Linda

Feb 212018
 

Our very committed steering group member Ellen Clifford stayed up until 1am to speak to canadian radio about our concerns on UBI. Also speaking about concerns about UBI was John Clarke from Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. You can hear the discussion here

Democracy North: Are Basic Income Programs Too Good to be True?

A much more detailed and authoratitive study will be published shortly but as others support the concept we wanted to flag up just some of the reasons we’d suggest great caution is needed in relation to a Universal Basic Income.

Concerns with UBI

  • The UK has in place a complex and targeted social security system. UBI trials in countries without the same levels of support infrastructure produce positive results, for example the pilots in Madhya Pradesh showed significant benefits for disabled people such as being able to afford food and medical assistance, as well as providing independent income for disabled people so they are not entirely reliant on families and enabling autonomy. Introducing a UBI in the UK would require that all or some of our present benefits and support systems are replaced which would be a far more complex undertaking. The distribution of gains and losses would depend upon the detail of the UBI scheme.
  • The cost of UBI in the UK at Guaranteed Minimum Income levels would significantly exceed current spending on cash benefits and tax-free allowances. A budget-neutral UBI would therefore require either a UBI below GMI levels, or additional tax increases.
  • Full UBI schemes that are in any way financially feasible result in big losses for disabled people. As a result, supporters of UBI such as the Citizen’s Income Trust now recommend a partial UBI where disability benefits (and housing) are retained as a separate parallel system. In Annie Miller’s 297 page Basic Income Handbook she includes just one page on “The needs of disabled people” (of which half a page is about carers) where she says “Disability benefits are based on need and are therefore a different system from BIs… Both housing and disability benefits are very much in need of revision but are beyond the scope of this book. The interaction between BI and support for these costs (and between them) would need to be considered in developing policy in each area.”
  • Supporters of a partial scheme where disability benefits are retained assure us that no disabled person will be worse off under UBI. We were told the same thing about Universal Credit and that has proved not to be true. The social security system is extremely complex and without detailed modelling setting out exactly how UBI would sit alongside a system of disability benefits sufficient to meet need it is difficult to be confident that it could work in this way without losses. A briefing to Nicola Sturgeon states: “Significant modelling effort would be required to establish levels which did not impact negatively on vulnerable groups.” One key benefit that UBI would most likely replace is ESA yet the rate of ESA for those in the support group is significantly higher than what is considered a feasible UBI level. This brings the prospect of “rough justice” for those who face the most disadvantages. The University of Bath paper presents an idea for a UBI with additional disability and severe disability premiums which when micro-simulated produces strong reductions in inequality and poverty but would be very expensive and require significant increases in income tax. The report authors conclude: “The unavoidable reality is that such schemes either have unacceptable distributional consequences or they simply cost too much.” DPAC members have concerns that the process for proving eligibility for disability premiums could be as problematic as the current system for applying for existing benefits.
  • Not only would running a UBI in parallel to disability benefit systems be complex, there is also the potential danger of increased stigma against those for whom the UBI is insufficient to meet their needs and less public will to fund them.
  • The disability benefits system is not fit for purpose. While proponents of partial UBI schemes propose retaining current disability benefits, disabled people are calling for an urgent overhaul. We are concerned about how the long and complex task of introducing a UBI would impact on the considerable task of reforming social security for disabled people. Attempting to manage both at the same time risks mistakes and as we have seen under welfare reform, where admittedly the many ‘mistakes’ are the result of deliberate ideological policy, mistakes cost lives.
  • Alongside an adequate standard of income, disabled people require other support services in order to enjoy full and equal participation in society. The current crisis in social care is one example of the urgency of the question of how to fund these. If independent living support remains under the administration of local authorities, then in order to end the situation whereby disabled people’s rights are being breached on a daily basis by lack of provision, one obvious solution would be to remove the cap and increase council tax. Increasing council tax alongside an increase in income tax to afford UBI could by very unpopular. Disabled people are calling for independent living support (i.e., social care) to be removed from local authorities and instead administered by a national independent living support system to be paid for out of general taxation. We are concerned that the introduction of UBI funded by increases in income tax will reduce the amount available to fund an independent living support system capable of meeting disabled people’s needs. While many disabled people would be in favour of tax rises to fund welfare provision – particularly corporation tax and a progressive rise in the higher rate of income tax – the use of this for a UBI rather than more traditional forms of disability and unemployment support would mean much of the benefit flowing back to employers rather than those in most need. In functioning as a wage subsidy UBI would act to significantly reduce employers NI contributions. It would be hard to make a case that this is a more progressive solution than simply reversing much of the damage that the Tories have done to current systems.
  • There is also a more general concern about pressures on public spending and negative impacts on social programmes as a result of introducing a UBI. In Hirsch’s paper for the JRF he warns about the need to take account of the fact that income tax is used for public expenditure other than income transfers and the dangers of underestimating the rate of income tax increase required without making cuts in public services.
  • The distributional impacts of a UBI mean that there are winners and there are losers– whereas under the current system the biggest losers tend to be those who face the biggest barriers, eg disabled people and the poorest members of society, some UBI models will benefit low income deciles while increasing inequality for the poorest. This is at odds with what the public generally understand as the aims of a social security system. It also has the potential to divide against each other groups of people who are currently united in our opposition to the rich elite who we see as responsible for growing inequality and poverty.
  • UBI provides a useful contribution to the debate on the future of social security where it adds support and evidence for the need to end conditionality and the impacts of inadequate income and punitive approaches in moving people further from the labour market. However DPAC’s view is that this is the extent of its usefulness.
  • UBI in the wrong hands could be extremely dangerous. Libertarians want to use it to sweep away the welfare state including the NHS while neoliberal governments see it as a way of forcing unemployed workers into insecure low paid jobs. The version of UBI being trialled by Finland’s right-wing government has been described as a “UBI-as-workhouse nightmare”[1]. Ontario Coalition Against Poverty issued a statement supported by Canada’s largest public services trade union saying “The emerging model of basic income reflected in pilot projects and initiatives in a number of countries and jurisdictions is one that would intensify the neoliberal agenda”[2]. John Clarke from OCAP has written ““The neoliberal attack is taking up Basic Income as a weapon. We need to fight it instead of laying down a welcome mat.”
  • UBI compensates for while leaving unchallenged the structures that cause inequality. This is no doubt why Silicon Valley is so much in favour of UBI as a way to tackle the problem of job losses through automation, because it ignores the question of the ownership of the technology. Instead, UBI accepts the status quo. By subsidising low wages there is a danger that UBI could encourage employers to further drive down wages and job security. This is a concern to disabled people who are statistically much more likely to be in low paid work than non-disabled people. A large proportion of politicised disabled people know that capitalism has no reason to accommodate us, in fact the very opposite, and that full disability equality cannot be achieved under the current system. Instead we need a socialist society operating on the principle of from each according to their abilities to each according to their needs.
  • The emancipatory impacts of UBI can only be realised by a level of payment sufficiently high to free us from wage labour. If the conditions were such that we could introduce that, it can be argued that we would then be in a situation where we had arrived at socialism and didn’t need UBI. Introducing a below poverty-line UBI will do little to improve the material circumstances of those who are most in need but would require a big upheaval – bearing in mind that millions are already suffering following the enormous shake up of the social security system introduced since 2010 – while creating a new pattern of winners and losers.
  • Britain is home to the biggest socialist movement in Europe where demands for a living wage, for health and social care support services free at the point of need and a social security system that provides an adequate standard of living free from conditionality are all popular. These are what we need to fight for.

