Apr 272017
 
RMT Rally in defence of workers rights and disabled people's access to transport

RMT Rally in defence of workers rights and disabled people’s access to transport

Good afternoon! My name is Miriam Binder and this is the Grim Creeper also known as my wheelchair, or power-chair to those more technically inclined. We just get on with things and when my legs won’t bear the weight, Grim Creeper steps in and provides me with the trundle power to get where I am going. Well … that is the general idea anyway.

Grimmy and I are a couple of independent travelers. We don’t have a carer who, much like the famed ‘lepers bell’ from years gone by, comes along wherever we go. We do our own shopping, we collect grandchildren from school, we take grandchildren shopping for Mummys’ birthday present or, occasionally, that extra special pair of trainers Daddy said was not in the budget. And we go to London, Manchester, Birmingham, Chester and any other place we want to go.

As long as it isn’t St Heliers though … St Heliers is an unmanned station … one of quite a number, and an increasing number at that, that is out of bounds for the Grim Creeper and me. Sadly though it isn’t just unmanned stations that are an issue. Despite the Equality Act 2010 stating that transport must be accessible to all there has been little progress in applying this to Rail Transport. To date, as things stand, only 1 in 5 of all stations in the UK is fully accessible.

A couple of years ago I needed to get to Chester for a course I was to attend. It was quite a lengthy journey from my home in Brighton and so I planned ahead and made sure I contacted Assisted Travel well in advance of my prospective journey. In fact it was about a week or so before. As it happened, trouble started as soon as I arrived in Euston to get on my Chester bound part of the journey. I wasn’t on the list. Never mind, if I cared to wait someone would put me on the train. As an aside, no one saw fit to inform me that there was no refreshment trolley, that the wheelchair space was in full sunlight space with no room to move and that the canteen on the train was not accessible for lone wheelchair using travellers.

When we got to Chester, everyone alighted from the train and I waited for someone to fetch the ramp to get me off the train. The train started filling up with people London bound and I was still waiting. No one had seen fit to inform the driver, the guard nor the destination station that a wheelchair passenger was on the train. I had to push the alarm to avoid being returned to London.

In January of this year I had an early appointment in London. I was quite ready to take a late train to London and spend the night at Victoria Station to make sure I’d get to my appointment on time. No need I was informed by the helpful staff at the Travel Centre at Brighton Station. There is a train at 6:48am that will get you there in plenty of time. I duly presented myself at Brighton station at 6am. I was assisted on to the train at 6:40am. At 6:50am the train was full to bursting with commuters and we were informed that we would be diverted via Lewes.

I decided to get off the train but, due to a lack of ramps, and the fact that the cover to the alarm button was locked, I was unable to contact the guard. To cut a long story short, I spent 2.5 hours being dragged through Lewes, to Haywards Heath to a field half way to Three Bridges where we sat for about 15 minutes before being told that we were being diverted back to Haywards Heath where I finally managed to get off the train. To get a train back to Brighton having totally missed my appointment.

These are but two instances where the guard was effectively absent from the train as far as Grimmy and I were concerned. We were travelling on what, to all intents and purposes was a Driver Only Operated (DOO) train. I was nothing but a not very important parcel despite having paid my full fare. These two, along with a number of other instances over the years of travelling with Grimmy and her predecessors, made it clear to me that for travelers like me the proposal to operate DOOs on all Southern Rail was to be fought, tooth, nail and final breath, to the bitter end and beyond.

We’ve heard a lot about this ‘Assisted Travel’ and the ‘requirement’ placed on all ‘disabled’ passengers to book their journey 24 hours in advance of travel. If you were paying attention during my ramblings you will recall that I did indeed use Assisted Travel for my trip to Chester. Not because I am an aficionado of ‘Assisted Travel’ but because it was a lengthy journey, involving a number of changes and different train franchises – Southern and Arriva if my memory is not at fault. It did not ensure that my journey was hassle free.

Having said that, I can see the sense in using something like Assisted Travel when you are embarking on a lengthy and complex journey; however, and yes there is a however, this holds not just for us ‘impaired’ travelers but for all train travelers because of the complexities involving changes, different companies and the need to ensure that you know what platforms you need to be on at the various stations you will alight and embark from during your journey.

This is the anniversary of the fight to keep guards on the train; a whole year of strikes, upheavals and the occasional confrontation. As Southern has forged ahead and implemented the changes we oppose we have seen disabled travelers left on unmanned stations in their wheelchairs because there was no one to get them off the train at their desired destination. We have seen passengers getting caught in doors shut by drivers who are forced to rely on blurry and time delayed images on multiple screens. We have heard of yet another 33 stations, so far, that are going to be unmanned and part manned. Add this to what I said earlier … about only 1 in 5 UK stations being fully accessible in 2017 …

I am, apart from a pain in the neck, a mouthy female and the burden borne in style by my Grim Creeper, a mother, a grandmother, a friend and an activist. Things happen; my daughter in London may suddenly need Nanny to babysit her two gorgeous grandsons while Mummy works late. My friend in St Helliers may need my shoulder to cry on as her dog departs on his last journey. My pressure group ‘DPAC’ may need me to attend an emergency meeting with less than 24 hours’ notice. Or I may suddenly get a yearning to go and spend my hard earned cash in Littlehampton rather than Brighton Churchill Square. Or, shock and horror, I may suddenly cave in to the demands of my grandchildren and decide to take them all to Tillgate Park in Crawley one Sunday.

These are all normal, everyday issues that people face and … surprising as this may sound … so do we, the physically, mentally and cognitively impaired. Why should I, just because I happen to be impaired through no choice of my own, be required to forego on spontaneity because I cannot give Southern Rail at least 24 hours’ notice of my desire to indulge in some spontaneous activities; forgetting for the moment that there is something not quite right about spontaneous activity and 24 hours’ notice. My 9 year old grandson is doing something at school and wants Nanny to come and see him ‘oh and Nanny, it is tomorrow at 10am. Sorry sweetling, no can do as I haven’t the time to let Southern know?

Grimmy and I are fortunate. No one, seeing us, questions whether I am impaired. It is rather obvious. There are however many ‘hidden’ impairments that aren’t instantly recognizable. Mental health issues, cognitive impairments, various ailments that are accompanied with a variety of physical weaknesses … such as heart conditions, epilepsy and others.

I do recollect reading some guard … the name escapes me at the moment … who wrote that he had been told that it is cheaper for a franchise to pay a couple of million for the odd death then it would be to ensure that every passenger is as safe as can be during every single journey. Economically, I can see the argument works well but we are not crates of bottles, reams of paper or boxes of apples, all of which can be replaced given but time enough. We, as human and humane beings, impact on lives other than our own in ways beyond mere calculation. And that holds as true for the impaired as it does for the unimpaired.

