Linda

Nov 172017
 

 

 

 

 

Support the Budget Day Sack the Tories protests arranged by the People’s Assembly. Meet Downing Street, November 21st from 6pm- 7.30 pm.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1968486683476948/

#SackTheTories – BUDGET DAY PROTEST
Stop the Universal Credit Crisis – Stop Tax Avoidance – Fund Our NHS
Day of action the night before the Budget

November 21st 6pm – 7:30pm, Opposite Downing Street, Whitehall, London

**Universal Credit
The Government’s plans to overhaul the welfare system by forcing people onto Universal Credit have been widely criticised by MPs, charities, and campaigners all warning that this is likely to cause a rise in homelessness, poverty, and unnecessary debt. It will leave thousands without an income for weeks as they wait to be transferred, many will be left thousands of pounds worse off, and there is reduced support for claimants. The Trussell Trust have said that they expect a 30% increase in foodbank use this winter in areas where Universal Credit is rolled out. Child Poverty Action Group have found that Government welfare reform will push 1 million children below the poverty line.

Disabled People face losing £40.10 per week with the scrapping of Disability Premiums from Universal Credit.

Vicious Conditionality which could force people to seek extra work for up to 48 hours per week will affect everyone regardless of whether they are in or out of work, disabled or non-disabled.

The cost of moving to Universal Credit was originally estimated at £2.2bn, however it is now at a staggering £15.8bn and still rising.

**Paradise Papers
Revelations in the Paradise Papers show how companies, politicians and individuals are avoiding paying billions of pounds in tax using offshore tax havens rather than paying their fair share here. Theresa May said she would clamp down on tax avoidance but loopholes are still in operation.

More people than ever are having to rely on foodbanks to feed their families, our NHS is in a funding crisis, public sector workers are still facing a pay cap below inflation, millions can’t access affordable housing while the richest individuals and biggest companies take money that should be spent on dealing with these problems and squirrel it away for themselves. The Government is doing nothing to stop it.

**NHS
Last winter our NHS was driven into the worst crisis in it’s history. We witnessed patients dying in hospital corridors, staff stretched to breaking point and the Red Cross declaring a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in our NHS. This winter looks set to be worse. Head of NHS England Simon Stephens warned the Government last week that unless billions of pounds is found in the budget for the NHS it won’t be able to cope.

#SackTheTories
The People’s Assembly is calling a nationwide day of action the night before the Chancellors Budget is announced. We’re organising ‘Stop the Universal Credit Crisis – Stop Tax Avoidance’ protests in towns and cities across the country. As part of the protests we’re collecting food which will be donated to local foodbanks so their shelves are stocked to deal with the fallout from Universal Credit and the continuation of austerity policies in the budget.

We want to urge the Government to use the Budget to scrap their plans for Universal Credit, to close tax loopholes and force the tax avoiders to pay their fair share, to end the public sector pay cap with an increase above inflation, and to make sure our public services are properly funded.

We will also be using the thousands of pounds that was raised through sales of Captain Ska’s track ‘Liar Liar’ to buy tonnes of food and deliver it to foodbanks across the country. But before it’s delivered, we’ll be displaying all of it right on the doorstep of Downing Street to show Theresa May and Phillip Hammond the effect their damaging policies are having on ordinary people – this will take place as part of the London wide protest on Tuesday 21 November. Join us at Downing Street or at one of the many protests that will be taking place across the country and don’t forget to bring along food for the foodbank collection.

Local Events

Local Events

JOIN AN EVENT NEAR YOU (more to be confirmed):

 

London

6:00pm – 7:30pm, Tuesday 21 November, Downing Street, London

https://www.facebook.com/events/1968486683476948/

 

Manchester

6:30pm, Tuesday 21 November, GMEX Steps, Windmill Street M2 3GX

https://www.facebook.com/events/296804000806920/

 

Southampton

12pm – 2pm, Tuesday 21 November, ASDA – Southampton Central, Western Esplanade, SO14 7EG

https://www.facebook.com/events/842488905918828/

Hull
4:30 PM – 6 PM, Tuesday 21 November, Outside Hull Paragon Station, Kingston Upon Hull
https://www.facebook.com/events/1352958458166560/

 

Eastbourne

Public Meeting and Collection:

7pm, Tuesday 21 November,Crown and Anchor, 15-16 Marine Parade, BN21 3DX

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sack-the-tories-why-they-have-to-go-tickets-39911046013

 

Swindon

4:00pm – 8:00pm, Tuesday 21 November, Wharf Green Swindon Town Centre SN15 3

https://www.facebook.com/events/201493753726609/

 

Calderdale

6:30pm, Tuesday 21 November, St George’s Square, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8

https://www.facebook.com/events/811335062404833/

 

Hastings

5:30pm, Tuesday 21 November, Outside Lloyd’s Bank, Wellington Place, Hastings, TN34 1NX

 

Merseyside

4:00pm, Tuesday 21 November, Queens Square, Liverpool

 

Milton Keynes

5:00pm, outside Civic offices, Central Milton Keynes

 

Fenland

6.30p.m, TUESDAY 21 NOVEMBER, THOMAS CLARKSON MEMORIAL, WISBECH

Fenland Peoples Assembly

 

Nottingham

12:00pm, Saturday 2 December, Old Market Square, Nottingham, MK18 3

https://www.facebook.com/events/1128093670658916/

 

Derby

Wednesday 22nd November 5.15pm outside… 6pm inside

Demonstration & Lobby re NHS cuts & STP

Derby City Council House, Corporation Street, Derby, DE1 2FS.

saveournhsderby@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/SOSNHSDerbyPage

 

North East

4:45pm – 5:45pm, Tuesday 21 November, Haymarket Metro Station, Haymarket, NE1 7PF

https://www.facebook.com/events/146554449302317/

 

Sheffield

5:30pm, Tuesday 21 November, Sheffield Cathedral

https://www.facebook.com/events/405688823181350/

 

Birmingham

5:00pm, Wednesday 22 November, Waterstones Birmingham

https://www.facebook.com/events/331804610619889/

 

Bristol

6:00pm, Tuesday 21 November, Water Fountains, Bristol City Centre

https://www.facebook.com/events/179907642561572/

 

.

 

 

 Posted by at 17:47
Nov 162017
 
The last chance to see the Resistance Exhibition in London before it goes around the country (Autumn 2018 and onwards). We’re delighted to be part of Makerversity’s Tools for Change, where makers have been creating imaginative protest materials.

If you can make it down between Saturday 18 and Wednesday 23 November to Somerset House on The Strand, central London, please register here:

Feel free to BRING YOUR OWN PROTEST ARCHIVE and upload it.
And please share our event on facebook:
Once again, we apologise if you’re not based around London, but please make contact with us if you have a suitable venue where you are.
Very best wishes
Phoenix, Sheila, Elizavet, Richard and the Resistance Crew
 

Resistance!

Exhibition & Digital DIY archive
 Posted by at 21:10
Nov 142017
 

one of our members has written to Christian and if anyone else woudl liek to his email address is christian@horleyconservatives.com

 Posted by at 16:58
Nov 092017
 

anyone who is both a DPAC supporter and member of UNITE community can apply to UNITE to attend this meeting. We need a united front to make it clear to everyone that #pauseandfix is not an option with Universal Credit. It must be#StopandScrap. If you are able to register to go to this please let us know ny emailing us at mail@dpac.uk.net

To book a place email

Tony.Winchester@unitetheunion.org  requesting a place at the mini-conference on the 20th December include your unite membership number and branch number in your email.                            

