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 deatils TBC

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
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
 

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
Dec 312017
 

As always we are so grateful to you all for the various types of support we’ve had this year from you. Without that support none of the things we do would be possible. We’ve seconded four extra people to the Steering Group this year and are very happy to welcome their input. We also always need help with the more boring admin tasks that are nevertheless so vital so if anyone has any time or energy to spare please get in touch with us at mail@dpac.uk.net

 

Also too I hope nothing vital is missed out of this round up but with around 15 pages of notes it is difficult to make sure everything and everyone is included.

This year saw yet another General Election and that together with the Brexit catastrophe we seem to be facing has made it difficult to raise our issues with politicians although we’ve succeeded in making ourselves very visible to them several times this year.

The unprecedented UN inquiry which we instigated found that the Tories (and indeed the Lib Dems and Sir Nick Clegg) were guilty of both the grave and systematic violation of our rights.

DPAC together with ROFA and Black Triangle Campaign have also been to Geneva in March and August to present further evidence to support these violations to the UN Disability Committee.This year as well as continuing to work on the Inquiry the Committee carried out the normal periodic review of the UK’s implementation of UNCRPD. This involved submitting two further detailed reports proving the regression and abuse disabled people face in the UK .

The UN report from this review was again very damning and Chair of the Committee, Teresia Derenger described what has happened to disabled people under the Tories rule as a “human catastrophe.”

 

We await the government’s response to that report which will no doubt be yet another barrage of lies and deceits as they thrash around trying to justify their horrendous treatment of disabled people. Meanwhile the research team continue to work closely with the UN to gather further detailed evidence of the atrocities faced on a daily basis.

 

Protests – both local and national

January started off with a protest at the High Court supporting Doug Paulley in his discrimination case against First Bus company.

We also protested against underhand changes to PIP regulations which were sneaked in and which have now been legally challenged.

LetmeLook TV

 

The judgement for the legal challenge is due any day now and we have been actively involved in supporting this including in November a vigil once again at the High Court with Mental Health Resistance Network and Winvisible.

We continue to work closely with the free psychotherapy network made up of MH survivors and professionals plus a smattering of others and had a lively early morning protest outside the Savoy Conference Centre with them.

We joined in with UNITE’s National Day of Action against Benefit sanctions as did many local DPAC groups at the end of March.

March and April saw a lot of joint actions with RMT over the plans to introduce Driver Only Operated trains which for disabled people will be a disaster further reducing our ability to travel when and where we want. Further protests with RMT have continued throughout the year in London, Yorkshire, Ipswich and Brighton in particular.

 

April and May also saw us very busy both visibly and invisibly fighting to #TrashtheTories as part of our #NotthefuckingTories election campaigning. We held our week of action from April 14th-21st.

We held a Tories Out protest at parliament and tried to get into Tory party HQ although surprisingly they didn’t let us in and barricaded themselves behind locked doors.

LetmeLookTV

https://lucaneve.photoshelter.com/gallery-slideshow/G00008dg0Wwz.5jA/C0000GPpTqAGd2Gg?start

As part of  #TrashtheTories we joined activists from Berkshire DPAC in Maidenhead (Theresa’s constituency) on June 2nd and also on the same day activists in Windsor to get our message about her and Theresa’s team out to the electorate. We had earlier considered visiting the village she lives in, Sonning, but the many heavily armed guards and lack of accessible toilets made it an undesirable target. What it is to be so popular you have to be protected by dozens of armed police.

We also invested a lot of money, time and effort into facebook adverts during the election campaign which allowed us to reach over half a million voters in the most marginal constituencies with a series of messages. Not all of the responses we got back to the adverts were positive as some of those we reached were Tory or UKIP voters. In London we had an active and successful campaign in Croydon to get rid of the sitting Tory MP and held hustings in several places as well as enrolling disabled voters.

https://dpac.uk.net/2017/06/dpac-launches-election-film-series/

DPAC Launches Election Film Series

Given the election and the loss of time for serious lobbying we thought in July just before MPs went off for the summer recess that they needed to be reminded we’re still here so we blocked the lobby entrance in parliament getting much needed media attention from that action. Later this year we were shortlisted for a Liberty Human Rights prize for this.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/demonstrators-house-commons-pmqs-disability-cuts-protest-wheelchairs-parliament-entrance-block-a7848876.html