Turn up and go is the principle behind the 2010 Equality Act. Turn up and go! With a straight forward journey, doing a normal everyday thing like commuting to work, taking a shopping trip, visiting friends or relatives, indulging the grandchildren or surprising a friend with a meal on the town. Turn up and go is the right of each and every single one of the over 10 million disabled people in the UK.

Just as a matter of interest, 19% of the working age population is disabled. That is over 6.9 million people. Two million people in the UK have impaired vision to varying extents. More than 900,000 people in the UK are severely or profoundly deaf. There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK; there are approximately 770,000 disabled children under the age of 16 … that is 1 child in 20 …. A huge number of people who all deserve to … Turn up and go!

When you attach a string of carriages to a powerful engine and send them all hurtling down a track from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ you have a captive ‘community’ – I’ll use the term community even if the only thing they have in common is the fact that they are all on this locked down string of carriages hurtling down a track.

A duty of care cannot be ignored however much you may want to do just that. And to ensure that duty of care is implemented, every train should have a driver and a guard as a minimum. A driver should be allowed to concentrate on getting the train where it is going. And we, the entire railway traveling population, deserve, require and insist on the presence of a safety critical trained guard for our security, safety and welfare in travel!

 Posted by at 23:05
Apr 192017
 

Fight Rail Access cuts

Image of disabled people protesting about transport accessOn the 28th of April Transport for All will be protesting at eight stations across London, calling on the Government to reverse the shameful decision to cancel their key Access for All projects.

Over twenty years have passed since the rights of disabled people to access goods and services were passed into law – yet still many of us cannot use our local train station. Only 1/5 of stations in the UK are step free and the majority of stations do not have lifts, tactile paving, audio visual information, induction loops or the other fixtures that enable disabled people to use them.

Last week, Disability News Service revealed that “the UK has one of the least accessible rail systems in Europe“, contrary to recent Rail Delivery Group claim and their “‘shameful’ attempt to disguise Britain’s inaccessible network”.

Access for All projects have provided vital accessibility upgrades to stations across the UK. It has helped to open up vast swathes of our railways to many people who have never been able to use them before.

However, last year the Government chose to accept the findings of the Hendy review into Network Rail spending – slashing the number of Access for All projects to be delivered before 2019 by 50%

The Government’s decision to defer £50m worth of Access for All funding for another five years is major blow to rail access. Disabled and older people can’t be expected to defer their lives for another five years while accessibility funding is raided to plug holes elsewhere in the Network Rail budget.

Early last year TfA together with Inclusion London, Disabled People against Cuts, Disability Rights UK, RNIB, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign UK and Campaign for Better Transport wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport to express our dismay at the proposals, calling on them to ensure to deliver all the Access for All projects they had promised. Unfortunately the Government chose to push ahead with their plans – delaying accessibility projects at 26 stations across the UK.

In London, 8 stations are affected by this decision

  • Battersea Park
  • Hither Green
  • St Mary Cray
  • Seven Sisters
  • Peckham Rye
  • Streatham
  • Barnes
  • Petts Wood

Other affected stations across the UK are: Alfreton Parkway, Liverpool Central, Southend East, Llanelli, Barry Town, Luton, Market Harborough, Alok, Cathays, Northallerton, Trefforest, Chatham, Walton-on-Thames, Garforth, Weston-Super-Mare, Grays, Worcester Shrub Hill.

 

Since the beginning of this year TfA have been meeting with MPs from across the political spectrum including Chuka Ummuna, Bob Neil, Heidi Alexander and Sarah Olney who agreed to support the Access for All campaign in their areas.

Make your voice heard

Following the success of our Southern Rail action earlier this month we will be organising a coordinated protest at every station in London which has had an Access for All project deferred.

It’s so important that we show the Government just how much support there is for Access for All projects across London.

We need as many Disabled and older people as possible to take action outside the eight stations across London and to demand Rail Access Now

WHEN: April 28th

WHERE & TIME:

Barnes station: 17:00 – 18:00

Battersea Park station: 17:00 – 18:00

Hither Green station: 14:00 – 15:00

Peckham Rye station: 17:00 – 18:00

Petts Wood station: 17:00 – 18:00

Seven Sisters station: 17:00 – 18:00

St Mary Cray station: 15:00 – 16:00

Streatham station: 17:00 – 18:00

It is important that you register so we can keep you informed about the protest you will join at a specific station.

Please let us know if you can come by completing the following brief registration form.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/join-us-to-fight-rail-access-cuts-on-the-28th-april-registration-33620483772

Please contact catherine@transportforall.org.uk for more details.

 Posted by at 21:26
Apr 182017
 

The ESA cut is part of a drive to close the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people, although the target to achieve this in 2020 has been scrapped. Almost everybody assumes that  most people placed in the Work related activity group will eventually get better and move into work. Nobody could have been more convinced of this that all the Tory MPs who voted for the ESA cut.

However, a 2014 Upper Tribunal judgment throws a different light on this. The 3 judge panels did not make a judgement on the suitability of placing some disabled people in the WRAG, but interpreted the law. This is what they said:

Although Mrs L had not put her case in quite this way, it would be fair to state it like this. The tribunal has accepted that I am not able to sustain sufficient activity to be capable of work and my condition is not going to improve, so what is the point of making me undertake activity to prepare me for work of which I will never be capable? The answer is that the law is not structured in that way. There are claimants who are not capable of work and never will be capable of work but whose condition and disabilities are not such that they can satisfy the conditions for the support group. To put it another way, the support group is not for those who will never be capable of work. It is for a narrower category. That may explain why, by Mrs L’s report, her Jobcentre Plus adviser has not asked her to undertake any work-related activity.

You can read the entire judgment here:”[i]

In other terms, claimants are placed in the WRAG not because they may be able to work again at some stage, but because they do not tick the right boxes to be assigned to the Support Group. These people who may have a progressive illness or have a prognosis of 2 years or over, which DWP recognised means unlikely to work again[ii] will suffer from April 2017 a cut of 1/3 of their income in exchange for employment support they do not need or cannot use. We know from a FOI request that 5,000 claimants have been in the WRAG since 2008[iii]. And DWP own figures show that 388,700 claimants (37%) have been placed in the WRAG since 2008 with a prognosis of 2 years or more[iv]. (click on the picture)

As the inherent flaws in the WCA have not been addressed, from April 2017 claimants who  the DWP recognises are unlikely to work again will be still placed in the WRAG. To add insult to injury, non only they would have to survive on very little money, be subjected to sanctions, and have uncovered extra needs due to their disability (only ½ claimants in the WRAG are claiming DLA or PIP), but it is very likely they would have to attend unnecessary Work Related Interviews by the sheer fact of being assigned to the WRAG

It makes a mockery of the Work Capability Assessment, which has nothing to do with assessing work readiness and capability in spite of its name, but whose whole purpose is to arbitrary assigns claimants to some groups, based on criteria that the government can change at will, according to how much money they are willing to spend on disabled people.