                          MUTUAL BENEFITS                            

 DWP CLAIMANTS AND STAFF WORKING TOGETHER

CONFERENCE for UNITE COMMUNITY, PCS and LUS MEMBERS

Wednesday 20th December 10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. at PCS HQ, 160 Falcon Rd, London SW11 2LN

Nearest Overground Station: Clapham Junction

AGENDA

9.30 – 10.00 a.m.: – Registration

  1. 00 – 10.40: Introduction and speakers:
  • John McDonnell (invited) Labour Party
  • Liane Groves         National Coordinator, Unite Community
  • John McInally      PCS Vice-President

10.40 – 11:00:

  • The Welfare Charter – Nick Phillips, London Unemployed Strategies
  • Stand Up For Your Rights groups – Waltham Forest and Southwark SUFYR

 

11.00 – 11.30 a.m. Questions and contributions 

11.30 – 11.45: Break

11.45 – 12.30 p.m.: Workshops

  • The Welfare Charter: Labour Party and TUC – how to progress from policy to action to legislation
  • Stand Up For Your Rights Groups: how to set up a group in your area; strengths and weaknesses

12.30 – 1.00: Feedback from workshops and discussion

1.00 – 1.45: – Lunchbreak

1.45 – 2.00:  Joint campaigns between Unite Community, PCS and LUS

Introductions from:

  • Tony Reay – PCS
  • Liane Groves – Unite Community
  • Nick Phillips – LUS

 

2.00 – 3.00:Workshops x 4 (North, South, East and West regions)

To discuss local and national campaign priorities including:

  • Universal Credit rollout
  • Jobcentre closures
  • Digitisation and the threat of mass redundancies;
  • Rights to representation for claimants

 

3.00 – 3.45: Feedback from workshops and discussion

3.45 – 4.00: Conclusions and what happens next

4.00 ff.:  Campaign/demo picture followed by refreshments and party

 Posted by at 13:09
Nov 042017
 

A statement in solidarity with the London Anarchist Bookfair Collective. From some friends of the Bookfair

Please share a widely as possible.

On Saturday 28th October the 2017 London Anarchist Bookfair took place in North London. As usual several thousand anarchists and fellow travellers from diverse tendencies attended, ran stalls, held meetings and other activities.
The Bookfair is organised by a small voluntary collective of five, with a wider group of supporters who help out with setting up, facilitating areas or aspects of the events on the day, collecting donations to cover costs of this free event, tidying up at the end, and so on. It is a monumental amount of work, that generally falls on this small group of people (with families and lives, like the rest of us), who come together to spend much of the year running up to October facilitating the staging of an event and a space for several thousand others in the movement. The Bookfair Collective have always shown willing to take on board suggestions, follow up ideas, and include people and organisations with a view to broadening the range of ideas encompassed and the diversity of the program. They have always been open to more involvement in running the Bookfair.

Saturday’s events and the Open Letter

There were a series of incidents at the Bookfair this year which included distribution of leaflets about the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act being consulted on and an ensuing stand-off. Several people intervened to stop what looked like a developing potentially physically violent incident against a lone woman activist by a group of people. We would hope that most people reading this would do the same.

Some of the people who intervened to do this were members of the Bookfair Collective but they were not doing so as a group in ‘authority’ on the situation, but as individuals and friends supporting a comrade; just as other bookfair-goers in the past have stepped up to stop others being chucked out. We would suggest it is a misinterpretation of events, and the role of the collective, to see this as a ‘Bookfair Collective intervention’ in order to stop the self-organisation of the group involved.

In the wake of the events on Saturday, an Open Letter has been written and circulated online, calling for changes to, and a potential boycott and/or picket of, next year’s Bookfair.

This open letter is online here:

https://londonbookfairopenlett er.wordpress.com/

Other public statements are also being discussed around withdrawal/disaffiliation with the Bookfair for instance:

https://edinburghanarchists.no flag.org.uk/2017/10/labf/

The open letter claims

“a pattern of response from Bookfair organisers where incidents of transphobia, anti-semitism, islamophobia, racism and misogyny are ignored” and “organisers have stepped in to defend and support those who use oppressive, violent and dehumanising language to perpetuate racist, colonial and patriarchal systems of oppression.” and the collective “allows racist imperialism, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny and ableism to ingratiate themselves as part of the culture of the Bookfair”

We would dispute this and would call for specific examples for any of the above, and evidence that we can reasonably judge from, enough to prove a pattern that the Bookfair Collective have refused to deal with them when raised.

What is the Anarchist Bookfair?

More fundamentally, we would ask to whom are the demands in the open letter really directed?

The Bookfair is not set up to be the representative body for anarchists, nor can it be. It is neither a membership organisation, nor are members of the collective Mediation Practitioners, there to settle the sometimes seismic differences and different perspectives that attendees bring to the event.

Come the day of the Bookfair that space the organisers have facilitated is filled with the politics brought into it by the anarchist movement itself, in all its initiatives, vivid colours and traditions. If a chasm of difference exists over issues that flare up, such as last weekend, the Bookfair Collective are not in a position, nor have the physical resources to arbitrate. So we ask: whose responsibility is this and how do disagreements (sometimes leading to threats of violence or actual violence) get dealt with? The existing statement on these issues can be found on the Bookfair’s website:

http://anarchistbookfair.org.u k/respect.html

We are left to wonder whether anarchist practice has become so inculcated by ‘customer service’ culture that even the Bookfair is attended by consumers forgetting the fundamental essence of DIY, self-organisation and self-regulation of events.

The Bookfair Collective operates on the principle that it is not for the small collective that organises it to take on defining and enforcing a rigid policy on safety and behaviour; it is for the wider movement that takes part in the Bookfair to do so, along anarchist principles of opposing centralized authority with dispersed and grassroots responsibility.

Points raised in the open letter call for a radically different event, with a much more centralized program, organized or tightly overseen by the collective. If we as a movement, decide that this is what we want, many more of us will need to commit time and energy to organising and supporting this annual event.

Where next?

We reject transphobia and have all actively supported struggles against oppression. We support the right of trans identifying people to live their lives free from harassment and abuse, to organise, campaign and engage in debate with whoever they choose; and to be addressed by the gender pronouns of their choice. We support the rights of all women to be heard. We recognise that both trans activists and gender critical feminists are currently feeling attacked, at times to the level of their very existence and identities. We would hope that everyone participating in London Anarchist Bookfair would treat each other respectfully and continue to believe that dialogue is possible so that we can strengthen our struggle against oppression and build a better world. We reject bullying and intimidation – in physical or written form.

The Bookfair can never be the ‘dreamed of Utopia’ the open letter imagines, despite all our desires and dedication. We agree with the open letter on one thing, that we should all always be challenging ourselves and each other to widen liberation and ensure the Bookfair is a safe and respectful event, drawing in communities, and reflecting them. But we also believe it needs to allow for discussion and dissent, while excluding hatred and oppression.

We are not members of the Bookfair Collective but some of us have been in the past, and some of us have been involved in wider support work for Bookfairs. All of us are long-time attendees of the Bookfair. As such we hope that it continues, we offer our solidarity and practical support to the Bookfair Collective. We urge the Collective to look beyond the signatories of the open letter to the many wider groups and individuals who attend and take part in the event every year, and to realise that they do have a groundswell of support out there.

Rather than calling for a boycott of the Bookfair, we would challenge the writers of the open letter to engage meaningfully with the Collective and others to help create the change they want. In the light of the statement’s refusal to engage with the Collective until their minimum demands are met, the Bookfair Collective would be reasonably entitled to ignore the open letter.

So we stand by the Bookfair Collective, and salute how the Bookfair is organised; recognising the immense work done in making it happen every year. But it remains up to all of us who attend and take part in it to ensure that it measures up to the standards of love, solidarity and empowerment that we all desire. It is not possible for the small collective that currently facilitates the space to police them. Nor is it fundamentally anarchism.

This statement is online at:

https://bookfair248.wordpress. com/

Comments and practical contributions to what is likely to be an ongoing discussion about the future of the London Anarchist Bookfair are welcome on this site.

For a statement by Helen Steel on the events at the bookfair:

https://helensteelbookfairstat ement.wordpress.com/

 

 Posted by at 20:39
Nov 012017
 

A little later than planned is our second blog about Cygnet Health Care and what appears to be their shocking treatment and restraint regimes. The latter seems almost certainly to be illegal yet NHS England continues to have a £300 million deal with them.

