Linda

Jun 022019
 

These regulations don’t apply if you use CAB (help to claim service) you must claim either from home, DWP officers help at home, or JCP office. this means you will get maximum backdating of your claim.

‘Reg10 (1) (b) of the UC C&P regs says that the date of the claim can be the date that the claimant notified DWP of their intention to make the claim provided that the actual claim is made electronically by DWP themselves or by ‘a person providing services to the Secretary of State which is provided for the purpose of enabling that person to make a claim’.

UC reg 10 (1) b

Claimants who seek help from Citizens Advice to make a claim for universal credit (UC) risk losing out because their date of claim will not be protected due to yet another DWP blunder in their contract with CABs.

Many people who claim UC struggle with the process and need support.

Until 31 March this support was provided by local authorities, often through libraries. People who went to their local library for help would have their UC claim dated from the day they first went for support, even if all the necessary information was not provided until a later date.
However, under the contract negotiated between Citizens Advice and the DWP, the claim is only dated from the day it is received by the DWP.
Claimants who are unable to provide all the necessary information on the day can still have their date of claim protected, but only if they make a separate trip to a Jobcentre to do so.

These regulations don’t apply if you use CAB (help to claim service) you must claim either from home, DWP officers help at home, or JCP office. this means you will get maximum backdating of your claim.

‘Reg10 (1) (b) of the UC C&P regs says that the date of the claim can be the date that the claimant notified DWP of their intention to make the claim provided that the actual claim is made electronically by DWP themselves or by ‘a person providing services to the Secretary of State which is provided for the purpose of enabling that person to make a claim’.

UC reg 10 (1) b

The rules (reg 10 of the Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance Claims and Payments Regulations 2013) say:

10.—(1) Where a claim for universal credit is made, the date on which the claim is made is—

(a) subject to sub-paragraph (b), in the case of a claim made by means of an electronic communication in accordance with regulation 8(1), the date on which the claim is received at an appropriate office;

(b) in the case of a claim made by means of an electronic communication in accordance with regulation 8(1), where the claimant receives assistance at home or at an appropriate office from the Secretary of State, or a person providing services to the Secretary of State, which is provided for the purpose of enabling that person to make a claim, the date of first notification of a need for such assistance;

(c) subject to sub-paragraph (d), in the case of a claim made by telephone in accordance with regulation 8(2), the date on which that claim is properly completed in accordance with regulation 8(4); or

(d) where the Secretary of State is unable to accept a claim made by telephone in accordance with regulation 8(2) on the date of first notification of intention to make the claim, the date of first notification, provided a claim properly completed in accordance with regulation 8(4) is made within one month of that date,

or the first day in respect of which the claim is made if later than the above.

Para b is the relevant paragraph, and applies where someone gets assistance 1) at home or 2) in an appropriate office.

2)Appropriate office is defined in reg 2 as

“appropriate office” means—

(a) an office of the Department for Work and Pensions or any other place designated by the Secretary of State in relation to any case or class of case as a place to, or at which, any claim, notice, document, evidence or other information may be sent, delivered or received for the purposes of these Regulations and includes a postal address specified by the Secretary of State for that purpose; or

(b) in the case of a person who is authorized or required by these Regulations to use an electronic communication for any purpose, an address to which such communications may be sent in accordance with Schedule 2;

Therefore unless a CAB office is designated by DWP as an appropriate office, para b cannot apply if the help to claim was provided in the CAB office.

Source Rightsnet

 Posted by at 19:26
May 292019
 

join the monthly protest at Caxton House, Tothill Street, London organised by Kilburn Unemployed Workers’ Group (KUWG)  which this month will include their views on the outrageous lies being told by DWP with their false adverts for Universal Credit in the scum Mail partner paper the Metro.

Please continue to remove as many Metros as possible every Wednesday for the next 7 weeks from venues where they are available.

 Posted by at 18:46
May 292019
 

If you want to support the rights of people with learning difficulties and sign up to this letter to Matt Hancock please email your name to info@peoplefirstltd.com

People First is run by people with learning difficulties campaigning for equal rights. We give information, training and advice.
People First (Self Advocacy) is a company limited by guarantee no. 03134827 and a registered charity no. 1057354

To: The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
Dear Mr Hancock,
We were encouraged by your announcement on Tuesday ahead of the publication of the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review LeDeR Programme report, that ‘every single patient’s case will be independently reviewed after reports that vulnerable people are being failed’.
The Government has set out plans to improve care for people with autism and learning disabilities based on the recommendations from the report. These plans include moving people with learning difficulties and autistic people out of Assessment and Treatment Units and mental health hospitals.
The Government is also looking at how more people with learning difficulties can live in their own homes – under the Transforming Care Programme.
We are extremely concerned and angry that targets to date have not been met and people continue to be admitted to these units and continue to suffer.
The Government is now setting up “a new working group for learning disabilities and autism, bringing together experts, clinicians, parents and carers to develop a new model of care.”
The Government has left out people with learning difficulties and autistic people from this group. The Government must listen to and include People with learning difficulties and autistic people if it is to have any credibility.
Under the UN Convention of Rights for Persons with Disabilities, Article 4, 33 and comment 7 says that the Government must involve people with learning difficulties and autistic people when making policies and decisions about us.

We are writing to ask you to start talking and listening directly to:
• People with learning difficulties and autistic people who have been or are in ATUs and Mental Health Hospitals
• Self-Advocacy and other Speaking Up groups run and controlled by people with learning difficulties and autistic people
• Activists with learning difficulties and autistic people
campaigning around ATU and mental health hospitals
• Care and Treatment Review’s Expert by Experience panel members with learning difficulties and autistic people
• Peer advocates with learning difficulties and autistic people acting as advocates for patients in hospitals
This means that the Government must find out from People with learning difficulties and autistic people what helps us be well, happy and safe in the community and stop us going into mental health hospitals and Assessment and Treatment Units.
The UNCRPD requires People with learning difficulties and autistic people to be members of the group that will look at good ways of providing care for them.
It also means asking us about what changes we want in Mental Health and other laws that will support our right to live in the community.
Nothing about us without us!
From:
Andrew Lee, Director of People First Advocacy
Simone Aspis, Changing Perspectives

 

 

 Posted by at 18:40
May 292019
 

 Press Release

 

People First Self Advocacy response to Whorlton Hall abuse scandal 

29 May 2019 

At People First Self Advocacy we were horrified to learn of yet another case of abuse and torture of people with Leaning Difficulties and Autism. This is from within a system that should be safe and supportive.

After the Panorama programme exposed the abuse at Winterbourne View in 2011, promises were made to move over half of the people in Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs) back into the community and eventually close them.

Eight years on Panorama exposed Whorlton Hall, another shocking case of abuse being missed ‘despite at least 100 official visits’.

The Government has not lived up to their promise or met the targets set by NHS England after Winterbourne View. The bodies who have been given the responsibility by the Government to keep us safe have let us down again.

The Learning Disability Census (September 2015) reported that 3,230 people with Learning Difficulties were inpatients in NHS and independent services. The latest figures published by NHS Digital on 16 May, tell us that there are 2,245 inpatients with Learning Difficulties. This demonstrates that not enough has been done. We want to know why.

People First Self Advocacy calls for the Government to make Article 19 (Living independently and being included in the community) part of our law – providing us with a statutory right to independent living.

Our #CloseATUs campaign is not just calling for the closure of ATUs but pressing for people to have the advocacy and support they need in their local communities.

We are also calling for a national action plan for the closures of ATUs to be implemented with immediate effect with a target of two years.

Andrew Lee, Director of People First Self Advocacy said: 

‘As with Winterbourne, the news of Whorlton Hall brought tears, upset and anger to me and many other people I know. Our thoughts go to all of the people who experienced this abuse. We need to make sure this does not happen again. Moving people to ‘other’ closed institutions like Whorlton Hall is obviously not the answer. People are being sent far away from friends and family at great cost to the authorities and at even greater and more tragic cost to people with learning difficulties and their loved ones.’ 

People First Self Advocacy asks if the regulatory body, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), is using all of its powers to prevent future abuse happening.

Are they asking the right questions, are they looking at the right things, are they actually talking to people with Learning Difficulties?

We need to be able to live safely and independently in the community, like everybody else. We need to be treated with dignity and respect. 

Related notes:

Learning Disability Services Monthly Statistics Provisional Statistics (AT: April 2019, MHSDS: February 2019 Final)

 

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD)

 

Article 19 (UN CRPD) – Living independently and being included in the community

 

Disabled People’s Shadow Report to the UN CRPD Committee

 

Learning Disability Census Report – England, 30th of September 2015

Transforming Care for People with Learning Disabilities

 

BBC News: Whorlton Hall: Former inspector says warnings were ignored

 

BBC News: Whorlton Hall: Hospital abuse missed despite at least 100 official visits

 

Notes to editors 

People First Self Advocacy is a national organisation run by and for people with learning difficulties. The organisation aims to speak up and campaign for the rights of people with learning difficulties. We also aim to support self-advocacy groups across the country in their work.

We aim to:

  • Speak up and campaign for the rights of people with learning difficulties
  • Support people with learning difficulties and their self-advocacy groups to build up their skills
  • Make sure that the voices of people with learning difficulties are heard by the government and people who make decisions.

Andrew Lee, Director of People First (Self Advocacy)

Christine Spooner, Chair of People First (Self Advocacy)

 Posted by at 18:36
May 142019
 

A memo leaked to us shows that DWP are planning to tell lots and lots of fairytales about how well Universal Credit is working. This is not our experience or the experience of anyone we have contact with. 

On Friday May 31st DWP are launching a misleading advertising campaign with a wrap around on the Metro free paper.  

This is costing quarter of a million pounds of our money meanwhile they have robbed millions from women pensioners, disabled people, women and children all of whom have been pushed deeper and deeper into poverty, and despair. Many have been forced to resort to prostitution and crime in order to survive. 

DWP must be stopped from using the media to spread their lies so we’re calling on all of those affected and those who care about the truth to do what we’ve done with the Mail and Sun before and go to your nearest train and tube station or any other locations where the Metro is given out free and remove or otherwise prevent as many as possible to be read. 

This is nothing short of a propaganda war which we must win. Please ask friends and family to help with this task and share this request on social media. 

We are preparing a dossier to complain to the advertising standards authority but let’s make sure the Metro never want another DWP advert again.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/14/universal-credit-department-work-pensions-pr

 

 Posted by at 21:47
Jan 252019
 

If you want to add anything from your own local group please email us. Real and systematic change can only be achieved if we organise and fight togetherbut Disabled People deserve rights and to live without the gripping fear many have felt for the last 8 years.

 

DPAC Ceredigion

Following our protests in town and outside Cardigan job centre opposing the roll out of Universal Credit, more people got in contact to ask for support and advice regarding their benefits. Working with our local MP Ben Lake, the food bank and Croeso housing, we had a UC drop in advice surgery in Aberystwyth, which will be repeated next year in Cardigan. Three of us went to meet Leanne Wood when she came to Cardigan and raised our concerns about the roll out of UC. We have been regularly handing out flyers around town and engaging with people to raise awareness of the rollout of UC and putting More people got in contact with us, for advice on PIP claims, and im pleased to say, that all those we helped this year were successful with their claims or appeals. Through the sales of the Welsh Grannies, we have funds available now to go towards organising our future campaigns, and helping others in our community during sanctions, waiting times and late payments etc. We have had regular social meet ups, and hope to have many more in the future. Lets keep fighting the system best we can, lets be there to support each other along the way and keep hold of the friendships we have made through DPAC. Its going to be a tough year ahead with UC and Brexit affecting us all. Lets continue to help each other through this in solidarity. Thank you all for your contributions this year. To CPA people for travelling so far to campaign together, to Jon Plumpton for those amazing lollipops and posters you printed for all the demos, for those who turned up on cold mornings to stand outside the job centres, to all those helping us with translations so that we can have bi-lingual protests, and most importantly our strong bond of friendship that keep this group running.

Berkshire DPAC

Our main activism in 2018 centred around Reading Borough Council’s proposal to scrap concessionary bus passes. We eventually won in relation to passes for disabled people and for companion passes too. There were many elements to the win apart from our successful demos in town and media coverage: having information coming out from council sources as to what had been stated in their budget; support from the local Trades Council who bolstered our demos and helped spread the word and also support from Reading and District Labour Party, which voted to instruct the council to ditch the proposal. But this has been a long process and still continues, as their latest move has been to go back to a consultation on cancelling passes for pensioners and also charging for Readibus rides, which were previously free.