If your MP is a conservative who voted for the ESA cut, you should ask their thoughts about what should or will happen to these claimants in the WRAG who from April 2007 have been assessed by DWP as ‘unlikely to ever work again’.

[i] http://administrativeappeals.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk//Aspx/view.aspx?id=4295

 

[ii] https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140701/text/140701w0001.htm

 

[iii] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/351360/foi-3129-2014.pdf

 

[iv] http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-02-19/27486

 

 Posted by at 17:29
Apr 172017
 
As some of you may know there is an opportunity for people along the route between Wolverhampton and Wigan to tell their story to the Mirror’s Road to Wigan Pier series.
Three of our supporters have already done this to help highlight the cuts disabled people face and links to their articles are here.
 
If anyone else is willing to speak to Ros Wynne-Jones or Claire Donnelly please phone 07538 000271 or you can sign up in the link below
 
 
 Posted by at 21:51
Apr 132017
 

For He Who Is Winning, Another Must Lose

A song about social justice (or the lack thereof). Written and performed by Ryan Fox. (Lyrics below)


Rich is a wolf, he cheats and he steals
He’s jolly well banking on insider deals
He lies in his den with a grin full of sin
As Sarah the cleaner mucks out his bin
He howls at her haircut and third-rate shoes
For he who is winning, another must lose

Lucy forgets to turn off the hob
The government says she should go get a job
The voices she hears make her feel sad
Though Sarah her carer makes things less bad
But working two jobs gives Sarah the blues
For he who is winning, another must lose

Rushing for the bus
Sarah has a fall
Racing to the A and E
She needs a new hip
The wait will be a year
‘Til then she can’t walk
Forced to take an office job
How will Lucy cope?

Upper side of town
Rich is racing fast
Didn’t see the ambulance
Crashed his Jag
Neck brace and physio
The firm will cover that!
He’ll be fit in no time
The very very best

Lucy forgets and now is forgotten
Society’s safety net ragged and rotten
Her benefits slashed for missing a meeting
No money for food or central heating
Lifting the cup to her cold, crusty lips
She takes enough pills to make it quick
This wasn’t the end she imagined she’d choose
But for he who is winning, another must lose

 Posted by at 16:17
Apr 122017
 

Have you lost DLA or PIP due to the change in descriptors from 50 metres to 20 metres in the mobility test.

If so and you’re willing to speak to a journalist about this please contact Emily Dugan from Buzzfeed news. They are doing a series of articles about disability cuts and need to speak to people.

 

emily.dugan@buzzfeed.com

 

020 3814 1907 | 077 1770 2566

@emilydugan

 

 Posted by at 21:23
Apr 102017
 

ITV are filming with the West Midlands Mayoral Candidates on Wed 19th April at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

 

They are looking for someone who has had or is having problems getting accessible accommodation in that area and would be happy to ask questions to the candidates about what they might do to improve the situation for those with a disability.

If you can help please contact Alice Key | Production Journalist | ITV News Central

www.itv.com/central

alice.key@itv.com
084488 14131.

Twitter: @alice1992key

 

 Posted by at 19:53
Apr 042017
 

‘The Work Capability Assessment’ is a 30 minute presentation about the WCA, released by DPAC.

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is the primary assessment for Employment and Support Allowance, the main social security payment for disabled people and those with a long term health condition. In this documentary advocates, lawyers and claimants outline the fundamental problems with the WCA, and the adverse effects it can have on claimants. They show how the WCA not only fails disabled people, but fails on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) terms; it can worsen people’s health and does not help them return to work. The WCA is carried out by private companies (initially Atos now Maximus). Although some assessments can be carried out smoothly and professionally, others are in buildings that do not have disabled access, require people in pain to sit for hours on hard chairs, and are carried out by assessors who can be rude, and even cruel.

We would like to thank everyone who volunteered their time to talk about the WCA. Some people have requested anonymity, therefore we have either a) used their voice only or b) got actors to record what they said (a lot of claimants are scared of the DWP).

It can be viewed on youtube:

and is available for viewing and download on Vimeo

The Work Capability Assessment from DPAC on Vimeo.

 

Please share this far and wide!

Apr 032017
 

Doug Paulley (who last year won a case in the Supreme Court over wheelchair access on Buses ) has written to DPAC with some important information about how disabled people can exercise their rights to travel on buses.

Doug Writes:

Through the Police Crime Commissioner, I’ve got West Yorkshire Police to recognise that a bus driver who refuses a wheelchair user access to an empty wheelchair space on a bus is committing a crime and should
face punishment.

The Police want wheelchair users to report such crimes to them.  They are ready and waiting to investigate and (if appropriate) prosecute the driver.

Disabled people, bus companies and drivers should all be made aware that such crimes should be reported to the Police.

Under the same legislation (1), drivers are also under a criminal obligation:

:- to accept passengers with assistance dogs

:- to allow a wheelchair user onto the bus even if the wheelchair space is occupied, if passengers and/or their effects in that space can readily and reasonably vacate it to another part of the vehicle

:- to operate a ramp or boarding lift, including by using the manual override if an electric mechanism is broken, whenever a wheelchair  user wishes to get on or off, e.g. when a wheelchair user presses the special blue button to indicate they want to get off

:- to help wheelchair users get on or off

:- to enable wheelchair users to access and leave the wheelchair space

:- to kneel the bus if they think a disabled person would benefit from it and/or if asked to do so

:- to ensure the bus is displaying the correct route number and destination.

The above duties are criminal duties on a driver, separate and additional to the duties under the Equality Act. Failure to comply  with the duty may result in a driver’s criminal conviction and a fine of up to £500 and endorsements on the driving license.

I would encourage disabled people and their allies to contact other Police Forces / Police and Crime Commissioners, to encourage them to take similar proactive action.

Doug

(1) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2002/1724/pdfs/uksi_20021724_en.pdf

This is a forwarded message
From: [Redacted]
To: [Redacted]
CC:
Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 9:16:17 AM
Subject: FW: Police action where a bus driver refuses to allow wheelchair users into   empty spaces [NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED]

===8<==============Original message text===============
Classification: NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Dear Mr Paulley,

I have heard back from West Yorkshire Police now. They have confirmed that bus drivers refusing access to wheelchair users is a summary only offence which can be enforced by the police. They have done some work to check whether any reports of this have been made to West Yorkshire Police since 1 March 2016 and cannot find any that match these exact circumstances, but there were 346 reports found with the keywords WHEELCHAIR and BUS with different circumstances.