This couldn’t of course have anything to do with the fact that Cygnet is now owned by US Universal Health Services, whose executive was Simon Stevens now head of NHS England.

Payers of $8.4 million for false claims Universal Health Services take over Cygnet Health Care for £205 Million.

MP Louise Hague has also written to the health secretary to demand an urgent meeting about the quality of care at Cygnet Hospital Sheffield.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the hospital “inadequate” on safety.

The CQC has held inspections at the site three times in 13 months, two of which were prompted by serious incidents.

Similarly Cygnet hospital, Woking was actually forced to close down and some of the more disturbing findings included adolescents allowed to self-harm with objects they found in the rubbish, while four allegations of sexual assault were reported by patients supposedly under “constant observation” there.

Investigators found that staff on the adolescent wards had used physical restraint 839 times in six months, including 88 cases of face-down restraint.

A patient also required emergency help after being given a significant overdose of medicine.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/14/vindictive-hospital-staff-taunted-young-psychiatric-patients/

The most recent CQC report for Woking found

http://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/AAAG7870.pdf

Ratings

Overall rating for this location

Inadequate

–––

Are services safe? Inadequate

–––

Are services effective? Inadequate

–––

Are services caring? Requires improvement

–––

Are services responsive? Requires improvement

–––

Are services well-led? Inadequate––

 

And then there are the worrying number of deaths which have been allowed to occur including

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/24-year-old-dies-in-cygnet-after-11-forced-olanzapine-injections-in-10-days/

 

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/jodies-cygnet-help-no-psychologist-communicationassessment-plan-protection-death-for-21000/amp/

Let us remind ourselves of Cygnet’s record on ‘treatment’.

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/12/25/a-christmas-tale-of-autistic-lives-and-cygnets-12500-a-week-nhs-bonanza/

And the fact that Cygnet is now owned by US Universal Health Services, whose executive was Simon Stevens now head of NHS England.

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/payers-of-8-4-million-for-false-claims-universal-health-services-take-over-cygnet-health-care-for-205-million/

And let us remind ourselves that rehabilitation to enable going ‘home’, is a home of drugged containment termed ‘community living’, also increasingly owned by US Universal Health Services via Cambian.

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/adult-treatment-units-to-community-living-turf-war-for-billions/

And here we have workers comments on Cygnet’s services.

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/comments-on-cygnets-services/

Finola Moss sums up her views on Cygnet and their service provision for autistic people.

Autistic people are huge cash cows, they earn Cygnet £13,000 a week being rapidly tranquilised in a secure Unit, whenever they are deemed ‘unmanageable’ in community placement or rehabilitation.

The Spring Centre with this new provision for an extra 14 men in locked rehabilitation and 4 rapid/emergency tranquilisation beds, earn £13,000 a week per ‘patient’ in addition to the existing 26 bed low secure units where each ‘patient’ earns £7,000 a week. That is £416,000 a week.

Over one and a half million a month and over 16 million a year ‘to look after’ 44 autistic people.

And what do they get for this colossal amount of public money ?

Renovation of a large house in a cheap area, plenty of drugs until compliant, containment, a consultant psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, a nurse practitioner, an occupational therapist, a manager and deputy, and minimum ratio to patient care workers/nurses on shifts, and cooking, cleaning and laundry provision.

Is there any competition ? No, as Cygnet is deemed the only ‘specialist provider’ under HSCA 2012.

The ‘patients’ have no rights, as sectioned each year under MHA and if necessary deemed ‘incapable’ for life under the MCA with yearly rubber stamped reviews of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. All this in their ‘best interests’.

Please help us get A moved from Cygnet Derby to live nearer her grandmother and out of the clutches of Cygnet.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/798/440/513/release-my-grandayghter-from-detention-in-cygnet-private-hospital/?taf_id=44510916&cid=twitter

 Posted by at 21:19
Oct 162017
 

This is the first in our series of articles about Cygnet Health Care owned by yet another abominable US corporation, US Universal Health Services. This blog by Finola Moss tells how this corporation has taken over the private ownership of a very large portion of our MH services and now rakes in profits from the abuse of its victims – oh sorry that should say patients.

You may want to tweet to Cygnet @cygnethealth

https://finolamoss.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/payers-of-8-4-million-for-false-claims-universal-health-services-take-over-cygnet-health-care-for-205-million/

Payers of $8.4 million for false claims Universal Health Services take over Cygnet Health Care for £205 Million.

Cygnet Health Care is one of mainly three providers of mental health services in England.

Mental Health Services are paid over 21 billion of our 95 billion NHS budget.

In 2014 Cygnet was bought by USA’s Universal Health Services (UHS) for £205 million..
http://www.healthinvestor.co.uk/ShowArticle.aspx?ID=4285

Simons Stevens, chief executive of the group’s global division for 10 years after advising Blair on NHS public investment, is chief executive of NHS England, responsible for all NHS services commissioning.

England.https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/oct/23/simon-stevens-nhs-chief-private-past-uk?CMP=share_btn_tw

Cygnet Health Care then increased UHS’s UK mental health footprint by a £95 million acquisition of Alpha Hospitals .

http://www.healthinvestor.co.uk/ShowArticle.aspx?ID=4274&search=Alpha

In September 2012, UHS, and its subsidiaries, Keystone Education and Youth Services LLC and Keystone Marion LLC,Keystone Marion Youth Center, agreed to pay over $6.9 million to settle allegations that they had submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid.

Between October 2004 and March 2010, these subsidiaries provided substandard psychiatric counselling and treatment to adolescents in breach of Medicaid requirements.

And, the United States alleged UHS had falsely represented Keystone Marion Youth Centre, as a residential treatment facility, providing inpatient psychiatric services to Medicaid enrolled children, when in fact, it was a juvenile detention facility.

It further alleged, that neither a medical director, nor, licensed psychiatrist provided the required direction for psychiatric services or for the development of initial or continuing treatment plans.

The settlement also settled allegations, that the service providers filed false records or statements to Medicaid, when they filed treatment plans, that falsely represented the level of services that would be provided to the patients.

See below under Other Medicaid Matters p33.

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/dag/legacy/2013/02/12/hcfacreport2012.pdf

In July 2002, the New York State Insurance Department fined United Health Care $1.5 million for ‘cheating patients out of money’.

Is this the sort of ethos that should now control a quarter of public, enforced, secret unaccountable services to our most vulnerable and receive a tenth of our NHS budget ?

In 2011 Cygnet was warned by the Care Quality Commission that staffing levels at Cygnet Wing Blackheath were inadequate..

http://www.cqc.org.uk/media/cqc-warns-cygnet-health-care-limited-it-failing-protect-safety-and-welfare-people-0

Improvements were still required at the CQC inspection in April 2014.

In 2013 the Care Quality Commission issued a warning to Cygnet Hospital Bierley because the service was failing to ensure that appropriate records were kept.
http://www.cqc.org.uk/node/779979

John Hughes, an American founded Cygnet in 1987 after turning the Priory around.

In 2004 Cygnet was valued at £120m in a deal with Barchester Healthcare, which earned Hughes a £19m cash windfall.

Barchester, is part-owned by John Magnier and JP McManus, the Irish racing tycoons who owned Winterbourne View’s Castlebeck,.

They bought a quarter of Cygnet’s business for £30m, and Hughes, and a fellow director took a £7m stake in Barchester.

Hughes completed a £340m buy-out in 2008, backed by Mr Wilson’s health care group Grove, which had bought a 25pc stake in Cygnet years earlier.

And would have received another windfall.

In 2014 Hughes’ sale to UHS earned him a £30 million windfall.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/privateequity/11037997/Priory-Group-in-talks-to-buy-psychiatric-rival-Cygnet.html

Tycoons have made millions from mental health services now 87% financed by public NHS money, whilst public trusts are cash strapped and in debt.

And, are set to make far more profit from the governments drive ‘to parity with physical health’, and now have nearly a quarter of the NHS budget.

Yet from CQC reports mental health services in the UK are getting worse not better.

And the physical health of mental patients and effect of enforced medication is ignored and a report in 2013 revealed 3 a day are dying needlessly.