 

 

 

[1] https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/01/ubi-finland-centre-party-unemployment-jobs

[2] https://ocaptoronto.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/the-neoliberal-danger-of-basic-income/

 Posted by at 20:18
Feb 212018
 

 

 

This is Wazim. Wazim is a Calais refugee. At first I was very apprehensive , about going to Calais. Did not know what to expect or what I would see. As you can imagine it was not good. On the way to this site , we passed the jungle. It was surrounded by razor wire and fencing which cost 4000000 pounds. Even though it has now been demolished , the size of it took my breath away. When we arrived at Wazim’s refugee camp I was shocked. At least 30 men all from Afghanistan huddled around a little fire trying to keep warm. We had a generator so they could charge their mobile phones and this is their only communication back home . Before all you racist , anti immigrant bigots jump on the fact they had mobile phones , they were donated and were at least 10.year old phones. As we opened the back of the van to hand out parcels with warm clothing in , Wazim who speaks the best English told them all go form a queue. They did without fuss. When Wazim approached he noticed my hat , which if you know me is my favourite one. Something in that instant happened. I gave him it , he immediately hugged me like I had given him a 1000000 pounds. Twice he tried to give it back, but I would not accept. Once we finished handing out parcels we were urged to talk to them. The stories were just horrendous. The police don’t leave them alone. Spray cs gas on sleeping bags. Put out their fires. I will never forget yesterday. I will never forget Wazim. Look at the photo , I look content. Wazim is a Calais refugee, but he is also a survivor. Thankyou @care4 Calais for all you do. Solidarity 4 ever.

Keith

 Posted by at 20:12
Feb 142018
 

No More Deaths on our Streets supported by DPAC

https://www.facebook.com/events/166541107460209/

 

March 3rd 3-6 pm

We will gather outside Downing Street to say enough is enough..
#NoMoreDeathsOnOurStreets.

Lets get together & organise how we can prevent any further needless deaths.

Today another rough sleeper died on the cold London streets just yards from Parliament.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/homeless-man-dies-outside-parliament-12023659

Please bring along sleeping bags & other essential supplies that will keep people alive & we will also distribute these that day to those that may need them across London.

Bring noise, banners, smiles, anger & your friends.

This is a simple call out that needs more supporters asap so please add your group if you are part of one.

We MUST work together to stop this shit.

#SolidarityNotCharity

 

 Posted by at 19:27
Feb 132018
 

 

Reblogged from Evolve Poltics

https://evolvepolitics.com/stopfundingthetories-here-are-36-companies-youll-want-to-avoid-if-you-dont-want-to-unwittingly-fund-the-tories/

So, you would never vote Tory in a million years and you hate everything they stand for, but, are you really sure you’re not inadvertently handing over your hard-earned money to major Tory party donors?

#StopFundingTheTories

The Electoral Commission keeps records of major donations to political parties, and we’ve been having a long hard look at them to weed out all the companies that fund the Tories.

In a campaign we are calling #StopFundingTheTories, we want to raise awareness of the companies, products and services that, if you hand over your hard-earned money to, you are unwittingly funding the Conservative Party.

The Tory Party have a despicable track record in government for enacting policies that intentionally benefit the super-rich at the expense of the most vulnerable people in our society. Poverty is soaring, rough sleeping has more than doubled since the Tories came to power in 2010, and, due to the hateful, divisive, divide-and-rule rhetoric spouted by the Conservatives, hate crimes against minorities are now rising year on year. All this whilst the wealth of the very richest people in Britain has more than doubled.

In contrast to Labour, whose membership numbers have soared under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, the Tories could now have as few as 60,000 paid-up members contributing to party coffers. And, due to this plummeting of their membership numbers, the Tories are now heavily reliant on their super-rich backers handing over vast sums of money to keep them afloat.

According the latest accounts, the Tories took in just £1,459,000 from ordinary membership fees, whilst Labour’s members contributed almost ten times as much to their party, at £14,393,000. The Tories, however, beat Labour in terms of donations.

Whilst Labour brought in over £14m, mostly made up of small donations from ordinary people, the Tories raked in more than £18m, almost exclusively from huge one-off donations from their super-rich backers.

In the last quarter [the Tories] received nearly £3million in private donations from less than 100 people. This means an average donation of £30,000 – or, as you or I would call it, a luxury car.

 

The Tories also received over £700,000 from 61 companies, with an average donation of over £10,000. A figure which goes to show exactly why their interests seem so closely wedded to corporations and the rich.

Donations to the Conservatives make up over 80% of donations by private individuals and corporations, whilst donations to Labour make up just under 0.5% of these figures.