They have said that any reports of access issues would be logged and an enquiry conducted on the evidence available. Prosecutions could subsequently be considered. The police would therefore encourage
anyone to contact the police if they believe they have been a victim of this crime.

They have acknowledged your concerns about lack of awareness of the legislation and have taken steps to ensure the Force’s Contact Centre staff are informed to ensure that any calls are handled appropriately.

I hope you find this information reassuring but please let me know if you have any further questions.

Kind Regards

[Redacted]

[Redacted]
Casework Manager
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire
Follow us on Twitter – @WestYorksOPCC
Like us on Facebook – ‘Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner West Yorkshire’

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Ploughland House, 62 George Street, Wakefield, WF1 1DL Visit: www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk for more information.

Help for victims and witnesses Independent, informed and impartial www.helpforvictims.co.uk

 Posted by at 22:46
Apr 032017
 

Potent Whisper (@PotentOfficial) has dedicated his song Deep Cuts to DPAC (Lyrics included below) .

Georgie (Potent Whisper) said

My name is Georgie, also known as rapper ‘Potent Whisper’. I have just released a music video called ‘Deep Cuts’ which I have dedicated to DPAC.

The video has been released on the second largest youth music platform in the UK: ‘Link Up TV’. They have over 1.2 Million followers on Facebook.

Link to this upload on Facebook: 

The video has also just been uploaded to a Youtube channel: ‘Global Faction’. They have over 70,000 subscribers.

Link to this upload on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8734ysjpRw

The song/ video is a response to austerity and the music video features DPAC’s name on screen at the end.

This is just a small thank you to all of you for your relentless, inspiring, hard work. I will take great pride in sharing this video and invite you to do the same if you like it.

Respect and deep solidarity.
Potent Whisper
@PotentOfficial
We hope you enjoy this as much as we do, here it is:

You can see more of Potent Whisper’s work here :  https://potent-whisper.bandcamp.com/?…

The Lyrics are reproduced below :

[Chorus]

They said they loved you, but then they cut you
They never loved you, they only fucked you
They said they loved you, but then they cut you
They never loved you, they never loved you

[Verse 1]

Run up on HMRC. Take an army in fake Versace’s
Stamp of the march like bass at parties
Take em all apart and claim our money
Gimme the p – gimme the money bags
Run up in the bank like “gimme the money back!”
Stand back! Grabbing that. Baddin the 1%
Then when I’m done there, I’ll run up on number 10

Baddin him up – jackin him up
Grabbin our cut – stackin it up
Imagine the rush, havin him up
One time. I’m hype. I’m baddin him up
It’s about cash, it’s about pride
It’s about tax, it’s about life
It’s about black, it’s about white
It’s about to bang, and fam it’s about time!

They’re spilling our blood, they’re killing our mums, they started war
If they wanna cut, we’ll build an army on the scars that form
Walking around, talking about how you and the countries’ screwed without them, but look who wars them now, even Iain walked out – he knew all about them!

[Verse 2]

They snatch you, abuse you
They trap you and use you
That’s their attitude, no gratitude
They’re attacking you like Zulu
They tax you, then cut you
They jacked you, they moved you
They had you, they dun you
They don’t have to, they choose to

Baddin him up – jackin him up
Grabbin our cut – stackin it up
Imagine the rush, havin him up
One time. I’m hype. I’m baddin him up
It’s about cash, it’s about pride
It’s about tax, it’s about life
It’s about black, it’s about white
It’s about to bang, and fam it’s about time!

They’re spilling our blood, they’re killing our mums, they started war
If they wanna cut, we’ll build an army on the scars that form
Walking around, talking about how you and the countries’ screwed without them
But look who wars them now, even Iain walked out – he knew all about them!

[Chorus x2]

 Posted by at 21:40
Apr 012017
 
 Posted by at 22:32
Apr 012017
 

From Monday (3rd April), new recipients of employment and support allowance deemed healthy enough to carry out ‘work related activities’ will get up to £1,500 less each year than existing recipients. Anyone who feels able to work and does so for over 12 weeks but then needs to reclaim ESA will be treated as a new claimant.

When this cut was announced DPAC sought the views of a barrister as to whether this could be legally challenged and the answer was once someone is affected by it then it can be challenged.

We are in touch with a solicitor who is keen to pursue a legal challenge and therefore need to find someone eligible for legal aid willing to make one. We believe this could not only be a new claimant but anyone who might wish to work more than 12 weeks but who would then be disadvantaged if they needed to reclaim ESA at a later date.

If anyone is interested in knowing more and able to help with this incredibly important legal challenge please email us mail@dpac.uk.net or contact us via @dis_ppl_protest

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has put forward a useful round up of this savage cut

https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/9117

Cut to employment and support allowance

Employment and support allowance (ESA) is the main out of work benefit for working age individuals who are judged not to be ‘fit for work’ due to a health condition. There are currently around 2.2 million individuals claiming ESA, of whom 250,000 are waiting for a health assessment, 1.6 million are in the ‘support group’, and 400,000 are the ‘work-related activity group’ (WRAG). The latter group are those deemed healthy enough to carry out ‘work related activities’, such as CV preparation or skills training.

From next Monday (3rd April) new WRAG claimants will receive £73.10 a week – the same as jobseekers’ allowance (JSA) claimants – rather than £102.15 a week as is currently the case (those in the support group are unaffected). This change will not create immediate losses of benefit income, because only new recipients are affected. Ultimately though, of course, all claims will be assessed under the new less generous rules. To give a sense of how quickly this will cut the generosity of benefits in practice, in the recent past around 60,000 people a year have started an ESA claim and ended up in WRAG – so we would expect approximately that number to get less money over the coming year than they would otherwise have got. In the long run this is expected to save the government about £650 million per year, with around 500,000 recipients getting £1,400 a year less than they would otherwise have got, on average.

What do we know about the sorts of people who are placed in the ESA WRAG? First, around half of them are entitled to ESA because of mental or behavioural disorders. Second, they tend to be somewhat older than JSA claimants, with about half being between 50 and the state pension age compared to about a quarter for JSA. Third, they tend to be on ESA for a relatively long time, as shown in Figure 1. Hence, while this change will align the weekly entitlements of ESA WRAG and JSA claimants, it is worth bearing in mind that the ESA claimants will tend to live on these amounts for substantially longer – around four in five WRAG claimants have been claiming for over two years, compared to less than one in five for JSA.