We also began to try to gather information about the local hospital for patients diagnosed with mental health problems as the reports coming out of there are awful.

Norfolk DPAC

 

March – National Day of Action – protest to stop and scrap universal credit outside Norwich City Council.

May – DPAC Norfolk participated in protest against cuts to mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk at Norwich City Football Club

September – DPAC Norfolk part of forming Norfolk Against Universal Credit (NAUC) a campaigning coalition of organisations to stop and scrap

October – 7 members participated in the action at the Tory Party conference in Birmingham

October – protest at Norwich job centre to mark the first day of the rollout of Universal Credit – over 50 people attended

https://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/politics/universal-credit-protest-norwich-1-5738697

October – DPAC Norfolk organised a rally and march to Stop and Scrap Universal Credit.  Over 150 people marched around Norwich city centre.

 

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/politics/universal-credit-protest-norwich-1-5754271

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AMuwnlxFv8

December  – Public Meeting to Stop and Scrap Universal Credit – over 50 people attended the meeting at Norwich City Hall

Glasgow DPAC

here is a brief account accompanied by pictures of what has been a hectic year (I can’t promise chronological acuracy😀) for DPAC GLASGOW.

The backbone of our work has and continues to be resisting government attacks on the rights and dignitary of disabled people through changes in the benefit system we have held monthly pickets outside maximums offices against work capability assessments.

 

We have also been proud to support other campaigns ie the struggle for equal pay for working women of Glasgow city council. I was privileged to be the only man allowed to speak at one of their lobbies.

We also stood in solidarity with the get Glasgow moving campaign when they handed in their petition to Glasgow city council in July.

 

One of the highlight was when 3 of our members went down to Birmingham to tell Theresa May and the Tory conference what we think of them.

 

My personal highlight was our participation in the national day of action against universal credit we organised an excellent street stall in Argyll St and got a great response. we also made a couple of trips through to Edinburgh to the Scottish parliament on the first occasion to hear the evil Esther Mcvey answer questions before one of the parliamentary  committees  and on another occasion to meet Shirley Anne Sommerville.

Like everyone else we expect to be even busier this year.

 

I’d like to finish this somewhat potted annual report  by paying tribute to Marion Nisbet co founder and stalwart of DPAC GLASGOW for a number of years who has decided to move on to other things a huge THANK YOU Marion

 

 

 

Northants Disabled People Against Cuts

 

2018 has been a very difficult year for Northants dpac I’m pleased though we have managed to ensure Disabled Peoples anger towards the cuts and continuous attacks has not waned, A number of our members have had health issues which has impacted on our work. Individual people have continued to support people with pip, esa and other problems. Through our media work we have developed good media relationships with Northampton chronicle, echo, and Nene Enquirer .

 

We supported save Northants services rally on the 17th FEB 2018. As Northamptonshire County Council has been in financial trouble due to national govt cuts, we have been able to get national media coverage of Disabled Peoples experience of Cuts.

 

We have built up a good relationship with IWW branch locally We are actively involved in Save Northants Services umbrella organisation. We are involved with Northants Direct Action on actions and campaigns.

 

We supported tories out of Brum conference protest/action. We are building distant links with Labour Party locally for future work.

 

We joined a noisy picket of Northants Tories Gala Dinner with the guest of dishonour Savid Javid home secretary. We continue to be an irritant in the fight against cuts in Northants.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 20:55
Jan 242019
 

At last we have a belated annual round up setting out just a few of the things we supported and organised in 2018. DPAC was always set up so that if one person was ill or unable to take part in the day-to-day running of things it would still function but 2018 threw up more problems health and family wise for most of us than anyone could have envisaged. And although not all our problems are now solved we’re all still here and functioning – if a little slower than usual.

Once again we want to thank our many supporters and allies for their help in many ways from attending physical and on-line events, producing memes for our use, donating to help us remain completely independent and help others to attend protests and meetings and a myriad of other things. Thanks once again to Paula, Louise and Keith for helping with stalls at a variety of events these not only raise money for DPAC but also promote us as an organisation.

 

 

We’re very grateful to the disabled people who travelled so far to attend our Festival of Resistance during the summer and it was great to meet activists from around the world.

As usual last year we were involved supporting a wide range of events and protests organised by ourselves and others where the impact would have a direct and negative effect on disabled people. This included working with BASW and the Anti Austerity Action Group, RMT, Transport for All and ABC Commuters around transport issues especially driver only operated trains, Fuel Poverty Action Group, Winvisible, No More Deaths on Our Streets, Alliance for Counselling and Pyschtherapy,against IAPT therapies, Supporting NHS marches and anti-racists marches to name but a few.

Members of the steering group have continued to speak at a wide range of events on various topics throughout the year. We’re grateful to them for giving their time and energy to do so and are proud to have them represent us at such times. Paula in particular seems to have been very prolific last year speaking at about 10 major events.

We’ve continued our work with the media and tried to highlight the ongoing injustices and problems that disabled people face in the UK today.

We also had a voter registration drive for the mayoral and council elections because it is so important that disabled people do use their vote to seek change at all levels of the political spectrum.

 

Our initial planned Day of Action to Stop and Scrap Universal Credit had to be postponed due to the awful weather we had last March and was re-organised to take place in April when nationally we had a day out to parliament – again. You can watch the video at this link

https://dpac.uk.net/2018/04/video-dpac-protests-in-parliament-against-universal-credit-stopandscrapuniversalcredit/

We organised High Court vigils with Winvisible and Inclusion London for the Universal Credit case against the loss of Severe and Enhanced Disability Premiums in UC. Fortunately the case was won although of course the government tried and failed to wriggle out of paying disabled people more.

Most protests were supported by on-line actions and we also had an on-line protest against the Spring Budget. Sadly twitter has now stopped people using tweet lists and repeating others tweets en mass so we have been forced to change the way we can use it for protesting.

Some of our supporters from Bromley DPAC went to Calais in March where they were confronted by the harrowing living conditions for refugees

We once again took part in the Lush Summit in London where Paula did a workshop on Universal Credit and  Mary Ellen had her fantastic new art piece ‘UC – A Grave Condition’

We’ve produced several important papers last year as well as helping collect evidence for several consultation responses put together by Inclusion London.

Papers include – an alternative solution to the UK independent living crisis? Independent Living Support for the Future.

UBI: Solution or illusion? The implications of Universal Basic Income for disabled people in Britain. Our hard copy pamphlet on UBI will shortly be available to purchase at cost price of £1 although the report remains available on the website.

And as well as providing supporting evidence for UK consultations Ellen collated Consultation responses: – Latest report to UN Disability Committee launched in Parliament on 25 October (submitted by UK DDPOs) which included evidence of continuing attrocities disabled people had experienced and which we had collated for this report. The UK is not only the first country to be investigated by the UN Disability Committee it is also the only country to be annually monitored. If only the Tories felt any shame…..

And Submission to UN Extreme Poverty rapporteur (submitted from ROFA).

Paula was able to go to give evidence when the UN rapporteur met in East London and people from some of our local groups were able to attend local meetings with him especially Martin in Clacton.

In July the Department for International Development headed by ex- Minister for Disabled People, Penny Morduant, tried to pretend that the UK government cares about disabled people’s human rights and to pretend through hosting a Global Summit that they were good at this.

Naturally we felt the need to host our own events and held a Festival of Resistance to highlight the opposite truth and show those from foreign NGOs who attended what the abysmal reality is. It says much about the DfiD and their support for human rights that their co-hosts of this event were Kenya whose record on LGBT rights is so appalling.

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/global-disability-summit-mordaunt-retreats-from-uks-global-leader-on-rights-claims/

https://dpac.uk.net/2018/07/festival-of-resistance-july-21st-24th/

Amongst our guests were Rose Achayo, Feliza ali Ramos and Alex Marcelo Vazqiez Bracamonte from Bolivia, Antonios Rellas from Greece, John Clarke from OCAP and of course John McDonnell and we were joined by Skype by Naiaty Yaacob from Malaysia.

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/global-disability-summit-dpacs-protest-festival-highlights-government-hypocrisy/

https://dpac.uk.net/2018/07/global-disability-summit-rival-summit-hears-of-international-fight-against-oppression/

It is also worth remembering the disgraceful way in which Disability Rights UK (DRUK) betrayed the disabled people’s movement toadying up to government at this sham summit.

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/global-disability-summit-disability-rights-uk-betrayed-movement-with-speech/

While work for this summit was the main piece of activism last year DPAC’s work to fight for disabled people’s human rights goes on daily both nationally and amongst our many active local groups.

We were delighted that also in July at Unite’s policy conference one of our supporters, Ellen Morrison, gave a rousing and compelling speech in her capacity as a Unite delegateto ask conference to support Stop and Scrap Universal Credit which was carried. We continue our work to get this position formally adopted by Labour instead of the whimpish Pause and Fix stance the party currently continues to hold.

 

Ellen’s superb and emotive speech can be viewed here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WPlGub1kJU

 

We’ve worked with Potent Whisper several times to support his rhyming guide to austerity and later last year on some video work with him that Paul and Keith helped with.

Conference season again saw us busy with meetings and speaking at events at the Labour Party Conference and lobbying Margaret Greenwood, who seems to be largely silent on the hostile environment disabled people face which is unacceptable and must change, followed by our bi-annual trip to the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham.

People from many of our local groups from around the country joined us there and it was particularly good to meet up with them all.

https://dpac.uk.net/2018/10/dpac-protest-at-the-tory-conference-pictures/

 

 

DPAC Protesters blocking Birmingham's tram routes

DPAC Protesters blocking Birmingham’s tram routes

 

 

 

 

We were also able to part sponsor an important disability art exhibition ‘I Protest’ in Norwich something a little out of the ordinary for us but which was a successful event and another way in which to spread information to the public.

I Protest art show https://www.facebook.com/IProtestNorwich/?modal=admin_todo_tour

 

Also last year we undertook a major piece of research into the postcode lottery of social care and charging funded by a grant from Network for Social Change and we have asked Barbara Keeley the Labour Party shadow minister for mental health and social care to provide a room in parliament for the launch of both this research and our work on the future of social care. So far she has not responded however we hope to have a reply shortly.

We’re still collating information on a few things mainly tell your story and on care charging and it would be helpful if anyone who hasn’t could fill in details on the website forms. This information is used for research, evidence, and media information so is vital to us all.

https://dpac.uk.net/2018/10/tell-your-story/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 21:19
Jan 212019
 

 As well as our previous post about a vigil at 1.30 pm concerning two UC cases this weektThe Alliance For Inclusive Education supports a human rights legal challenge around the provision of support for Disabled pupils with visual impairments within mainstream schooling.

On the 23rd January in the High Court a severely visually impaired pupil will claim that the local authority is breaching her rights in the way it arranges specialist teaching assistant support in mainstream schools.

The local authority has decided to give individual schools the responsibility for the recruitment and employment of Teaching Assistants for their Disabled pupils. This means there is no central pool of specialist support staff (specialist teaching assistants) available when a Disabled child wants to join a particular school.

The court is being asked to make a decision on whether the local authority’s policy to delegate responsibility to schools for the recruitment and employment of TAs is lawful under the Equality Act 2010 Public Sector Equality Duty, European Convention on Human Rights and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities around promoting Disabled pupils’ right to participate in mainstream education free from disability discrimination.

Currently, there is a presumption of mainstream education for Disabled pupils under the Children and Families Act. However, there is no requirement in law that local authorities should arrange SEND provision that will maximise parental choice of mainstream schools or promote Disabled pupils’ full participation in the curriculum.

“This is a very important case because for too many Disabled pupils, failure in mainstream schools arises when local authorities do not arrange SEND provision in a timely manner and in a way that guarantees high quality support to enable Disabled pupils to follow the entire school curriculum at all times, ie without any gaps. This leaves Disabled pupils being treated in a discriminatory way, as they are denied full participation in the school curriculum and all aspects of school life because they are Disabled and require assistance. We therefore want the court to issue guidance and rule that leaving Disabled pupils without appropriate assistance to engage in mainstream education is disability discrimination and a breach of Disabled pupils’ human rights,” says the Alliance for Inclusive Education’s Policy and Campaigns Coordinator Simone Aspis.

