Jan 262013
 

An organising meeting called on Saturday 19th January by Defend Council Housing (DCH), Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and Right to Work (RtW) attracted around 40 people representing 32 different campaign groups and union branches to build an umbrella campaign to oppose ConDem attacks on the poor and fight for benefit justice. The idea for the meeting came from a workshop on Welfare and Austerity hosted by DPAC and RtW at the Unite the Resistance conference in London in November.

Anger and desperation are mounting as benefit claimants brace themselves for changes due to come in this April at a time when many are already having to choose between heating and eating. The Bedroom Tax will mean tenants having to find around a £1000 a year to plug the cut in Housing Benefit, something that is simply unaffordable for people also facing a cut in Council Tax Support through what is fast becoming known as the new Poll Tax, and the benefit cap. Disability benefits are under attack on an unprecedented scale with cuts to DLA set to remove essential support from more than 600,000 claimants and the closure of the Independent Living Fund literally returning disabled people to the institutions. Unemployed workers are labelled as skivers and scroungers when the reality is there are no jobs and mandatory work placements are being used to drive down wages. Many low paid workers who will be expected to implement the changes will also be affected by them as research by union PCS has shown.

Campaign groups and actions are multiplying as people are left with no option but to fightback. In Liverpool last week 100 tenants attended a meeting called by Defend Your Homes Against the Bedroom Tax with plans for February to occupy a local housing association that is using housing benefit cuts to push tenants into unpaid work. Local Councils are being targeted with protests called at town halls such as those organised by Camden United for Benefit Justice. A facebook group called Anti Bedroom Tax has over 6000 members, many of whom have never been politically active before. Fuel Poverty Action is linking up with Greater London Pensioners Association and Disabled People Against Cuts on a weekend of action from 15th – 17th February and Boycott Workfare has a week of action planned from 18th – 23rd March.

The Campaign for Benefit Justice is about uniting the growing resistance, overcoming the divide and rule tactics the Government is using to get away with its assault on the 99% and bringing together disabled people, tenants, unemployed workers, trade unions, students, pensioner, single mothers and others to oppose benefit cuts.

We will be holding an event in London in early March with protests planned for budget day. More details to follow. For more information or to sign up to the statement below please contact info@defendcouncilhousing.org.uk.

Campaign for Benefit Justice – Statement

 Cuts in benefits are an unjust attack on the poor.  Cuts concentrated on Housing Benefit are already breaking up families, communities and support networks.  They will mean poverty, debt and evictions.
We oppose all cuts in benefits and tax credits. We did not cause the banking and economic crisis and will not be scapegoated to pay for it.

We reject false divisions and stigmatisation of people who are low-paid or unpaid.

We will join with local and national campaigns including disabled peoples, tenants, unemployed workers, trade unions, students, pensioner, single mothers and others to oppose benefit cuts

We will support and link up local campaigns.

We oppose all evictions and legal action against those hit by benefit cuts and support all actions taken in defence.

 

Signed:

Defend Council Housing

Disabled People Against Cuts

Right to Work

National Shop Stewards Network

Jan 192013
 

Ellen Clifford joins Paul Carter and Sophie Partridge to talk about DPAC, the end of DLA and the migration to personal independence payments, sport and the Independent Living Fund with Neil Coyle from Disability Rights UK,  and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. Includes John Evans interview with Sunil Peck on the closing of the ILF.

from Disability Now – The Download podcast: DLA sport and the Independent Living Fund (to listen to the podcast click on image below)

 

 

Jan 072013
 

The next phase in the government’s assault on services for  disabled people is the withdrawal of the Independent Living Fund. This needs to be at the centre of campaigning around dignity for disabled people, argues Linda Burnip from Disabled People Against Cuts. Part of our series of short contributions from prominent writers and activists looking to the year ahead.

You can read the rest of this excellent piece at the New Left Project HERE

Dec 152012
 

14/12/2012 · by skwalker1964 · Bookmark the permalink. ·

This is a difficult post to write, but I think it has to be written. So please, don’t make the mistake of thinking what I’m about to say means my heart isn’t breaking at the tragic loss of lives in yet another US school shooting.

As I write, the news media are showing constant footage and updates about the terrible events in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman has entered a school armed with multiple weapons and killed, according to the latest report, at least 27 people, including 18 children, having already killed both of his parents and, so it’s reported, his brother.

It’s an awful, awful situation. I have three children, though now grown up, and one of them is a teacher, so my heart goes out to those affected. But at the same time as I’m appalled and shocked, I can’t help thinking ‘But what about…?’

You see, because of the things I write about, and the research I do for what I write, I’m aware that there are things which are just as bad – and on a much greater scale – going on constantly in this country. The news channels are devoting non-stop coverage of the events in Newtown, and it’s understandable. What isn’t understandable is why the events in this country – also horrific, and hurting far greater numbers of people – barely merit a mention in the news media, let alone saturation coverage.

Already, in the US, the pro-gun lobbies are mobilising to defend the ‘right’ to carry guns. Within minutes of the coverage beginning, I had already heard a commentator talk of how the ‘gun lobby’ was trotting out its well-worn claim: ‘Guns don’t kill people. People kill people‘, and is even trying to use the tragedy to call for more guns, arguing that fewer people would be killed by guns if more people had them ‘to defend themselves’, and that schoolteachers should carry guns to defend their pupils.

The mind boggles. But the thing is, they’re partly right. People do kill people – but guns allow them to kill others in far greater numbers than they could otherwise. Because people kill people, the more you can keep them away from guns, the more sense it makes. If you put guns in their hands, more people are going to die.

But we face a parallel situation here in the UK, and it’s what is causing those barely-mentioned and much larger tragedies I referred to above. Not because we put guns into people’s hands, but because we have power in the hands of people of ill will, stupidity, or both.

Power doesn’t kill people. People kill people. But power allows them to do so on a vast scale. Perhaps you think I’m crass to do anything but join in with the public show of horror and grief about the events in Connecticut – but let me tell you about some of those almost-hidden tragedies first, and then if you still think I’m crass, at least you’ll be making an informed judgment.

In Newtown, 29 people died in today’s shooting, plus the gunman, according to the latest news. It’s truly awful – but here are some other figures, which I hope will shock you commensurately. Because they should:

24,000

24,000 is the number of people who died in the UK last winter because of ‘fuel poverty’. That’s 24 thousand people who died because they couldn’t afford to heat their homes properly, and who died either of hypothermia, or of illnesses resulting from their inability to keep warm.

It’s truly a national scandal. And yet I can barely recall a mention of it on the news channels, and little more in the press. Certainly nothing like the coverage that we’re seeing now about the school shooting – or even the near-continuous coverage of the very sad death of Jacintha Saldanha. One royal-related death is big news, but 24,000 avoidable deaths, in a single winter and from a clearly identifiable, remediable cause, are apparently not. But then, the progress of the Olympic torch around the country was deemed worthy of mass coverage when the plan to privatise the NHS wasn’t, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

Our government has the power to do something about fuel poverty, in order to prevent a repeat of this national shame. So what is it doing? In a time of steep rises in fuel costs that are expected to continue for the foreseeable future – it is capping benefit rises at 1%, well below the general rate of inflation and miles below the rate of increase in energy costs (13% up to October this year, and another 8% or so from January)

330,000 – or 1.9 million

I wrote a couple of months ago about the government’s planned change from Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which is currently paid (in varying amounts) to some 3.2 million people, to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Iain Duncan Smith’s Department of Work & Pensions devised the new payment with the specific goal of excluding at least 500,000 people from the new payment who currently qualify for DLA, as a cost-saving measure.

Basing my calculations on this figure, I showed that the change will push at least 85,000 people below the poverty line – but that figure is based on an extremely unlikely hypothetical scenario in which every single person excluded is single and has no dependents. On a more likely situation, the number of people pushed into poverty will number in the hundreds of thousands.

But it appears I was over-cautious. Yesterday, the Tory Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey, told the House of Commons that, of the 560,000 people who will be assessed for the new benefit by 2015, 330,000 are expected to be excluded from the benefit. That’s an exclusion rate of 59%. 3.2 million people receive DLA, so if the same failure rate applies as they become due for reassessment, that means around 1.9 million disabled people who will lose crucial support. Using the same calculations as I applied to the 500,000 initially flagged to be excluded, it means almost a million people pushed below the poverty line.

Factor that into the death rate from energy poverty, and you’re looking at a situation where the 24,000 deaths last winter will look like nothing compared to what we’re going to see, let alone the 30 innocent deaths in Connecticut.

453 – and counting

That’s the number of additional suicides that happened last year, compared to before the financial crash. As growing numbers of people face financial catastrophe, more and more are seeing suicide as the only escape. The government’s response? To demonise the unemployed,  disabled people and low earners who are forced to claim benefits – and then to cut those benefits and deepen the despair, while the rich get richer.

73 – a week

This, according to the campaign group DPAC, is the number of deaths (including suicides) among disabled people as a result of the government’s programme of Work Capability Assessments (WCAs), which is categorising people as fit for work when they are plainly not. 70% are eventually overturned on appeal – but the stress of the process and the fear of losing essential support are killing some and causing others to commit suicide. And the government is responding by capping benefits even for those who do pass the test – and closing Remploy, which provides suitable work for disabled people, while Iain Duncan Smith sneers at them and tells them ‘this is better’.

24,000. 330,000. 1.9 million. 453. 73 a week. All numbers at least as deserving of mass media attention as the 30 killed in Connecticut – and all conspicuous by their absence from the BBC and other news media.

Power doesn’t kill people. People kill people. But people with power can kill a lot of people – and this government is wreaking havoc among ordinary and vulnerable people.

The deaths of the 30 (as of now) innocents in Newtown will, rightly, bring people out onto the streets in the US – for prayer vigils, to lay flowers, to protest in favour of (and, insanely, against) gun control.

If the people of the UK became as aware, en masse, of what is taking place under the coalition government as they surely are now of what has happened in Connecticut, the streets would be packed with people protesting – and streaming to the polls in 2015 or earlier to get rid of those in power, killing people.

Which is, probably, why we’re not seeing those other numbers and many like them on our television screens.

With many thanks to Steve for agreeing to repost- please support this excellent blog-see more at http://skwalker1964.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/media-full-of-newtown-tragedy-but-far-worse-is-ignored/

Follow Steve on twitter : @skywalker 1964

 

Sep 022012
 

This list is work in progress; there are many more articles to add……

With thanks to @Blacktriangle1 @WelfareUnion @Dis_PPL_Protest who provided the links to many of these articles.

DPAC thanks to Bob Ellard see http://llxs.blogspot.co.uk/ for more great stuff 

Publishing this list does not represent acceptance of the content of any articles in the list by DPAC.