It’s little wonder then that the Tories seem increasingly intent on pleasing their super-rich backers with policies that exclusively benefit them, to the detriment of ordinary people.

Given that there is very little likelihood of the Tories’ membership numbers rising any time soon, their only sustainable funding comes from the huge donations of their super-rich  backers – who are, through the products and services they sell, actually bankrolled by you and me – ordinary people. This means that, in essence, for every pound we hand over to one of these companies, a proportion of that money is then handed to the Tories.

So, if you want to avoid unwittingly funding the Tory party in any way, shape or form, here is a comprehensive list of the companies, products, and services you will want to avoid giving your money to at all costs.

Shopping

WestfieldThe company that owns Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City has donated almost £500k since 2008.

Selfridges. With shops in London, Birmingham and Manchester, the company has donated over £300k since 2009.

Bicester shopping village. Owned by Value Retail which has donated £9k since 2016.

Next. Director Simon Wolfson has donated over £400k since 2008.

JCB. You’re unlikely to be in the market for a bulldozer, but construction company JCB has licensed hundreds of products, from lightbulbs to boots to brooms to pyjamas. Since 2008, JCB and its subsidiaries have donated over £4.5m to the Tories.

Moonpig. Founder of flower and gift company Moonpig, Nick Jenkins, donated £166k between 2009-15.

Boden. CEO Julian Granville donated £12k between 2009-15.

Richer Sounds. Founder and 100% shareholder Julian Richer donated £150k between 2010-14

Services

Lycamobile. The SIM card company donated over £2m to the Tories between 2011-16.

Tempcover. Car insurance company, donated £400k since 2015.

Scottish Power. Have donated £48k since 2010. They’ve also given considerable amounts to Scottish Labour although the last donation was in 2016.

E.On UK. The gas and electricity supplier donated £8.4k to the Tories in 2016.

Pimlico Plumbers. Large London-based plumbers, have donated £65k since 2015

Microsoft Ltd (British subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation). £137k between 2006-15.

Food and drink

Sainsbury’s. President John Sainsbury has donated over £2m to the Tories since 2008.

Bestway. Cash and carry with huge network of outlets. Have donated over £700k since 2008.

Samworth Brothers. Make Ginsters, Soreen Malt Loaf, Melton Mowbray pies. Director Mark Samworth has donated £585,000 to the Tories since 2010.

Iceland. Director Malcolm Walker has donated £110k since 2012.

Warburtons. The bread company donated £25k in 2010.

Global Brands Ltd. Make various branded drinks including Hooch and VK alcopops.  Have donated £21k since 2015.

Radnor Hills Mineral Water Co Ltd. Mineral waters and fruit juices, donated £7k since 2015.

Frederic Robinson Ltd. Owns Robinson Breweries and 280 pubs in the north west. Produce various bottled and cask beers. Have donated £29k since 2012.

Delamere Dairy Ltd. Dairy products, especially goats milk. £7.5k since 2015.

Hotels and entertainment

Flamingo Land. This Yorkshire theme park and zoo has donated £83k since 2014.

The London Cabaret Club. Have donated £95k since 2015.

Imperial London Hotels Ltd. Seven hotels in central London. Have donated £12k since 2015.

Country House Weddings Ltd. Four wedding venues in the south. Have donated £33k since 2009.

Beds and Bars Ltd. Budget tourist accommodation in the UK and Europe. Donated £5k in 2017.

Cameron Mackintosh. The producer of Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, Miss Saigon, Cats and Hamilton donated £15k between 2012-17.

Healthcare

Genix Healthcare Ltd. Network of NHS and private dental clinics. Has donated almost £500k since 2008.

New Cross Nursing Group Ltd. Nursing agency with branches across the country. Has donated £42k since 2014.

Travel

Gatwick Airport Ltd. Donated £18k in 2016.

National Express. The bus and coach company has donated £15k since 2011. They’ve also funded Labour in the past, although not since 2013.

Media

Express Newspapers Ltd. Donated £154k between 2008-17.

Northern and Shell. The company which publishes the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, OK!, New!, and also owns Channel 5 and the Health lottery. Donated £10k in 2017. [A takeover by Trinity Mirror is imminent – Trinity Mirror are not Tory donors, as far as we can tell.]

 Posted by at 20:33
Feb 132018
 

If you’re planning a local action around March 1st please let us know.

UC Day of Action local protests

Brighton– March 1st Clock Tower, Brighton, 10.30 am – 1pm information handout.

Facebook Event Link:  https://www.facebook.com/events/327263861014031/

 

Bristol – March 1st at Broadmead Shopping Centre 12 – 2 pm all meeting up in the middle. Please wear black if possible.

Facebook Event Link:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1575085919265099/

 

Ceredigion – March 3rd 11am – 1pm Guildhall, Cardigan, SA43 1JL

https://www.facebook.com/events/1725015990888709/

Chester- March 1st 12-2pm Job Centre Plus, City Road, Chester, CH1 3AQ

Facebook event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/177236042877566/

Derbyshire –  Online Event: 1-2pm

Facebook Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1570832732972130/

Edinburgh
Thurs 1st March  1pm (till approx 2.30pm)
Leith Jobcentre, 199 Commercial St, Edinburgh EH6 6JF

Edinburgh action called by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty – grass-roots anti-austerity and disability rights groups invited to participate with their banners and stalls.

https://www.facebook.com/events/437482893334245/

 

Falmouth – March 1st 8-11am at Penryn Jobcentre, Penmarin House, Commercial Rd, Penryn TR10 8SB

https://www.facebook.com/events/560750934288894/

 

London (central action) –  11 am until 2pm.  House of Parliament, Westminster.

Facebook Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/323792051472634/

 

Manchester- March 1st at 13:00–15:00

Norwich – Norwich City Hall 12.30 – 2pm

Facebook Event Link:  https://www.facebook.com/events/217086858848908/

 

Sheffield–  12 noon until 1 pm.  Sheffield City Hall, Bakers Pool, Sheffield, S1 2JA.