Anthony Gold Solicitors are representing the client and Steve Broach of Monckton Chambers is instructed counsel.

For more information please contact Simone Aspis:

Phone: 0207 737 6030 / mobile: 07856 213 837

Email Simone.Aspis@allfie.org.uk

 

 Posted by at 14:47
Jan 182019
 

 

  • Hosted by WinVisible – women with visible & invisible disabilities, DPAC and MHRN
  • Wednesday January 23rd, 13.30-13.45pm at Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, WC2A 2LL

Supporting legal challenge against Universal Credit by the single mum of a disabled daughter, and a man who was on ESA. Mum and daughter are £140/month worse off under UC than Income Support. Man has lost severe disability premiums.
PHOTOCALL outside court at 1.30pm.
Go into court from 10/10.30 onwards. Court room list here, case of TD and AD https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/court-lists/list-rcj
Case continues Thursday 24 January.

More info: https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-facing-court-over-claimants-universal-credit-fit-for-work-injustice/
http://cpag.org.uk/content/universal-credit-disability-and-transitional-protection

https://www.facebook.com/events/792963844375348/

 Posted by at 15:51
Jan 182019
 

Haringey Against Universal Credit Public Meeting

by SSUCH – Stop & Scrap Universal Credit Haringey 

The Eventbrite page for the meeting is http://bit.ly/ucevent 

 Thursday 24th January 7.30
Alevi Centre
19 Clarendon Rd 
Hornsey 
London 
N8 0DD 

Speakers:

Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green (chair)

Cllr Kaushika Amin, Haringey Council Cabinet Member for Civic Services (including rollout of support for Universal Credit)

Miriam Bindman, disability rights activist (Disabled People Against Cuts: DPAC)

Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary, PCS union

Linda Grant, employment and poverty researcher and Sheffield Heeley Constituency Labour Party executive member

Additional speakers to be confirmed

Local advice groups will have stalls at the meeting Organised by Stop and Scrap Universal Credit Haringey

We are a broad-based group of mainly Labour Party members and Unite Community members that came together to campaign against this cruel benefit system and support people receiving it. 

5 minutes walk from 144 and 41 Wightman Road bus stops. Nearest tube station: Turnpike Lane (Piccadilly Line) 

Info.ssuch@gmail.com

 Posted by at 15:45
Dec 202018
 

The austerity programme was initiated in 2010 by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. It has brought in its wake the destruction of many social support systems for all of us but for disabled people it has meant a severe decrease in our ability to engage in life. The demise of the Independent Living Fund, reductions in social care, the unwillingness to consider medical evidence, the restriction on support … the list goes on. 

Whether you accept the concept of equality or not, the fact remains that our world is essentially constructed for bipedal creatures with a given capacity for sight, hearing and mobility. The world is eminently suited for all those who can climb stairs, read basic instructions, have a basic understanding of language and its usage and can perform a given set of functions on command. Fail in any of those and you are considered disabled. 

In relatively primitive societies when babies were born with the clear indication that they would never attain the full physical capacity they were exposed on hill sides and left to the elements. One society we know of was Sparta. Plutarch, aka Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, gives us the Greek story that ancient Spartans threw their stunted and sickly babies off a cliff. Whether this story is true, or a myth, is at this moment immaterial. The fact is that the belief that this was true has fed into social movement such as the Hitler Youth. In the early 1920s, the Nazi party had established a youth movement to train them to become Stormtroopers.

The idealisation of perfect people with the full capacity of bipedal motion reading basic instructions, having a basic understanding of language and its usage and capable of performing a given set of functions on command was the underpinning of much of the Nazi Party ideology. They of course took it one step further still in that they also held that the Aryan was the only perfect exemplar of these perfect people. But that is by the by. What is relative to this article is that the Nazi ideology led to Aktion T4. Starting as a euthanasia program that eliminated disabled infants and children deemed unfit to live and expanding in time to cover disabled adults and the elderly. 

Aktion T4 was a direct result of a new bureaucracy with a mandate to kill anyone considered to have a “life unworthy of living”. The Nazis themselves referred to the victims of Aktion T4 as “burdensome lives” and “useless eaters”.Criteria for inclusion into the programme was not exclusively medical or genetic. People were assigned to the programme largely on ‘Economic Productivity’. 

Aktion T4 killed 70,000 people during its first two years of operation. Initially by starvation and lethal injection. Later, efficiency led to the development of asphyxiation by poison gas.  The program officially ended in 1941 amid a welter of protests from many quarters of German society. It however did go on more covertly. The total number of victims are estimated to have reached 200,000 plus.  Furthermore, it was the lessons the Nazis learned from Aktion T4 that helped them later on in their ‘final solution’.

We have all heard about the Yellow Star that Jews were required to wear under the Nazi Regime. This was but one of the classification symbols Nazis employed.  Notion that the star is but two triangles, one inverted on the other, was employed to classify people depending on their origin, their sexual orientation, their political affiliations, their religion and their overall productivity towards the Nazi war effort. Disabled people, those considered unfit for ‘economic productivity’ and eventually all others who were deemed ‘anti-social’ by the regime were accorded a Black Triangle. Which, incidently, is why the DPAC logo contains a black triangle at it’s centre.

Coming forward to the present day, prior to the Austerity programme, there were still many matters lacking for the ability of disabled people to fully engage in public life. But things were improving slowly, admittedly, but surely. We were gradually getting the notion of the Social Model of disability accepted. The notion was become accepted that people were disabled not by their impairment but rather by the society they were living in. All that went to the wall with the Austerity programme. We are currently facing the basic notion that impairment is a personal fault that society does not have to make room for, make concessions to or accept responsibility for. Unlike Aktion T4, the Austerity programme has not quite taken an active hand in killing disabled people. But disabled people are still dying as a result of austerity. 

Many disabled people do view the assault on their ability to engage in public life by the myriad of cuts, both in personal support and in social support, as akin to the intent of Aktion T4. I posit that this view is far from irrational. In fact, it is the only logical way to see the impact of the Austerity programme which is essentially a means of minimising Governmental responsibility for those it governs. 

Governments are there to set the stage on which we live our daily lives. If it makes it more difficult, or rather impossible for some of us the traverse that stage then government policy is wholly responsible for our inability to live full lives.

Austerity is responsible for killing each and every person who has found it impossible to live up to the expectations of economic activity as set by the governments that have initiated, and followed, the precepts of Austerity. Further, call a rose by any other name, and it still has thorns. Saying that Austerity is over has not meant that the impact of Austerity is no longer there. As long as disabled people are forced, through the actions and lack of action, by this or any other government, to live restricted lives, through lack of social support, we will, quite rightly, continue to see their actions, or lack thereof, in the same light as Aktion T4.

Miriam Binder

 Posted by at 21:09
Dec 202018
 

I am a longstanding DPAC supporter and now also Disability Officer for my local Labour Party (Berwick upon Tweed).  I would like to make contact with any other DPAC supporters in Northumberland to discuss campaigning against the Tories ‘hostile environment ‘ & how we can promote justice for all disabled people. Please contact me, Sarah, on sreqwerty@gmail.com

 

 Posted by at 21:00
Dec 122018
 

Ofsted, the schools inspection service have been concerned in recent months at data suggesting some pupils have been moved off the school register and removed from their school. Disabled pupils and those described as having special educational needs, are more likely to be subject to this practice, called “ off-rolled” This happened to one young person Pat (not the real name) who was recently off- rolled from a, state funded, secondary school in Greater Manchester. Pat is 14, has a diagnosis of Autism, also has the protection of an EHCP. Pat had three years of 100% attendance at the school and although Pat did not find the school met all support needs, Pat accepted responsibility and gave a commitment to hard work. This was reflected in Pat’s academic achievements, test results clearly indicated academic progress, year on year. An incident occurred when Pat was allocated a new support worker. The support person had been in post 5 days, no formal training to work with neuro – diverse pupils. The support worker did not know Pat, it was the lack of a meaningful relationship with Pat that triggered Pat’s “melt down” Pat will not be the first neuro-diverse person to have a melt down in school and Pat will almost certainly not be the last person to have a melt down. A melt down is likely when the school does not anticipate the triggers for a particular pupil and has not put appropriate support in place. This resulted in Pat being suspended from school for two days. Pat was utterly devastated, uncertain what had happened.

Pat’s mother attended the school to discuss what had happened, she was confronted by the headteacher and the head of SEN services from the local authority. There was no discussion, Pat’s mother was told to remove Pat to a “ autism school” 35 miles from their home or have Pat “homed schooled” This “choice” was imposed upon Pat’s mother by the head of SEN, supported by the headteacher without any consultation. This illegal action from two senior professionals is now being challenged. It is however, expected that both professionals will deny their actions and re- present their arguments as “ considered advice” in the “ best interests” of the young person. What is disturbing is that if the two senior professionals were confident in their judgments were in Pat’s best interest – why did they not follow the appropriate procedures and engage in the formal process of an EHCP review, with representatives from health and social care ? Why did the SEN local authority lead professional not take into consideration Pat’s views ? in fact he has never met Pat. Why have Pat’s teachers, health and care professionals not taken action to protect Pat from this abuse of Pat’s rights and a total disregard of the EHCP ? What is unforgivable is that the “professionals” surrounding Pat have allowed Pat to be presented as “the problem” and for Pat to take responsibility for the abuse of the professionals. Pat is not the only young person being subject to this despicable and systematic professional abuse, but is one of a growing number, identified by Ofsted.

This practice is a consequence of a wider concerted devaluation of disabled people in the UK, by this government, which has given licence to such malpractice against disabled people. What disabled child is safe from the malpractice of such senior professionals In schools and colleges ? What parent can say with Confidence their child is safe from being off-rolled by their school ? As a starting point we should encourage every such incident to be reported to Ofsted and Governors of the school.

 Posted by at 20:12
Dec 042018
 

What’s your experience of the welfare safety net?

The Work and Pensions Select Committee has opened an inquiry into the current state of the UK’s welfare safety net, prompted by the evidence of debt, hunger and homelessness it has heard across several recent inquiries.  The inquiry will look at how effectively our welfare system works to protect against hardship and chronic deprivation.

 

The UK’s welfare system is currently undergoing fundamental reform – the transition to Universal Credit alongside other major and largely untested reforms like Benefit sanctions and the Benefit cap, also there is the freeze on benefits.

 

Have you experienced hardship because of changes in you benefits? Your experience will inform Inclusion London’s evidence to the inquiry.  Please send to Henrietta.Doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk  by 12 December.

                         

You are welcome to send evidence direct to the Select Committee, information about doing this is available at:  https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/inquiry12/

The deadline is 14 December 2018

 

 Posted by at 17:20
Nov 262018
 

Actions against Universal Credit:
a hostile environment for women & children

Single mums challenge UC
working allowance disaster

Tues 27 & Wed 28 November 2018

High Court, Strand, London WC2A 2LL

Single mums are in court to challenge the government over the Universal Credit payment system which is inflexible and doesn’t reflect reality.  The rigid ‘assessment period’ causes wildly fluctuating benefit and debt. Part-time dinner lady Danielle Johnson from Keighley, West Yorkshire, is paid on the last working day of the month. But her monthly UC assessment periods are rigid – running from the last day of each month, meaning that if she is paid before the last day of the month, because payment falls on a weekend or non-banking day, she is assessed as having been paid twice that month, and not at all the next month (so she could be subject to the benefit cap). Claimants are unable to change their assessment period. Ms Johnson also argues that the system is discriminatory because it disproportionately affects mainly single mothers. Child Poverty Action Group and Leigh Day solicitors have joined together. See Leigh Day’s press release.  The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights recently condemned UC as ‘misogynist’.

10.30am: Court case starts in Court 1.  Go into court to support the claimants.  Continues Wednesday, check court listing here

Read “Universal Credit: a hostile environment for women”, by Selma James, Solveig Francis

UC Unite call out 1 Dec 2018.JPG

UC parliament square wide photo.JPG

Saturday 1 December 2018

National day of action to STOP Universal Credit
Called by
Unite Community

London-wide 2pm: In the shadow of Grenfell Tower, meet at Ladbroke Grove tube, London W10 6HJ

UK-wide info, including England, North of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, see Unite website.