Articles from September 2012

  1. Socialist Worker ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ ‘ATOS forced me to crawl on floor in tears’ ~ http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=29452
  2. Socialist Worker ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ ‘Seven medals but now Tories want my benefits’ ~ http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=29451
  3. Irish Times ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ Death of cancer patient who went public over benefit cuts ~ http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0901/1224323462479.html
  4. Socialist Worker ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ Hundreds protest outside ATOS headquarters then blockade DWP ~ http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=29461
  5. Independent ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympics stars urged to denounce ATOS ~ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/paralympics-stars-urged-to-denounce-atos-8100016.html
  6. Google News ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ Protest over ‘fit for work’ tests ~ http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5jFfy_GCYe5Mgv-_IUyNpsbZqkxlA?docId=B15689781346426077A00000
  7. RT News ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ Sponsorship scandal mars Paralympics ~ http://rt.com/sport/people-atos-work-disabled-126/
  8. Morning Star ~ 09 ~ 2012 ~ What game is ATOS playing? ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/122971

Articles from August 2012

Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ‘Is this country worth dying for?’ ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/123285

  1. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ‘Responsibility to treat disabled people fairly’ ~ http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Responsibility-treat-disabled-people-fairly/story-16780701-detail/story.html
  2. Sourcing Focus ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ “Disability activists prepare to protest against ATOS” ~ http://www.sourcingfocus.com/index.php/site/newsitem/6144/ Washington Post ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Activist Patrick Lynch sobs during a protest next to ATOS’s London headquarters ~ http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2012-paralympic-games-begin-in-london/2012/08/29/e759c3a6-f201-11e1-adc6-87dfa8eff430_gallery.html#photo=14
  3. Washington Post ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ As Paralympics start, Britain’s disabled decry cuts ~ http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/as-paralympics-start-britains-disabled-decry-cuts/2012/08/25/124b4756-ee10-11e1-b624-99dee49d8d67_story.html
  4. Computer Weekly ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS and Capita win £540m in controversial DWP disabilities testing contract ~ http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240160775/Atos-and-Capita-win-540m-in-controversial-DWP-disabilities-testing-contract
  5. Times of News ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS benefit appeal woman dies ~ http://timesofnews.co/2012/08/31/atos-benefit-appeal-woman-dies
  6. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS doctors could be struck off ~ http://gu.com/p/3x7jd/tw
  7. Computer Weekly ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS employees to be investigated over Facebook remarks about disability benefit applicants ~ http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240105368/Atos-employees-to-be-investigated-over-Facebook-remarks-about-disability-benefit-applicants
  8. The Daily Shame ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS parasites, sorry, employees have fun on Facebook ~ http://www.dailyshame.co.uk/2012/08/satire/atos-parasites-sorry-employees-have-fun-on-facebook/
  9. BBC News London ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Atos protest: Disability rights groups target firm ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19437785
  10. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS protests climax with ‘day of action’ against Paralympics sponsor ~ http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/31/atos-protest-paralympics-sponsor
  11. Press TV ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS protests climax with ‘day of action’ against Paralympics sponsors‎ ~ http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/08/31/259221/atos-protests-paralympics-sponsors/
  12. Mirror ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS protests: “Grand finale” to a week of action against ‘fit for work’ testing firm ~ http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/atos-protests-grand-finale-to-a-week-1293518
  13. Blottr ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS: Public criticism gains momentum after inspirational Paralympics Opening Ceremony ~ http://www.blottr.com/breaking-news/atos-public-criticism-gains-momentum-after-inspirational-paralympics-opening-ceremony
  14. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Beggaring the nation ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/122744
  15. BBC News Northern Ireland ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Benefits appeal woman Cecilia Burns from Strabane has died ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19433535
  16. Rocket News ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Benefits cut appeal woman dies ~ http://www.rocketnews.com/2012/08/benefits-cut-appeal-woman-dies/
  17. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Benefits protest at Hull branch of ATOS over Paralympic Games ‘hypocrisy’ ~ http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Benefits-protest-Hull-branch-Atos-Paralympic/story-16780711-detail/story.html
  18. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ British Paralympic team deny ‘anti-ATOS protest’ ~ http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/aug/30/paralympics-gb-atos-protest
  19. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Callousness beyond belief ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/layout/set/print/…/122249
  20. Huffington Post ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Cecilia Burns Dead: Benefits Campaigner, Who Appealed Against ‘Fit To Work’ Report By ATOS, Dies ~ http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/31/cecilia-burns-benefits-atos-fit-to-work-cancer-northern-ireland_n_1846314.html
  21. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Celebrate Paralympians, but remember they needed state help to get there ~ http://gu.com/p/3axvb/tw
  22. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Coalition told it must punish ATOS for mess ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/122842
  23. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Cuts to disability services threaten our Paralympian future – Sue Marsh ~ http://gu.com/p/3a3cy/tw
  24. Computer Weekly ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disability activists hijack Paralympics for ATOS protest ~ http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240162193/Disability-activists-hijack-Paralympics-for-Atos-protest
  25. Sourcing Focus ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disability activists prepare to protest against ATOS ~ http://www.sourcingfocus.com/site/newsitem/disability_activists_prepare_to_protest_against_atos/
  26. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disability campaigners are set to descend on Paralympic sponsor ATOS yet again tomorrow ~ http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/123345
  27. BBC News London ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disability protests at benefits contractor ATOS HQ ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19437785#
  28. Channel 4 News ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disability rights protesters invade government building ~ http://www.channel4.com/news/disability-rights-protestors-lobby-paralympic-sponsors-hq
  29. This is South Wales ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled groups in sponsor protest ~ http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Disabled-groups-sponsor-protest/story-16781328-detail/story.html
  30. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled people protest against ATOS role in Paralympics ~ http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/video/2012/aug/31/disabled-protest-atos-paralympics-video
  31. Womens Views on News ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled people slam ‘hypocrisy’ of Paralympics sponsor ~ http://www.womensviewsonnews.org/2012/08/disabled-people-slam-hypocrisy-of-paralympics-sponsor/
  32. Metro ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled rights campaigners protest at ATOS and DWP ~ http://www.metro.co.uk/news/910348-disabled-rights-campaigners-protest-at-atos-and-dwp#ixzz25D1fzhhN
  33. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled storm DWP in daring anti-ATOS raid ~ http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/123345
  34. This is Derbyshire ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Fury at Paralympic ‘hypocrisy’ of private firm ATOS behind fit-to-work tests ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Fury-Paralympic-hypocrisy-private-firm-Atos-fit/story-16781044-detail/story.html
  35. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Home carer calls for hypocrite Cameron to be prosecuted ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/122682
  36. Independent ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Hundreds protest against Paralympics sponsor ATOS as anger about its role in slashing benefits bill intensifies ~ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hundreds-protest-against-paralympics-sponsor-atos-as-anger-about-its-role-in-slashing-benefits-bill-intensifies-8092512.html
  37. New Statesman ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Is benefit-bashing the next Osborne gamble to go wrong? ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/08/benefit-bashing-next-osborne-gamble-go-wrong
  38. New Statesman ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Labour must lead the way in restoring politics after its abuse by elites ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/188064/
  39. Independent ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Leading article: These Games are about ability and inspiration ~ http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-these-games-are-about-ability-and-inspiration-8084634.html
  40. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Letter: Paralympic paradox ~ http://gu.com/p/3a4xj/tw
  41. BBC News Kent ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Maidstone CAB ‘wins 95% of work test benefit appeals’ ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-19436358
  42. BBC News UK ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Minister for Disabled People: ‘We need to get changes right’ ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19419243
  43. Sourcing Focus ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ National Audit Office criticises ATOS ‘under-performance’ ~ http://www.sourcingfocus.com/site/newsitem/national_audit_office_criticises_atos_under-performance/
  44. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ New disability test will ’cause suicides’ ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/layout/view/full/122317
  45. Computer Weekly ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympic protests against ATOS reaches Whitehall ~ http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240162538/Paralympic-protests-against-Atos-reaches-Whitehall
  46. Independent ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympic sponsor ATOS engulfed by disability tests row ~ http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/olympics/paralympics/paralympic-sponsor-engulfed-by-disability-tests-row-8084799.html
  47. Brand Channel ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympic Sponsor ATOS Getting Grief From Athletes ~ http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post.aspx?id=e179ece3-4a27-4936-8c21-d0dacf1dd9a7
  48. Londonist ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympic Sponsor ATOS Provokes Protests ~ http://londonist.com/2012/08/paralympic-sponsor-atos-provokes-protests.php
  49. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympics 2012: crossing London can be an obstacle course for disabled fans ~ http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2012/aug/31/paralympics-2012-disabled-travel?CMP=twt_gu
  50. Tech Week Europe ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympics Sponsor ATOS Hits Back At Disability Protesters ~ http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/paralympics-atos-disability-protest-benefits-90709 
  51. Socialist Party Magazine ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympics, ATOS scandal, Remploy closures… Con-Dems win gold for hypocrisy! ~ http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/15093
  52. Huffington Post ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympics: Government Accused Of ‘Hypocrisy’ Towards Disabled People ~ http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/29/atos-paralympic-sponsors-under-fire-disabled-attitude_n_1838614.html?ref=topbar
  53. New Statesman ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Perhaps Iain Duncan Smith will accuse me of peeing on the data ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/economics/economics/2012/08/perhaps-iain-duncan-smith-will-accuse-me-peeing-data?page=3
  54. Guardian ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Phil Disley on ATOS‘s involvement with the Paralympics – cartoon ~ http://gu.com/p/3a5xx/tw
  55. This is Derbyshire ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Pressure mounts against firm over assessments for sickness support ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Pressure-mounts-firm-assessments-sickness-support/story-16732273-detail/story.html
  56. ITV News Wales ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Protest in Cardiff over tests for incapacity benefit ~ http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2012-08-29/protest-in-cardiff-over-tests-for-incapacity-benefit/
  57. Yahoo! News ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Protest over ‘fit for work’ tests ~ http://uk.news.yahoo.com/protest-over-fit-tests-153541825.html?ugccmtnav=v1%2Fcomments%2Fcontext%2F9dfabedf-b407-3eb5-9188-941d329dea3c%2Fcomments%3Fcount%3D20%26sortBy%3DhighestRated%26isNext%3Dtrue%26offset%3D20%26pageNumber%3D1
  58. Metro ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Protesters show anger at Paralympic sponsor over disability benefit work ~ http://www.metro.co.uk/olympics/910105-protesters-show-anger-at-paralympic-sponsor-over-disability-benefit-work?ITO=socialnet-twitter-button
  59. Blottr ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Protesters stage ‘die-in’ against ATOS sponsorship of Paralympics ~ http://www.blottr.com/breaking-news/protesters-stage-die-against-atos-sponsorship-paralympics
  60. Huffington Post ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Scuffles At Atos Paralympics Protest As Police And Disability Campaigners Clash (VIDEO) (PICTURES) ~ http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/31/atos-paralympics-protest-uk-uncut-disability-_n_1846633.html
  61. Sheffield Telegraph ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Sheffield’s disabled join Paralympic protest ~ http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/local/sheffield-s-disabled-join-paralympic-protest-1-4873379#.UD-mQYBDVYY.twitter
  62. BBC News UK ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Sickness benefit contractor ATOS Healthcare to review letters ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19370200
  63. Independent ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ The lasting legacy of the Paralympics should be to see disabled people as equal ~ http://ind.pn/NC2ewG
  64. Mail ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ The Paralympics celebrate the strength of disabled people – and so do all the protests that accompany them ~ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2195885/The-Paralympics-celebrate-strength-disabled-people–protests-accompany-them.html#ixzz259Ao8YTb
  65. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Tycoonery ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/122651
  66. Telegraph ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Video: Disability rights protesters clash with police outside Department for Work and Pensions ~ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/9512523/Disability-rights-protesters-clash-with-police-outside-Department-for-Work-and-Pensions.html
  67. BBC News UK ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Watchdog finds ‘weaknesses’ in sickness benefit system ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19244639
  68. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2012 ~ Where the real greed lies ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/content/view/full/122290