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/07/19/529018/Demonstrators-block-UKs-House-of-Commons

https://www.rt.com/uk/396813-protesters-wheelchairs-disability-parliament/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/furious-protesters-wheelchairs-block-house-10829364

We also joined a number of other protests the Budget Day Protest, various NHS protests both against STPs and calling for a Scrap to the Cap on pay, Anti-Atos protest in July, and a National Day of Action against Universal Credit about which we are calling for #StopandScrap and not merely #PauseandFix as we do not believe UC can be fixed as it is like the WCA essentially flawed based as it is on conditionality.

Manchester DPAC also planned and hosted the protest at the Tory Party Conference there organising a wall of noise to disrupt Theresa’s speech.

Local groups have also been involved in many local campaigns and protests against STPs, Atos, Maximus and DWP assessments, Housing Benefit cuts, against loss of local services, and against closures of Job Centres and women’s refuges to name but a few.

Speaking and other activities

DPAC activists have spoken at events and meetings around the country far too many to mention them all but some events DPAC speakers spoke at include Bridges without Walls, RMT rallies, International Women’s Day, Norwich May Day rally, National Pensioners Party Conference, Marxism, CWU disabled workers conference, Reb Law, South West UNITE Bristol history seminar, Bristol Austerity March, Pembrokeshire demo to unseat Stephen Crabb, Weston General Hospital save A&E department, anti DUP rally called by Owen Jones, NEU disabled workers’ conference,  LRC fringe at PCS conference, and speech sent to UCU Equalities Conference.

At the Labour Party Conference Paula spoke as a CLP delegate and raised the attacks against disabled people and Ellen spoke at the PCS meeting on transforming social security, at Momentum’s a World Transformed festival and was also on a panel with Dawn Butler and Owen Jones. Roger also spoke at a fringe meeting.

We also had a number of successful local direct action workshops through our Lock Up Your Wheelchairs tour.

Last February we also exhibited various art installations at the LUSH summit which lasted for 2 days and had over 2,000 visitors.

We’ve also with help from some of you been interviewed for numerous programmes both for viewing in the UK and abroad, written articles for publication both here and abroad and generally kept spreading the word whenever possible. As well as this we’ve had various research interviews for projects and helped with film work especially for the election campaign.

More recently a DPAC steering group member was involved in co-ordinating the National Disabled People’s Summit including 14 workshops to look at how we can more effectively co-ordinate our resistance to the Tories and bringing together ROFA and TUC disabled members. We also funded and organised with support from ROFA an Independent Living Campaign Conference and have been working closely with Fuel Poverty Action group against restrictions on the cap on energy Bills which at the moment will exclude many people who should get this help.

We have also supported disabled and anti-racism campaigners in Bristol to respond to the murder of disabled asylum seeker Kamil Ahmed and plan a national event for next year.

Next year we also plan a major campaign to #StopandScrap Universal Credit and will continue as always to fight for disabled people’s right to live independently with the right levels of support.

 Posted by at 18:38
Dec 082017
 

As people are likely to know Phillip Hammond is blaming disabled people being part of the UK workforce for lower productivity rates. This is without any evidence being provided to support this bollocks. So we’d like to reply to Phillip and let him know what we all think about this latest abuse. Please feel free to tweet this post to Tory MPs including @TheresaMay

Apologies to anyone who is sensitive to what some might consider bad language.

Philip Hammond is a prick. We know this, you know this  – everybody knows this. Let’s not encourage him. Assume everything he says is just pure shite. This load of shite is particularly dangerous because it reinforces stereotypes and myths, and enables othering. More dangerously, some people feel empowered to go further than othering and take their frustrations out on people who’ve done nothing but try to live the best lives they can.
Don’t be a prick. Don’t believe or peddle this shite.
And Philip Hammond should fuck off now.
 Posted by at 11:59
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
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 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
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 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