Figure 1. Proportion of claimants by length of claim, various benefits

 

Note: Before being placed in WRAG or support group or being declared ‘fit to work’, claimants must go through an assessment, during which they are entitled only to the basic JSA rate. The above data include time spent in the assessment phase, which typically takes at least 13 weeks. This is part of the reason why the ‘up to 6 months’ bars are small for the WRAG and support group. However, since this policy only affects claimants post-assessment, the left-hand stacked bar does give an accurate picture of claim durations for the group affected by the policy change. Source: DWP Tabulation Tool: Employment and Support Allowance, May 2016, Office for National Statistics, UK Labour Market: March 2017, Table BEN02

People might respond to this change in several ways. First, they may not choose to claim ESA in the first place: since JSA will afford the same financial support as WRAG, the financial incentives to go through the medical assessment rather than accept the additional work conditions of JSA are reduced. Second, those placed in the WRAG might challenge the decision to try to get into the support group and receive the now much higher entitlement. At the moment around 20% of those placed in WRAG challenge the decision at least once, so there is considerable scope for this to become more prevalent. Third, as the government’s policy costing document points out, they may try to claim other benefits. The main option available here is personal independence payment, a non-means tested disability benefit. Not only does this provide income directly (between £22 and £141.10 per week), but receipt can also be an automatic passport to higher ESA entitlements. Fourth, they could move into work. Claimants may be constrained in the extent to which they can respond in this way – WRAG claimants have after all been declared by the government to have ‘limited capability for work’. On the other hand, a DWP survey found that 30% of WRAG claimants are already looking for work, and some research suggests that employment decisions among the disabled can be sensitive to the level of disability payments. However, many – perhaps the majority – will not respond in any of these ways and will therefore have to make do with an average of £1,400 a year less than they would otherwise have got.

 

 Posted by at 21:49
Mar 302017
 

Have you used food banks or community kitchens, or found it difficult to feed yourself or your family?

Would you like to share your story?

I am a trainee psychologist carrying out research into the impact on people’s lives of not having secure access to food.

I’m looking for participants who are willing to tell their stories confidentially, including how experiences of the benefits system and/or disability have had an impact on the availability of food.

If you are interested in taking part then please email me on rtwcza@essex.ac.uk

I will then get in touch to arrange to meet you at a convenient time and location.

Interviews will take between 45 and 90 minutes and a £10 voucher will be given in return for your time.

Many thanks,

Ryan Wczasek

University of Essex

 

Mar 292017
 
 Transport For All Banner Logo
Take action for Rail Access on the 5th April 2017

Transport for All hear daily of the unacceptable treatment faced by so many Disabled and older travellers on our Railways. Whether it’s assistance failing to turn up, inaccessible platforms or a lack of accessible facilities on trains – what is clear that our railways are failing Disabled and older passengers.

Now to make matters worse Southern Rail have announced that they are withdrawing Turn-Up-and-Go assistance from 33 stations across their network.

This is a huge backwards step for accessibility.

So next week we’re taking the fight to Southern Rail, with an action demanding that they reverse this shameful decision.

When: 5pm, Wednesday 5th April 2017
Where: Heeltap, Borough Highstreet, SE1 1NX

We’ll meet at the Heeltap Bar on Borough High Street for a quick briefing, before marching to London Bridge station to protest. If you’d like any more information please contact Catherine on catherine@transportforall.org.uk.

Please feel free to share this information with your beneficiaries and partners.

Please let us know if you would like to come: catherine@transportforall.org.uk.

Best wishes,

Catherine Smith

If you can’t come and would like to support our action, you can do so by registering your organisation as a member of Transport for All:
Yes, I I would like to register my organisation as a member-organisation of Transport for All
 Posted by at 20:49
Mar 282017
 

The Department for Work and Pensions released some figures about the percentage of PIP claimants with mental health conditions entitled to the enhanced mobility rate.

During the PIP debate yesterday  in the House of Lords,  Baroness Thomas of Winchester stated: The department said that of those with mental health conditions receiving the mobility component of DLA, only 9% had been entitled to the higher rate, whereas 27% of PIP claimants receive the enhanced mobility rate—or 28%, according to the Minister’s letter this morning https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2017-03-27a.430.8&s=DWP#g441.0

Using DWP Stat-Explore tool, it is easy to see how this percentage was reached.  DWP took the total number of PIP claimants with mental health conditions, (377,398), and the total number of PIP claimants entitled to the enhanced mobility rate (100,159) and calculated the percentage of claimants entitled to the enhanced mobility rate out of the total number of PIP claimants with mental health conditions. While it can be seen that the average percentage of claimants with psychiatric disorders entitled to the enhanced PIP mobility award is almost 27%, these percentages are not weighted. The following table is not very clear, but the figures can be found here:

Sxreen shot of spreadsheet figures

For example, there are 46.67% of claimants with enuresis entitled to the enhanced mobility award, but only 15 claimants with this condition in total. This 46.67% is given as much weight in the calculations as the 12.01% of claimants with psychosis entitled to the enhanced mobility award, although the number of claimants with this condition is 43,129.  Once the percentages are appropriately weighted, the percentage of claimants with psychiatric conditions entitled to the enhanced mobility award is just under 12%.

It will be difficult for DWP to argue that there is parity between physical and mental conditions for PIP.

 Posted by at 21:41
Mar 272017
 

If you can’t get to one of the street protests organised by Unite against sanctions on March the 30th, you can join in on social media using the Hashtag #No2Sanctions

Here is some material that you can copy and paste into tweets or facebook posts:

See also this online action organised by Boycott Workfare (@BoycottWorkfare) against Samaritans, Scope and Sue Ryder workfare operations