Robert Kehoe , psychiatrist, advertises himself, as an ‘expert witness’, is now the medical director of Cygnet, and, has apparently, advertised some of their units as being for ‘resistant service users’.

http://www.kehoemedical.co.uk/curriculum_vitae.html

https://www.cygnethealth.co.uk/news/dr-robert-kehoe/

Dr Kehoe was an NHS Consultant for nine years and Assistant Medical Director at Airedale NHS Trust and produces 80 to 100 psychiatric reports per year for Courts and Tribunals.

He is also responsible office for Cygnet Healthcare with national responsibilities for the regulation and revalidation of medical practitioners.

So, one expert, now controls the appraisals and code of conduct of all psychiatrist services and opinions, in a multimillion pound conglomerate, serving a quarter of all mental health services.

Universal Health Services and Cygnets’ overriding ethos, is to make as much profit as possible for its directors, managers and investors.

Does this not conflict with the professional independence of the psychiatrists, psychologists, practitioners, who work for Cygnet, and are subject to Cygnet’s stringent codes of conduct and continual appraisal systems ?

All hospitals and medical directors and professionals are under strict regular appraisals and uniformity.

http://www.gmc-uk.org/case_study_5.pdf_49056195.pdf

How does this promote, the diversity of opinion needed for best practice, particularly, in the uncertain arena of psychiatric medicine ?

 

 Posted by at 13:54
Oct 132017
 

National Disabled People’s Summit

Saturday 4 November 2017; 11am – 4.30pm

NUT headquarters, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9BD

Since 2010 Disabled people have been subject to brutal attacks in every area of our lives caused by the disproportionate impact of austerity measures and the dismantling of the welfare system. In August the United Nations disability committee publicly declared that they are now more worried about the UK than any other country in the entire history of the committee and that UK Government “social cuts” have led to “human catastrophe”. This followed publication at the end of last year of the Committee’s investigation into the UK which found evidence of “grave and systematic violations” of Disabled people’s rights due to welfare reform.

Yet the Tory Government continues to deny there is a problem.

This summit will bring together Deaf and Disabled people from the trade union movement, Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations and grassroots campaigns to explore how we can more effectively co-ordinate our resistance and organise joint campaigning in identified areas.

The event will be largely workshop based with the aim of each workshop to come up with and agree a campaigns plan that participants will go away and work together to put into action. The idea of the Summit is to inspire concrete activity that will lead to real change.

Workshops: (choose one per session)

Session 1 – Campaign priorities

  • Independent Living
  • Social security
  • Accessible transport
  • Inclusive education
  • Mental health
  • Employment

Session 2 – Organising

  • Protest and direct action
  • Legal challenges/ using the law
  • Art and protest
  • Using the media
  • Intersectionality
  • Trade union organising

The venue is wheelchair accessible, BSL interpretation will be provided and there will be a quiet room. Lunch will be provided (with thanks to the National Education Union). Please book via: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/national-disabled-peoples-summit-tickets-38706991654

If you are unable to attend in person, we will be livestreaming the plenary. For more information or if you have any access queries please contact: ellen.morrison@inclusionlondon.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 17:38
Oct 122017
 

Draft transport accessibility action plan consultation

 Although there are many issues that need to be raised in this consultation one important aspect is the loss of guards on trains which will make travelling by rail even more arduous for disabled people than it already is.

As we well know, guards and station staff are absolutely crucial to ensuring safe, secure and accessible rail services for all.  This message though is lost to the Rail Minister who has launched a consultation on what action Government, regulators, transport operators or providers can take to increase accessibility, at the same time as the axing of staff on the service.

With 13.3 million people reporting a disability in the UK in 2015/16 the importance of this government consultation cannot be ignored. It is 73 pages long and covers all transport forms. Everyone can respond in detail to its questions if they want to.

However I am writing because it is essential that everyone responds stating that they want more not less staff at stations and on trains. It is all the staff on the railway who provide invaluable information, help, assistance, advice, security, safety and re-assurance. They must be retained at stations and on trains if disabled, old 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.

The full document can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-transport-accessibility-action-plan

You can e-mail as an individual AAPConsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk or write to

Accessibility Action Plan Consultation

Department for Transport

Zone 2/14

Great Minster House

33 Horseferry Road

London SW1P 4DR

You only need to provide your name and address and state you want your comment about the need for more staff at stations and on trains noted in respect of this Accessibility Action Plan consultation. You should state you are writing as a passenger or as a disabled person and do it by the 15th November.

It is vital that responses are returned to the government and if everyone sends a clear message they will have to listen. Please respond now and share this e-mail with friends and family asking them to do the same.

 Posted by at 12:43
Oct 102017
 

Many Local Authorities have now started to ask people to contribute part or most of their DLA or PIP towards the cost of their community care. We believe this may be illegal, especially if they are asking for all of higher rate DLA and PIP and need to hear from anyone in this situation.

If you’re affected please email us at mail@dpac.uk.net with your contact details and how much you’re now being asked to contribute.

Also please take a few minutes to complete this consultation to try to stop yet another local authority – Hertfordshire doing this as well. They blatantly lie when they say DLA is paid to enable individuals to pay towards the cost of their care. You don’t need to live there to complete this and when we have done this previously with another council’s consultation they backed down.

https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/consultations/adult-social-services/care-charging-consultation.aspx

 Posted by at 20:21
Oct 092017
 

Liberty’s Human Rights Awards

Liberty has today announced the shortlist for its 2017 Human Rights Awards – nominated by the public.

Comedian Jeremy Hardy will host this year’s event on 24 October at London’s Royal Court Theatre – and will introduce a new Courageous Voice award, honouring those who have taking bold action to stand up to those in power.

 

 

The 2017 nominees are:

Courageous Voice

• Disabled People Against Cuts – for their Summer of Discontent week of action, raising awareness of issues affecting the rights of disabled people.

• Callum Tulley – for his undercover work with Panorama, which exposed chaos, violence and abuse at Brook House immigration removal centre.

• Open Whisper Systems – for their pioneering end-to-end encryption technology that keeps over one billion people’s communications private via Signal and WhatsApp.

 Posted by at 18:12
Oct 092017
 

Urgent! Adjournment debate on 12th October on Upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

UNCRPD to be debated in Parliament this Thursday – ask your MP to attend

An adjournment debate has been secured by Deirdre Brock MP for Thursday 12 October in the main chamber on Upholding Disabled people’s rights under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Although this is only an adjournment debate, it is really important that MPs are encouraged to attend in order to show how important this issue is. This is the only Parliamentary time that has been secured to discuss the very serious findings of the UN disability committee concerning regression of Disabled people’s rights in the UK. It has been scheduled for last thing on a Thursday which is a time when many MPs will have already left to get to their constituencies. We therefore need to actively write to and encourage our MPs to stay and take part and to hold the Government to account for dismissal of the UN findings last year of “grave and systematic” abuses of Disabled people’s rights due to welfare reform. Please take just a few minutes to email your MP.

Template Letter for MPs. Find you MP’s contact details at www.parliament.uk

 

Dear MP,

I am writing to let you know how important the adjournment debate on 12th October on Upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons (CRPD) with Disabilities is to me and to encourage you to attend on behalf of all your Disabled constituents to urge the Government to explain how and when it plans to implement the recommendations of the UN disability committee.

At the end of August 2017 the UN disability committee published the Concluding Observations from their routine examination of the UK under the CRPD. In November 2016 the disability committee published the findings from an unprecedented investigation of the UK triggered by the CRPD Optional Protocol.

In both cases the committee raised concerns of the upmost seriousness about the regression of Disabled people’s rights in the UK, the harm caused by welfare reform policies and the disproportionate impact of austerity measures.

Their findings were based on thorough examination and an exhaustive process, going through all the evidence (over 2000 pages of documents) that was submitted to them. Deaf and Disabled people were fully involved in the process and ourselves submitted extensive evidence but much of the evidence also included findings from Parliamentary committees and reports and statistics from Government departments.