Facebook Event Link:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1756747394635182/

 York – March 1st 10am -12pm Monkgate, York

https://www.facebook.com/events/1609285995821063/

More info
https://dpac.uk.net/2018/01/national-day-of-action-to-stopandscrap-universal-credit-march-1st/
https://dpac.uk.net/2018/01/dpac-position-statement-and-motion-for-union-branches-on-universal-credit/

 Posted by at 16:26
Feb 122018
 

Letter-from-the-Chair-to-SoS-for-Department-of-Work-and-Pensions-relating-to-PIP-appeal-data-9-February-2018

Work and Pensions Committee

14 Tothill Street, London SW1H 9NB

Tel 020 7219 5831 Email

workpencom@parliament.uk

Website www.parliament.uk/workpencom

 

From the Chair

 

9 February 2018

 

Rt Hon Esther McVey

Secretary of State

Department for Work and Pensions

 

PIP appeal data

During our inquiry on PIP and ESA assessments, your Department kindly provided to us

estimated unit costs of MRs and Appeals. This indicated that different costs are attached to

PIP appeals depending on whether they relate to new or reassessed claims.

Seeking to understand the financial implications of appeals for the Department, Committee

staff inquired on 30 January:

Of the 170,000 PIP appeals since 2013, how many were for new claims and how

many were reassessments?

We were duly informed:

The information on the number of PIP appeals is from HMCTS published statistics

and this information is not available from HMCTS for new claims and reassessments

We were therefore unable to estimate the full cost of appeals to your Department, although

the Ministry of Justice informed us that in 2016/17 its appeals expenditure was £103 million.

(Cost of Social Security and Child Support appeals, of which the majority relate to PIP/ESA.)

 

It was with some surprise, therefore, that we today received data released in response to an

FOI request. This provided estimated costs per month spent on PIP appeals broken down

by new and reassessed claims.

 

You will be aware that we are shortly due to publish our report. That this data was provided

in response to an FOI request, but not for our Report, is doubly regrettable since the key

theme of our report is the need to introduce much greater trust and transparency into the PIP

and ESA systems.

 

Might you please explain how this occurred?

 

Best wishes,

Rt Hon Frank Field MP

Chair

 

 Posted by at 20:24
Feb 072018
 

In solidarity with Women’s Strike DPAC supports the Women’s Strike in London.

Taking place in more than 56 countries on International Women’s Day, the strike, organised by the Women’s Strike Assembly UK will see women walk out of paid work in offices, shops and factories, as well as unpaid domestic work in homes, communities and bedrooms.

Women’s Strike – 8 March 2018
Actions and events will be announced in the coming weeks – stay tuned!

Capitalism has always relied on the free labour of women to provide support for the paid work of men and to nurture families even when women themselves are also working. The children of women then become the next generation suffering Capitalist exploitation. Working women have 2 jobs – one paid- often low paid and one unpaid.

Regardless of this the only work that is valued both economically and socially is work contributing to the market economy, through the production of goods and services. As disabled people we know this from first hand experience as even those of us who aren’t women have been scapegoated as useless eaters by the Tories and their corporate lackies.

Like disabled people women are often devalued, and divided leaving them with little power to fight against their oppressors. When women do join together and fight back however they can achieve amazing things like Greenham Common, Women for Peace  Campaign in Belfast, Sisters Uncut and the amazing Focus E15 Mums.

So DPAC women please support this strike from home or if possible on the street in London or Birmingham. For the first time since 2010 there will be no service available from DPAC on March 8th as we support the strike.

 Posted by at 20:44
Feb 052018
 

Summary

No one will lose what they’ve already been awarded.

No one will have to have a face to face assessment – the 1.6 million claims being reviewed.

Your money if you’re entitled to more following the court case and new rules will be backdated if you would qualify under the new rules.

full details in Hansard link

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-01-30/debates/F35E85CB-FF67-467E-AD63-1C13EB1EC32B/PIPBackPayments#contribution-63A310F8-D0A8-4D50-9E81-D402E30498AB

 

 Posted by at 21:34
Feb 012018
 
Mike works for the Chronicle, Newcastle, and is looking for someone who has suffered through PIP assessments. he needs a case study from the North East – Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, County Durham – who is prepared to be photographed and named in the story.

If you are willing to help with this please email him mike.kelly@ncjmedia.co.uk or his direct line is 0191 201 6406

 Posted by at 13:15
Jan 232018
 
 Posted by at 14:15
Jan 232018
 

Please respond to the latest Office For Rail and Road consultation on Assisted travel. It is really important that they have as many responses as possible so the strength of public opinion cannot be ignored. That is why it is vital everyone responds as an individual or as a family to say they want staff on stations and trains. With 13.3 million people reporting a disability in 2015/16 we all have friends and relatives who will be discriminated against if there are no staff at stations or on trains. Women too will be much more at risk when traveeling.Below is a suggested response or you can send in whatever you want to say. Please share with friends and family and ask them to respond also.

Just e-mail DPPP@orr.gsi.gov.uk with your name and address by 31 January 2018

Suggested text 

Dear ORR 

Assisted Travel Consultation  

I recently read your consultation document

http://orr.gov.uk/rail/consultations/open-consultations/improving-assisted-travel-consultation

and very much welcome that you state “Our vision is to empower confident use of the railway by all”

As you are no doubt aware there are currently a number of proposals to introduce Driver Only Operation on trains.

I believe that passengers deserve more than just a guaranteed driver on a train and that as a minimum there should be a fully qualified and safety critical Guard, as well as the driver.

I believe it is guards and station staff who are absolutely crucial to ensuring confident safe, secure and accessible rail experience for all, but especially the older, vulnerable or disabled passenger. 

I want to see more not less staff at stations and on trains. It is the staff on the railway who assist passengers and provide invaluable information, help, advice, security, safety and re-assurance. They must be retained at stations and on trains if disabled, older and vulnerable passengers are not going to be discriminated against and are free to travel as and when they want, safe in the knowledge that help is close by and they are not alone on the train.

I hope you will take on board my concerns and ensure that these essential staff are retained so that my family and I can have the same access to rail transport as everybody else, to be able to go where everyone else goes and to do so easily, confidently and safely.