July 2012

  1. Computer Weekly ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS profits grow 2% in first half of 2012 to €102m ~ http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240160348/Atos-profits-grow-2-in-first-half-of-2012-to-102m
  2. Guardian ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Benefits assessment firm causing ‘fear and loathing’ among claimants, says MP ~ http://gu.com/p/3vn6j/tw
  3. Telegraph ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Disability tests ‘sending sick and disabled back to work’ ~ http://soc.li/gCxerBI
  4. Morning Star ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled means-test to be challenged at High Court ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/121944
  5. Guardian ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Fitness-for-work tests hit by technical chaos ~ http://gu.com/p/3974x/tw
  6. This is Derbyshire ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Hundreds in Derbyshire win victory in sickness benefits battle ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Hundreds-Derbyshire-win-victory-sickness-benefits/story-16337459-detail/story.html
  7. Sourcing Focus ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Olympic sponsor ATOS faces summer strikes ~ http://www.sourcingfocus.com/site/newsitem/olympic_sponsor_atos_faces_summer_strikes/
  8. This is Derbyshire ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Review into flawed benefits system assessment praised ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Review-flawed-benefits-assessment-praised/story-16602404-detail/story.html
  9. New Statesman ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Welfare reform suicides must not be overlooked ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/187216/
  10. New Statesman ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Withdrawing benefits when there are no jobs to find is just cruel ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/187543/
  11. New Statesman ~ 07 ~ 2012 ~ Work capability assessments: the fightback ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/staggers/2012/07/work-capability-assessments-fightback

June 2012

  1. This is Derbyshire ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ ‘The whole system needs sorting out’ says patient after benefit claim saga ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Whitehall-departments-told-save-cash/story-15900034-detail/story.html
  2. Camden New Journal ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ FORUM: ‘Don’t play games with lives – disabled people won’t be silenced during the Olympics’ ~ http://www.camdennewjournal.com/forum-dont-play-games-lives-disabled-people-wont-be-silenced-during-olympics
  3. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ How many more disabled people will die … ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/186565/
  4. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ Human cost of welfare reform ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/38773/
  5. Morning Star ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ MP reveals fight against depression ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/120230
  6. Morning Star ~ 06 ~ 2012 ~ Tory brushes off suicide warning ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/120518

May 2012

  1. New Statesman ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ 500,000 could lose their disability benefits ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/185655/
  2. This is Derbyshire ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ Council’s cuts will have devastating impact on homeless, warns group ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Council-s-cuts-devastating-impact-homeless-warns/story-16236934-detail/story.html
  3. Computer Weekly ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ Department for Work and Pensions spent £24m with ATOS in 2011 ~ http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240149963/DWP-spent-24m-with-Atos-last-year
  4. Morning Star ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ Living at the sharp end ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/layout/view/full/119588
  5. Morning Star ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ Media is fuelling hate against disabled benefit claimants ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/119655
  6. Morning Star ~ 05 ~ 2012 ~ Paralympians join calls to stop cuts ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/119279

April 2012

  1. Morning Star ~ 04 ~ 2012 ~ Disabled activists target Olympics
  2. ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/117813
  3. This is Derbyshire ~ 04 ~ 2012 ~ Half of those on incapacity in Derbyshire are deemed ‘fit for work’ ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Half-incapacity-Derbyshire-deemed-fit-work/story-15874524-detail/story.html
  4. New Statesman ~ 04 ~ 2012 ~ Raising the pension age will just turn 69-year-olds … ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/184902/

March 2012

  1. New Statesman ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Cameron’s desperate offer to voters: nastiness in the national interest ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2012/03/work-party-benefits-cameron?page=2
  2. Belfast Telegraph ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Cancer sufferer furious at being told she’s fit to work ~ http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/cancer-sufferer-furious-at-being-told-shes-fit-to-work-16135094.html
  3. This is Derbyshire ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Parkinson’s patient faces having his benefit halved ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Parkinson-s-patient-faces-having-benefit-halved/story-15599461-detail/story.html
  4. This is Derbyshire ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Robin Mitchell who sufferes from Parkinson’s faces fit-to-work test ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Family-s-anger-Parkinson-s-sufferer-faces-fit/story-15557891-detail/story.html
  5. BBC News Northern Ireland ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Strabane cancer woman’s fury at benefit cut ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17480630
  6. Telegraph ~ 03 ~ 2012 ~ Twice as many judges needed to handle benefits appeals ~ http://soc.li/MIRGOTB

February 2012

  1. Morning Star ~ 02 ~ 2012 ~ ATOS protesters brave bitter chill to picket firm’s HQ ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/content/view/full/115001
  2. BBC News UK ~ 02 ~ 2012 ~ Ministers admit to sickness benefits backlog ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16937742
  3. New Statesman ~ 02 ~ 2012 ~ The revolt against workfare spreads ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2012/02/scheme-greggs-grayling

January 2012

  1. Independent ~ 01 ~ 2012 ~ The big questions: Should ATOS be sponsoring the Paralympics? ~ http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/the-big-questions-should-atos-be-sponsoring-the-paralympics-is-a-wealth-tax-a-good-idea-8099839.html
  2. Morning Star ~ 01 ~ 2012 ~ Trespass charges dropped ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/114186
  3. New Statesman ~ 01 ~ 2012 ~ Why British journalists are taught to be dishonest ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/182282/ 

2011

  1. Morning Star ~ 12 ~ 2011 ~ ‘Victorian picnic’ picket hits ATOS ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/113242
  2. BBC News Scotland ~ 11 ~ 2011 ~ Disabled ‘suicidal’ over Welfare Reform Bill ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-15839685
  3. Morning Star ~ 10 ~ 2011 ~ Hardest hit fight back against cuts
  4. ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/111068
  5. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2011 ~ How Osborne could squeeze benefits again ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/10/benefits-inflation-osborne
  6. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2011 ~ Let’s help Dave get his facts straight ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/david-blanchflower/2011/10/sector-employment-yesterday
  7. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 09 ~ 2011 ~ Bridlington soldier Aron Shelton, who lost leg in Afghanistan bomb blast, wins benefits battle ~ ttp://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Soldier-lost-leg-Afghanistan-wins-benefits-battle/story-13382683-detail/story.html
  8. Morning Star ~ 09 ~ 2011 ~ CarerWatch forum up after ATOS libel threat ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/108925
  9. Morning Star ~ 09 ~ 2011 ~ Claimants on streets over ATOS national protests ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/110193
  10. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 09 ~ 2011 ~ Heartache of Bridlington soldier Aron Shelton, who lost leg in Afghanistan bomb blast, only to face benefits battle ~ http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Heartache-soldier-lost-leg-bomb-blast-face/story-13387697-detail/story.html
  11. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2011 ~ Activist sings the benefit blues
  12. ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/108556
  13. Sourcing Focus ~ 08 ~ 2011 ~ ATOS Healthcare Employees Investigated ~ http://www.sourcingfocus.com/site/newsitem/atos_healthcare_employees_investigated/
  14. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2011 ~ Care firm silences its critics ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/108578
  15. Morning Star ~ 08 ~ 2011 ~ Firm to negotiate over closure of disabled forum ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/108656
  16. This is Derbyshire ~ 08 ~ 2011 ~ Why is Government using private firm for checks? ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Government-using-private-firm-checks/story-13083568-detail/story.html
  17. Guardian ~ 07 ~ 2011 ~ A contract to terrify 1.5m people on incapacity benefit ~ http://gu.com/p/3vnqh/tw
  18. Guardian ~ 07 ~ 2011 ~ Disability benefit reform: is the government hiding behind ATOS errors? ~ http://gu.com/p/3vyf9/tw
  19. Camden New Journal ~ 07 ~ 2011 ~ Disabled protest over ‘fit for work’ tests at ATOS in Holloway ~ http://www.camdennewjournal.com/news/2011/jul/disabled-protest-over-%E2%80%98fit-work%E2%80%99-tests-atos-holloway
  20. Camden New Journal ~ 07 ~ 2011 ~ Ex-soldier who served in Afghanistan and Iraq is refused benefits under assessment system ~ http://www.camdennewjournal.com/news/2011/jun/ex-soldier-who-served-afghanistan-and-iraq-refused-benefits-under-assessment-system
  21. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2011 ~ Archbishop of Canterbury: “no one voted” for the coalition’s policies ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/06/rowan-williams-government?page=1
  22. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2011 ~ Dignity in life, dignity in death ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/39049/
  23. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2011 ~ How Labour got welfare wrong – and how it can put it right ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/06/welfare-system-labour-work
  24. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2011 ~ The government needs to know how afraid people are ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2011/06/long-term-government-democracy
  25. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2011 ~ The poorest deserve a change from our broken benefits system ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2011/06/benefits-system-work-support
  26. Morning Star ~ 05 ~ 2011 ~ Disabled activists claim new testing system ignores advice of medical ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/104424
  27. Channel 4 News ~ 05 ~ 2011 ~ Disabled people protest against cuts ~ http://www.channel4.com/news/disabled-people-protest-against-cuts
  28. Camden New Journal ~ 05 ~ 2011 ~ MP Emily Thornberry intervenes to win benefits for ex-housing worker put through ‘humiliating’ assessment ~ http://www.camdennewjournal.com/news/2011/may/mp-emily-thornberry-intervenes-win-benefits-ex-housing-worker-put-through-%E2%80%98humiliating
  29. Camden New Journal ~ 04 ~ 2011 ~ ATOS Healthcare’s fit-to-work testing ‘demeans’ disabled ~ http://www.camdennewjournal.com/news/2011/apr/atos-healthcares-fit-work-testing-%E2%80%98demeans%E2%80%99-disabled
  30. Camden New Journal ~ 04 ~ 2011 ~ Claimants lose out ~ http://www.camdennewjournal.com/letters/2011/apr/claimants-lose-out
  31. New Statesman ~ 04 ~ 2011 ~ The shame is all theirs ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/37583/
  32. New Statesman ~ 04 ~ 2011 ~ The war on welfare scroungers, part 94 ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/37647/
  33. This is Derbyshire ~ 02 ~ 2011 ~ PROTESTERS who gathered outside a city job centre to demonstrate against cuts in benefits have vowed to help people when they are made redundant. ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Protesters-benefit-cuts-nul-points/story-11603004-detail/story.html
  34. New Statesman ~ 02 ~ 2011 ~ Tory welfare reforms are misguided ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/02/universal-credit-work-welfare
  35. BBC News UK ~ 01 ~ 2011 ~ Campaigners warn over incapacity benefit changes ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13611298
  36. New Statesman ~ 01 ~ 2011 ~ Tales from the front line: public-sector workers speak out ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/01/workers-speak-books-fears