Their recommendations therefore provide an excellent basis from which to make immediate and much needed improvements that will restore Disabled people’s rights.

In August disability committee members remarked that they hope that the UK will be able to come back and retake our former position as world leaders in Disabled people’s rights. There is much to do to get there but I hope that with your help we can get there again.

Yours sincerely,

 Posted by at 17:00
Oct 082017
 

https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Universal-Credit-transitional-protection/How-long-will-I-get-Universal-Credit-transitional#guide-content

What is Universal Credit (UC) transitional protection?

Transitional Protection is an extra ‘transitional’ amount which tops up your Universal Credit award so that you are not worse off when you move onto Universal Credit.

Transitional Protection is only for some people and it is not available to anybody yet.

People who are claiming Universal Credit at the moment are people who have had a change which meant they had to make a new benefit claim. These people are called ‘natural migrants’. Transitional Protection is not available to them.

Transitional Protection will only be available to people who are moved over to Universal Credit even though nothing has happened which makes them start a new benefit claim. These people are called ‘managed migrants’. There will not be any managed migrants until the Universal Credit full digital service is available in all areas. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is planning to start ‘managed migration’ in July 2019.

How much Universal Credit transitional protection you will get will depend on what your income is from the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit.

Your transitional protection amount will top your Universal Credit up so that it matches your previous benefit income to ensure you are not worse off due to the move to Universal Credit.

How long will I get Universal Credit (UC) transitional protection for?

If you can get it, you may receive Universal Credit transitional protection until your Universal Credit award increases to reach the same amount you were receiving from the benefits it replaced, or until your Universal Credit entitlement decreases to nothing, or until you have a significant change of circumstance.

Your Universal Credit entitlement increases

If you have an increase in your Universal Credit entitlement, perhaps due to a fall in income, the birth of a child, or because of an annual increase in the rates for Universal Credit, the increase in your Universal Credit entitlement will be offset by a reduction in your transitional protection amount. This will continue until your transitional protection amount is reduced to nothing.

Example:

Jane and Dave currently receive £1100 per month from the benefits to be replaced by Universal Credit but their Universal Credit entitlement is only £1000 per month.

They are part of the managed migration onto Universal Credit so they receive a transitional protection amount of £100 per month to top up their Universal Credit so they are not worse off.

The following April the Universal Credit rates are increased so their Universal Credit entitlement goes up to £1020 per month.

They only need a transitional protection amount of £80 now to top them up to their previous benefit income of £1100 per month.

Although their Universal Credit entitlement has gone up £20, their transitional protection amount is reduced by £20 so they still receive £1100 per month.

They won’t see a rise in their income from Universal Credit until their Universal Credit entitlement becomes more than £1100 per month and their transitional protection amount reduces to nothing.

Your Universal Credit entitlement decreases

If you have a decrease in your Universal Credit entitlement, for example because of an increase in your earnings, your transitional protection amount will not be reduced straight away. This is to make sure that work incentives are protected.

Your transitional amount won’t be reduced until your Universal Credit entitlement falls to £0. Even then you won’t lose all your transitional protection amount at once, it will be removed at the set taper rate, currently 65%. This means you will lose 65p of your transitional protection amount for every £1 you earn.

Significant change of circumstance

If you have a significant change of circumstance which affects your Universal Credit claim you will lose your transitional protection amount immediately.

These significant changes are:

  • a partner leaves/joins your household
  • your earnings drop beneath the level expected of you in your claimant commitment (for three months in a row)
  • your Universal Credit award ends
  • you or your partner stop work

 

 Posted by at 20:10
Oct 062017
 

David Gauke the latest in a long line of ministers of state for DWP this week refused to halt the roll out of Universal Credit despite warnings from many credible sources including his own backbenchers that it was a disaster in waiting.

As the roll out of Universal Credit proceeds more and more disabled people are likely to find that they miss out on any transitional protections and in the worst case scenario that their claim is treated as a new one they face the loss of £78.35 a week from their social security payments.

This is because in Universal credit there are no Severe Disability Premiums or Enhanced Disability Premium paid. They simply vanish into thin air.

Research has shown that the additional cost of being disabled is £550 per month extra but the nasty party are stripping claimants of most of the money they need to meet those additional costs.

We’re planning something for International Day of Disabled People with more details about this to follow but in the meantime we’re asking people to contact their MPs and ask them to justify taking £78.35 pw away from those who have the highest support needs/ are most severely disabled.

Maybe they’ll say how they manage to sleep at nights.

Please then send us a copy of your letter and their response to you. mail@dpac.uk.net

You can find your MP’s contact details at https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

This recent case might be helpful to  people to challenge any cuts

https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/News-2017/October-2017/Law-firm-call-on-the-Government-to-re-consider-dec

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 18:41
Oct 032017
 
Re-blogged from Morning Star

Disabled activist ‘violently dragged out of Rees-Mogg talk’

Tuesday 3rd Oct 2017

ANTI-AUSTERITY protesters were violently evicted from a public meeting attended by Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg yesterday.

One of the activists, who is disabled, alleged to the Star he was “slapped in the face” by a Tory activist and bundled out by security who stamped on his leg before dragging him down a corridor.

Alex Knox was at the front of the meeting and said he was “peacefully protesting” when a group of Tories tried to grab his banner and “became increasingly aggressive.”

He and Mr Rees-Mogg had been debating the impact of austerity on disabled people.

Mr Knox said: “Six burly security guards came in and jumped on me, my leg was getting injured and I’ve suffered bruising on my leg, which is in a brace.

“About eight of them took me out into a corridor and were really aggressive. I told them they were hurting me. I was in agony as they dragged me down the stairs and some of them stamped on my leg.”

Mr Knox said the police told the security guards to let him go and officers are now investigating the assault complaint.

The Star contacted the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) for comment but did not receive a reply before going to print.

The small protest group attended the meeting to express “disgust” at Tory austerity policies and views on abortion that are espoused by Mr Rees-Mogg, who many see as a future leader of the party.

Hundreds of Mr Rees-Mogg’s supporters attended the meeting organised by the Bruges Group for a panel discussion on Brexit.

People’s Assembly activist Shabbir Lakha spoke to him before he took to the stage. He told the MP that he was a liar for saying Tory policies have lifted people out of poverty.

Mr Lakha asked: “Really? Depending on foodbanks is making people’s lives better?”

Mr Rees-Mogg claimed that the Tories had the highest number of people in employment since the 1970s, which Mr Lakha pointed out was based on precarious employment and poverty pay.

The conversation continued until Mr Lakha was “aggressively bundled out” of the building by security.

People’s Assembly national organiser Ramona McCartney said she felt “violated” at the Manchester Town Hall event.

People’s Assembly national secretary Sam Fairbairn told the Star: “When faced with true public opinion, they bundle people out of the meeting by security because they can’t face it.”

 Posted by at 16:13
Oct 022017
 

At the People’s Assembly march in Manchester having allowed people into the official protest area at the Tory party Conference yesterday the police then proceeded to kettle them. DPAC activists then blocked a tram line in protest at what they saw as an unfair move by the scores of extra police who had been drafted into Manchester to protect the Tories.

 

Sadly the police in Manchester reacted rather aggressively to this and 2 disabled people were arrested and a veteran activist in his 80s was left badly bruised by being man-handled by them.

http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=4131

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-politics-41462576

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, child and outdoor

Image may contain: 5 people, people standing and outdoor

Rick burgess of Manchester DPAC said “DAN (Direct Action Network) veteran & MDPAC member Dennis Queen has been charged with Public Nuisance after their arrest yesterday. We reject utterly the heavy handed policing and targeting of disabled people, all to protect a government found guilty of Grave & Systemic human rights abuses. If there are any arrests to be made it is of the Conservative party government over their democide of disabled people. Whatever costs Dennis incurs we pledge to meet with a crowdfunding drive. Our community shall not be victimised like this.”

Another member Sharon Hooley has been cautioned by police for protesting yesterday. Rick said “Full respect and support for her brave stand in defiance of quisling security forces protecting an unlawful government.” At one stage Sharon another wheelchair user was surrounded by 13 police officers.

