive borough in London and this new Commission will help show us the way to deliver this vision.

 

As Commission Chair, I know that Tara Flood will draw on her excellent track record in disability campaigning. Tara is also a local resident, with vital first-hand experience of what life is like for disabled people in the borough.

 

H&F Council is committed to putting residents at the heart of decision making, doing things with people and not to them. Under Tara’s leadership, I am confident that our Disabled People’s Commission will give disabled people in Hammersmith and Fulham a voice and a platform that they have all too often been denied in the past.”

 

Tara Flood, on her appointment as chair of the Commission, said:

 

This is an exciting opportunity for Disabled people across the borough to come together and be part of a radical change – a change that will begin to see a new way of doing things – services that are co-produced with Disabled people. Hammersmith & Fulham is a borough that wants to hear what we, as Disabled people, have got to say so I’m really looking forward to chairing the Commission and turning words into action

The Commission is expected to complete its work and publish its findings and recommendations for action around May 2017.

See more from Jenny Morris: https://jennymorrisnet.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/something-to-celebrate-story-of.html

See more from HAFCAC http://www.hafcac.org.uk/

 

Sep 142016
 

DPAC’s conference on Saturday 10th September #globalresistance brought together speakers from Greece, Ireland, Germany,  Bulgaria and the UK in solidarity for disabled people

From Greece Antonios Rellis and Athanasios Papantonopoulous of the brilliant activist group Κίνηση Χειραφέτησης ΑμεΑ: “Μηδενική Ανοχή” Emancipation Movement of People with Disabilities: “Zero Tolerance”gave us a film of their occupation of to the “Kepep” or “child care centre” in the town of Lechaina.

We have been asked to put this on the DPAC web, but we warn that the film of the institution is harrowing and upsetting to watch, nethertheless we believe that it should be seen by as many people as possible to expose the inhuman conditions that still exist in Greece and , sadly in other countries too.

We also reproduce the power point given on the day which highlights problems with some ‘traditional’ disability organisations in their collusion with national governments to undermine the problems that disabled people face . A  sad fact that extends country bounderies

Power Point

zero-tolerance-against-budget-cuts_athanasios

For more details see Canary piece http://www.thecanary.co/2016/09/14/like-stray-pets-waiting-put-greeces-shocking-disabled-care-homes-video/

PwD Emancipation Movement: ZERO TOLERANCE
Zero tolerance to whatever violates the right to dignity, the right to life itself.
Contact: mideniki.anoxi@gmail.com

We will be adding more films and power points from the conference shortly

 

Sep 042016
 

DPAC #RightsNotGames National day of Protest

Local Action Tool Kit

During the DPAC Week of Action from 4th -10th September we will be holding a National Day of Action, on Tues 6th Sept taking the fight to a target near you.

This is a chance to raise as much local awareness of the problems that we face and are trying to highlight, whether that be with your local council over the savage cut’s to social care packets,  your local JCP or assessment centre for the barbaric treatment of claimants and the systematic roll out of sanctions to the most vulnerable people in society, the local school for discriminating against disabled children or a stall in your local high-street to raise awareness, see this link for more information on actions already being taken.

#RightsNotGames National Day of Action Tuesday September 6th

And if there isn’t currently something happening in your local area and you want to know how or what you can do to start your own, please use this ‘Local Tool Kit’ for ideas and don’t forget to let us know at DPAC by emailing us at: mail@dpac.uk.net

Tool kit docs for download

  -how to campaigns guide
 – planning a local action guide
– template leaflets
  – template Press Release
  – template letter for anyone doing protests at JCPs who wants to use this
and #RightsnotGames black and white leaflet
 RightsnotGames leaflet

 to copy right click  and select ‘save image as’ to save to your documents

Aug 272016
 

Join us for a DPAC  conference on ‘Disabled Peoples’ Resistance: building beyond borders’ for discussion and film.

John Clarke of Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

John Clarke of Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

This exciting event brings together influential disabled people’s campaigners from around the world into one place for a discussion on how to take the fight for disabled people’s rights forward

The brilliant John Clarke joins us from Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) in Canada to present:  ‘Stop the War on the Poor! Resisting Austerity in Ontario’  and the workshop: ‘ is basic income a cynical promise of jam tomorrow to extend austerity?

John McDonnell MP

John McDonnell MP

Speakers include:  Catriona Kenny (Ireland), Antonios Rellas and Athanasios Papantonopoulos (Greece), Kapka Panayotova (Bulgaria)  and The ak MoB (Germany)

With a guest appearance by John McDonnell MP,  Shadow Chancellor

Booking essential: please email: mail@dpac.uk.net

we may be able to help with travel for DPAC members if you email us

BSL will be provided

Where: Resource for London 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA

http://www.resourceforlondon.org/contact-us/

Buses 43 17 4 29 271 153 253 254 259   stop within a short walk of Resource for London.