 Posted by at 17:43
Nov 152018
 

The CWU’s fight to save our nation’s cherished Post Office network, which has been recently launched by the union in response to the bombshell announcement that 74 Crown offices are to be franchised (privatised) to high-street retailer WH Smith – a move which will impact some 800 jobs and drastically cut services to communities.

CWU is fighting back, with a range of high-profile local and national campaign activities being planned over the next couple of months – particularly in the run-up to Christmas.

We’ve created dedicated campaign website – www.saveourpostoffice.co.uk – which has all the essential facts, aims and demands and also features a quick and easy ‘write to your MP’ guide.

From the main page of the site, simply click to find your own MP and then click again for a model letter to her or him – or write to the Government Minister responsible for the Post Office, Greg Clarke, urging him to stop the wrecking of our Post Office.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward says: “At a time when the government is claiming to be on the side of workers, it is an outrage that it is allowing well rewarded jobs to go from a public service, handing them straight to a second-rate employer like WHSmith – recently rated as the worst retailer on the high street who will undoubtedly provide a significantly inferior service.”

And he’s asking all CWU members to “please visit the campaign site, write to your MP and watch out for upcoming Save Our Post Office activities in your local area.”

Can you help? Here’s what you can do…

  1. Go towww.saveourpostoffice.co.uk
  2. Enter your address
  3. Your MP’s name will appear
  4. Write your message
  5. Share with colleagues, friends, family etc
  6. Thank you

Dave Ward says:

“Together, united, we can stop this attack and save this cherished Great British institution.”

December 1st protests are planned for Aberdeen, Crawley, Nottingham, Chester, Basingstoke, York, and Bristol – with further events in other localities being discussed and organised as well.

We need YOU – December 1st Day of Action

“Come and get involved in the big nationwide Campaign Day to Save Our Post Office,” is today’s message from our general secretary Dave Ward.

Since the launch event last Thursday, enthusiasm is growing around the country, with protests, petitioning and lobbying gathering pace – and Dave is urging reps to “please remember to take these petitions around your unit.

“We’ve got around 190,000 members of this union, so between now and the Big Day, let’s get as many of our own people signed up as we possibly can,” he urges.

“And while you’re asking people to sign, please flag up the nearest December 1st event to them and boost the attendance on the day.”

Saturday December 1st will see protests in cities and towns in every region of the UK, in our defiant response to Post Office bosses’ announcement of the ‘franchising’ of 74 Crown offices to retailer WH Smith, impacting on some 7-800 jobs – marking a change in their strategy from managed decline to terminal decline.

“And that’s what we’re facing unless we can force a change of direction,” says our general secretary, who is also pushing forward the union’s vision for a positive future for our post office network – as the real hubs of our communities.

 Posted by at 18:38
Nov 152018
 

Our first day of action for Disabled Equality in Education will see meetings and events in colleges and universities, as well as schools where SEND cuts are destroying integrated education and will culminate in a meeting in parliament where we will bring forward demands for change.

 

Parliamentary meeting Wednesday November 21st House of Commons, Committee Room 10  from 5.30pm – 7pm. Some tickets are available for this event and we want as many disabled people as possible to attend:

please email DPAC or elaneheffernan@btinternet.com for tickets

 

Briefing Document from ALLFIE can be read here https://www.allfie.org.uk/

Cambridge

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) now has a Cambridgeshire and Essex branch! Come and join us for this protest about disability equality in work. We will be highlighting the government’s persecution of disabled people, reading the names of people who have died because of the horrific cuts and sanctions regime of the DWP, and agitating for real equality of access to work.

We are in solidarity with the UCU Day of Action for disability equality in education, for which events are taking place all day at the Cambridge University Students Union. If you’re going to one of the UCU events, come and join us at 2:30 in Market Square to take the message to the public.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018 from 14:30-16:30,

Market Square Cambridge

Cambridge.

https://www.facebook.com/events/304326216958523/?notif_t=plan_user_invited&notif_id=1542299943763655

Liverpool 

Support Wed 21st national UCU Day of action for disability equality in education at Liverpool University

Come and join us

12.00 Rally University Square (Brownlow Hill)

We will be leafleting:

10.45  502 Teaching Block  (Mount Pleasant next to Student Guild)

11.45 502 Teaching Block  (Mount Pleasant next to Student Guild)

The UCU is taking action  to challenge disability discrimination on campus and barriers faced by disabled people in education.

Our union branch recently passed a motion expressing concern about the disability discrimination on campus which is heavily impacting staff and students and demanding that the University complies with the Equality Act 2010 in relation to disability. The issues on campus were also reported in the media.
https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/union-backs-claims-of-widespread-discrimination-by-hostile-university/

Please come and show your support.

Please contact UCU equalities officer if you can help.  Kirsteen.paton@liv.ac.uk

https://www.ucu.org.uk/disabilityequality?utm_source=lyr-ucu-members&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=members&utm_term=all&utm_content=Day+of+action+for+disability+equality+in+education:+21+November+2018

 

There will be a disabled member of staff speaking, Kirsten (our UCU equalities officer at Liverpool) and a message of solidarity from DPAC would be great.

 

We are leafleting the 502 teaching block because access is none existent or very difficult.

 

 

 Posted by at 18:30
Nov 072018
 

Dear DPAC member

We would love to see you at our forthcoming Together! 2018 Disability History Month Festival events in East London, celebrating Disability Art, Culture and Human Rights. Everything is free and inclusive and everyone is welcome. This is the only national Disability Arts event led by a Disabled People’s Organisation. Further programme details are on our website at http://www.together2012.org.uk/activities-programme/together-2018-disability-history-month-festival/

Regards and all best wishes
 
Ju
 
Dr Ju Gosling FRSA
Artistic Director

Together! 2012 C.I.C.
Disability Arts, Culture and Human Rights
ju@together2012.org.uk / 07973 252751
www.together2012.org.uk
Facebook: together2012cic
Twitter: @ukdpctogether
Registered office: 90A Tudor Road, London E6 1DR.
Community Interest Company No 8443767.
Vat No 257 6833 66.


TOGETHER! 2018 FESTIVAL CALENDAR
Full venue details are at the end of the calendar

Friday 23 November 2018 7-9pm: World Premiere of ‘When You See Me’ & Festival Opening This new drama (pictured), commissioned by us from our associate company Act Up! Newham, and written and directed by Trevor Lloyd, is inspired by the Circus 250 anniversary. Stratford Circus 1.

Sunday 25 November 2018 1-2pm: Paracarnival Parade Fresh from winning the Judges Choice award at Hackney Carnival, Paracarnival comes to Newham with a procession of locally based Disabled artists and friends. Gallion’s Reach Shopping Park Beckton.

Saturday 1 December 2018 2-5pm: ‘VIBE: The Art of Transatlantic Inclusion’ A simultaneous symposium and exhibition about our two-year tactile sound project with Concordia University, Vibrafusion Lab Ontario and Disabled artists in Montréal. Vicarage Lane Community Centre Stratford.

Monday 3 December 2018 11am-1pm: Reading for Human Rights On International Day of Disabled People, join us to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights by reading from this and the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People at Beckton Globe Library. Easy Read, BSL and different languages texts available. The event will be live-streamed.

Friday 7 (6-8pm), Saturday 8 (12-8pm) & Sunday 9 December 2018 (12-8pm): Together! 2018 Disability Film Festival Our international film festival brings together films of all budgets and genres, by Disabled filmmakers or featuring a central Disabled character. Old Town Hall Stratford. We also offer a two-day workshop for emerging Disabled filmmakers on 6 & 7 December – email info@together2012.org.uk for further details.

Tuesday 11 December 2018 11am-2pm: Newham Disabled Reps Forum host a musical celebration of Disability History Month, including lunch and a raffle. Speakers include Disability History Month director Richard Rieser. Vicarage Lane Community Centre Stratford.

Friday 14 December 7-9pm: Together! Music Club and end-of-festival party Celebrate this year’s Disability History Month theme of music with an Open Mike night featuring Together! 2012 artists and friends, compered by Ju Gosling aka ju90. Vicarage Lane Community Centre Stratford.

Plus the Together! 2018 Open Exhibition, bringing together amateur, community, emerging and mid-career Disabled artists with a local connection. Vicarage Lane Community Centre Stratford. Dates tbc.

We aim to be as inclusive as possible of audience members as well as artists. All venues have step-free access and limited Blue Badge parking. Live audio-description is available on demand; productions are amplified with induction loops. BSL interpretation is provided for performances where speech is the main communication form. No need to book unless you wish to reserve seats (advised for groups of 5+). To reserve seats and find out more, email info@together2012.org.uk

FESTIVAL VENUES

For specific details, see Disabled Go.com 

Beckton Globe Library 1 Kingsford Way, London E6 5JQ. Nearest station (accessible): Beckton (DLR). 020 3373 0853. Bus routes include: 101, 173, 262, 300, 366, 376, 474.

Gallions Reach Shopping Park, 3 Armada Way, Beckton, London E6 7ER. Nearest station: Gallions Reach DLR (fully accessible). Bus routes include: 366, 262 & 101. Large free carpark. Click here for further details.

Old Town Hall, 29 The Broadway, Stratford, London E15 4BQ. 020 3373 7033 /07791 291 685. Nearest tube, overground and DLR stations: Stratford (fully accessible). Bus routes include 25, 69, 86, D8, 104, 108, 158, 238, 241, 257, 262, 276, 308, 425, 473, N8, N86, 010, A9, 741 & UL1. Blue Badge holders can prebook parking; others are advised to use the (old) Stratford shopping centre carpark.

Stratford Circus, Theatre Square, Stratford, London E15 1BX. 020 8279 1001. Nearest tube, overground and DLR stations: Stratford (fully accessible). Bus routes 257, 69  and 308 stop outside Stratford Circus in Great Eastern Road; 25, 86, 104, 108, 158, 238, 241, 262, 276, 425, 473, D8 alight at station. Very limited Blue Badge parking nearby; otherwise use the (old) Stratford shopping centre carpark.

Vicarage Lane Community Centre, Govier Close, E15 4HW. Nearest tube, overground and DLR stations: Stratford (fully accessible). Bus routes include: 101, 104, 300, 474. Street parking.

 Posted by at 16:20
Nov 042018
 

We’re looking into the possibility of setting up a DPAC choir to sing at various events. If you would be interested in joining this please email us at mail@dpac.uk.net

There would be no regular commitment needed although if possible people might want to attend one or more rehearsals. Please also let us know if you have a (polite) name for a DPAC choir.

 

 

DPAC Protesters blocking Birmingham's tram routes

DPAC Protesters blocking Birmingham’s tram routes

 

 Posted by at 21:01
Nov 042018
 

Monthly demonstration against Universal Credit outside DWP headquarters, Caxton House. Tothill Street. London. SW1H 9DA (near the Houses of Parliament)

Meet 12 PM – 1pm on the 1st Friday of each month including December and January.

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group used to demonstrate regularly outside their local jobcentres. But they’ve closed both of the local jobcentres. It is now easier for many  to get to the DWPs National Headquarters in Westminster than to get to their nearest remaining jobcentres.

KUWG cordially invite other Londoners, and allies to come and join them.

To contact KUWG please message them via their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kilburn.unemployed

 Posted by at 20:54
Oct 122018
 
Consultation – Share your views on TfL proposals to change 33 bus routes in London

TfL are reviewing bus services that serve the central London area and have made proposals to restructure and change the frequency of 33 routes and to introduce an additional service. This is said to be the biggest shake-up in more than 16 years of London’s bus network.
The new proposals would see the 48, 271 night service and RV1 routes axed. Elsewhere, they are planning to shorten 13 routes, and decrease frequency of a further eight routes. Some routes would see frequencies increased. One new route between Fulham Broadway and Oxford Circus will be introduced under the proposals.

Concerns
TfL’s own impact assessments on these changes show that they would disadvantage disabled people who might need to swop from one bus to another to get accross London. Where there is only one wheelchair space on each bus and prams often are allowed to use this space this could mean far longer journies for disabled people and having to wait at an interchange in cold or wet weather.

In particular Rv1 which they plan to axe completely is the only direct accessible route between London Bridge and Covent Garden.

59 and others not going to Kings Cross requires a change as the tube from Euston to Kings Cross is not accessible and vice versa of course.
205 not stopping at Marylebone which is one of the main rail stations and the only rail station to Oxford, Aylesbury. Banbury, Leamington, Warwick and Solihull.