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155721308715489&set=gm.1831546200399434&type=3&theater&ifg=1

 

 

 

Sep 292017
 

Please send details of your experiences to Work & Pensions Committee by November 10th. You don’t need to address all of the questions just any that are relevant. Please note we do not want you to send this information to us but directly to the Committee.

 Committee launches new inquiry into PIP and ESA assessments 

The Committee is launching a new inquiry on how the assessment processes for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are handled by DWP contractors ATOS, Capita and Maximus, and how the application, assessment and appeals processes for these two benefits are working.

In the last Parliament the Committee held an urgent one-off evidence session in the wake of the announcement of Government plans to restrict the number of people who qualify for PIP, a move which would limit the cost of PIP by £3.7 billion. Evidence taken then revealed worrying disparities between the applicants’ recall of the assessment process and the final report produced to enable DWP to make a decision. The Committee also heard concerns about the contractor assessors’ ability to understand and properly assess a wide range of physical and mental health conditions, and about the dignity and conduct of the assessment process. The latest data shows that claimants are successful in appealing against their decision in 65% of cases, for both PIP and ESA, and that there has been an 29% increase in such appeals being registered since this time last year.

Given high rates of overturn at appeal, the Committee invites evidence on the effectiveness of assessment processes used to determine eligibility for these benefits, and the experience of applicants going through it. The Committee is interested in receiving recommendations for change both on the assessment process for each benefit individually, and on common lessons that can be learned from the two processes.

Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “The truly amazing rate of overturned ESA and PIP decisions seems to point to something being fundamentally wrong with the initial assessment and Mandatory Reconsideration stages. Quite apart from the human cost this represents – the distress and difficulty for applicants trying to get help with daily living or getting into work – it looks to be wasteful, inefficient, and a huge cost to taxpayers.

“We would like to hear from claimants – and assessors – about whether and where the system works, or is failing, and how it might be fixed.”

In particular, the Committee would welcome evidence on the following points, by 10 November 2017:

Assessors and assessments:

  • Do contractor assessors possess sufficient expertise to carry out assessments for people with a wide range of health conditions?
  • Is DWP quality control for contractors sufficient and effective?
  • Should the options for reforming the Work Capability Assessment mooted in the Government’s Improving Lives green paper be taken forward?
  • What examples of best practice in assessing eligibility for benefits are available internationally, and how transferrable are they to ESA and/or PIP?

Mandatory Reconsideration and appeal:

  • Why do claimants seek to overturn initial assessment outcomes for ESA and/or PIP?
  • Why are levels of disputed decisions higher for PIP than for ESA?
  • Is the MR process working well for claimants of ESA and/or PIP?
  • What accounts for the rate of overturned decisions at appeal for PIP and/or ESA?
  • Are there lessons that could be learned from the ESA MR and appeal process for PIP and vice-versa?
  • What changes could be made earlier in the process to ensure fewer claimants feel they need to appeal?

Claimant experiences:

  • Do prospective claimants currently understand the purpose of the assessment?
  • How could claimants be helped to better understand the assessment process?
  • Are some groups of claimants particularly likely to encounter problems with their assessments – and if so, how can this be addressed?
  • Should the assessment processes for PIP and ESA be more closely integrated? How else might the processes be streamlined for claimants?

An easy read version of these terms of reference is available on our website, and we encourage people to join the discussion on our web forum, whether you would like to submit evidence to the inquiry or not.

Committee Membership is as follows:

Frank Field – Chair (Labour), Heidi Allen (Conservative), Andrew Bowie (Conservative), Jack Brereton (Conservative), Alex Burghart (Conservative), Neil Coyle (Labour), Marsha De Cordova (Labour), Ruth George (Labour), Chris Green (Conservative), Steve McCabe (Labour), Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party) 

How to submit evidence is here

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/pip-esa-assessments-17-19/

 

 Posted by at 20:41
Sep 292017
 

Many thanks to Inclusion London for this useful analysis.

The Court of Appeal’s decision in the Davey case: what it means for DDPOs and Disabled people

Luke’s appeal was dismissed.  This is a devastating outcome for him as he won’t only be stuck at home with minimal support he also risks losing his support team, who were with him for 18 years.  The outcome is also disappointing and worrying for other Disabled people, as this case sends a message to local authorities that they can implement whatever cuts they want as long as they follow the right process.

Tracey Lazard interviewed outside the Royal Courts of Justice with a man in the foreground holding a placard reading 'Right2IL'

On the 1st of September the Court of Appeal handed down its judgement in the case of Davey v Oxfordshire County Council.  In this case Luke Davey, who is a former Independent living fund recipient, challenged a 40% cut to his personal budget after the closure of the ILF.

Luke’s appeal was dismissed.  This is a devastating outcome for him as he won’t only be stuck at home with minimal support he also risks losing his support team, who were with him for 18 years.  The outcome is also disappointing and worrying for other Disabled people, as this case sends a message to local authorities that they can implement whatever cuts they want as long as they follow the right process.

To us the case also clearly demonstrated the limits of judicial review in cases where disabled people are trying to argue against professional opinions of social workers.  Judicial review does not look at whether local authority made the right decision or the best decision; it looks at whether or not the decision was lawful.

The decision

The Court of Appeal confirmed that the decision to cut Luke’s personal budget was reached as a result of a lawful process.  Largely the judges agreed with legal analyses and the findings of Mr Justice Morris, who made initial decision in the High Court. Here are some of the most important points:

  • The duty to promote wellbeing in section 1 has 2 aspects: firstly it requires local authorities to take positive steps to promote wellbeing, and secondly it requires local authorities to pay regard to circumstances listed in section 1.3 of the Care Act 2014.
  • The assessment under the Care Act 2014 is an objective assessment, done by social workers of OT’s for local authorities
  • The wishes of the disabled person may be a primary influence, but they do not amount to an overriding consideration.
  • The UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities can be used to help interpret the law (with caution), however in this case no particular ambiguity was identified and the balance between person’s wishes and LAs views has been struck in the Care Act itself.  However the Court of Appeal acknowledged that this should not prevent from this point being raised in future proceedings.
  • The judge confirmed that the council was entitled to set a pay of PAs at a lower rate as long as it reflected local market conditions and  that the law did not require it to pay for a more expensive option, which was preferred by an individual. The judges were prepared to accept social worker’s view that the rates reflected local market conditions.  This however potentially puts into questions provisions in the Care and Support Guidance which say that local authorities should choose not the cheapest option, but the one that is best value for money.  The guidance clearly says they should go for an option that better promotes wellbeing and delivers the outcomes for an individual.

Our intervention

Inclusion London intervened in this case.  We wanted to show that the case was not just about Luke’s care package.  It could have an impact on many Disabled people.  Our intervention helped to draw media attention to this case and enable us to talk about our right to independent living in mainstream media.  We also believe our intervention helped to clarify the point that local authorities have to consider what might happen in the future when there is an imminent risk of negative consequences as a result of their decisions.

Besides the fact that Luke lost and the impact this will have on his life, the biggest concern in this judgement from our point of view is the statement about intensity of judicial review in social care proceedings.  The Court of Appeal effectively warned against overzealous analyses of social care assessments.  This is worrying, because life changing decisions are made based on those assessments, and unfortunately there is no other way to properly scrutinise them.  This is why we will continue to lobby for the appeals system, which was meant to be introduced by the Care Act 2014.

The fact that local authorities at the end of the day make final decisions about our needs and how we will be supported is not new.  The law has always said this.  However many of us felt disappointed when we saw the judgement.  This firstly is because the case clearly shows that in the age of austerity, when local authorities have to find significant savings, the provisions of the Care Act about choice and control do not have teeth.  It also is disappointing for us to see how our views can so easily be overridden by professional opinions of social workers and local authorities not being properly scrutinised for some of the decisions they make.