2010

  1.  
  2. Sourcing Focus ~ 11 ~ 2010 ~ ATOS Origin’s healthcare division awarded £300 million contract extension ~ http://www.sourcingfocus.com/site/newsitem/atos_origins_healthcare_division_awarded_300_million_contract_extension/
  3. New Statesman ~ 11 ~ 2010 ~ James Purnell: I could have been Iain Duncan Smith ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/11/universal-credit-purnell-brown
  4. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ 500,000 people could lose sick pay ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/2010/10/work-payments-benefit
  5. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ ATOS is “black and white” on fitness and disability ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/182441
  6. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ East Riding councillors have backed injured ex-soldier Aron Shelton’s fight to keep his disability benefit. ~ http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/East-Riding-councillors-unite-ex-soldier-s-fight-benefits/story-11976200-detail/story.html
  7. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ Judged fit to work? You could lose your benefits if you appeal ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/10/work-fit-appeal-ruling
  8. Morning Star ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ On the shoulders of the vulnerable ~ www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/97072
  9. New Statesman ~ 10 ~ 2010 ~ The war on welfare scroungers, part 77 ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/179503/
  10. New Statesman ~ 09 ~ 2010 ~ The cuts will destroy lives ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/177838/
  11. New Statesman ~ 08 ~ 2010 ~ Cameron’s war on benefit fraud: the unanswered questions ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/08/40bn-lost-savings-avoidance
  12. New Statesman ~ 08 ~ 2010 ~ Reducing the number on sickness benefits must be fair ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/08/work-benefits-number-system
  13. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2010 ~ Pre-Budget briefings: huge cuts to welfare ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/public-accounts/2010/06/160-support-cameron-huge
  14. New Statesman ~ 06 ~ 2010 ~ The mass unemployment Budget ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/174659/
  15. This is Derbyshire ~ 05 ~ 2010 ~ Medical details sent in error ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Medical-details-sent-error/story-11628552-detail/story.html
  16. This is Hull and East Riding ~ 05 ~ 2010 ~ Mum of Hull soldier killed on frontline praises resigning officer for taking a stand ~ http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Mum-Hull-soldier-killed-frontline-praises-resigning-officer-taking-stand/story-11955497-detail/story.html
  17. New Statesman ~ 05 ~ 2010 ~ The truth about those cuts . . . ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/172995/
  18. New Statesman ~ 01 ~ 2010 ~ The battle against benefit cuts and “poverty pimps” ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/node/36138/

 Pre-2010

  1. This is Derbyshire ~ 11 ~ 2008 ~ Centre approved ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Centre-approved/story-11596774-detail/story.html
  2. This is Derbyshire ~ 10 ~ 2008 ~ Medics to move in at restaurant? ~ http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Medics-restaurant/story-11612528-detail/story.html
  3. New Statesman ~ 05 ~ 2008 ~ Is Labour abolishing illness? ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2008/05/work-benefit-claimants-reform?page=1
  4. New Statesman ~ 11 ~ 2007 ~ Labour and the sick note ~ http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2007/11/work-benefit-welfare-tories

Most recent articles to be added:

  1. When are you going to stand up for our sick and disabled, Mr. Miliband? | Mail Online
  2. Paralympics buzz will not drown out chorus of disapproval of Atos – Personal Finance – Scotsman.com
  3. Right to Work | Atos Shamed And DWP Occupied
  4. Paralympics propaganda for welfare cuts, claim disabled – News – Scotsman.com
  5. Analysis: Are Paralympians being used as tools in the propaganda war against disability benefits? – Comment – Scotsman.com
  6. Politics and the Paralympics: Voters are against cuts to disability benefits – Paralympics – Olympics – The Independent
  7. Dogged and decent, Chris Grayling shows how to get reform right – Telegraph
  8. Francesca Martinez: Empty words don't fund a full life for disabled people – Commentators – Opinion – The Independent
  9. PressTV – ‘Paralympics welfare cuts propaganda’
  10. Il paradosso delle Paralimpiadi – Salute per tutti – ComUnità – l'Unità
  11. As low as you can get / Comment / Home – Morning Star
  12. Huddersfield protestors campaign against Paralympic sponsor Atos – Local West Yorkshire News – News – Huddersfield Examiner
  13. BBC News – Thalidomide apology insulting, campaigners say
  14. Paralympics stars urged to denounce Atos – UK Politics – UK – The Independent
  15. Olympic sponsor targeted by angry disability groups over links to London 2012 Paralympics | Sponsor News | insidethegames.biz
  16. Death of cancer patient who went public over benefit cuts – The Irish Times – Sat, Sep 01, 2012
  17. Joyce McMillan: Cynically demonising the disabled – News – Scotsman.com
  18. Bristol MP backs protest against Paralympics sponsor
  19. Protests against Paralympics partner get senior support – Public Service
  20. Crowd voices Atos anger – Northern Ireland, Local & National – Belfasttelegraph.co.uk
  21. David Cameron wins gold medal for hypocrisy for his treatment of disabled people – Kevin Maguire – Mirror Online
  22. Atos holds £3bn of government contracts | Society | guardian.co.uk
  23. Video: Disability rights protesters clash with police outside Department for Work and Pensions – Telegraph
  24. The Press Association: Protest over 'fit for work' tests
  25. ITN News » Disability protesters clash with police
  26. Behind the Paralympics, the reality for disabled people in Britain 2012 | Society | The Guardian
  27. Disability campaigners stage central London protest against welfare reforms | Society | guardian.co.uk
  28. Disability rights protesters bring Trafalgar Square traffic to a standstill | Society | guardian.co.uk
  29. British people are committing suicide to escape poverty. Is this what the State wants? – Mail Online – Sonia Poulton's blog
  30. Remploy workers strike over planned closures – video | Society | guardian.co.uk
  31. Statement on social care plans of Worcestershire County Council
  32. SEN reforms: Government pushes ahead with anti-inclusion plans – DisabledGo News Blog
  33. Flaws exposed in fit for work test | UK news | The Guardian
  34. Access to Work figures are ‘disgraceful’, says shadow minister
  35. EMERGENCY BUDGET: DLA reforms will ‘hit disabled people hard’ – DisabledGo News Blog
  36. Dispatches – Britain on the Sick – Channel 4
  37. BBC iPlayer – Panorama: Disabled or Faking It?
  38. 32 die a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit – Investigations
  39. theConsultant.eu – Atos, Capita scoop £500 million in UK DWP disability award.
  40. Atos sponsors the Paralympics? It’s enough to make you scream | Red Pepper

Further articles to be added:

  1. Judge considers judicial review of Work Capability Assessment | Society | guardian.co.uk
  2. BBC News – Benefit cheats 'colour attitudes to disabled people'
  3. New Statesman – Work capability assessments: the fightback
  4. UK is breaching human rights of disabled, UN told | Herald Scotland
  5. The Paralympics celebrate the strength of disabled people – and so do all the protests that accompany them – Mail Online – Sonia Poulton's blog
  6. Fury over £1m bonus for chief exec of controversial Sickness benefit test company – Daily Record
  7. Oh, dear Dave. Now GPs have turned on you. Time for an exit strategy on the disabled, perhaps? … | Atos Victims Group News
  8. New Statesman – How many more disabled people will die frightened that their benefits will be taken away?
  9. Atos and Capita named as preferred bidders for PIP disability assessments | Guardian Government Computing | Guardian Professional
  10. Did GB Paralympians choose to hide Atos branding? – Channel 4 News
  11. Campaigners threaten Paralympics boycott – Channel 4 News
  12. Benefits reform: disabled people 'terrified' by changes – Channel 4 News
  13. Paralympic Games open with a message of inspiration – Channel 4 News
  14. Atos | Atos Victims Group News Mail Online – Sonia Poulton's blog
  15. When Are You Going To Stand Up For Our Sick And Disabled, Mr. Miliband? – Mail Online – Sonia Poulton's blog
  16. Wheelchair users banned from using lift at assessment centre for disability benefits | Mail Online
  17. British people are committing suicide to escape poverty. Is this what the State wants? | Mail Online
  18. Out… Boss of incapacity benefit crackdown who called for more humanity | Mail Online
  19. Widow awaiting cancer surgery told to get back to work by benefits inspectors following Government welfare reforms | Mail Online
  20. Triple amputee warned he will lose his benefits unless he can prove he is disabled | Mail Online
  21. Flawed disability tests 'send those who are genuinely sick and unable back to work' | Mail Online
  22. The Coalition want people with mental health issues to get working. And what work would that be then? | Mail Online
  23. Suicide training in Job Centres? Cancer patients scrubbing floors? Welcome to Cameron¿s Brave New World | Mail Online
  24. This is not wartime Nazi Germany and Cameron's attacks on the vulnerable and needy must be stopped | Mail Online
  25. Why does David Cameron insist on disability cuts that even sickened his own party? | Mail Online
  26. Welfare Reform Bill: Where is our national conscience? | Mail Online
  27. David Cameron's Welfare Reform Bill: Hiding the truth is not the way to achieve it | Mail Online
  28. Hundreds protest against Paralympics sponsor Atos as anger about its role in slashing benefits bill intensifies – Home News – UK – The Independent
  29. Leading article: A fantastic show – but it wasn't the whole story – Leading Articles – Opinion – The Independent
  30. Mark Steel: Odd choice for a Paralympics sponsor – hei-fi-views – hei-fi – The Independent
  31. Paralympic sponsor engulfed by disability tests row – Paralympics – Olympics – The Independent
  32. Owen Jones: David Cameron praises Paralympians, but his policies will crush them – Commentators – Opinion – The Independent
  33. Atos contract does not offer value for money, says National Audit Office – UK Politics – UK – The Independent
  34. Jim Armitage: Gold for UK plc, but no podium for sponsors – Business Comment – Business – The Independent
  35. Letters: A bitter blow for disabled people – Letters – Opinion – The Independent
  36. Half a million disabled people may lose benefits under reforms – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent
  37. Deaf and disabled artists take centre stage – Features – Theatre & Dance – The Independent
  38. Sponsors urged to waive Olympic tax breaks worth tens of millions – Other events – Olympics – The Independent
  39. Tanni Grey-Thompson: Paragon of the Paralympics – Paralympics – Olympics – The Independent
  40. MP calls for Atos contract review | UK News | Express.co.uk – Home of the Daily and Sunday Express
  41. Steven Bick: Doctor claims Government has issued targets for 7 out of 8 to be reclassified as eligible for work – Mirror Online
  42. 32 disability benefit claimants die after being forced into jobs – Mirror Online
  43. David Cameron wins gold medal for hypocrisy for his treatment of disabled people – Kevin Maguire – Mirror Online
  44. Atos fatcat lands £1m bonus for helping to slash disability benefits bill – Mirror Online
  45. Tories' savage disability benefit reform in chaos as two in five appeals – Mirror Online
  46. Terminally ill face being forced to do work experience or lose their benefits – Mirror Online
  47. Grandad declared capable of work by testing firm died one month later – Mirror Online
  48. Outrage as firm accused of 'smearing' disabled is named Paralympics sponsor – Mirror Online
  49. Atos complaint suspends carerwatch website – Mirror Online
  50. ATOS worker sneers at “down and outs” – Mirror Online
  51. Only 7% of people on sickness benefit are unable to work – Mirror Online
  52. Atos, company paid to drive people off disability benefits, slammed by MPs after blunders – Mirror Online
  53. Steve Cram runs into conflict – mirror Administrator – Mirror Online
  54. Stress of Tory benefits tests killed our dad, family claims – Mirror Online
  55. No answers to our Atos Origin questions – Mirror Online
  56. Another sick attack on the ill – Mirror Online
  57. Spinning the sick note myth – Mirror Online
  58. Sick? Computer says no. – Mirror Online
  59. Tories hold £25k champagne party before announcing huge benefits cuts – Mirror Online
  60. Council tell teenager she's too unfit to work for job, but is then refused benefits for being too healthy – Mirror Online
  61. Pressure piles up on sick profiteers Atos / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  62. Anti-cuts demo targets Atos HQ / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  63. Atos workers to vote on Olympic strikes / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  64. Campaigners take Atos fight to firm's HQ / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  65. Exclusive: Atos threatens legal action against disabled man / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  66. Paralympic hero joins Atos protest / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  67. The company that doesn't give Atos about disability / Features / Home – Morning Star
  68. Paralympians join action against Atos / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  69. Disabled target Atos on eve of Paralympics / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  70. Campaigners target Games sponsor Atos / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  71. Coalition told it must punish Atos for mess / Britain / Britain/World / Home – Morning Star
  72. What game is Atos playing? / Letters / Home – Morning Star
  73. Tough love or tough luck: assessing disability benefits: TBIJ
  74. NAO finds faults in disability assessments contract | Public Finance — official CIPFA magazine
  75. A desperate embrace | The Economist Business and the Olympics: Victors and spoils | The Economist
  76. 32 die a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit – Investigations
  77. The Paralympics celebrate the strength of disabled people – and so do all the protests that accompany them | Mail Online
  78. Atos holds £3bn of government contracts | Society | guardian.co.uk
  79. Public critical as Paralympics sponsor wins £400m disability testing contract – UK news – Blottr
  80. DISABILITY PAYMENTS ATOS to CLAIMANT, “WHY AREN,T YOU DEAD YET! – UK news – Blottr
  81. Disabled groups in sponsor protest | This is South Wales
  82. Review finds a third on benefits are fit to work | This is South Wales
  83. Tory plans could see 3,000 lose £25 per week in benefits | This is South Wales
  84. A PORT Talbot mum has travelled to London to lobby against new benefit rules that might lead to her son losing his independence. | This is South Wales
  85. Week Of Action For Disability Rights | Londonist
  86. Paralympics: Government Accused Of 'Hypocrisy' Towards Disabled People
  87. Kit Marsters: Government's Use of Atos to Combat Benefit Fraud is Flawed, Costly and Counterproductive
  88. Hugh Salmon: Disability Living Allowance Disgrace
  89. Paralympic Organisers Accused Of Discriminating Against Wheelchair Users
  90. Matt Carr: Disabled people: heroes or scapegoats?
  91. Welfare Payment Cuts: Chris Grayling Refused To Hear Case Of Breast Cancer Sufferer
  92. Richard Miller: Legal aid reveals government test for incapacity benefit is inaccurate
  93. Paralympics 2012 Could Improve Public Attitudes To Disability, Scope Research Shows
  94. Natalie Bennett: Could We Have a Corporate-Free Olympics? Yes We Could!
  95. Protest over 'fit for work' tests – National – Sheffield Telegraph
  96. MP calls for Atos contract review – National – Sheffield Telegraph
  97. Sheffield’s disabled join Paralympic protest – Local – Sheffield Telegraph
  98. Disabled rights campaigners protest at Atos and DWP | Metro.co.uk
  99. Anorexic deemed unfit to work | Metro.co.uk
  100. Disabled protest over ‘fit for work’ tests at Atos in Holloway | Camden New Journal
  101. Judge considers judicial review of Work Capability Assessment | Society | guardian.co.uk
  102. MP calls for Atos contract review – National – Northamptonshire Telegraph

 

 

Jul 042012
 
There will be an alternative Picnic On The Commons on Tuesday 17th July 2012.The aim is to Lobby MP’s in the Central Lobby and then go onto a Picnic.Every one who comes would be well advised to bring water/drink and food with them and we can all share our food/drink if people want to. I would like to see as many people there, along with PA’s/SW’s, Wheelchair Users, Sight Impaired/Guide Dogs etc…everyone is welcome to join in, but you must be prepared to complete a Green Slip to ask to see your MP to complain about the Welfare Reform Act and upcoming PIP/Universal Benefits.

The time to start going into the Central Lobby to see your MP is 2pm onwards, so please give yourselves enough time to go through Security and be guided by House Of Commons Guides to walk you to the Central Lobby. If you would like to meet up beforehand meet at College Green- opposite House of Commons – for 1.45 pm.

This is the day that Parliament goes in Recess and all the MP’s rush off for their 3 month paid holidays, so keeping them back a bit will inconvenience them as they must see their constituents if they submit a Green Slip.

After we have seen our MPs, we are aiming to have an alternative picnic, so bring along a blanket, food & drink, I promise you all it will be something to remember. I look forward to seeing as many people there as possible – Adam

 Posted by at 19:44
Jun 252012
 

Disability Support and Benefits was the subject of an Opposition Day Debate introduced by Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Liam Byrne on 21st June 2012. The Debate put the issue of the closure of Remploy factories announced by Government into the context of wider benefit and support cuts and highlighted the disproportionate level of cuts targeted at disabled people:  over the course of this Parliament £3.5 billion is being cut from disability benefit yet only £2.5 billion net is being taken from Britain’s bankers. Opposition MP’s called on Iain Duncan Smith to apologise or resign over disparaging remarks he made about Remploy workers but it was mainly Maria Miller, Minister for Disabled People, who responded on behalf of the Government rather than the Secretary of State as the Government continued its misappropriation of the language of the social model to justify its oppressive policies.  In the same week the Guardian published a leaked memo from Jobcentre Plus to operational staff warning about the risks of disabled claimants attempting suicide as a result of benefit losses. Although Labour lost the vote, the Condems were warned  by John McDonnell MP that the issue and disabled people are not going to go away.

Labour’s motion for the Opposition Day Debate stated a belief that “cuts to support for disabled people and carers pose a potential risk to their dignity and independence and will have wider social and economic costs”. He accused the Department for Work and Pensions of dropping the aim of achieving disability equality and expressed concern that taking the DLA from 500,000 disabled people and contributory employment and support allowance from 280,000 former workers will take vital financial support from families under pressure. In both the letter and the motion for the debate he cited the mismanaged closure of Remploy factories and noted the pressing need for continuing reform to the work capability assessment (WCA) to reduce the human cost of wrong decisions. Finally Byrne stated agreement “with the eight Carers’ Week charities on the importance of recognising the huge contribution made by the UK’s 6.4 million carers and the need to support carers to prevent caring responsibilities pushing them into ill-health, poverty and isolation”.

In the motion that Labour lost by 236 votes to 298 the Opposition called on Government to:

–          ensure welfare reform promotes work, independence, quality of life and opportunities for disabled people and their families;

–          restore the commitment to disability equality in the Department for Work and Pensions’ business plan;

–          conduct a full impact assessment of the combined effects of benefit and social care cuts on disabled people and carers;

–          to reform WCA descriptors as suggested by charities for mental health, fluctuating conditions and sensory impairment; and

–          re-run the consultation on the future of Remploy factories.

Liam Byrne opened the debate, giving figures to evidence how disabled people are being unfairly and disproportionately impacted by government policy. In n the debate he cited research showing how over the course of this Parliament disabled people in our country will pay more than Britain’s bankers, with disabled people in the final year of the Parliament paying 40% more than the banks. He went on to explain how Universal Credit will hit disabled people 30% harder than other people. He pointed to the unfairness of the arbitrary decision to cut Disability Living Allowance by 20% with an assessment designed to achieve that target rather than a fairer system of assessment first, and savings calculated after. Atos and the notorious Work Capability Assessments were criticised citing the figure of £50 million a year of tax-payers money being spent on an inefficient system where 40% of decisions are over-turned on appeal.  He stated that 1 billion has been cut from local budgets for social care since this Government came into power, meanwhile 1,000,000 unpaid carers have given up work or had to reduce their hours and four out of ten have fallen into debt.

Opposition MPs supported the motion expressing concerns about Atos in particular and citing examples from their own constituencies of the devastating impact of benefit losses and cuts on individual disabled people. Tom Greatrex referred to his difficulties in finding out information about the government’s contract with Atos which he has been told cannot be disclosed for commercial reasons. Sheila Gilmore MP gave examples of cases where individual disabled people currently in receipt of DLA would not be eligible for PIP and the impact this would have on them. Karen Buck MP described the situation in Westminster where her constituency is based, where one quarter of the 52 million savings the local authority are looking to make is coming from adult and social care. She said that any gains disabled people would make from having their Council tax frozen is more than outweighed by the amount they must now spend on travel after cuts to taxi-card.  Geraint Davies MP described government policy on disability as “asset stripping of the most vulnerable people in our society”; he said “it stinks”.

The Opposition took up the issue of the announced closure of 36 out of 54 Remploy factories following recommendations in the Sayce Review. Remploy workers are currently on a 90 day notice consultation period which ends on 25th June. Opposition MPs railed against what they described as a shambolic consultation on an impossible timetable where the rules had changed halfway through, where disabled workers had been bamboozled and where the whole process had been set against giving Remploy staff the chance to move onto creating new social enterprises. They called for a re-run of the whole consultation. The Condems attempted to use the segregation argument to support their current policy with the disabled Conservative MP Paul Maynard describing Remploy factories as “apartheid for the disabled”. He asked “Are the disabled community not full members of society too?” Opposition MPs in constituencies with Remploy factories were able to describe the skilled work that goes on in the factories and to challenge the perception of the factories as segregated workplaces. They were also able to point to the higher than average unemployment figures in those areas.