In a city where only a third of the Underground is accessible, Disabled and older people rely heavily on bus services. Buses are the only mode of transport in London that is fully accessible (despite some regular issues). The plans, which are subject to a public consultation, would hugely affect Disabled and Older People served by the routes, especially the routes that are axed. Reducing the frequency would have a disproportionately negative impact on Disabled people, especially wheelchair and mobility scooter users who already have to fight for their right to access the wheelchair priority space – It is the only space that can host a wheelchair user, one at a time.

TfL’s proposals are based on the fact that passengers could use other nearby routes to complete their journey, when the routes have been shortened or restructured. But it completely ignores the fact that interchanges (such as Elephant and Castle) can be a real challenge for Disabled and Older People and especially for Visually Impaired or autistic people.
Take action – Respond to the consultation
TfA will respond to this consultation in order to share our concerns. We are looking for as much evidence and examples as possible. If you would like to contribute to our answer, please email us your feedback by Friday 2nd November: joshua@transportforall.org.uk.It is important that you share your own views on the proposed changed and especially the impact that it will have on your daily life. You can respond to the consultation yourself by sending your views by Friday 9th November 2018:

 Posted by at 13:30
Oct 102018
 

Day of Action on the 17th October for Safe Cladding and Insulation Now!  Schedule, updates, and victories

  • 0 am Solidarity demonstration outside UK Embassy, Brussels
  • 45 for 1.0 pm Demonstrate outside Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF, deliver Open Letter (have you signed?)
  • 0 pm event in House of Commons, Committee Room 18, hosted by Emma Dent Coad, MP tickets (free; please register to ensure a space).
  • 30 for 7 pm Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations public meeting, Crypt of St Peters Church, SE17 2HH tickets (free)

 

For months, after the horror of Grenfell, it seemed that residents of other tower blocks would be left indefinitely in buildings that could, any minute, go up in flames.

Since then, with steady pressure from Grenfell survivors, residents of the blocks, housing campaigners, Fuel Poverty Action, and social housing providers pressing central government, things have begun to change.

Thousands are still left in danger of fire and cold.

It is now essential to keep up the pressure and ensure that UK homes are safe, warm and that residents organisations are listened to — not ignored and increasingly de-resourced and disempowered.

Plans are well advanced for delivering our Open Letter to the MHCLG.  There is still a little time for organisations, MPs, councillors etc, to sign it – here.  

 

  • It will be delivered with a demonstration including residents – coming from as far away as Salford and Manchester, members of the Grenfell community, a speaker from Fire Brigades Union, representatives of pensioners and  disabled people – both more at risk from both fire and cold, housing organisations, and many others. To start the event, poet Potent Whisper will perform. Please try to arrive by 12.45 so we can start on time!  And  if you’re going on to the second event, you might want to bring a hot drink and a sandwich.
  • We will then walk to the House of Commons where we’ll have more time to compare experience and discuss ways forward.  It’s important to get MPs to this event — please be sure to urge yours to come – and to sign the Open Letter.  Please be sure to get a ticket in case space is tight. And if you’re coming from elsewhere, remember to allow at least 15 minutes to get through security.
  • Finally, we will move on to the public meeting called by Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations focusing on how residents’ organisations are being bypassed, starved of resources and disempowered, even as everyone acknowledges that residents’ voices are key to keeping buildings safe.

Support has been pouring in for this Day of Action and for the demands on the Open Letter.  Trade Unions are taking up the call, in particular the FBU, PCS, BFAWU, NEU, Unite Community, and many branches and officers of Unite and Unison.

A great addition to the Day of Action is a solidarity event outside the UK embassy in Brussels, organised by Right to Energy Coalition.  Their slogan: No more fire, no more cold: End Energy Poverty!  Avenue d’Auderghem 10, 040 Bruxelles, Belgium

Please do what you can in this last week to rally others, contact your MP, use social media.  Please see and promote the links below.

And please, if you are in London, join us on Sunday 14 October for the Silent Walk in memory of those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower.   Let us know if you can come. https://www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/

 

What’s been won so far:

  • 11 months on from the fire, the government finally promised to fund recladding of social housing tower blocks, at an estimated £400 million.
  • As of 20 September 2018, out of of 364 high residential buildings 22 have now had this work completed, plus 2 private sector blocks. 99 social and 12 private blocks have had work started.
  • Many councils and housing associations have looked again at all sorts of safety issues and have acted to improve fire doors, lighting, windows, and more.
  • The government have announced a ban on combustible cladding (precision) for buildings from now on

 

Still to be won:

  • The rest of the 364 have not begun replacement, and many private blocks and student residences don’t even have works planned.
  • The ban is limited in its nature and is not retrospective.  Many landlords/freeholders of leasehold buildings may try to wriggle out of making their buildings safe.
  • In Salford residents of 9 tower blocks were told that government money was not available because theirs was a PFI scheme, despite the fact that they were social housing tenants.  Now Pendleton Together finally say they have found the money to begin the work, but residents worry: when will it happen? How cold will they be, before replacement of cladding in buildings with extremely expensive heating systems, and whatever the source of the money, will they end up paying for it?
  • In response to a question prompted by Fuel Poverty Action, some housing associations in London have undertaken to cover the costs of extra heating while cladding is stripped off (it can take months or years to replace it).
  • The government funding will not cover private tower blocks, schools, hospitals or workplaces, blocks under 18M high or forms of combustible cladding other than ACM.
  • Nor will it help those who had no insulation to begin with – eg in Camden’s Chalcots estate, many ground floor flats never had the cladding and insulation that was installed elsewhere.
  • Round the country, tenants and residents associations are being dissolved or disempowered, replaced with unelected, hand-picked “representatives”, deprived of resources and even denied use of communal rooms in their estates.

 

Hope to see you on October 17th!

 

Our mailing address is:

Fuel Poverty Action

Unit 5E Punderson Gardens

London, Greater LondonE2 9QG

United Kingdom

 

 Posted by at 18:38
Sep 202018
 

DWP’s secret benefit deaths reviews: Investigations into deaths doubles in two years

The number of secret reviews carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) into deaths linked to benefit claims appears to have doubled in the last two years, according to figures the information watchdog has forced the government to release.

The figures relate to the number of internal process reviews (IPRs), investigations conducted by the department into deaths and other serious and complex cases that have been linked to DWP activity.

They show that, from April 2016 to June 2018, DWP panels carried out 50 IPRs, including 33 involving the death of a benefit claimant, or roughly 1.27 death-related IPRs a month.

DWP figures previously obtained by Disability News Service (DNS) show that, between October 2014 and January 2016, there were nine IPRs involving a death, or about 0.6 a month.

These figures are only approximate, because the information about IPRs (previously known as peer reviews) provided by DWP through freedom of information responses does not provide precise dates for when each of them took place.

But they do appear to show a clear and significant increase since early 2016 in the number of IPRs carried out following deaths linked by DWP to its own activity.

They also appear to show a return to the kind of frequency of reviews related to deaths of claimants that were seen between February 2012 and October 2014, when there were 49 such reviews at a rate of about 1.5 a month, at a time when research and repeated personal testimonies showed the coalition’s social security cuts and reforms were causing severe harm and distress to claimants.

The new figures also show that 19 of the deaths in the last two years involved a claimant viewed as “vulnerable”, while six of the IPRs (and four deaths) related to a claimant of the government’s new and much-criticised universal credit (see separate story).

John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, said ministers “always get up at the despatch box and say they are continually improving the system. This proves that to be false.

“Universal credit should be scrapped, sanctions should be scrapped and the government should call off the dogs, because it is leading to people’s deaths.”

McArdle said that if there was a tragedy involving the deaths of 33 people in a train crash there would be an independent inquiry into what went wrong.

But because these deaths were happening in the social security system, he said, no such public inquiry would take place.

He added: “It just shows a callous disregard for the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.”

A DWP spokeswoman declined to say whether the figures showed that DWP’s treatment of vulnerable and other benefit claimants had not improved significantly since 2012 and had worsened in the last two years.

She also declined to say if DWP was concerned that there had already been four IPRs following the death of a universal credit claimant, even though only a small number of people are currently claiming UC.

But she said in a statement: “The government is committed to supporting the vulnerable and DWP staff are trained to identify and support people in hardship.

“They can apply special easements to people’s claims and signpost to appropriate local support services.

“IPRs do not seek to identify or apportion blame. They are used as a performance improvement tool that help the department to continually improve how it deals with some of the most complex and challenging cases.”

DWP only released the figures to DNS this week after the Information Commissioner’s Office had reminded the department of its duties under the Freedom of Information Act.

The information was requested on 21 June and should have been provided within 20 working days.

But it was only emailed this week, after ICO wrote to DWP following a complaint lodged by DNS about the department’s failure to respond to the request.

20 September 2018

 

 

DWP’s secret benefit deaths reviews: Universal credit death linked to claimant commitment ‘threats’ 

A secret Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) review into the death of a claimant of universal credit (UC) has criticised the “overtly threatening” nature of the conditions they had to accept when signing up to the new benefit system.

The conclusion by a panel of civil servants relates to just one of 33 deaths, all linked to DWP activity, that have been subject to what are called “internal process reviews” (IPRs) since April 2016.

Brief details of these 33 deaths, and another 17 IPRs carried out into other serious or complex cases involving DWP activity, have been released to Disability News Service by DWP following a freedom of information request.

The panel of reviewers who carried out the IPR into the death linked to universal credit said that it seemed “excessive” for DWP to include eight references to sanctions and how much money a claimant would lose if they breached their “claimant commitment”.

The panel added: “…a better balance could be struck in reminding a client of the consequences of not meeting their obligations and not appearing to be overtly threatening, especially to individuals who are vulnerable.”

DWP has so far refused to say if it altered the claimant commitment – which sets out what conditions a universal credit claimant needs to meet to continue receiving the benefit – as a result of the IPR.

Further details of the circumstances of the death have not been released, as DWP is only obliged to release the recommendations made following each IPR (formerly known as peer reviews), rather than anything that could identify the subject of the review.

Of the 50 IPRs carried out since April 2016, six involved a universal credit claimant, and in four of these cases the claimant had died.

It is also not yet clear whether DWP acted on any of the other recommendations in the IPRs, but the case is likely to raise fresh concerns about the impact of the introduction of universal claimant on disabled people, and others in vulnerable situations.

It will also alarm those who have spent years highlighting concerns about the ongoing impact on disabled people of eight years of benefit cuts and reforms under successive Conservative-led governments.

DWP rules state that the department must carry out an IPR when it is “made aware of the death of a client and it is suggested that it is linked to DWP activity”.

Of all the reviews, four appear to include recommendations for improvements only to local procedures, with another eight (including three IPRs relating to a universal credit claimant) making recommendations for changes to national policy or practice.

One review reminded DWP “customer compliance officers” of the existence of the “six point plan”, which tells staff how to respond if they learn that a benefit claimant suggests they intend to kill themselves or self-harm.

The recommendations that followed another IPR appear to suggest that a “vulnerable” claimant died after DWP failed to carry out a “safeguarding visit” to check on their welfare when they did not return a form explaining why they had missed a work capability assessment (WCA).

Another IPR appears to have investigated a similar death, involving a vulnerable claimant with a mental health condition who failed to turn up for a WCA. That claimant also died.

One case that appears to have led only to recommendations for improvements locally suggests further poor practice by DWP, with the IPR saying that “we should have considered whether [information redacted] was a vulnerable customer and if there were safeguarding issues”.

It adds that DWP’s customer service was “also poor” for apparently telling the vulnerable claimant something before he or she died, although because the end of the sentence has been redacted by DWP it is not clear what was said.

In another case – although this claimant did not die – DWP staff appear to have failed to pick up on references to “suicide” in the online journal that universal credit claimants must keep up-to-date.

One DWP manager told the Independent last October that many universal credit case managers were overwhelmed by their workload and often had dozens of “unseen journal messages they simply don’t have enough time to address”.

The manager also told the website that many colleagues “feel out of their depth with the quantity of claims they manage, resulting in a vast amount of crucial work never being completed until claimants contact us when their payments are inevitably paid incorrectly or not at all”.

In another IPR that followed a claimant’s death, the panel reminded the department that all staff involved in making decisions on benefit claims must be “reminded of the need to make timeous decisions” relating to benefit sanctions.

Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, said: “The connections between the DWP’s actions and the deaths of social security claimants are extremely concerning.

“These figures reveal the devastating impact universal credit is having on disabled people.

“It is shocking that the government is continuing with its roll-out, in spite of this evidence.

“The government must now pause the roll-out and end the hostile environment they have created for disabled people.

“We urgently need an independent investigation into the connections outlined in the internal reviews, before more lives are ruined.”

A spokesperson for Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) said the information released by DWP “highlights failures at many levels”.

DPAC also criticised the IPR panel for suggesting that the key problem with the case involving the universal credit claimant whose death was linked to the “overtly threatening” claimant commitment was with the wording of the document.

The DPAC spokesperson said: “The panel does not address the issue. It is not the wording which needs to be reconsidered, but the fact that claimants deemed vulnerable can be bullied, threatened and intimidated by DWP to a point that their death became the subject of an internal review.

“The concerns about universal credit and its potential for severe harm have now been confirmed.”

The DPAC spokesperson added: “The internal process reviews give a glimpse into the living hell of claimants, where the reckless actions of benefits staff brought grievous harm, extreme distress and fatalities onto benefit claimants.

“And we are already seeing deaths of claimants under universal credit.

“If all the other warnings about universal credit were not enough, this should surely give the government an undeniable indication that they must stop their new hostile environment benefits system.

“To do anything else would mean that the government are knowingly about to bring yet more future deaths of benefit claimants.”

John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, said: “You can see the guidelines regarding vulnerable people are not being followed consistently.

“With the introduction of universal credit, it shows people’s lives are being placed at risk.

“DWP are still playing Russian roulette with people’s lives.

“Universal credit must be stopped in its tracks and it must be scrapped.”

A DWP spokeswoman declined to say how many of the IPR recommendations have been acted on.

She also declined to say whether the universal credit “claimant commitment” recommendations had been acted on, and whether they had been a concern to ministers.

And she declined to say if DWP was concerned that there had been four IPRs following the death of universal credit claimants.

But she said in a statement: “The government is committed to supporting the vulnerable and DWP staff are trained to identify and support people in hardship.

“They can apply special easements to people’s claims and signpost to appropriate local support services.

“IPRs do not seek to identify or apportion blame. They are used as a performance improvement tool that help the department to continually improve how it deals with some of the most complex and challenging cases.”

The latest information about the IPRs was only released by DWP after the Information Commissioner’s Office reminded the department of its duties under the Freedom of Information Act.

The information was requested on 21 June and should have been provided within 20 working days.

But it was only emailed this week, after ICO wrote to DWP following a complaint lodged by DNS about the department’s failure to respond to the request.

20 September 2018

 

 

Ministers quietly drop plans for ‘parallel process’ on working-age social care

Ministers have quietly decided to include the support needs of working-age disabled people in their new social care green paper, scrapping the idea of having a separate “parallel programme of work” as they try to address the social care funding crisis.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) previously said it would focus only on older people’s social care in its much-delayed green paper.

The decision to include working-age people’s support needs is likely to be welcomed by most disabled people’s organisations, but DHSC is still facing questions over why it reversed its decision at such a late stage and why it has apparently failed to make any effort to co-produce its policy with disabled people and their user-led organisations.

There are also still concerns over whether the green paper will side-line the support needs of working-age disabled people when it is eventually published.

As recently as last month, a House of Commons Library briefing paper referred to the government’s “parallel process” of work on social care for working-age adults.

But a DHSC spokeswoman has now told DNS that the green paper will “cover care and support for adults of all ages (rather than there being a separate workstream)”.

When questioned further about this, she said: “We have always planned to consider issues relating to all adults receiving social care.

“This will now be taken forward through a single green paper.”

She declined to comment when asked why the government had made this decision, but said disabled people and their organisations – and other “interested parties” – would be able to feed in their views in a consultation on the green paper, when it is published.

The disabled crossbench peer Baroness [Jane] Campbell, who chairs the Independent Living Strategy Group, told Disability News Service (DNS): “It would have been nice to be informed of this decision to scrap the parallel process by my fellow parliamentarians in the House of Lords, especially as I had asked formally on two occasions for any progress on the ‘parallel process’.

“So much for close collaboration with disabled people on matters that concern them directly!”

But she welcomed the decision to integrate working-age people into the green paper, which she hoped would be on an equal basis with older people.

She said: “This way, disabled people will not be a tag on, or afterthought, but have full green paper status.

“This is how it should be and something I said most firmly at the first meeting of ‘stakeholders’ with the ministers for disabled people [Sarah Newton], social care [Caroline Dinenage] and local government [Rishi Sunak].”

Baroness Campbell said that this meeting, in February, was the “first and only time” she has been consulted on the government’s social care plans.

She was also highly critical of the plans to simply consult disabled people after the green paper has been published, partly because she has been “highly sceptical of any consultation this government has conducted on pretty much any issue recently”.

She added: “Whatever happened to the progress we made with governments over the last 20 years on co-production, mutuality and equal involvement from the prototype stage?

“Disabled people don’t want to be consulted about policies which will determine the way they live, we want partnerships. Remember: ‘nothing about us, without us!’”

The disabled Liberal Democrat peer Baroness [Celia] Thomas, who speaks for her party on disability in the Lords and is also a member of the Independent Living Strategy Group, said there was continuing “despair” over when the green paper would eventually be published.

She said the news that working-age disabled people would now be included in the green paper “could be good news [but] it could be bad news” as it could either mean a “breath of fresh air” or signify that working-age disabled people will be “an after-thought”.

She added: “Everyone is in the dark.”

The news of the government U-turn emerged following a freedom of information request submitted by DNS, which had asked which committees and working groups had been set up as part of the parallel process, and which organisations were represented on them.

The department said in its response that “no such committees or formal working groups including stakeholders have been set up” as part of its work on working-age social care.

But she said the government had “engaged informally with a number of stake-holders and the insights from this work will inform the social care green paper”.

A DHSC spokeswoman declined to say which organisations it had engaged with, but she said: “We are grateful for the input of stakeholders to the work we have done to date and there will be an opportunity for all interested parties to feed in views through the green paper consultation process.”

DNS reported in March how the government had failed to set up a single committee involving experts from outside the two departments examining the future of working-age social care – DHSC and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government – nearly four months after the parallel programme of work had been announced.

The previous month, ministers had faced criticism after organising a “round table” event on working-age social care without inviting any disabled people’s organisations to attend.

The green paper has always been described by ministers as a document that would lay out the government’s proposals for the future funding of older people’s social care, with a separate programme of work looking at the care needs of working-age disabled people.

But there have been repeated concerns that the government was failing to make any progress on this parallel process and failing to engage with disabled people and their user-led organisations.

The much-delayed green paper is set to be published this autumn.

20 September 2018

 

 

New job stats raise questions over ministers’ boasts on disability employment

New figures obtained by a disabled people’s organisation – after ministers refused to commission the work themselves – appear to show how the government relies on the growth in self-employment and part-time jobs to exaggerate its success in increasing disability employment.

Ministers such as work and pensions secretary Esther McVey have repeatedly boasted of how their policies have led to hundreds of thousands more disabled people in work over the last five years.

But those claims have been based on figures provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which includes in its measure of “employment” people who are in part-time work, are self-employed, or are on government training and jobs programmes.

Ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) refused to commission work from ONS – which it told Disability News Service would cost just £125 (plus VAT) – that would show the full, detailed figures.

Now London’s pan-disability disabled people’s organisation Inclusion London has commissioned the work itself from ONS, at the same price of £125 plus VAT.

The new ONS figures*  obtained by Inclusion London show that nearly half of the increase in disability employment in the last four years has been due to disabled people becoming self-employed or taking part-time jobs.

Between 2013-14 and 2017-18, the number of full-time disabled employees rose by about 383,000, while the number of disabled people in part-time jobs, self-employment, government training programmes and employed as unpaid family workers increased by about 366,000.

During this period, the number of disabled people in self-employment increased by more than 22 per cent, when the number of non-disabled people who were self-employed rose by just nine per cent.

The increase in the number of disabled people in part-time self-employment increased even faster, by about 25 per cent.

There was, though, also a sharp increase of about 22.5 per cent in full-time disabled employees over the four years, although the number of part-time disabled employees rose even faster, by about 27.5 per cent.

Ellen Clifford, campaigns and policy manager for Inclusion London, pointed to the high number of disabled people who had become self-employed.

She said: “Research by the New Economics Foundation in 2017 found more than half of all self-employed people don’t make a decent living.

“This is even more of an issue for disabled people, whose outgoings tend to be much higher due to unavoidable impairment-related expenditure.

“Anecdotally we have heard about disabled people feeling pressured by their jobcentre to consider becoming self-employed.”

Clifford also highlighted the high proportion of disabled people who have taken part-time jobs.

She said: “This will include things like zero hours contracts which can again easily fail to provide the security, conditions and income levels that disabled people need.

“Studies have confirmed that unsuitable employment is worse for people’s health than no employment.”

She urged the government to “look at the types of jobs and work that disabled people are moving or potentially being pushed into and to address issues of quality instead of making the aim to get people off out-of-work benefits at any cost”.

Linda Burnip, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), said DWP had yet again “botched” its analysis of statistics.

She said: “Disabled people are particularly over-represented amongst the self-employed and as most people are aware, self-employment is often a route to employment taken by those excluded from mainstream labour markets.

“The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) have revealed that self-employed workers [can end up] £3,000 per annum worse off than those in employment with the roll-out of universal credit and are calling on the government, like DPAC, to stop this roll-out.

“They highlight too the instability of income that self-employment creates and the negative impact this has on the wellbeing of those working in this sector.”

A DWP spokeswoman declined to comment about the part-time work figures and whether the government agreed with calls to look at the types and quality of work disabled people are moving into.

But she said: “We welcome recent increases in the disability employment rate, with 600,000 more disabled people in work between 2013 and 2017.

“This analysis shows that employment and self-employment for disabled people both increased by around a fifth between 2013-14 and 2016-17.”

*It is not possible to compare today’s figures with 2009-10, before the Conservative-led coalition came to power, because of a change in in 2013 in how the survey data ONS uses to calculate its figures was collected

20 September 2018

 

 

Lib Dem conference: Universal credit migration is set for disaster, warns Lloyd

The impact of the “migration” of hundreds of thousands of disabled people onto universal credit from next year could prove disastrous because of the “hoops” the government will force claimants to leap through, according to a disabled MP.

Stephen Lloyd, work and pensions spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said the migration process was set to be “a disaster” for those disabled people currently claiming employment and support allowance (ESA), including many people with learning difficulties and mental health conditions.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is set to start testing the process of moving hundreds of thousands of existing ESA claimants – its estimates suggest it will eventually need to “migrate” 750,000 – onto universal credit from January, and intends to “increase volumes” by July and complete the process in 2023.

ESA claimants will be among those receiving a letter telling them that their existing benefits are about to stop and that they will need to make a new claim for universal credit.

They will have to fill out an online application, and then make at least one and possibly two, or even three, visits to their local job centre in the space of just one month, to validate their claim.

If they fail to do this, said Lloyd – who was speaking to Disability News Service at his party’s annual conference in Brighton – they will get “kicked out” and be left with no benefits, as their ESA claim will have ended.

A DWP memo, produced in June, said the department would give claimants at least one month to make their claim, although there will be “flexibility for this period to be extended” to up to three months.

But Lloyd said: “What on earth is going to happen? You have got to do all this in a month, otherwise you’re going to be kicked off. That’s going to be catastrophic.

“We have got to stop this, it’s ridiculous. It’s not going to work.”

He has written to work and pensions secretary Esther McVey to seek clarification on what claimants will be asked to do.

Lloyd said: “I have to get the minister to understand you have to give them more time, otherwise there is going to be a car crash.”

His hope is that pressure on McVey through parliamentary questions and an early day motion will force her to back down and ease the conditions imposed on claimants before regulations are laid before parliament in October.

Concerns about the migration have also been raised by the mental health charity Mind, which said: “Many people experiencing mental health problems have told us they are extremely worried about what these proposals will mean for them.

“As people begin to move over to universal credit, we are concerned people will fall through the cracks, and see their benefits stopped entirely.

“It’s appalling to place all the responsibility on unwell people to reapply for a new benefit and risk losing their income in the process.