This was the first case brought under the wellbeing duty and it clearly demonstrated the limits of this duty.  It is worth bearing in mind though that the case was mainly lost because of factual evidence. (Luke couldn’t prove that his PAs of 18 years would leave and refuse to work for less)

Lessons for DDPOs

This case clearly shows that local authorities can get away with implementing even very significant cuts if they follow the process set out in the Care Act and can give a logical explanation to their decisions as well as commiting to reviewing the situation and stepping in if things go terribly wrong.

It does not mean however the cuts cannot be challenged; we can and should do this.  Here are some of the basic things you could do to increase a chance of success in your case:

  • Know the process well and challenge when it has not been followed;
  • Ask for explanations early on, ideally with references to the law. Although local authority can submit further explanatory evidence it will be difficult to do so if it contradicts what they said before.  For example if they are suggesting a cut to your support package, ask them to explain how this will promote your wellbeing;
  • Think of evidence.  If we want to challenge cuts, the onus is on us to prove the impact.  Just a statement from a disabled person will not always be enough. The judges will most likely accept social workers view, unless it is irrational;
  • Pay attention to the assessment process, prepare and clearly explain what you mean.  Make sure to ask for a correction of all factual mistakes in the assessment document;
  • Challenge decisions: yes this case was not successful, but it cannot and should not deter others from challenging cuts to their support.

We lost this battle, but we will keep fighting.

 Posted by at 20:18
Sep 262017
 
Inclusion London is involved in a piece of research being carried out by a student at the University of Essex into the impact of conditionality and sanctions on Disabled people in the Employment and Support Alliance (ESA) Work Related Activity Group (WRAG).
With the Government about to roll out proposals that will extend conditionality to Disabled people in the support group we think it is all the more important that research and evaluation is carried out into the impacts of this approach to welfare.
We need people who are currently in the ESA WRAG and are happy to speak to our researcher, Jay Mehti. Interviews can be carried out by telephone or in person in London. A £20 voucher will be given to each participant to say thank you.
For more information please email ellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.org.uk or text 07505144371. If you would like to share this information with your contacts, information is on our website here: http://powerup.us7.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=bd31b88a884b7e90abc93fdcc&id=668b7ec461&e=95d2dfef3c
Ellen Clifford
Campaigns and Policy Manager
Inclusion London
336 Brixton Road, London, SW9 7AA
Tel: 020 7036 6032 (office SMS only: 0771 839 4687)
www.inclusionlondon.org.uk
 Posted by at 17:57
Sep 252017
 

This week the UN global nuclear weapons ban treaty opened for signatures. 51 countries have already signed, with three so far ratifying, which is a great start! CND, along with Medact and Pax Christi, delivered thousands of letters to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, calling on the British government to sign the treaty.

No Nuclear War

A global ban of nuclear weapons is more important than ever in the context of the increasingly worrying rhetoric about nuclear weapons from Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un. CND, along with many supporting organisations, has called a protest outside Downing Street next Thursday, September 28th, 5 – 6.30 pm Downing Street, to call on the Prime Minister Theresa May to use all diplomatic means to de-escalate tension.

All these topics will be discussed at CND’s annual conference next month. As well as our AGM, we have a one day international conference – ‘Confrontation or cooperation? Nuclear abolition in dangerous times’ taking place on Saturday, October 14thWhy don’t you come along to discuss the prospects for a new direction on nuclear weapons, and to address the wider international context too: NATO, missile defence, Trump, Korea, China, war and intervention – and what we can do about it all?

Tel: 020 7700 2393

Web: www.cnduk.org Twitter: @CNDuk Facebook: /cnduk

 Posted by at 17:07
Sep 252017
 

Universal Credit  – what is your experience?

Please send me you experience of Universal Credit. This could include your experience of the application process, the impact of being paid a month in arrears and there being no payment for the first seven days or any other information you would like to give.  Please send it to me on my email:  Henrietta.Doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk  by 10 October.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee of MPs is holding an inquiry on the roll out of Universal Credit and Inclusion London  intends to send evidence to the inquiry.  Your experience would help to inform our evidence.   

More information about the inquiry is available at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/inquiry/

 Posted by at 16:05
Sep 252017
 

Frances Ryan is writing a book about disability and austerity and is looking to speak to a disabled man who is affected by fuel poverty and unable to afford to keep their home heated in winter. She would only need to use your first name but if you can help please contact her directly at francesryan.journalism@gmail.com

Also from Fuel Poverty Action

Dear friends,

We’re about to embark on a month of political party conferences, and chances are they’ll be raising energy prices as an issue.  This may be an opportunity to push for a cap so the Big Six can’t just put up prices as they like.  The most effective way of putting on the pressure would be for people to come forward who themselves are suffering from cold, damp, or debt, or going short of other essentials just to pay the bills.  Speaking out could be anonymous, or just in newspapers or online, or, if you like, you could be public.  
A year ago we asked for people to come forward about the extra cost if you pay by key or card, with a prepayment meter (PPM).   We did get a cap on PPM prices – but it’s not like what you could get on a fixed price deal, or if you could pay by direct debit or online.   It’s more in line with the “Standard Variable Tariff” that two thirds of energy customers get put on, by default.  And these Standard Variable Tariffs are outrageously, killingly, high.  So we’re looking for people to come forward again, whether you are on a PPM or pay by bills, to say how you are affected and what you think should happen.

FPA will be pressing for a universal  price cap, at an affordable level, for everyone – not just the “most vulnerable”.  There are 17 million customers on the Standard Variable Tariff.  The “consumer protection” regulator Ofgem has proposed a cap for just 2 to 3 million people who receive other heating benefits.  This is in line with the government’s standard policy of “targeting” help at “those who need it most”.  We do not agree that “targeting” is an effective way of protecting people on low incomes.  Fair prices are a right, not charity.

A cap that’s restricted to only some customers would mean that your fuel prices rise again, maybe even higher than if there were no cap, as soon as you cross the threshold eg by getting married, getting a job or an increase in pay, or getting bumped off disability benefits by the DWP and its henchmen at Maximus.  Even teachers and nurses are now dependent on food banks and fuel banks.  We don’t think the energy companies should be making a killing off anyone.  Means-testing always means that people in need lose out.

Instead of relying on the Big Six to single out vulnerable customers in their pricing, the government should reverse the violent cuts to welfare benefits, beginning with disabled people and asylum seekers who have been most savagely attacked, but also including single parents, pensioners, and people on low pay.

At the same time, we need a massive programme of insulation to provide effective, inspected, fire-safe insulation for every home.  This is a major infrastructure priority and should be done on a community-wide basis, not by spending time identifying fuel-poor households who may then move house, or who may not want to be “targeted” in the first place.  Bringing the UK’s housing up to European standards of warmth and energy efficiency will save lives and will cut down on carbon emissions — which, like fuel poverty, are killing many thousands.

Please consider if you’d like to consider putting forward your own views and experience – and get in touch with us asap, if so!

Email us at fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com

ALSO *****************************************

On Monday 2nd October, 10:10 climate action are launching a campaign that could force landlords to improve the very poorest quality uninsulated homes. Legislation was passed for this purpose, but there’s a loophole – the landlords can exempt themselves if it would cost them any money upfront!  Lives are being lost as a result, from cold homes, and from climate change as well, and FPA are supporting this attempt to close the loophole. Look out for more information about a demonstration/photocall in London on the 2nd October, plus an online tool for tenants in hard-to-heat homes to see what extra you pay.

Cold homes, fuel poverty, climate change, millions of homes in debt to their energy supplier, huge profits for the Big Six… the energy system isn’t working.
Another energy system is possible! Get behind the Fuel Poverty Action Energy Bill of Rights

 

 Posted by at 16:02
Sep 252017
 

Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle Campaign are horrified to find that so-called Labour MP and Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee Frank Field has put forward the suggestion that disabled people do not deserve to earn the living wage and argues that they are less productive than non-disabled people. These comments have been published in a set of essays in Learning and Work.

http://www.learningandwork.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/LW-Opp-for-All-FINAL.pdf

 

“One idea that has been mooted is to grant a specific

exemption to the National Living Wage to those whose

disabilities are deemed so severe that they will never

be capable of enough output to warrant payment of

the minimum wage, but who might nevertheless enjoy

significant wellbeing gains from involvement in an

appropriate workplace environment.”