Byrne said “disabled people have the same right to a job as everyone else but at present the choice of where to work is being taken from many of them” and cited how the Government’s Work Programme is failing to meet its target for disabled people by 60%. He called on Government to:

–          honour the Sayce report for example in setting up independent panels to evaluate the expressions of interest

–          restart the 90 day consultation process

–          draw together extra work that could be available for the factories, for example under Article 19 of European regulations on procurement

–          a more flexible approach to how each and every factory is dealt with

–          a review of the subsidy available to the workers

In response to reports of Iain Duncan Smith’s comments that Remploy workers are “not doing any work at all. They are just making cups of coffee”, Byrne invited Smith to join him and the Sunday Express for a day working in one of the factories.

No acceptance to the invitation or apology to the workers was forthcoming from the Secretary of State. Miller defended the Government’s position explaining how the £320 specialist support budget is protected and that any money coming from Remploy will be reinvested in it. No one challenged how ineffectively this money will be spent under current Government plans, whereas at least through the Remploy factories disabled workers receive a wage. More could also have been made about the £25,000 given in the Sayce Review and widely cited by Condem MPs in the debate as the amount that it costs the State per worker employed in a Remploy factory as opposed to the average figure of £2,900 per person supported through Access to Work: this figure would be much lower if the inefficiencies and top heavy management structures of the current Remploy set up were reformed. The increasing restrictions on what Access to Work will fund, and its consequential irrelevance to being able to support many disabled people into work were also not raised.

John McDonnell MP concluded his contribution by warning the government about the consequences of continuing their current course. He said:

“Finally, the Government should not think that this issue or these people are going to go away because they are not: these people are mobilising. We now have a disability movement in this country of which we have not seen the equal before. Black Triangle occupied Atos offices in Scotland; members of DPAC—Disabled People Against Cuts—chained themselves in Trafalgar square. These people are not going to go away. They will be in our face—and rightly so. I will support them, including if Remploy workers opt to buy their factories.”

Nevertheless the vote was lost and none of the Opposition Day Debate demands will be implemented. George Hollingbery MP described the motion as “not so much something to be debated but a press release in search of an audience”. The timing conveniently coincided with the publication on the Guardian website of a memo from Paul Archer, head of Jobcentre Plus contact centres supporting ESA customers, sent to all staff in operations and stating that “The consequences of getting this wrong can have profound results” following the attempted suicide of one unsuccessful claimant. Just last week DPAC told a Labour Representation Committee meeting that disabled people have not forgotten that it was New Labour who introduced ESA, Work Capability Assessments, Atos and even Lord Freud. It is very easy to say what people want to hear when you are in Opposition but it will take more than words to eclipse the memory of how disabled people argued for years against the use of bio-psycho-social model approaches underpinning employment assessments without being heard by New Labour when they were in power.

 

 Posted by at 11:40
May 132012
 

 

 DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST CUTS (DPAC)

www.dpac.uk.net

 Briefing Notes DLA Abolition.

 

Contact – Linda Burnip DPAC co-founder

01926 842253

0771 492 7533

linda_burnip@yahoo.co.uk

 

Debbie Jolly, DPAC co-founder

01572 820546

079461 40765

mail@dpac.uk.net

 Background to the Abolition of Disability Living Allowance  

 Disability Living Allowance was introduced in 1992 to provide support with the extra costs of living that disabled people face.  

 In the Budget (June 2010) and Comprehensive Spending Review (October 2010) the new Condem government announced its intention to arbitrarily cut spending on Disability Living Allowance by 20 per cent or remove eligibility from half a million disabled people.

 In December 2010, government then published its detailed plans to abolish Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and introduce Personal Independence Payment (PIP), for those of working age from 2013-14. This is in spite of the fact that the fraud rate is only 0.5%.

 The government said that the changes to the assessment and eligibility would be the means through which a 20 per cent cut in spend and recipient numbers would be achieved. By 2016 this cut was intended to amount to savings of £2.6bn annually.

 The government has said that it wants a more ‘objective’ assessment a statement driven by the political goal of lowering the spend on DLA, as there is little evidence of unnecessary payments:  fraud rates for DLA are low at only 0.5%[1]. This indicates there is sufficient rigor and objectivity under the present DLA assessment system. In addition only about 50% of DLA claimants are successful and in 2008 49% of appeals were turned down, which also suggests that the assessment is rigorous. 

 “The new benefit will have two components, linked to a range of activities that will be considered in the new assessment. One will be awarded on the basis of the individual’s ability to get around (the mobility component), the other on their ability to carry out other key activities necessary to be able to participate in daily life (the daily living component).”

 The government continue to echo the notion that support should go to those “who face the greatest need”. However they do not justify how they intend to equate ‘greatest need’ with enabling disabled people to fully participate within society and DPAC has concerns that any such false distinction will simply further  the notions of the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ disabled.

 The policy goal which frames the PIP assessment criteria DPAC  would argue is totally flawed. We believe that the proposal for PIP is driven by a cost cutting agenda and a predetermined goal of cutting spend by 20 per cent, rather than any kind of objective assessment of need of support to cover disabled people’s extra costs of living.  

 Maria Miller has once more stated that the cost of supporting disabled people is unsustainable but that “The Coalition Government is committed to helping disabled people to exercise choice and control over their lives and ” “We have been absolutely clear that our welfare reform plans are designed to protect people in the most vulnerable situations, including disabled people.”

 However in reality both the work capability assessment for ESA and the proposed planned changes of replacing DLA with a Personal Independence Payment are simply designed to reduce the number of people whose disability is recognised by this government.

 We further believe that government ministers have continually created confusion over DLA by linking it to a goal of encouraging people to be in work. DLA is not an out-of-work benefit and people can receive it whether in or out of paid work. For many disabled people DLA is what allows them to be able to work and without it they will no longer be able to continue in employment.

 Assessment development group

 The government formed an ‘Assessment Development Group’ to design the assessment, comprising The government’s ‘Assessment Development Group’ which drew up the draft assessment has ten health and social care professionals plus government officials, yet only one person representing disabled people. Since the numbers of health professionals and officials heavily outweighed the number of disabled people present, it is not surprising that the group was able to come to a ‘broad agreement’ on the proposed assessment.

 If more disabled people had had been present it is doubtful that such a medicalised/ functional ability type of assessment would have been agreed on.  Disabled people should have been fully involved in this decision making process at the early stage of discussion, i.e. as members of the Assessment Development Group in at least an equal number of disabled people representing disabled people’s organisations as government and other officials.

 Article 4 of the UNCRPD states; the general obligation on government to consult with disabled people, before not after decisions or policies are changed.

This lack of early involvement is compounded by the government  ignoring the concerns raised by disabled people and their organisations via consultation responses by refusing to amend the Welfare Reform Bill sufficiently to address these concerns.  

 PIP components and eligibility assessment 

 PIP Components

 Personal Independence Payment will have two components:

  • daily living component
  • mobility component  

 Each component has two rates rather than the existing three rates:

  • daily living component standard rate
  • daily living component enhanced rate
  • mobility component standard rate
  • mobility component enhanced rate

 PIP Eligibility Assessment

 Activities for daily living and mobility

The new assessment will cover activities for daily living and mobility. To qualify for PIP disabled people will need to score enough points in the following daily living and/or mobility activities:

 Daily Living Activities:  

  1.  planning and buying food and drink
  2. preparing and cooking
  3. taking nutrition
  4. managing medication and monitoring health conditions
  5. managing prescribed therapies other than medication
  6. washing, bathing and grooming
  7. managing toilet needs or incontinence
  8. dressing and undressing
  9. communicating with others

The mobility activities:

  1. planning and following a journey
  2. moving around

The number of points scored will dictate whether a claimant is assessed as having a ‘limited ability’ or ‘severely limited ability’ to carry out daily living activities and/or mobility activities. The score will also dictate whether a claimant will receive the standard or enhanced rate of the Daily Living component.[2]     

PROBLEMS WITH PIP

  • In order to receive PIP disabled people must be aged between 16 and 65 years and satisfy the daily living and/or mobility activities test for 3 months prior to claiming and be likely to continue to satisfy this test for a period of at least 6 months after claiming.

 

  • It remains very unclear what will happen to anyone who becomes 65 and is in receipt of the mobility component of PIP as they would have to claim Attendance Allowance which has no mobility component. (currently anyone in receipt of DLA mobility component who becomes 65 continues to receive this). DPAC is therefore concerned that any older disabled people will lose their independence simply because they have reached the age of 65.

 

  • There is also no clarity about what will happen when someone is admitted to hospital for any length of time but with the proposals for PIP as they now stand it would seem that even a very short stay in hospital could result in someone losing their mobility cars, plus any equipment such as wheelchairs or hoists and other essential equipment they may be using PIP to pay for.

 

  • Government guidance on DLA states that ‘Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is not based on your disability but the needs arising from it’. This is not reflected in PIP and the assessment involves a rigid and crude set of questions which examines what a disabled person cannot or can do from a prescribed list that only covers basic mobility activities and daily living activities.  This method of assessment follows the medical model of disability. 

 

  • The Work Capability Assessment was described by Professor Harrington as ‘impersonal and mechanistic’ [3] and has resulted in many flawed decisions, which have been over turned on appeal. It is deeply worrying that the government appears be adopting a similar rigid assessment for PIP.    

 

  • The estimate for ESA tribunal appeals for 2012-2013 is £50 million and the backlog of cases is so long that tribunals are sitting even on Sundays so the logic behind also adopting a similarly flawed assessment process for PIP remains unclear to DPAC.

 

  • The cost of changing from DLA to PIP has also been estimated to be £65 million and on top of that there are plans to regularly re-assess even claimants whose condition will never improve. Not only does this seem a waste of money but it will add unfair additional stress to the lives of people who are already struggling to overcome the disabling barriers put in their way on a daily basis.

 

  • DLA acts as a passport to other welfare benefits and concessions such as the Blue Badge, loss of which will increase the impact of losing DLA. We feel the government have failed to consider how these passporting functions will be replaced if PIP is introduced.

 

  • Higher rate care component of DLA has passported disabled people to eligibility for funding for care and support from the Independent Living Fund although this is also now closed to new applicants and due to close completely by 2015.

 

  • Being in receipt of higher and middle rate care components of DLA has also passported disabled people to additional disability premiums in both Income Support and Housing Benefits. These premiums are now also planned to be abolished with no clear guidance on what these additional amounts of funding will be replaced by or how people will become eligible for any additional amounts of basic benefits.

 

  • Many disabled people will live in increased poverty because of the new assessment.  The government has not sufficiently tested what the impact on those losing DLA will be. In particular the cumulative impact of benefit changes remains unknown.