DWP must review harmful welfare conditionality, policy unit set up by Downing Street says http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dwp-welfare-benfits-conditionality-work-coaches-downing-street-a7370376.html #No2Sanctions
Benefit Sanctions vs Rule of Law https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2015/10/23/austerity-and-public-law-michael-adler-benefit-sanctions-and-the-rule-of-law/ #No2Sanctions
600% increase in benefit sanctions against people with mental health problems http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/benefit-sanctions-against-people-with-mental-health-problems-up-by-600-per-cent-a6731971.html #No2Sanctions
Benefit sanctions: Britain’s secret penal system https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/benefit-sanctions-britains-secret-penal-system #No2Sanctions
BBC News – Benefit sanctions force people to sleep rough, claims charity http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35063040 #No2Sanctions
Benefit sanctions handed out to thousands of people ‘unlawful’ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dwp-defeated-in-court-again-over-unlawful-retroactive-benefit-sanctions-a7006466.html #No2Sanctions
Jobcentre sanctions: ‘Your money is stopped, you go into freefall’ – video https://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2013/mar/22/jobcentre-sanctions-money-stopped-video?CMP=share_btn_tw #No2Sanctions
Benefit sanctions hitting homeless people hardest http://www.homeless.org.uk/connect/news/2013/sep/23/benefit-sanctions-hitting-homeless-people-hardest-0#.UsgQWPgS3rO #No2Sanctions
Benefit Sanctions Lead To Hunger, Debt And Destitution, Report Says http://www.welfareweekly.com/benefit-sanctions-lead-to-hunger-debt-and-destitution-report-says/ #No2Sanctions
Britain’s benefit sanctions: ‘You’re not even human’ http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/03/britain-benefit-sanctions-human-160314093900607.html #No2Sanctions
Benefits sanctions are creating ‘horrifying levels of destitution’ http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/homenews/14091760.Benefits_sanctions_are_creating__horrifying_levels_of_destitution___academic_warns/?ref=twtrec #No2Sanctions
David Clapson’s awful death was the result of grotesque government policies https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/09/david-clapson-benefit-sanctions-death-government-policies?CMP=share_btn_tw #No2Sanctions
Dr David Webster’s commentary on the NAO Report on #Sanctions https://dpac.uk.net/2016/11/dr-david-websters-commentary-on-the-nao-report-on-sanctions/ #No2Sanctions
DWP admits inventing quotes from fake ‘benefits claimants’ for sanctions leaflet https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/18/dwp-admits-making-up-positive-quotes-from-benefits-claimants-for-leaflet?CMP=share_btn_tw #No2Sanctions
DWP “stubbornly ignoring” calls for sanctions review http://methodist-news.org.uk/BVI-3R6O6-0EIVD5NT34/cr.aspx?b=32 #No2Sanctions
Gill Thompson and Debbie Abrahams MP speak about David Clapson’s death following a sanction https://youtu.be/5uZqgha4jlU #No2Sanctions
It was my job to impose cruel benefit sanctions – that the DWP can’t justify https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/30/cruel-benefits-sanctions-dwp-job-advisers-evidence-work?CMP=share_btn_tw #No2Sanctions
Government must review the use and impacts of benefit sanctions https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news-parliament-2015/benefit-sanctions-report-published-16-17/ #No2Sanctions
Jobcentres ‘tricking’ people out of benefits to cut costs, says whistleblower https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/apr/01/jobcentres-tricking-people-benefit-sanctions?CMP=share_btn_tw #No2Sanctions
People with depression and anxiety are bearing the brunt of benefit sanctions http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/ampp3d/how-benefit-sanctions-punish-people-5005786#ICID=sharebar_twitter #No2Sanctions
Jobseekers forced onto the streets under cruel Tory benefit sanctions regime http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/jobseekers-forced-onto-streets-under-9858386#ICID=sharebar_twitter #No2Sanctions
Leaked jobcentre newsletter urges staff to improve on sanctions targets https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/mar/25/jobcentre-newsletter-sanctions-targets?CMP=share_btn_tw #No2Sanctions
Luke Loy had a life, until his benefits started falling away | Frances Ryan https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/21/schizophrenic-brother-benefits-dwp-sanctions-vulnerable?CMP=share_btn_tw #No2Sanctions
BBC News – Map of benefit sanctions shows cruelty, says homeless charity http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31800500 #No2Sanctions
Mental Health, Employment and the Use of Sanctions: What the Evidence Tells Us http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/andy-bell/mental-health-employment-_b_8553272.html?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004 #No2Sanctions
‘My mental health deteriorated rapidly’: the real impact of benefit sanctions https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/27/mental-health-benefit-sanctions-work-and-pensions-select-committee?CMP=share_btn_tw #No2Sanctions
Study: Benefit sanctions forcing people to use food banks https://intensiveactivity.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/new-study-benefit-sanctions-forcing-people-to-use-food-banks-which-should-not-become-an-informal-substitution-for-the-social-safety-net/ #No2Sanctions
New Walk Jobcentre Protest, Leicester #No2Sanctions https://youtu.be/V6Bkn_osfdo #No2Sanctions
‘No one should die penniless and alone’: the victims of Britain’s harsh welfare sanctions https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/03/victims-britains-harsh-welfare-sanctions?CMP=share_btn_tw #No2Sanctions
Tories’ benefit sanctions costing £153m more to run that it saves a year http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/official-report-reveals-hated-benefit-9361944#ICID=sharebar_twitter #No2Sanctions
Scottish government calls for end to work programme sanctions https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/oct/05/scottish-government-tries-exempt-scots-having-benefits-stopped?CMP=share_btn_tw #No2Sanctions
Scrap benefits sanctions ‘or risk mental health crisis’, psychologists warn http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/benefits-sanctions-letter-mental-health-crisis-british-psychological-society-a7600596.html #No2Sanctions
Synod calls for “full independent review” of benefit sanctions https://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/Synod-calls-for-full-independent-review-of-benefit-sanctions #No2Sanctions
Tens of thousands of disabled people hit by cruel benefit sanctions, DWP figures show http://www.welfareweekly.com/tens-of-thousands-of-disabled-people-hit-by-cruel-benefit-sanctions-dwp-figures-show/ #No2Sanctions
Homeless people’s experiences of welfare conditionality and benefit sanctions http://www.crisis.org.uk/data/files/publications/sanctions_report_FINAL.pdf #No2Sanctions
Sanctions report goes viral. https://gmwrag.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/sanctions-report-goes-viral/ #No2Sanctions
For people claiming I, Daniel Blake doesn’t reflect reality, here’s the proof it does http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/i-daniel-blake-accuracy-ken-loach-benefits-sanctions-deaths-iain-duncan-smith-toby-young-a7384581.html #No2Sanctions
The government doesn’t care about the impact of sanctions: they want them to hurt http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2016/11/30/the-government-doesn-t-care-about-the-impact-of-sanctions-th #No2Sanctions
Top 5 Most Appalling Sanctions https://youtu.be/rDcoPIAQbgc #No2Sanctions
Tory Murders https://youtu.be/PI1DLh9tJw0  #No2Sanctions
Rise of benefit sanctions https://youtu.be/Bqf9uTl8Ay0 #No2Sanctions
‘Tory Cuts Kill’ The Canary Meets disability campaigners protesting https://youtu.be/eQipZOPAvHw #No2Sanctions
Ex job centre staff discuss the pressure they were under to sanction people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQVLeNHjhbM #No2Sanctions
People are dying as a result of benefits system failings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPlTrpXPPzA #No2Sanctions
Sanctioned whilst pregnant https://youtu.be/O7wnIVtbhLk #No2Sanctions
Sanctions driven by targets https://youtu.be/5i6Rj0XRo7k #No2Sanctions
1.2 million low-paid workers face new sanctions http://www.poverty.ac.uk/report-work-poverty-un/12-million-low-paid-workers-face-new-sanctions #No2Sanctions
 Posted by at 17:26
Mar 212017
 