“The government should change their plans so that no-one faces having their benefits stopped before they move to universal credit.”

A DWP spokeswoman said: “We are working closely with stakeholders and other parties to design the best possible process for the migration of our customers to universal credit.

“Our focus will be on safeguarding claimants and ensuring a smooth transition with uninterrupted support.

“Based on early planning there is no evidence to indicate that claimants would need to come into the jobcentre so frequently and therefore we do not recognise this claim.

“We plan to have a comprehensive and well-supported preparation period for claimants which will include a variety of communication formats, including face-to-face, internet and postal notification, to ensure claimants are aware of the managed migration process.

“There is flexibility to extend that period if necessary; and a process to ensure that, before the existing benefits are stopped, our staff will check for evidence of complex needs or vulnerability or disability and act accordingly to support the claimant.

“Additionally, if a claimant misses their deadline to claim there are provisions in the draft regulations that will allow DWP to back-date their claim.”

Lloyd said he has already tried locally to ensure that the impact of universal credit and other welfare reforms would not be as serious as it has been in other constituencies.

He brought food banks, housing association representatives, Citizen’s Advice and his own staff together in advance of the rollout of universal credit in his Eastbourne constituency last October, which he said helped ensure there was much less of a spike in the use of food banks in the town than in other similar constituencies.

Lloyd also believes that he is the only MP in the country who allocates a member of staff to attend regular benefit appeal tribunals on behalf of constituents.

So far this year, the staff member has attended about 70 tribunals (with a success rate of about 70 per cent).

During Lloyd’s previous stint as an MP, between 2010 and 2015, the same member of staff attended about 150 tribunals in four years.

He said: “As far as I know, no other MP’s office in the country sends one of their staff [so] regularly to tribunals.

“I basically lose him for three-quarters of a day a week, but it is the right thing to do.”

Meanwhile, tributes have been paid to the co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Disability Association (LDDA), Robert Adamson, who died just days before the conference began.

Born in Doncaster, and a retired civil servant, he was a former parliamentary candidate for the party and also stood in European and local elections, and was a former chair of the party’s Yorkshire and Humber region.

Baroness [Sal] Brinton, the party’s president, told the conference: “Robert never let his very disabling condition get in the way of campaigning locally and nationally.”

And Gemma Roulston, previously LDDA co-chair and now the association’s chair, said: “He wanted to improve the lives of people with or without disabilities, and anyone who was impacted by disability.

“He was always there for you, and was a good person to go to for advice and support.

“Conference hasn’t felt the same without him. He made a difference to people.”

20 September 2018

 

 

TUC piles pressure on Labour with vote to scrap universal credit

Trade unions have voted at their annual congress to call on the Labour party to shift its stance on universal credit and promise to scrap the controversial benefit system.

The annual TUC Congress approved a motion last week that had already been passed by disabled trade unionists at May’s TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference.

The motion called on TUC’s general council to tell the next Labour government to “stop and scrap” universal credit and carry out “far-reaching social security reform that truly makes work pay” and protects those unable to work.

Labour’s policy is currently to simply “pause and fix” universal credit rather than scrapping it.

The motion said universal credit – which combines six benefits into one – was a “draconian” system that had left many people in “debt, eviction and hunger”.

It pointed out that workers could – for the first time – face “savage sanctions for not demonstrating that they are seeking to improve their paid income”, while “part-time workers could be forced to leave work that suits their disability or family life for a worse paid, full-time job”.

Dave Allan, chair of the national disabled members’ committee of Unite the Union, proposed the motion on behalf of the TUC disabled workers’ committee, and it was seconded by Mandy Hudson, of the National Education Union.

Allan told delegates that the disabled workers’ committee had worked tirelessly to warn of the impact of universal credit and its roll-out, which he said would “fall like a hammer blow upon seven million households – including one million low-paid workers”.

He said there had been an “utter lack of support” for disabled claimants, while the “cruel programme of sanctions” was “landing on claimants like a series of bureaucratic punishment beatings”.

Allan said the “misery” and “destruction” caused by universal credit was no accident.

He said: “This is the cold, calculated and systematic impoverishment of disabled people. This is malice by design.”

He added: “A pause of the roll-out will not do. We are not just calling on the government to simply ‘think again’.

“We are calling for the immediate, unconditional and total ban on universal credit.”

Allan told Disability News Service this week that the TUC vote had been unanimous and that the next step was to persuade the Labour party to commit to scrapping universal credit and include that pledge in its manifesto for the next general election.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady added: “All politicians need to look at the disastrous effects universal credit is having around the UK, at how hard disabled people have been hit and how it is pushing people into rent arrears and poverty, leaving them turning to food banks.

“The roll out of universal credit should be stopped, before it continues to inflict more damage.

“And a fundamental rethink is required of the social security system, and how it can deliver a fair and dignified system for everyone.”

A TUC spokesman stressed afterwards that O’Grady was calling for universal credit to be scrapped and not just to “stop and fix” the system.

He said: “The TUC policy is not stop and fix. Our congress endorsed a policy of stop and scrap.

“The immediate priority has to be to stop the rollout, as that is the immediate danger to disabled people.

“But the current universal credit is not fit for purpose and TUC staff will now pursue the direction set by congress by developing policy for a system to succeed it that better meets the needs of disabled people and others who rely on social security.”

20 September 2018

 

 

Lib Dem conference: Members vote for rights-based reform to mental health laws

Liberal Democrats have called for an end to “discriminatory” laws that allow people with mental health conditions or learning difficulties who have capacity to make their own decisions to be detained against their will.

Current mental health legislation means that a person assessed as needing urgent medical treatment and assessment because of a “mental disorder” can be detained in hospital against their will.

But party members argued that detaining people based on whether they have a “mental disorder” was discriminatory, a breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and discouraged people from being open about their mental health.

Party members voted at their annual conference in Brighton this week to demand sweeping reform of the law in England and Wales, despite substantial opposition.

They agreed that people with mental health conditions or learning difficulties should not be forced to have medical treatment unless they do not have the capacity to make a decision about whether they wish to have that treatment.

And they said that people should be able to make advance decisions – as defined in the Mental Capacity Act – to refuse detention or treatment.

They also fended off efforts from some party members to amend the motion so that individuals could be forced to be treated and detained, even if they had capacity, if their refusal would pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or others.

One delegate compared the current legislation to historic witchcraft and slavery laws, and the Spanish Inquisition.

He and others argued that people who have capacity to make their own decisions, but have a mental health condition or learning difficulty, should not face the possibility of being detained against their wishes in hospital.

Henry Jones, who has a degenerative neurological condition, described how he had been held against his will in hospital for six months.

He had spoken at the time of wanting to end his own life because of his condition, and as a result “two large men showed up at my home” and took him into detention in a locked mental health ward.

He told delegates: “Even with my condition I had capacity. They treated me like an animal, they did everything they could to break me.

“It achieved nothing except to make me never ever want to engage with mental health services.”

But, he said, it did “make me want to reform the law before passing on”.

He said that if he had been treated “like a human” by mental health professionals he could have “talked openly about what was happening in my brain… it would have saved me and others around me four years of hell”.

He added: “All I am asking for is for us to have the same basic human dignity that other people have.”

Another party member, Andrew Muir, told the conference how his wife had been sectioned in 2006 after she complained about treatment she had received at a Scottish hospital.

She was forced to take medication while in detention for 51 days – when there was no evidence of mental ill-health – and was physically abused by staff, and then forced to take drugs for another year when she was released on a community order.

He also said that the review of the Mental Health Act 1983 – being led by psychiatrist Professor Sir Simon Wessely – should instead be led by a human rights expert.

Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton also spoke in favour of the motion.

He said: “In Scotland – and I am sure south of the border – we are stripping people of their basic right to be heard.

“People in the grip of mental illness, that’s when their human rights matter most.”

A string of mental health professionals spoke against the motion, including one who accused it of “muddle” and being “full of misconceptions”, and another who said it was “unworkable and not sensible” and would remove protections that were available in the Mental Health Act.

But one psychiatrist, Mohsin Khan, who supported the motion, pointed out that similar laws to those suggested had been introduced in some US states and Northern Ireland.

He said the motion “merely brings mental health in line with what happens with physical health”, and would allow adults “who have consistent, long-term capacity to rationally decide to make decisions for their own body for the future”.

20 September 2018

 

 

Pair of projects set to improve countryside access

User-led organisations have played a key role in two major new projects that aim to improve access for disabled tourists and ramblers.

In Oxfordshire, Natural England has opened the National Land Access Centre (NLAC), which will provide training for landowners, farmers and rights of way officers on how to ensure that gates and other countryside obstructions are accessible to disabled people.

And in Lancashire, Blackpool-based disabled people’s organisation (DPO) Disability First is celebrating a government grant of nearly £1 million for a project that will improve access to the Fylde, Wyre and Blackpool coastline.

NLAC, based at Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve, will offer training courses that show how to use, maintain and install fences, barriers and stiles that meet a new British Standard, which was published in February.

Natural England, the government’s advisers on the natural environment, has worked closely on the plans with the user-led charity Disabled Ramblers, and project partners The British Horse Society, the specialist gate supplier Centrewire and the Pittecroft Trust.

John Cutherbertson, chair of Disabled Ramblers, told Disability News Service (DNS): “There is a huge swathe of the population who cannot clamber over stiles.

“What we found is the main thing that stops people accessing the countryside is the lack of understanding by those people who are putting these gates in.

“Some of them still think that the less able would prefer to stay at home and watch the telly.

“They don’t realise that people want to get out there and need to get out there for their mental health as well as their physical well-being.”

He said Disabled Ramblers was trying to educate these groups, such as farmers, landowners and rights of way officers, about the “least restrictive” way to enclose land, and ideally install gates that disabled people can open and close on their own, without needing someone with them.

He said he hoped that the selection of gates and barriers on show at the centre would grow and would be joined eventually by accessible versions of other equipment, such as bridges and boardwalks.

Disabled Ramblers has provided an off-road mobility scooter to the centre so people who take the courses can use the vehicle to see how difficult it can be to manoeuvre through such obstacles.

Cuthbertson said that Centrewire, which was founded by Tom Bindoff, a non-disabled member of Disabled Ramblers, had been keen to modify its products to make them more accessible.

Bindoff has even designed a “kissing gate” that can be opened by a scooter-user using a RADAR key, he said.

The disabled Tory peer Lord Blencathra, deputy chair of Natural England, said: “Improved access will help to connect more people with their natural environment, giving them a chance to enjoy our countryside, its open space and fascinating wildlife – all key aspects of the government’s 25 year environment plan.”

Meanwhile, funding of £985,000 has been awarded to a consortium led by Disability First through the government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

Alan Reid, chief executive of Disability First, said his organisation was “thrilled and very proud” to be awarded the funding in its 25th year as a charity.

He said he wanted the Fylde, Blackpool and Wyre coast to “strive to become a more truly inclusive resort”.

The Access Fylde Coast project is supported by Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre councils, Blackpool Transport, Marketing Lancashire, Lancaster University, the access information provider DisabledGo, Blackpool’s Coastal Community Team and the area’s local Volunteering Centre.

Reid said the project, which will last nearly two years, was “exciting and unique”.

He told DNS the scheme would improve access for both visitors and residents by offering free access audits and disability awareness training to local shops and businesses.

The project will also develop a culture and heritage mobile phone app, linked to existing apps offered by Blackpool Transport and DisabledGo, and which will include a British Sign Language interpretation service.

He said: “This will support people with a variety of disabilities with tram and bus access once they step off the train station in Blackpool and venues will have details of their particular disabled facilities and heritage information on the app.”

The project also plans to showcase professional disabled performers at Blackpool Opera House theatre and disabled artists in a local art gallery, and improve access at existing events including the Blackpool Illuminations switch-on and Lytham Festival.

He said there was also the possibility that a disabled performer could perform at, or even switch on, the illuminations next year.

On a visit to Lytham Saint Annes, coastal communities minister Jake Berry said: “It’s really exciting to see money from the Coastal Communities Fund help kick-start these shovel-ready projects, which have the potential to unlock the barriers to development and growth in our coastal communities.”

The Coastal Communities Fund was established to support coastal projects in the UK to deliver sustainable growth and jobs.