 

  • By depriving disabled people of a much needed benefit we believe the government is failing in their duty under the Equality Act and its responsibilities under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

 

  • The assessment of mobility impairment is ridiculously crude and neither allows for cumulative impact, fluctuation in factors such as stiffness and pain, nor for factors such as steps. A person may be able to walk 50 or 200 metres on one day but none on another. They may be able to walk short distances on a flat surface but be unable to walk up and down steps to access buses and tube trains safely. An assessment of these factors is needed. 

 

  • Many claimants with Neuro-diverse and Mental Health conditions also say that while they can plan a journey the stress and anxiety involved in making such a planned journey has simply been ignored and that they can physically only carry out the planned journey if they have support from another person to do so. This is another group of disabled people whose real needs will be ignored by changes to PIP>

 

  • Claimants with conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis may be able to complete a one off physical task, but completing several tasks over the course of a day can have a cumulative effect and increase pain and immobility to totally debilitating levels.  Additional consideration of the impact of pain and fatigue is essential.

 

  • Again many claimants with Neuro-diverse and Mental Health conditions can physically cook a meal but find that to do so is stressful and exhausting for them so in reality they are not able to prepare and cook a meal.

 

  • Disabled people are already twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people. Far from the intention to ‘improve the support for disabled people and better enable them to lead full, active and independent lives’, these proposals will lead to an increase in disabled people’s poverty and isolation.   Therefore DPAC is strongly opposed to the introduction of PIP and the eligibility assessment.  

 

  • The government’s work and pensions select committee recognised that many more disabled people need to be lifted out of poverty and recommended a DLA awareness campaign. 

 

  • DLA supports disabled people to become more equal and independent.  Instead of attacking DLA, which supports independence (including helping to overcome barriers that prevent some people taking up employment), government should be doing more to stimulate demand in the economy so that jobs are available and to tackle discrimination by employers by vigorously enforcing the Equality Act 2010.

 

 

 



 

 

 

 
May 102012
 

Lord Freud – The Benefit Fraud

With thanks to the ever brilliant Johnny Void for letting us repost this– for more of The Void go to http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/

Lord Freud, the toff banker, will be defending the Government’s savage welfare reforms at a conference called by the National Housing federation on May 23rd.  Freud has been one of the chief architects of the vicious Welfare Reforms as both a Labour and then a Conservative Party member.

Freud was asked by Tony Blair to review the benefit system way back in 2006, despite Freud saying he knew nothing about it.  This didn’t stop him from leaping at the opportunity to claim that single parents should be sent to work, lay the foundations for the Atos shambles and encourage the use of fraudulent bastards like A4e to run huge chunks of the Welfare State.

The great welfare rip off has seen companies paid billions of tax payers’ money to provide barely existent training courses or claim huge fees every time someone unemployed finds a job.  The likes of the now disappeared Emma Harrison formerly of A4e have awarded themselves multi-million pound dividends whilst their staff, under enormous pressure from above, have ended up cooking the books to pay for them.  Like all the best scams, the companies involved don’t even have to break the law to make off with the cash.  Training providers on the Government’s flagship Work Programme can be paid up to £13,000 for claiming to have helped someone get a job who has barely even met them. 

Private sector sharks have also been brought in to carry out assessments for sickness and disability benefits, another of Freud’s ideas.  The Atos assessment system has turned out to be a disaster, costing a fortune in appeals against their flawed decisions, whilst being devastating for those forced to undergo the stressful and demeaning tests. This hasn’t stopped Atos creaming £100 million a year off the tax payer.  And Atos, along with prison companies like G4s and national joke Capita, are set to pick up huge contracts for re-creating the exact same shambles to re-assess over three million people currently claiming Disability Living Allowance.

With George Osborne promising up to £5 billion in cash to Work Programme contractors, it seems the gravy train for private sector sharks infecting the Welfare State is far from over.  Meanwhile millions of people face poverty and homelessness due to ideas generated on the back of an envelope by Lord Freud and his chums.

Lord Freud is a member of the pervy Freud dynasty and went to Whitgift Public School and then Oxford.  On leaving university he just happened to be offered a job at the Financial Times.  After a few years he ditched financial journalism to begin work as a professional crook for stockbrokers Rowe & Pitman (later to be taken over by SG Warburg).  His first job was to compile research on companies he was also taking money from, a practice which was made illegal after analysts were found publicly backing clients whilst slagging them off behind closed doors.

During his career Freud cost the tax payer a fortune when he botched the Eurotunnel flotation in a deal he describes as a ‘shambles’ and claims he ‘sold the market a pup’.  He did a similar thing with the Eurodisney flotation, costing investors millions.  Asked to handle the flotation of doomed company Railtrack, Freud priced the shares at £3.50 despite them being worth over four times that figure.  Freud remained a senior figure at SG Warburg helping to oversee the collapse of the investment bank in 1995 when it was taken over by the Swiss Bank Corporation.

David Freud’s omni-shambles career is best summed up by himself:

“Nearly everything I’ve done has been total chaos. I cannot believe it’s just because of me.”

This is typical of arrogant little posh boys like Freud.  Believing they are born to rule, their old school chums will prop them up as they fail time and time again.  In return they offer kickbacks, like the multi-billion pound give away to the private sector that Freud has overseen whilst involved in welfare reform.  They really are all in it together.  A self-serving smug elite sharing around power and money like pass the fucking parcel whilst the rest of the country gets on with doing the real work that keeps them rich.

When Freud saw which way the wind was blowing under the Labour Government he jumped ship to the Tories where he was immediately made a life peer and given a Baroncy.  As Minister for Welfare Reform he has wasted no time in continuing the incessant lies about benefit claimants he began telling under Blair.  The man who’s worth millions is outraged that single mums should be paid a pittance to feed their children, or large families in cities should have somewhere to live.

If the fraud Freud had been born on a council estate he’d probably be banged up by now for flogging fake Armanis or nicked ipods down the boozer.  Instead he picks up huge sums of tax payers’ cash he doesn’t need to advise the Government on something he knows nothing about.  All that’s required for the rich to succeed is the old school tie and a commitment to staying on the right side in the class war.  Brutality and incompetence is the hallmark of the English ruling class and there has rarely been a better example than Lord Fraud and his chinless cabinet cronies.

Freud will be speaking at the National Housing Federation’s Welfare Reform Conference on the 23rd May.  Join protesters at 9.15 to tell him what you think outside the Commonwealth Club, 25 Northumberland Avenue,
London, WC2N 5AP

See also: ‘A Tale of Two models: disabled people vs Unum, Atos, Government and Disability Charities’ for more on Freud’s doings and the sell out of welfare http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/04/a-tale-of-two-models-disabled-people-vs-unum-atos-government-and-disability-charities-debbie-jolly/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 202012
 
Merry Cross writes:
I’m appalled that effectively, ATOS is picking us off, one by one and I believe we need to amass good evidence of how they are destroying our contribution to society.  I’m hoping to show what contributions we can make when we have the necessary assistance and also the cost to society, ultimately, of refusing it.  If I can do this with at least 20 ‘case studies’ as it were, I believe I could produce a powerful report.  I will not use anyone’s full name in the report, just initials, and the region you live in (e.g. South West) but I will need your name and a contact address.  This could be the address of an advice agency, for example, if you want to keep your own address private.
In order to compile a report, it would be brilliant if you could answer the following questions.  Please feel free to do so in whatever way suits you.  You may prefer to answer each question in a sort of list, or you may prefer to write your story, making sure that the answers to the questions are to be found in your story.
In relation to ATOS assessments for ESA
·        What benefits were you receiving before the ATOS assessment?  Please explain why you needed this/these.
·        What has been stopped and what has been the impact on you? (Please include any emotional impact as well as any practical, medical or financial ones).
·        Were you doing any permitted work or voluntary work before your assessment and have you been able to continue with this?
·        Do you have any particular comments you want to make about how the ATOS interview was conducted?
If you have lost Disability Living Allowance after a re-assessment
·        Were you working?  If so, what were you doing and how long had you done it for?  Were you receiving any help from Access to Work? (Financial; equipment; PA?) Please say also if you were doing anything on a voluntary basis.
·        Have you been able to carry on working?
·        What other effect has the loss of this benefit had on your life?
Please send your information either direct to me at merryw@talktalk.net or to mail@dpac.uk.netmarked ‘For Merry’.
 Posted by at 16:12
Jan 292012
 

Just a quick reminder that on both January 31st and February 1st there will be a vigil/protest outside parliament meeting at Old Palace Yard from 1-3 pm.

These are crucial dates as on Tuesday the Lords vote on whether to accept the bill as it stands or not and on Wednesday the Tories and their little yellow Tory friends aka the Lib Dems are going to try to overturn all the amendments won in the  Lords in recent weeks.

If you are able to go to these please do so, or if you know anyone who can please tell people about these vigils.

 

 Posted by at 20:39
Jan 252012
 

Accessibility and legal information for Saturday’s action on the Welfare Reform Bill

On Saturday 28th January in central London, a group of disabled, sick and elderly people are going to engage in a daring and disruptive act of civil disobedience. UK Uncut will be there to support them. We hope that together we can stop the government’s Welfare Reform Bill in its tracks.

Accessibility information

The protest will involve being able to travel either by bus, taxi (this can be funded), or on foot/wheeling a reasonable distance from Holborn Tube station. If you have mobility issues and would like to attend the protest, please come to Holborn for 11am. Make yourself known to someone from UK Uncut (they’ll be holding a flag). We will then fund a taxi to take you to a point near the target. There will be people to buddy up with at Holborn and someone to meet you at the other end, so we can get to the target together at the right time.

The protest will also involve being outside for at least an hour. We will try and bring portable chairs and raincoats, but please bring your own if possible. There will be an activist with British Sign Language, although they may not be available all of the time, so please let us know if you need any BSL support and we will try to provide this.

If you would like more information, please email mail@dpac.uk.net with basic access support needed: e.g. do you need anyone to help push your chair, do you need to be guided from the tube, do you need a ‘buddy’ to help. Please send your mobile number to mail@dpac.uk.net in case we need to text you.

If you have been given other details of where to meet please stick to what you have been told already.

Legal information

The fantastic Green and Black Cross legal support group will have legal observers there on the day, checking police behaviour, and giving out advice cards.

The recommended solicitor for the day is Hodge, Jones & Allen.

Here are a couple of things you can do:

·         Write the Green and Black Cross legal support number somewhere on your body: 07946 541 511.

·         Take a look at this advice card, and keep one in your pocket on the day. Call Green and Black Cross if necessary, and use Hodge, Jones & Allen if you need a solicitor (020 7837 3456).

·         Bring a friend with you, and make an agreement to look out for each other throughout the day.

Now that you’re prepared, we’ll see you on Saturday

We’re tweeting from #dpac and #invisibleinvincibles on the day too.Please retweet details if you can’t be there.