Thanking you in anticipation

Add your name

 Posted by at 14:00
Jan 202018
 

Accessibility

NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW

EmergencyNHS Demonstration – Saturday 3 February

The short march will assemble at 1:30pm outside Charing Cross Station.

SHORT MARCH
If disabled people do not wish to go on the full march, but wish to participate in the Short March, The Short March will be meeting at 1.30 pm Outside Charing Cross Station
Getting there:
If not going on full March, but wish to participate in short March, Bus No 91 goes to Trafalgar Sq, Go to Bus Stop X and alight at Bus Stop K which is Charing Cross/Trafalgar Sq Bus Stop. (People travelling from Kings Cross/Euston).
Meet at Bus Stop H which is the Bus Stop for Charing Cross outside the Main Station.
Buses 6,9,15,23,139 and 176 all stop at Bus stop H.
40 yards down the road is a dropped kerb where disabled people can get into the road safely and lead the march to the Speakers Rally which is opposite Downing Street.

FULL MARCH

  • If disabled people wish to participate in the full march they welcome to
  • The full march assembles at 12pm at Gower Street WC1E 8BT which is close by to University College London Hospital
  • Nearest Accessible Train stations for the full march are Kings Cross St Pancras and Euston
  • Kings Cross has step free access from Platform to Street Level on underground lines
For those who do not wish to participate in either the full or short March but may wish to see the Rally and hear the speakers:
The Rally will be held at:
Downing Street
Whitehall
London SW1A 2AA

Nearest accessible underground station to Downing Street is Westminster, Jubliee Line is step free from Platform to Street Level. Turn right out of lift and then 100- 200 yards at the end of the road turn right into parliament street/whitehall and opposite Downing Street will be the stage for the rally.

The Rally will be provided with BSL and there will be a safe space at the front of the stage so that BSL users and disabled people using mobility equipment or needing space from large crowds can access.  Please get into the space before 2.15 pm.

After the demo is finished:

If returning to Kings Cross/Euston.  Bus Stop F (opposite Charing Cross Station) Number 91 Bus stops there.

This has been organised by DPAC, HCT and The People’s Assembly Against Austerity.

If you have any questions please contact mail@dpac.uk.net or office@thepeoplesassembly.org.uk

 

 Posted by at 18:43
Jan 192018
 

At quarter to four this afternoon the Government sent PLP a letter confirming that they will not be appealing RF’s win at the High Court. This means that as of tomorrow – Regulation 2(4) from the 2017 Regulations is quashed and the original 2012 Regulation on planning and following a journey stands. The MH judgement also still stands (see further below), so those with psychological distress can be considered for all descriptors in planning and following journeys (Activity 11).

The Government have announced that they will now go through all affected cases and work out where backpayments/increases are due (see link from Hansard and excerpt below) http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-01-19/HCWS414/

The key difficulty May be that they have said during litigation that they don’t have records of who is affected, so how they will begin that process is unknown. Mind estimate around 160,000 people will be affected.

If you might have been affected by this illegal change sneaked in last March then please get in touch with DWP and/or your MP to ask for your money to be reinstated and backdated.

The decision not to appeal was apparently made by lovely Esther who said “I hope that by making this statement it is clear that the Government is committed to improving the lives of people with a Mental Health condition.”

I am sure all of you who have a MH condition will be very pleased to know this although you might also be rolling around laughing at her empty words.

 Posted by at 17:07
Jan 152018
 

Have you experienced barriers to legal action re your Human rights?

Please let me know If you have ever taken legal action regarding your rights under the Human Rights Act 1998 or if various barriers has prevented you from doing this, such as

The lack of:

·        information about how the Human Rights Act 1998 applies to Deaf and Disabled people

·        information about how to take legal action, including how to find a lawyer

·        legal aid or any other finances

Please send your experience to Henrietta.Doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk by 22 January.

Your experience will help inform Inclusion London’s evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights ‘Defending Rights: attitudes to enforcement inquiry. Information about the inquiry is below:

‘Scope of the inquiry

The United Kingdom has a proud tradition of respect for human rights.

Those rights are supported by political parties, and such rights have long been an integral part of common law, as well as being enshrined in statute by the Human Rights Act 1998.

However much rights may be recognised and protected within the legal framework, there can be barriers to achieving a culture which understands and respects human rights and practical barriers to those who wish to enforce their legal rights.

In this wide-ranging inquiry, the Joint Committee on Human Rights is calling for evidence on factors which may impede individuals from using the UK’s human rights framework effectively.’ 

 Posted by at 21:33
Jan 132018
 
 

 

 

 

This is from a post sent to us asking us to make people aware of the issues

Brighter Berkshire/Conservatives for Mental Health

I am worried about labour politicians being co-opted into promoting Conservative mental health policy in mental health initiatives that have cross party support. There is metal health awareness campaign in Swindon started by a conservative and is using Conservatives for Mental Health to work under. The women who has started it is calling on people from all parties to work together. http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/15559149.Activist_launches_cross_party_campaign_to_tackle_mental_health_issues/ This is the organisation that she is working with https://www.conservativesformentalhealth.co.uk/

There is a mental health awareness raising campaign called Brighter Berkshire that looks quite similar. It says it has cross party support but to my mind shows conservative bias and has Theresa May on the front page and Richard Benyon, Tory MP for Berkshire is heavily involved. They tweeted support for Richard Benyon in the run up to the General Election. They get involved at about the time they were both talking about new Conservative mental health campaigns.

Looking at this closely it seems there is an emphasis on cutting services and putting pressure on getting people back to work as cheap labour. Here is a link to Brighter Berkshire http://brighterberkshire.com/ Unfortunately a small number of labour politicians have got involved and endorsed the campaigns, one being Matt Rodda MP for Reading East.

I am worried that Brighter Berkshire become a model for mental health awareness campaigns across the country and that they will be used to promote Tory policy and make them look good. So I would be grateful if you could discuss this and address it at a national level and warn labour MP\’s to be careful before attaching themselves to any mental health campaigns to make sure they are not biased campaigns or promote Tory policies.