Let us know about your experience of the PIP assessment
Inclusion London have been invited by the Chair of the Work and Pension’s
Committee to give written evidence on the process of being assessed for the
Personal Independence Payment PIP – your experience will inform our evidence.
The questions the Committee are particularly interested in are:
1. Which aspects of the current assessment process for PIP are and are not
conducive to accurate decision-making? What improvements could be made?
2. Do Atos and Capita staff conducting PIP assessments possess sufficient
expertise to make accurate decisions on claims involving a wide range of
mental and physical health conditions?
a. Do the staff take enough account of additional evidence supplied by
claimants?
2. Is the face-to-face assessment appropriate for claimants with a range of
different conditions?
3. What changes are needed to improve the accuracy of decisions made in initial
assessments and in mandatory reconsideration, given that the majority of
decisions that go to appeal are overturned?
a. What are the most common reasons you come across for decisions
being overturned on appeal?
b. Is the mandatory reconsideration stage functioning properly? How
could it be improved, or should it be abolished?
4. What is the impact on claimants of delays in getting an accurate decision on
their claim, and how could this be reduced or better managed?
Please send your experience to Henrietta.doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk
asap or by Wednesday 12 April 2017
 Posted by at 17:12
Mar 172017
 

WinVisible is supporting this protest by Compassion in Care and The Whistler:

Whistle-blowers & families of those abused stand together to protest

WEDNESDAY 22 MARCH 2017 AT 12 NOON.

Care Quality Commission Head Office

151 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 9SZ

Inside Colonnade Walk shopping centre.

Access ramp at traffic lights, corner Buckingham Palace Road

& Elizabeth Bridge SW1

Facebook

Image result for winterbourne view panorama

AGAINST

·        Care Quality Commission’s David Behan being knighted for services to inspection, when so many people have and continue to suffer and die.

·        A whistle-blower Guardian that is failing whistle-blowers and those whose lives depend on someone speaking out.

FOR

·        Edna’s Law to protect ALL whistle-blowers from ALL sectors.

·        Accountability for All past injustice

·        Justice for ALL Future Whistle-blowers.

WinVisible is supporting because:

 

–       Our people neglected and tortured in institutions and “homecare” are not protected by the Care Quality Commission.  Whistleblowers like Eileen Chubb and Julie Bailey are the ones who speak out, but suffer reprisals. 

 

–       The CQC and every agency ignored Winterbourne View nurse Terry Bryan, who had to go to BBC Panorama.  The CQC later said it was a “misjudgement” his concerns had not been investigated.  Little has changed, now David Behan is getting a knighthood!

 

–       In January 2016, Remploy (owned by Maximus) cut the pay of the Care Quality Commission “experts by experience” who inspect care homes and talk to residents.  New contracts wipe out inspection by people with personal experience.

–       We supported residential home staff lobbying for the London Living Wage.  Women told us understaffing and management pressure make shameful neglect inevitable and widespread.

 

*Sign the Edna’s Law petition *Share Facebook Twitter@CompassnInCare

 Posted by at 22:08
Mar 172017
 

Thanks to everyone who contacted us about this possible challenge. The solicitors have spoken initially to a number of people and are now able to try to seek a barrister’s opinion. If you haven’t been contacted yet then it may be after that opinion is available that you may be for witness statements to add to the case.

We’ll keep everyone informed of what’s happening as soon as we can.

 Posted by at 20:56
Mar 132017
 

As many of you will know this has been a busy week for DPAC starting on Tuesday with a hastily organised protest in response to the underhand changes to entitlement Penny Morduant and the Tories plan to make to PIP, with support for International Woman’s Day and the Waspi protests on Wednesday, the Womens’ TUC Conference and culminating on Sunday with the DPAC team flying off to Geneva to present both the RoFA shadow report and out own response to the government’s reply to the UN inquiry which found the UK government guilty of the grave and systematic violation of disabled people’s human rights.


Credit: LetMeLookTV

Added to that there’s been a couple of feature articles written and published, finding people for a legal challenge and the usual other things going on.

Credit: The Canary

As always however while we fight daily to try to uphold and advance our rights we nevertheless end up with some people whining especially on our facebook group about it being a waste of time to protest as it doesn’t make any immediate difference. While that may be correct we wanted to post this response from our very own Vicky Lopez which addresses the reason why continuing to protest is so important and why we need to keep making sure we are seen and heard – even if change and progress are not as immediate as we might all want.

Vicky says

“For me, as long as there are others who are willing and as long as I can then I will continue to protest for what I truly believe in. 

The thing is the more people demonstrate, the less the government can ignore our plea when more and more public support us. 

One demonstration seldom changes anything. It takes relentless shouting from the rooftops, obstructing traffic and opening peoples eyes in making an abrupt point in their lives that makes them understand what we are going through, why we are protesting and that it is them we fight for too. It can take years as already proven with countless equality changes but at the end of the day changes were made.

For previous causes, lives have been lost at the hands of military and police when they have attempted to prevent demonstrations and riots in chartist’s and suffrage movements and even some being murdered through our old death penalty in particular one man I believe was hanged for treason because he felt strongly in the rights of normal working men to have the right to vote the same as the upper class and authorities wanted to use him as an example to deter further protest. It took tonnes of petitions signed in their millions for all the above mentioned too.

It is proven demonstration has worked for some of the biggest changes in our laws to give equal rights and therefore it is about persistence. If we are willing to keep fighting, the more likely demonstrations give hope to the voiceless that there are people out there willing to fight for their (and our own) lives.

To put it in a picture in mind… imagine its a windy night, you are outside in the dark, no idea where you are and the only useful things you have is a candle and matches/lighter. Everytime you keep struggling with matches or a lighter and even get a flame, it goes out too quickly as the wind keeps blowing before the candle can be lit, the wind blows the flame out. But like parliament, the wind changes and then you find it just took for the wind speed to change and you keeping on persevering like people do with demonstrations, that even the slightest change can give you the opportunity to ignite the candle. Once the candle has a flame, you can use the flame from this to light another candle and this keeps continuing until there is enough lights to find yourself home.

If you give up trying to light the candle then you may have lost your chance of finding your way home… you automatically accept you will be in the dark forever.
But then imagine there are other people trying to light their own candles in the same darkness, then you may suddenly notice the light of hope from another candle being lit by someone else. If no one else was trying, there would be no chance of light at all.