20 September 2018

 

 

Lib Dem conference: Party anger over DPAC’s ‘don’t vote Lib Dem’ call

Two leading disabled Liberal Democrats have criticised anti-cuts activists over their public call for disabled people not to vote for their party.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) published a high-profile message on social media this week during the party’s annual conference in Brighton, warning that disabled people “won’t forget” and “won’t forgive” its junior role in the coalition government between 2010 and 2015.

But David Buxton, the co-founder of the Liberal Democrat Disability Association, who has worked on campaigns with DPAC, said he would no longer support its work because of the message.

The party’s work and pensions spokesman, Stephen Lloyd, was also critical of DPAC.

But DPAC, which is not aligned with any political party, has defended its position.

It said it held the Liberal Democrats “jointly responsible” for coalition cuts and reforms such as the closure of the Independent Living Fund, damaging policies on the work capability assessment (WCA), the bedroom tax and the introduction of personal independence payment and universal credit.

It also pointed to the coalition’s “hostile environment benefits regime” and the “avoidable deaths and suicides of benefit claimants during the coalition years”.

DPAC added: “Our message to the Liberal Democrats is – you don’t get to walk away from your actions in those years – disabled people will remember.”

But Buxton said he was “very disappointed” by the DPAC message because he had been “very supportive of their work which has been excellent and has been important in stopping further cuts.

“Their job is to stop the cuts and we have been very supportive of that.”

He told Disability News Service at the party’s annual conference in Brighton that the coalition years had been “a very difficult time” and the Liberal Democrats had “tried to stop further cuts and were successful in stopping those cuts, but there were areas where the books had to be balanced”.

He asked why DPAC was not criticising Labour in a similar way.

He said Labour’s last government had rejected pleas from Deaf people for a British Sign Language act and had also been responsible for cutting disability services during its 13 years of office, while many Labour-run councils were now cutting services even though some, like Hammersmith and Fulham, had managed to protect disabled people from cuts.

He said: “Should Deaf people say they never forgive the Labour party? Thankfully, Labour have now changed their mind [on the need for a BSL act].”

He added: “Political parties can change. We have changed as a party. We are no longer in coalition government.

“There has been a change in leadership and we do recognise that we have to find ways of creating new policy that would be fairer and we will demand better for disabled people.”

Lloyd said DPAC’s message was “very disappointing” and ignored the fact that Labour brought in the WCA and awarded the contract to carry out the assessments to the much-criticised contractor Atos.

He said he was “proud” of what his party had achieved in coalition when facing “very challenging issues” with the economy, although there had been “some decisions in DWP that were wrong” and “others that were right”.

But Bob Ellard, a member of DPAC’s national steering group, said: “We are not party political and we will criticise any party as we see fit.

“We will be publicly criticising Labour over their ‘pause and fix’ policy for universal credit during their conference and we’ve been very vocal in criticising Labour in the past.

“We’ve also criticised the Green party over their policy on assisted suicide.

“And we have been very critical of the actions of Labour councils.

“The Lib Dems have Vince Cable as leader, who was a cabinet minister in the coalition, and many of their MPs were MPs in the coalition and voted for Tory welfare reform.

“Just as the tweet says, ‘They don’t get to walk away from that.’”

20 September 2018

 

 

Lib Dem conference: Lloyd backtracks on support for Duncan Smith

A Liberal Democrat MP who has supported Tory former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has admitted he gave him “more benefit of the doubt” than he should have done during the five years of the coalition government.

Stephen Lloyd, who served on the Commons work and pensions committee while Liberal Democrat ministers were serving in the coalition government between 2010 and 2015, has previously defended Duncan Smith.

And during this week’s annual party conference in Brighton, he told a fringe meeting that Duncan Smith had had some good ideas about the importance of employment in addressing disadvantage but had been undermined by right-wing papers like the Daily Mail publishing stories about benefit “scroungers”.

When asked later about this statement by Disability News Service (DNS), Lloyd said he had challenged Duncan Smith in parliament on his inappropriate language.

But he insisted that DNS was only “half right” in suggesting that Duncan Smith was responsible for whipping up hostility in tabloid papers like the Mail.

DNS then repeated comments Duncan Smith had told The Sun in late 2010 in which he said he had been “appalled” at how easy it has been in the past for people to claim incapacity benefit and cheat the system and said that Sun readers were right to be “upset and angry” when they saw neighbours who do not work.

Duncan Smith also told the Sun that Britain had “managed to create a block of people” who “do not add anything to the greatness of this country” and had “become conditioned to be users of services, not providers of money.

“This is a huge part of the reason we have this massive deficit.

“We don’t want to talk about scroungers in the future, we want to talk about British people being renowned the world over for working hard.”

Lloyd said again that he had challenged Duncan Smith over the language he had used.

But he said he now acknowledged that in his own zeal to see more people in work, he could have overlooked the harm caused by Duncan Smith and his supporters.

He said: “I think I did and I acknowledge that. In recognising that Iain Duncan Smith got the importance of jobs I can see that in coalition there were times when I would have given him more benefit of the doubt than I should have done.”

20 September 2018

 

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

 

 Posted by at 20:41
Sep 062018
 

 http://www.daleymichelle.co.uk/the-white-mans-burden-global-disability-summit-personal-reflection/

The White Man’s Burden – Global Disability Summit personal reflection

The title of this blog is intentional and aims to be provocative. I have borrowed the title from William Easterly’s book, “The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good”​. This is very true of the Global Disability Summit hosted in London.​

This blog is based on my personal experience and observations of the Global Disability Summit and doesn’t reflect anyone else’s opinion.

The continued road to discrimination and exploitation

I can say, without a doubt, that the Global Disability Summit was the ideal platform for our UK Government to embarrass and shame those present ‘developing countries’ for their failings with regard to Disabled People (as depicted in the image above) and their purposeful denial of their own wrongs in relation to Disabled People in the UK. We must remember that colonialism and imperialism do not die. The United Kingdom continues to be revered around the world as a country that is the voice of equality. At the Summit, there was an unequivocal message that the UK Government has an effect on other countries in terms of being a leader in disability equality and has paved the way for innovation. It’s no surprise the Summit was hosted on the site of the Global Disability Innovation Hub.

The UK Government needs you
The UK Government co-hosted “its first ever Global Disability Summit with the International Disability Alliance and the Government of Kenya”.

However, history has taught us about the slippery behaviour of the UK Government. Through the art of sophistication, control and dominance, the UK Government has a way of masking their horrible history, failings and exploitation. With this knowledge, it led me to ask the question as to who is receiving any benefit from this Summit? What was the purpose of the Global Disability Summit and hosting such an elaborate event? The Summit was held in the London Borough of Newham; an area with huge poverty and inequality. The Evening Standard has reported that the London Borough of Newham is one of London’s ten worst areas in terms of homelessness. Therefore, I felt it was key for me to show some of the delegates the true reality of the life of people living in the area. They were in total horror when they were more informed about the large number of people sleeping on London’s streets. One of the delegates commented, “this is so unexpected, not a place of inequality and I did not think people slept on the streets. The stories of these people are not often reported in our home countries.”

The idyllic picture was the reason that had attracted my parents to leave Jamaica for a home in the UK. Then, the UK was portrayed as the, “mother land and paved with gold; a country filled with opportunities”. This was an attractive factor that drew many people to the UK after the Second World War.

However, the truth was, the UK needed people from the colonial countries post-Second World War (1948 – 1957) in order to help address the labour shortage. The Caribbean was one of the countries that the UK received huge help from, particularly with regard to building the NHS.

Thus, it does not come as any surprise that with Brexit fast approaching, the UK Government is desperate to create global opportunities with their colonial countries. The recent news coverage reports that Theresa May, PM, is looking to secure trade deals with Africa after Brexit. Moreover, the “UK seeks to tap into the Kenyan markets as the Brexit deadline approaches” with this country also being the co-host country of the Summit.

However, I’m deeply saddened that the UK Government has ignored the findings of the UN Disability committee. The Disability Committee reported that the UK Government is causing a “human catastrophe” in relation to Disabled People and that they can no longer call themselves leaders of disability provision. As I write this blog, we have Disabled People taking up hospital beds, as in the case of Lakhvinder Kaur because she was evicted from a care home while in intensive care and made homeless.

We are seeing history repeating itself, with the UK masking its failings in order to attract help from other countries, create opportunities, secure their own dominance and obtain power at the expense of others.

The Aliens Act
Colonialism reinforces inequality so it will come as no surprise when I tell you that I’m frequently asked questions about where I come from or where I was born. Not satisfied when I reply in the UK, people normally continue with the question; and your parents? I could discuss this issue further but I will not because it is not the intention of this blog. Anyway, I was repeatedly asked at the Global Disability Summit the same questions about where I am from. It became painfully annoying and frustrating. I believe I was asked this question as the images portrayed of UK Disabled Leaders are mostly White Disabled Men and few Women. What this revealed to me is the level of inequality experienced by Black Disabled Women in the UK and reinforced that our presence in the UK is not recognised or embraced.

This experience drew me to the Aliens Act  (now known as the Immigration Act) which was introduced in the UK to control its borders, immigration and to view non-UK citizens as a threat. A threat is exactly how I was viewed at the Summit. I was totally taken back when I was asked for Identification (ID) at the registration desk. I became vexed instantly. All sorts of thoughts were rushing through my head as I knew assumptions were being made based on my skin colour and the assumption that I was a non-UK citizen. I remained calm and controlled by anger. I asked why ID was needed and why this information was not conveyed during the registration process. My blood was at boiling point because I knew this request was borne out of racism and I knew this system was set up to keep checks on the black oversea delegates to ensure they were at the event and returned to their home countries. So did I provide ID? No, because I knew it was not necessary. And, why were immigration control practices being applied at the Summit, particularly when delegates would have already completed the necessary checks to enter the UK?

Once I gained entrance. I rolled into the event but my frustration continued to rise, as well as my disappointment with the obvious signs of racial inequality within the job roles and the way Disabled People from Asian and African countries were being depicted as inferior. It did not matter that this event was being co-hosted with the Kenyan Government; it was clear who the power-holders were. White privilege and power has the ability to discredit the worth of Black People, segregate and create enormous damage in the way Black People are perceived. My feeling of uncomfortableness was painful as the reality is that the privilege of the power-holders has depicted our Black Disabled Sisters and Brothers as helpless and as the the White Man’s burden.

In fact, this is far from the truth since through my networking, I have learnt that many of the African countries present at the event have more Disabled People in their Government than the UK Government does.

A Change Is Gonna Come

The Global Disability Summit showed no respect for Disabled People globally and no appreciation for our shared experienced. The Summit was used as an attempt to mask “UK failure to uphold disabled people’s rights

The words of Marvin Gaye, “A change is going to come”, expressed the very essence of the International Disabled People movement’s demand for solidarity and unity. This is exactly what Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) did through hosting the rival International Deaf and Disabled People’s Solidarity Summit, which was a great event where Disabled People from around the globe came together to share our experiences. It did not waste resources and require an elaborate setting to bring people together. It was a perfect example to show why we need solidarity for our struggle and the liberation of Disabled People globally.

DPAC also hosted a “festival of resistance” outside the Summit in order to criticise the hypocrisy of co-hosting the Summit. Myself and Nadia Hadad, from the European Network on Independent Living, were prevented from re-entering the summit by security as we had DPAC leaflets (see image below), which were perceived as promoting negative messages about the UK Government. It was through our sister, Sojourner Truth, that I learnt about underground activism. Through her teaching, I managed to slip pass security with the leaflets and shared them with many of the delegates. I also got many Disabled People to leave the Summit and join in the festival, which was a proud moment for me.

Another huge applause must go to Alliance for Inclusive Education, Campaigns and Policy Coordinator, Simone Aspis for publicly calling out the UK Government for their failings with regard to Disabled People.

What’s going on?
When Marvin Gaye sung, “what’s going on”, it couldn’t be more of a poignant question to conclude this blog with.

Angela Davis’ quote perfectly articulates the point of this blog, although her reference relates to America. She says that, “as a black woman, my politics and political affiliation are bound up with and flow from participation in my people’s struggle for liberation, and with the fight of oppressed people all over the world against American imperialism”.

So when we discuss the question of the advantages and disadvantages of the Global Disability Summit, we need to decide if we want to support colonialism and imperialism or not. The other questions we need to ask are; did the Summit promote solidarity and unity between Disabled People globally or did it promote disability liberation or oppression?

Peace and one love

 

 Posted by at 14:34