Tube: Holloway Road, please note this tube station is not accessible

When: Saturday 10th Sept 10.30-4.30 pm

Cost: Free

Photo: independent . co.uk

For more information about the #RightsNotGames Week of Action, see https://dpac.uk.net/2016/08/rightsnotgames-week-of-action-september-4th-10th/

 

Aug 252016
 

Evidence needed for PIP second independent review

Are you being forced to return your Motability vehicle because of the change in eligibility criteria for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)? The criteria was changed from 50 metres under Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to 20 metres under PIP.  Has the return of your Motability vehicle affected your ability to stay or return to employment?

Please let me know what the impact of returning your Motability vehicle has had on you, by emailing me on:  Henrietta.doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk

Your experience will inform Inclusion London’s evidence to the second independent review of PIP.

Information about the second independent review of PIP is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/personal-independence-payment-pip-assessment-second-independent-review-call-for-evidence

We would also welcome evidence other areas of the PIP application process e.g. your experience of the PIP assessment or Mandatory reconsideration, or the appeals process, more information is available at: https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/campaigns-and-policy/act-now/personal-independence-payment-pip-assessment-second-independent-review-call-evidence/

 Please send me your evidence by 12 September.

Many thanks

 

Aug 152016
 

 

For instance a bank may not have given you a loan or closed an account.

The Lords Select Committee is carrying out an inquiry into financial exclusion and one of the questions they are asking is, ‘What has been the impact of recent welfare reforms on financial exclusion?

Financial exclusion usually means a lack of access to a range of financial services such as those provided by banks including current or savings accounts, loans, credit and debit cards.

The welfare reforms include:

  • Disability Living Allowance being abolished and replaced by Personal Independence Allowance

This includes the change from 50 metres to 20 metre walking distance criteria for enhanced rate mobility                     payment

  • Changes to housing benefit such as the social housing size criteria (commonly known as the bedroom tax)
  • Harsher sanctions regarding Employment Support Allowance or JobSeekers Allowance
  • Tighter criteria for Employment Support Allowance via the WCA
  • Benefit cap.

Please let me know your experience on any areas of financial exclusion by 5 September by email:

Henrietta.doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk

Inclusion London is responding to the Lords Select Committee inquiry into financial exclusion and your experience will inform our evidence. Your anonymity will be preserved.

You are welcome to submit evidence directly to the inquiry.

Information about the inquiry is available at:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/financial-exclusion/news-parliament-2015/call-for-evidence/

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 14 September.

 

 

 

Aug 142016
 

Many thanks to one of our supporters for alerting us to this consultation by Torbay council on council tax. Its worth reading whether you are in Torbay or not because it gives us clues to the next set of horrors that will be visited on us by local councils. Torbay say:

Each year the Council has to decide whether to change the Council Tax Support Scheme for working age applicants in Torbay. This year we are proposing a set of changes to the current scheme, including some changes which will bring our support scheme in line with changes made by Central Government to Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.

In addition to this the Council will continue to face budget pressures over the next few years.  Taking into account the income the council receives and what we spend on our services, we estimate there is a funding gap of £18.5 million between now and 2019/20.  We need to ensure that we are able to provide the services which our communities need and value within the budget that we have.   The proposed changes to our Council Tax Support Scheme will assist us with these budget pressures.

The consultation puts forward a set of scenarios around council tax payments. The main message is that there will be more increases. Other messages include financial penalties for those with more than two children, and financial penalties for anyone getting ‘carers allowance’

What is being proposed?

We are proposing to make ten changes that are listed below to the current scheme from 1 April 2017:

  • Reducing the maximum level of support to 55% of the council tax charge
  • Restrict the maximum level of support to the equivalent of a band C property charge
  • Savings limit of £3,000
  • Removal of the family premium
  • Reducing backdating for new claims to one month
  • Basing the reduction on a set minimum income for self-employed earners after one year’s self-employment
  • Reducing the period a person can be absent from Great Britain and still receive a reduction to four weeks
  • Removing the work related activity component for new ESA applicants
  • Limiting the number of dependent children within the calculation to a maximum of two
  • Removing entitlement to Severe Disability Premium where another person is paid Universal Credit (Carers Element)

The consultation closes 31st October, changes will be implemented on 1st April 2017

Link to consultation https://www.torbay.gov.uk/surveys/cts/ctsse.htm

For those not in Torbay, it might be worth seeing if your council has similar plans

People might also be interested in:https://dpac.uk.net/2016/07/hold-your-council-to-account-on-finances/

 

Aug 122016
 

Ministers always assure critics of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that their appeal process is fair. After all, the press is full of stories of people who have been declared fit for work even though their disability plainly makes it impossible for them. Given the quality of decision-making, there needs to be a thorough system in place for rejected applicants to appeal the ruling.

But scratch beneath the surface of the appeals system and you find a mess of confusing and inconsistent legal practice, which stack the odds in the department’s favour.

A new appeal process was introduced in 2013 and was beset by problems from the start. Now a report by the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) highlights the Kafkaesque deficiencies of the system.

Before a claimant can take an appeal to a tribunal they must first ask for the decision to be reconsidered by the DWP – known as a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ (MR). This process is a terrible mess. And the DWP has known about it for nearly 18 months without doing anything to change it.

With thanks to author Natalie Bloomer and Politics.co.uk read the rest of the article at:

http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2016/08/12/how-the-dwp-stacks-the-odds-against-benefit-claimants