I have set up a facebook group about this. The founder of Brighter Berkshire is on group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/199827027227205/ Feel free to share it around or join.

 Posted by at 20:57
Jan 132018
 

Whatever happened to free speech and freedom of opinion? It seems that this is something Tory MPs don’t believe in especially when it is a disabled person exercising those rights.

Mick Hardy, a veteran disability rights campaigner from Norfolk, is being taken to court for shouting at Chloe Smith MP at the Norwich Pride Parade 2017 where she gave a speech. What exactly could Mick have said that would lead him to be charged with allegedly inciting public disorder and threatening behaviour ? What could he possibly have shouted at the Tory scumbag that would lead her to take him to court?

You might have guessed but if not Mick shouted “Chloe Smith you’re a fucking little Nazi.” Surely for any MP being heckled like this is just part of the job- and for a Tory MP being called a Nazi must be par for the course. And of course Chloe Smith is little about the same height as me so it can’t be that word she took offence at.

Mick is not online. Mick has both physical and mental health conditions. Chloe Smith knows who Mick is because he stood against her as the Disabled And Not Dead Yet Party candidate at the 2015 general election.

Mick says ‘this is a very stressful time and he wants to thank everyone from the bottom of his heart for all their support. He refuses to be intimidated because he is only highlighting what is happening to those most vulnerable to Tory cuts in society! Solidarity.’

120,000 people have died because of ‘economic murder’ inflicted by Chloe Smith and her party as reported in The British Medical Journal. If we leave the system unchanged until 2020 then 200,000 people will have died because of Tory policies. Mick says “When are we allowed to mention the Nazis? How do we make them stop if we don’t protest?”

The treatment of disabled people under this government has been described as a ‘Human Catastrophe’ by the United Nations.

If people living nearby want to come to court to support Mick come at 9am on the 9th February to Norwich courts. BBC will be there.
It gave Mick a great lift to know people are talking about his case and offering support.

Depending on the outcome of this totally vacuous case we may need to help crowdfund for Mick’s court costs all because he exercised his right to free speech.

Mind and DPAC protest at the Transforming Mental Health Contract

Solidarity Mick from all at DPAC.

 

 

 Posted by at 13:49
Jan 112018
 

Why Universal Credit must be stopped and scrapped.

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

DPAC believes that UC has too many flaws to be simply paused and fixed – it must be stopped and scrapped. UC is rotten to the core.

Universal Credit replaces six benefits – Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Working Tax Credit.

Seven million households will be affected, including over one million low paid part-time workers. For the first time ever people in work could face being sanctioned (having their benefits stopped) if they don’t prove to the job centre that they’re searching for better paid work or more hours. Pensioner couples will also be affected if one of them is under pension age.

Universal Credit is an economic and political disaster bringing further distress and impoverishment to those forced to endure it.  To date at least £15.8 billion has been wasted on its implementation.

 No civilized Government should impose this on its citizens and no opposition party should want to simply pause and fix it.

Areas already subjected to UC have reported serious hardship with visits to food banks soaring along with rates of people sanctioned and left without any income for 3 months or more.

Just some of the many problems with UC are listed below.

General Problems

  • UC is based entirely on conditionality for those both in and out of work. Failure to meet these conditions can lead to the imposition of cumulative sanctions which could last 3 years.
  • Everyone will have to accept the Claimant Commitment and log in daily to Universal Job match account and complete your to do list and journal. There is harsh conditionality within Universal Credit such as 35 hour per week job searches.
  • Even with the changes brought in at the end of last year claimants face a 5 week wait which in many cases seems to be 3 months or longer for their first payment.
  • Loss of Mortgage interest payments which will now mean people have to take out a second loan if they are buying a home.
  • Hardship Loans are repayable meaning the full amount of money someone is entitled to isn’t paid for months as 40% of their entitlement can be taken away to repay a loan.
  • With UC, housing benefit isn’t paid straight to the landlord but to the claimant who may be in need of money to use in an emergency. In pilot areas this has resulted in up to 60% of claimants going into rent arrears.
  • Letting agents are already refusing to rent to anyone claiming UC.
  • Under the troubled families programme people could see their kids taken into care if the claimant is not meeting conditions set by DWP/Work Coach
  • Under UC data is shared by DWP, HMRC and banks to ensure no additional income is undeclared.

For Disabled People

  • UC is claimed and managed entirely digitally which is difficult or impossible for many disabled people. Any mistakes on the form will likely lead to loss of benefit or a claim being disallowed.
  • Health and Work conversations are mandatory and any failure to attend will lead to your claim being closed.
  • People in part time work could be forced to give up work that suits their Disability or family life in order to take up worse paid full time work or risk sanctions,.
  • UC brings in the loss of Severe and Enhanced Disability Premiums which mean single disabled people lose around £2,000 per annum and a disabled couple over £4,000 per annum.

Coercion of Mental Health claimants.

  • As part of the Health and Work Programme we are seeing the use of the DWP nudge unit and psycho compulsion. This effectively means the introduction of forced treatment through the use of IAPT therapists based in job centres. If claimants don’t take the treatment prescribed they face being sanctioned.

Loss of Womens’ Rights

  • Changes to benefit payments will make women financially dependent on men trapping many in endless domestic violence.
  • The appalling Tax Credit ‘rape clause’ means that women can only get Child Tax Credit payments for their first two children unless they can prove they were raped. This involves filling out a detailed 45 page form about being raped..

For those in work, self-employed or on zero hours contracts

  • Even those in work will be expected to look for more hours up to 48 hours a week so you are not reliant on state support or face Sanctions for failing to comply. Warning- if your earnings exceed qualifying levels in a month they can close your claim and your online history will be erased when they close your claim down without warning. Make copies of all your actions to copy into your Journal or To Do List so you have evidenced back up files. To get this reinstated can take 8 months without money.
  • Going on Holiday? Think Again- If you fail to do your job match account even over Christmas and other bank holidays you will have your money stopped and you must always be available for interviews.
  • For every £1 earned Universal Credit takes away 63p meaning people are working for 37p for every pound earned per hour.
  • Self employed people will have to submit their monthly, instead of annual, income before any UC payment, including for housing costs, will be made for that month causing untold chaos and hardship. If they earn too much in any month their claim will be closed and they’ll have to start all over again.