 

 

 

 


 

 Posted by at 14:28
Jan 202012
 

A big thank you to Harpy Marx to let us repost her account of the lobby on here

I attended the vigil and lobby outside Parliament regarding the Welfare Reform Bill and the ongoing attacks on welfare benefits.

Welfare Reform protest

Welfare Reform protesters

Welfare Reform protesters

Welfare Reform protesters

Welfare Reform protesters

Welfare Reform protesters

Welfare Reform protesters - Linda Burnip

Reform Benefit Protestors

Reform Benefit Protestors

First posted at Harpy Marx’s blog

Watch the Guardian video on the previous Welfare Reform protest 12th Jan

As the House of Lords debates amendments to the welfare reform bill, protesters from a range of welfare activist groups such as Single Mothers’ Self Defence, Mad Pride and Right to Work gathered outside to lobby members. They were joined by Labour MP John McDonnell, who called for ‘much more severe and serious opposition’ from the Labour party, in the hope that parts of the bill could be defeated if it comes back to the Commons

Jan 132012
 

Welfare Reform Bill — no going back to Dickensian days
Next Vigil & Lobby: 1pm-3pm, Tuesday 17 January
Defend Disability Living Allowance * Defend Child Benefit * Stop aggressive bailiffs and Jobcentre sanctions
called by Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, WinVisible, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust
Meet opposite Parliament – Lords’ entrance
Abingdon St SW1 – Westminster tube
All welcome

We had a fantastic turnout and a big impact at our 11 January vigil – watch it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/video/2012/jan/11/welfare-protest-lords-video
See links to other media (below). The government was defeated on several proposals (below). We must keep up the pressure. We’ll be there each time the Bill is debated:

® Tuesday 17 January when the abolition of low-rate Disability Living Allowance is discussed, a 20% cut which would deprive an estimated 700,000 disabled people of the money they need to live independently and go to waged work.
® Monday 23 January, when the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds plans to raise his amendment to keep Child Benefit out of the benefit cap.
® Wednesday 25 January if the debate gets extended.
.
Please join us again, and publicise it on Facebook, Twitter and email lists. If you can’t come, you can ring and write to the Lords (0207 219 3000, fax 020 7219 5979). More info and email addresses are here: http://globalwomenstrike.net/content/briefing-welfare-reform-bill-2011-%E2%80%93-report-stage.

The 11 January vigil was visited by the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, and John McDonnell MP. See both their speeches in the Guardian video. Inside Parliament, a baroness thanked us and said that the Lords are being overwhelmed with emails! As a result of everyone’s efforts and protests up to now, three votes against the government were won:
to keep benefit entitlement for young people who are severely disabled, so they have financial independence coming into adulthood;
increasing to two years the one-year time limit on National Insurance-based sickness benefit for people who are recovering;
entitlement for terminally-ill people – the government wanted to force people who have longer than six months to live, to attend work-focussed interviews to get benefit.

Guardian blog http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jan/11/disability-welfare?intcmp=239#block-9

BBC interview with Baroness Meacher explaining the three votes http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16522485

More photos http://www.demotix.com/news/999151/welfare-rights-vigil-opposite-houses-parliament-london

The Commissioner for Children says the Bill contravenes the UN Convention
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/video/2012/jan/11/welfare-protest-lords-video

The Londonist report http://londonist.com/2012/01/welfare-reform-bill-protest.php

FYI: On bailiff powers:
“Debts and the use of bailiffs against the poorest households are being increased by the Treasury and the Department of Work and Pensions capping housing and council tax benefits while the prices of fuel, food, clothing and transport escalate. It will result in families choosing between paying their rent or council tax, or paying to eat and then falling into the clutches of the local authorities who add the court and unregulated bailiffs costs to council tax arrears; and whose bailiffs the Ministry of Justice refuses to properly regulate. Legal and illegal door to door lenders will thrive on extortionate interest rates as the banks refuse to led to the poorest citizens. The consequence is an inescapable misery of debt, even mental illness which costs billions in the Health Service.

It is vital that bailiff regulation is introduced with proper safeguards for vulnerable debtors before the Universal Credit hits impoverished households from 2013 when the DWP will be paying housing benefit direct into the claimants bank accounts with council tax benefit paid by the local authorities, all with caps. The DWP and the Treasury are creating a flood of unmanageable debts for the bailiffs to enforce.” www.Z2k.org

More info:

smsd@allwomencount.net 0207 482 2496 PaulNicolson@z2k.org 07961177889
win@winvisible.org

 Posted by at 19:53
Dec 202011
 

DPAC has been passed an unedited transcript from Work and Pensions Committee in which Maria Miller appears to admit that the changeover from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is set for cuts of £160 million from disabled people. It’s claimed that the department must raise the cash cuts lost in the U-turn on removal of mobility allowance for those in residential institutions. In the full transcript participants also seem to be talking as though DLA to PIP is already passed in law which it isn’t.

Q194 Sheila Gilmore: Some of my colleagues may want to ask whether or not it is just a question of people filling in the form. There is quite a lot of dispute as to whether it is fair to say that is all that goes on here. As to the financial position, a lot of people were very pleased to see the removal of mobility allowance from people in residential homes, which is something people have campaigned on from the time it was proposed. That also had a savings implication because a reduction of some £160 million was in the financial estimates. Is your Department still expecting to find additional savings from the migration from DLA to PIP that now will not be found from removing mobility allowance from people in residential care?

Maria Miller: As you would expect me to say, the Department has very clear commitments to the Treasury in terms of the spending it is able to undertake in the spending review period. The answer to that question is, very firmly, that we will have to find the funding that was associated with the mobility component for people living in residential care, but we will not find it from within the Disability Living Allowance.

Q195 Sheila Gilmore: From within PIP?

Maria Miller: Yes.

DPAC are running a campaign on DLA as already people are losing this in increasing numbers see

DLA tell DPAC your story Campaign and Social model respomse to loss of DLA

See full unedited transcript of meeting of Work and Pensions Committee at link below

Proposal to replace disability living allowance with personal independence payment – uncorrected evidence

Organisation: House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee

Source: House of Commons – Uncorrected Commons Committee Evidence

Date: 18.12.11

The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has published an uncorrected transcript from its evidence session on December 12 2011 on the proposal to replace disability living allowance with personal independence payment.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmworpen/uc1493-iii/uc149301.htm

Witnesses:

  • Maria Miller MP, minister for disabled people, Department for Work and Pensions
  • Dr James Bolton, deputy chief medical adviser, Department for Work and Pensions
  • Simon Dawson, deputy director of independent living and Office for Disability Issues, Department for Work and Pensions

18 December 2011

 

 

 

Dec 192011
 

Earlier this year I was asked by another disabled person “what is wrong with you anyhow?”  The person who asked this should have known better as they claim to work from a social model perspective. My obvious response to this was to ignore the question as there is nothing “wrong” with me. I have an impairment and because of the disabling barriers in society this means I am disabled.

 Now I have read that Sue Marsh (who writes for the blog ‘Diary of a benefits scrounger’) has been refused DLA in spite of having severe Crohn’s disease.

 DLA currently focuses on supporting people to live independently and to provide support for people’s mobility needs. The care component of DLA is a payment to meet the extra costs of being disabled whatever they are, extra food, extra heating, extra clothes, and if you’re an ILF user half of it goes towards the cost of your care and support package anyhow. To qualify for DLA you need to be unable to do certain specified tasks like cooking a meal, or have a need for constant supervision to help keep you safe. These descriptors are very medical model and look only at functional factors while ignoring issues such as you might be able to cook a meal if you had a fully adapted kitchen, or taps that you could actually turn on.

 Looking at the purely physical functions someone can do is also unsatisfactory. As much is made of the can you cook a meal descriptor in deciding someone’s entitlement to DLA let’s consider this a little further. One young man with Asperger’s syndrome who has lost his entitlement to the care component of DLA can physically cook a meal but needs support to do this. Another young man with Asperger’s says this functional ability test takes no account of how stressful the tasks are and how it leaves you feeling. Yet another disabled man who loses concentration frequently can theoretically cook a meal but keeps wandering off and leaving food to burn.

 For anyone with a fluctuating impairment it is impossible to get as you have to have these needs constantly for 3 months and be likely to have them for at least 6 months before you can qualify.

 As I too am disabled not just by my Crohn’s Disease but on a daily basis by the treatment I have needed for this to stay alive I have the greatest empathy for Sue.

 How people with impairments relate to society is complex and may be related to the nature of their impairment which can increase the barriers they face in daily living and leading a full and active life.  

 Using the social model approach towards defining disability as social restrictions imposed to top of people’s impairments it is necessary to make a distinction between the structures, systems, cultures, environments and attitudes that exist at the macro level of society – the level where they can institutionally exclude or marginalise people with impairments via how people with impairments are ‘taken into account’ and how they are not ‘taken into account’ – and the day-to-day social interactions which take place at the micro level of society.

 In my case for example the operations resulting in the loss of several large chunks of intestine cause me daily physical difficulties and I can no longer absorb Vitamin B12 which leaves me at risk of getting pernicious anaemia. These difficulties are exacerbated because of the lack of support available to disabled people who may be able to do some of the physical and medical model tasks to qualify for DLA some of the time but not all of the time.

 When my Crohn’s Disease flairs up I am unable to even get out of bed let alone cook. In fact the mere sight or smell of food often makes me be sick. I have to take massive doses of steroids to try to get better again which affects my immune system and means I’m more likely to get other illnesses too and this has also resulted in me having early onset Osteoporosis. I find it very hard to keep my weight at a reasonable level as often I can only eat things like ice cream and jelly for days at a time.

 I took early retirement from work because I was advised by consultants that I was more likely to remain healthy and well if I did not work and additionally this would save the NHS a lot of money. However, if work was more flexible and I was able to work when and if I could, and have the time off to rest when I needed it then I would have been able to continue to work.

 As a parent I also had the added barriers to face of having to support a disabled child who needed 24 hour support even when I was most ill. There was no help available on a short term basis and I could not afford to pay for any help myself. Many days I almost crawled around to get my son and daughter ready to go to school and then was only able to collapse back into bed. If only I had qualified for DLA then this might have been a different situation, or if social services had been able to offer some sort of short term, at home, respite support.

 However with regard to social services I have to say that until it was absolutely necessary to have any contact with them I avoided this as the Children’s services and Occupational Therapy services available where I live were so shockingly awful, which having worked for Birmingham Social Services for 10 years I feel qualified to judge. What use is an OT who says things like “disability is always so dreadful” or “I’m sure new technology is very enabling but I don’t understand it” This was not the sort of attitude towards disability that I wanted my son to grow up with. He’d already discovered at the age of nine that he was considered a fire hazard so couldn’t go to the local inaccessible cinema like his friends so it was really important to me that he understood this wasn’t his fault but the fault of the cinema for not being accessible.

see DPAC campaign on DLA