Mr Field goes on to say that some disabled people might benefit from this as it would make them more attractive to employers in spite of the obvious potential for exploitation this would entail. We have news for Frank we do not wish to be paid less than non-disabled people for the same work and we are not happy to be exploited by anyone.

Both disability groups are calling for Frank Field to resign or be sacked from his role as Chair and have approached Jeremy Corbyn to insist that Field immediately withdraws this highly offensive comment. To date we’ve had no reply but will be following this up again after the Labour Party Conference has ended.

If this is allowed to pass unchecked by the Labour leadership people will then be entitled to ask whether the party really has fundamentally moved on since it introduced the catastrophic Work Capability Assessment regime under the last New Labour Government.

A DPAC spokesperson said “ This is more or less exactly what Lord Freud suggested about 3 years ago but to find the same offensive idea being pedalled by a Labour MP supposedly opposed to the abuse of disabled people’s human rights is somehow even more offensive. Frank Field’s comments are nothing short of disgraceful.”

How can Labour hope to be trusted as true champions of disability rights when they are represented on a key committee by someone with such retrogressive, Victorian views?

John McArdle from Black Triangle said “Field must now be publicly censured by the Labour Party. The suggestion that disabled people’s labour is worth less than that of other people and the Tory-set minimum – let alone a ‘living wage’ – is an affront not only  to the human dignity of every disabled person in the U.K. and is a stark betrayal of the values of fairness and equality upon which the party was founded. “

Labour still has a mountain to climb before it can convince the majority of disabled people and their friends, families and colleagues that they have truly changed. If they wish to convince us that they are now firmly set upon reversing all these barbaric, deadly cuts to our support and intend to fully comply with the spirit and the letter of the UNCRPD then they must act now to impose party discipline on Field in keeping with their stated intention. As stated elsewhere, we require Labour to now wage war with the Tory Party in defence of our human rights in order to win the next general election by the landslide it deserves. Tolerating the views of frontline Labour politicians whose views are more in accord with Tory politicians than ordinary Labour members and supporters is no longer acceptable and that uncompromising message needs to go out, loud and clear.

You can read Frank’s even more offensive response here https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/labour-mp-told-to-quit-influential-post-after-offensive-minimum-wage-call/

And many thanks to John Pring from Disability News Service for alerting us to this.

Please let Frank Field know what you think about this idea

You can email using this contact form http://www.frankfield.co.uk/contact/contact-information.aspx

or tweet to him

@frankfieldteam

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 15:33
Sep 252017
 

reposted from OCAP and signed up to by DPAC

The Neoliberal Danger of Basic Income

wolfsheep

Statement for endorsement: We have drawn up the following statement on basic income (BI). It makes the case that, progressive hopes to the contrary notwithstanding, BI is being developed as a measure of neoliberal attack that should be opposed. We invite progressive organizations and individuals who hold positions in agencies and academic institutions, who agree with our arguments, to sign onto the statement. We hope that it will raise a voice of opposition and help develop information sharing and forms of co-operation among those, internationally, who reject the notion that basic income represents any kind realistic response to the neoliberal attack.

Endorsements and other responses can be directed to us at ocap@tao.ca.

The Neoliberal Danger of Basic Income

We, the undersigned, are convinced that the emerging model of basic income, reflected in pilot projects and other initiatives in a number of countries and jurisdictions, is one that would intensify the neoliberal agenda. The hope that there is any realistic chance of ensuring a truly adequate, universal payment, that isn’t financed by undermining other vital elements of social provision, is misplaced in our view.

We are far from wanting to suggest that existing systems of income support are anywhere close to adequate.  They provide precarious sub poverty income under conditions that are marked by intrusive regulations and forms of moral policing.  Moreover, decades of neoliberal austerity have made these systems considerably worse.

However wretched and inadequate present systems may be, the assumption that basic income must or even could be an improvement on the status quo has to be tested by considering a number of factors.  Historically, income support has been provided because those in political power concluded that outright abandonment of those not in the workforce would create unacceptably high levels of unrest and social dislocation. In the far from dead tradition of the English Poor Laws, income support has been provided at levels that were low enough to maintain a supply of the worst paid workers, in forms that were as punitive and degrading as possible. Again, the neoliberal years have seen these features intensified in what we must concede has been a highly effective drive to create a climate of desperation and a plentiful supply of low paid and precarious workers.

If austerity driven governments and institutions of global capitalism are today looking favourably at basic income, it’s not because they want to move towards greater equality, reverse the neoliberal impact and enhance workers’ bargaining power. They realize that a regressive model of basic income can be put in place that provides an inadequate, means tested payment to the poorest people outside of the workforce but that is primarily directed to the lowest paid workers. This would be, in effect, a subsidy to employers, paid for out of the tax revenues and it would be financed by cuts to broader public services. Such a model would lend itself to disregarding the particular needs of disabled people and, as a “citizen’s income,” could readily be denied to many immigrants, especially those left undocumented. Under such a system, you would shop through the rubble of the social infrastructure with your meagre basic income. The kind of pilot projects and other initiatives that are emerging offer severe warnings in this regard (we include some links that provide information on several of these)*.

However, some suggest that while regressive models could be developed and may pose a danger, a progressive and even “emancipatory” form of basic income is possible and realistic as a goal. Often, this is linked to the idea of preparing for a “workless future” in which vast numbers of technologically displaced workers can be provided for. The notion is that a universal payment would be provided unconditionally and that it would be adequate enough so that paid work, if it were an option, would be a matter of choice rather than necessity. While there are a few who suggest this could be won through large scale social action, advocates for a progressive basic income more often seem to assume that capitalist support and acceptance by the state can be won by way of a vigorous lobbying effort.

In our view, a truly adequate and redistributive, let aside transformative, basic income is not possible within the confines of the current economic system. Firstly, the present balance of forces in society, after decades of neoliberalism, does not lend itself to the conclusion that a sweeping measure of social reform, that would reverse this whole agenda, is immediately likely. Beyond this, however, an income support system that removed economic coercion in a way that progressive basic income advocates suggest, would be more than turning back the neoliberal tide. It would actually mean that the state was providing the working class with an unlimited strike fund. It would undermine the very basis for the capitalist job market. It would constitute social transformation, a revolutionary change that is, to say the least, beyond the capacity of any possible social policy enactment.

If basic income as emancipation is not possible, it can only too easily take form as neoliberal intensification.  Yet, sadly, progressive advocates end up offering legitimacy to that regressive alternative but placing hopes in musings about basic income by Silicon Valley billionaires or by presenting cynical pilot projects, set up by austerity driven governments, as flawed but important first steps. However much they wish otherwise, the sow’s ear will not become a silk purse.

If faith in a progressive basic income is misplaced, we wish we could offer a shining and readily attainable alternative but this is not possible.  We are largely fighting a defensive struggle against a virulent agenda to undermine social provision and increase the rate of exploitation. We can only offer the hard slog of building stronger inclusive movements of social resistance, rejuvenating unions and building a working class political challenge to neoliberalism. As we do this, we must fight for free, expanded and accessible public services. We must win decent wages and workers’ rights. We must struggle for income support systems that are based on adequacy, full entitlement and that are purged of intrusive rules and moral policing. We must infuse all of these movements and struggles with a sense of a very different kind of society from the capitalist one we are fighting. This doesn’t have the glitter of the dream of a progressive basic income but it does accept that reality that there is no social policy way around neoliberalism or a long and hard fight against it. The progressive welcome mat for basic income is a very big mistake.

*Links:
https://recoveryinthebin.org/2017/06/25/the-neoliberal-writing-on-the-wall-ontarios-basic-income-experiment/

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

http://basicincome.org/news/2017/02/16732/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/universal-basic-income-scotland-week-cash-payment-life-nicola-sturgeon-first-minister-snp-a7934131.html

 

 Posted by at 15:16