 

Motion for unions 

Universal Credits – Stop and Scrap

This Meeting notes the following:

That Universal Credits, UC, was designed as an integral part of the Welfare Reform Act brought in by the Coalition Government following their election in 2010.

That underpinning the Act has been an ideological drive to making being on Welfare Benefits as degrading and punishing as possible with the intention of forcing as many claimants off benefits as possible.

Welfare Reform including the introduction of UC was accompanied with the rhetoric of benefit dependency, skivers and strivers, cheats and malingerers as a way of winning public support for pushing through the biggest changes in welfare since the 1930’s.

UC is just one part of these reforms which include the discredited and hated Work Capability Assessments, the change from DLA to PIP with a 20% budget reduction target and cuts to the Access to Work programme.

These changes are interconnected and form the core of the Tories making work pay programme.

That in November 2017 at a National Housing Summit meeting in central London Axe the Housing Act, other Housing campaigns and Disabled People Against Cuts, DPAC, called for a National joint Campaign to Stop and Scrap UC and to call a Day of Action early in 2018.

This meeting believes:

That UC can not be fixed.

That UC has to be scrapped.

That as with the Work Capability Assessments an entirely new scheme needs to be created making sure that Disabled Peoples Organisations and other groups affected are included at the heart of how these schemes are designed.

This meeting agrees:

To adopt a position of Stop and Scrap Universal Credits.

To support the national Stop and Scrap campaign called by DPAC, Mental Health Resistance Network, Housing campaigns and others.

To publicise the campaign and promote it to our members urging them to support the campaign.

To lobby the Labour Party and other organisations who currently have a Pause and Fix approach to UC and urge them to adopt and work with the Stop and Scrap campaign.

To support and build for a National Stop and Scrap UC Day of Action on March 1st

To  call on Local Councils and Housing Associations not to evict tenants in rent arrears due to Universal Credit.

Proposed: Seconded:

 

 Posted by at 21:01
Jan 112018
 

More details to follow but there will be a national day of action to call for Universal Credit to be scrapped on March 1st. We hope local groups will be able to support this and please send us details of any planned events to mail@dpac.uk.net. Please save this date to take action against this vile Tory creation and beware the IDS of March.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Join The Thunderclap

 Posted by at 14:36
Jan 092018
 

DPAC Norfolk:

Lobbied against Norfolk STP

Protests against WCA outside Maximus assessment centre

Protest against PIP at Atos assessment centre Norwich

Took part in Norwich Pride parade in July

 

ROFA -UN CRPD delegation with DPAC.

Dpac Glasgow have built link with RMT, unison & PCS. We are co producing with PCS  a benefit survival tool kit booklet. We aim to distribute it to various locations across the city & continue to build solidarity & members. We have a meeting with PCS officials to strengthen our links & co working to fight welfare reform & office closures. We attended STUC disabled workers conference.

We had a few demonstrations with the RMTand have several actions organised with RMT including a meeting with transport minister all under the banner of access for all. We continue to have our monthly picket at Cadogen St outside ESA MAXIMUS assessment office. 

Suffolk DPAC.

1: UN report briefing on violations of disabled peoples rights (houses of parliament) Tuesday 24th January 2017, chaired by Baroness Deech.

2: Brexit Q&A Burlington Baptist Church Ipswich 1st February.

3: Norfolk DPAC meeting Norwich 6th February ( I attended representing Suffolk DPAC).

4: Public meeting on NHS, co-op education centre 9th February.

5: Save NHS Demo London 4th March.

6: Assistance with an appeal for a lady re ESA 10th March.

7: Protest against Housing Benefit Cuts, Parliament Square 1st April.

8: Ipswich May Day Festival 30th April (Paula Peters spoke after John McDonnell MP) 

9: #Not The Fucking Tories demo Old Palace-yard London 2nd May.

10: Ben Gummer (former Tory MP for Ipswich) Q & A at the Greyhound pub Ipswich 17th May, (gave him a right grilling re ESA & PiP).

11: Ben Gummer (former Tory MP for Ipswich) Kingfisher pub Ipswich 30th May.(I gave him a right grilling again).

12: NUT Question Time, Northgate Arts Centre Ipswich (Ben Gummer got a massive grilling at this event).

13: Peoples assembly #ToriesOut National demonstration London 1st July.

14: Interview with Laura Smith from RT at my home re disabled people turning to crowdfunding for wheelchairs etc, 6th July.

15: National day of action for local DPAC groups, Suffolk DPAC joined Norfolk DPAC at st marys house Norwich 18th july.

16: Attended PiP tribunal for a person with mental health issues at HMCTS tribunal services Ipswich as an advocate 21st August (outcome:-PIP awarded in favour of claimant).

17: Burston Rally Norfolk Suffolk DPAC in attendance.

18: Meeting with Sandy Martin MP in Parliament got him to attend a debate re Universal Credit! then home for ISCRE (Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality) AGM, ISCRE has published two booklets called the “3Ds Project” Disability + Disadvantage = Duty. 1st one is for disabled people claiming JSA and the 2nd one is for disabled people claiming Universal Credit both tell you what you need to know before signing the claimant commitment, 19th September.

19: RMT strike at Ipswich train Station 5th October. 

20: Smash the Cap Rally Norwich 14th October.

21: Liberty Human Rights Award London 24th October.

22: National Disabled Peoples Summit London 4th November.

23: National day Of Action on Universal credit Ipswich town centre 2nd December.

DPAC occupation of lobby area of houses of parliament 19th july 2017

And anti – ATOS protest in London 21st July.

 

Berkshire DPAC

Apart from our meetings, the main action we took this year – along with other disability groups, was to take on the Royal Berkshire Hospital Trust. They wanted to close the hydrotherapy pool (the only one for about 30 miles) but prolonged action (demos, speaking at meetings and talking with the CEO ensured that it stayed open in the end. We also demonstrated in Maidenhead Theresa May’s constituency, in the run-up to the elections.

Finally we are engaged in a serious battle with an organisation claiming to support people with mental distress, which is run by an empire builder who doesn’t mind who gets hurt if they are in the way and also struggling to get Reading and District Labour Party to address disability issues properly.

We also improved our online presence and gained new members that way.

 

Bristol DPAC formed in September 2017

Bristol Austerity March in September

At the momentum/people assembly’s demo to #unseat Crabb in Pembroke

And at Weston General Hospital to save the A&E dept

And we greeted Jeremy Hunt when he visited Callington Hospital in Bristol

We also attended Disability History month at Unite Bristol.

 

Sheffield DPAC

We’ve mainly been doing supporting stuff really but that has involved Tory party conference prime minister’s speech protest. Supported Mental Health Action Group Sheffield with article on their campaign, one of the DPAC Sheffield activists was one of the founders of it

There’s the save south Yorkshire women’s aid campaign in Doncaster that we’ve been supporting since the end of August.

We attended to the Orgreave Campaign death of justice march on 31st October in Sheffield

We’ve gone and checked out the Sheffield junk food project, but they don’t have much you can share online etc really they’re still starting up

We had some supported the McStrike strike on September 4th

Something else, we tried very hard to fight the closure of Eastern avenue job centre in Sheffield. The first of the list of over 70 proposed job centre closures nationally. Tim Jones and myself both leafleted, joined the picket, attended public meeting to speak as someone who uses that job centre. Did TV and newspapers interview to support the PCS but mainly the community, coming from disabled people’s perspectives but it has been closed down.

Three times this year we have been to support the RMT keep the guards on the trains

The latest local campaign that we’re helping to raise awareness of is the NHS minor injuries unit in Sheffield and the Barnsley maternity unit that are both at risk of closure.

 

Manchster DPAC

January: Free films screenings of I, Daniel Blake where we spoke to sell out audiences about the reality depicted in the film.

February: Met with Lifeshare charity to discuss ideas for helping disabled homeless people.

March: Planning meeting and questioning mayoral candidates at GMCDP event.

April: GMCDP (Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People) hustings for Mayor elections (Tory candidate failed to attend) and Unite Community Universal Credit talk given.

May: Confronted Government ODI (Office for Disability Issues) member over the UN report of grave and systemic human rights abuses of disabled people live on Al Jazeera.

June: #CripTheVoteUK to increase voting and political representation in the snap general election.

July: Members undergoing PIP assessments supported with our recording equipment (available to all Disabled Great Manchester residents, please ask for details).

August: Plans begin for Tory party conference, liaising with People’s Assembly and assessing access at Partisan communal space (not accessible until 2018).

September: Banner making with GMCDP’s new campaign group, accessibility survey, and final plans for Tory conference. Taking part in creation of Disabled People’s advisory panel to new Greater Manchester Mayor to improve our rights and representation in Greater Manchester.

October: Protest against Tory Party conference. Wall of Noise protest and disruption of Theresa May’s speech on Wednesday, kettling avoided.

 

November: Planning meeting and further work on advisory panel with Greater Manchester DPO’s. London National Disabled People’s Conference & workshops.

December: Working group to be established for Disabled People’s advisory panel in New Year. And finally Thursday 21st Ashton protest supporting Charlotte Hughes.

 

Ceredigion (Cardigan) DPAC – our newest local group

We’re very new, but so far a group of us approached our local MP Ben Lake regarding access for mobility challenged and wheel chair users in our town. We raised concern about Kinora, our local mental health drop in centre being inaccessible for wheel chair users. We met up with the people running the drop in centre to discuss wheel chair access when they move to their new building which we are told will be completely wheel chair accessible. Same with our local women’s aid group which has been running workshops in a basement till now. They now run some workshops in a local church hall to accommodate disabilities more. We are also encouraging them to do more outreach work with disabled people in the area. We are also campaigning to make our local swimming pool wheel chair friendly.

We will be having a follow up meeting with Ben in the new year regarding pavement dips (lack of them). Also had our first protest against UC, got petitions signed and more members on board. We had a Xmas get together and will be organising a Xmas get together for the Jo Cox campaign in our local town and to raise awareness of how isolation and loneliness affect our community.

We’re a very small seaside type town, so all this is very new here. CAB are really interested in working with us, our MP needs a poke every now and then to remind him what we are doing (could do better, were working on him, he’s very new to the role). The labour party here are also involved and support us with our campaign. Hoping for lots more action in the new year and to start fundraising.

 

 Posted by at 21:08
Jan 042018
 
The NHS is facing one of the worst winter crisis in it’s history, but it’s a crisis not caused by the weather alone, it’s caused by this Governments deliberate underfunding, cuts and privatisation. Along with Health Campaigns Together The People’s Assembly are calling a demonstration to demand that the Government fix the NHS crisis now.

NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW

12pm, Saturday 3 February 
Assemble: Gower Street, London WC1

The #NHSWinterCrisis has now descended into a perpetual year round  crisis. A crisis that has brought staff to their knees and patients languishing and even dying in overcrowded waiting rooms and hospital corridors.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

When headlines report there is a “third world” crisis in the 6th richest country in the world, let’s be clear and call this what it is: an entirely manufactured political crisis by the Tories.

It is time this Government stops blaming patients, nurses, doctors, immigrants, flu and the elderly for their shortcomings. It’s time they start listening to the country who is sick of empty promises from the mouths of cowardly politicians. The Tories must heed the call of the public, staff and patients alike who demand that #ourNHS is not only funded properly but brought back into public hands away from the waste and demands of shareholders and bankers’ bonuses.

On the 70th year of the NHS we created – we demand that #ourNHS is given back! We must end the NHS crisis now.

Join the demonstration, called by the People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together, on Saturday 3 February, 2018:

NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW
March and Demonstration
12pm, Saturday 3 February
Assemble Gower Street Central London WC16

Check out the Facebook Event here and share widely.

More info available soon on our website here.

If you want to get involved, get flyers and other materials sent to you, contact us today on office@thepeoplesassembly.org.uk

See you on the streets!

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

 Posted by at 18:43