If people stop protesting because they don’t believe change will occur, then effectively you are in acceptance of the hell that many of us are facing or about to face. To stop fighting you have let them win automatically. I would rather lose going down fighting and at least say I tried my hardest, then ever accept this and allow myself to be slaughtered without defending myself.

Unity is the key to progress.

Throwing in a bit more history for those doubting how protest can and has changed government majority mindset to change laws and show how a small group grow into a much larger capacity to make that change.

The suffragettes movement started in 1887 started by Millicent Fawcett (NUWS). It was a small group of women all with one common thing they wanted to fight for the womens right to vote.
Then the Pankhursts created WSPU not long after that as they felt Fawcett was not driving enough attention as she believed in non-violence whereas Pankhurst’s felt that heavier action was needed to create a stir for the government to take notice. The never ending protests whether peaceful or not started gaining more and more support, making the government restless about it but it took people to be jailed, go on protest by fasting, one throwing herself in front of a horse and dying publicly and many resorting to chaining themselves to fences of important buildings and many arrested and given convictions to do hard labour or prison time when prisons were not as nice as they are today and even assaulted/abused by authorities for trying to defy the law.
As we know the law did change, but it took until 1918 to start allowing some women who met certain criteria to vote and the rest is history…
My point is this… it took 31 years to fight for a basic human right for a woman to have her say in who she wanted to represent her in government. Think about it… 31 years. A few years more than my current age. 

Also there was more recent the Gurkhas Justice Campaign to allow ALL servicemen from the Gurkhas to have automatic right to British citizenship. They protested nonstop for several years and the law was changed in their favour i believe around 2010 (please correct me if wrong).

Mens’ Chartism movement to give all men the vote regardless of income/status started around late 1830s. There was never ending protests countless petitions some with well over 1 million signatures to have the laws changed to give the right for all men to vote with i think 4 particular points inclusive of what was protested and requested from government (i.e. any man over 20, disregard class/income, given a right to secret ballot etc). In 1867 more men were finally given the right to vote (still with very strict criteria) and the following year the Tories were voted out when there was the general election. However, all the points requested were not fulfilled until 1918. From start to complete conclusion requested it took 80 years total. 

Yes i know some on both sides of this debate may feel disheartened at the prospect of gaining full rights through 80 years but we already have in our advantage, guidelines within the equality act, the recent UN report as well, as a starter of ammunition to use in our favour and slowly slowly more are taking notice the more we speak up about it. 

We now have online petitions, internet and social media on our side that many previous campaigns didn’t have.

These are only a few examples of protest impact where laws have been totally overturned as a result of relentless protest. No, change doesn’t happen overnight.
I brought up the above 3 examples above, as i felt they were relevant to fighting for equality. It shows it takes time and can take many years and much of that is to do with continually raising awareness and keeping the issue fresh in the public’s mind as well and to make it relevant to those who are still ignorant of this fight and also to change the views of even a few MPs who are willing to listen and speak on our behalf then it starts the ball rolling.

 Posted by at 12:39
Mar 132017
 

As well as, and completely separate to DPAC’s complaint to the UN Committee for Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD)  there is a thing called the Periodic Reporting Cycle. That means every few years each government that has signed the UN Treaty on Persons with Disabilities (which the UK has done) has to give a report to the UN Committee on how well it is complying with the Treaty.

Of course every government is going to produce a report on itself saying it’s doing great and everything is going just fine – especially our much loathed Tory Government.
 
However there is also a supposedly independent monitoring body for the UK who also produce a shadow report. In our case this is the Equalities and Human Rights Commission plus the devolved equivalents for Scotland and Northern Ireland. But they’re also funded by the government and of course this is also the same Equality and Human Rights Commission (keep thinking about the name) who recently sacked 12 workers by email giving them 24 hours to clear their desks and leave after years of service. 9 of those sacked in this appalling way are BME and 6 are also disabled people.
And perhaps unbelievably although sadly true one of the disabled workers has had their powered wheelchair taken away from them by EHRC who claim as it was provided by Access to Work funding so it belongs to them and not the person who needs to use it.
 
Added to this shadow report we have another one produced by DRUK, Inclusion Scotland, Disability Wales and a Northern Ireland DPO but again the funding for this came from the government via EHRC.  Oh and by the way DRUK also has a commercial side and the commercial side has a contract with Maximus to provide disability training to WCA assesors.

So to cut a long story short, EHRC and DRUK etc publish their submissions to the UN – and we at DPAC get to look at them – which is when the wheels start to fall off this establishment bandwagon.

(see:

)

So the upshot of all this is that DPAC along with our allies Inclusion London and Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (RoFA) went ahead and wrote our own Independent Shadow Report – we had no invite from the government to do this and we certainly got no money from the government for it, but we wanted this job done properly.

Its important that the UN Committee gets to see an un-varnished, full, detailed account of the effects of UK government attacked on disabled people. And we had no confidence that the semi-official bodies were willing or even able to produce one.

So our small team of researchers and writers at DPAC, Inclusion London and Rofa got together and we did our own.

It has already been submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and this week, on Monday, representatives from DPAC, IL and Rofa will be joining the EHRC and Druk representatives in the UN in Geneva to present our reports to the committee.

You can see the DPAC/IL/RoFA submissions to the committee here:

 

 

 

 Posted by at 12:38
Mar 122017
 

Thursday 30 March 2017
National Day of Action Against Sanctions
JOIN US
More and more people are facing benefit sanctions. Half a million people have had their benefits suddenly stopped by sanctions in the last 12 monthsNo Sanctions logo.
That’s half a million people, many of whom have been plunged into poverty, unable to heat their homes or even eat. How is this meant to help prepare people for work?


Benefit sanctions must be fought against

These sanctions are cruel and handed out for ridiculous reasons such as:

  • Arriving minutes late to a meeting
  • Not applying for jobs when waiting to start a new job!
  • Missing an appointment on the day of the funeral of a close family member.

This has to stop.

nite demonstration outside the Department of Work and Pensions in London watch the video here  – See more at: http://stagingui.unite.awsripple.com/growing-our-union/communitymembership/day-of-action-against-sanctions/default.aspx#sthash.QsxxyCRf.dpuf
Unite demonstration outside the Department of Work and Pensions in London watch the video here  – See more at: http://stagingui.unite.awsripple.com/growing-our-union/communitymembership/day-of-action-against-sanctions/default.aspx#sthash.QsxxyCRf.dpufTake other action
  • Share your story – we are looking for people who have been sanctioned to tell their story.
  • We want to show the reality and impact on people’s lives – show your support – share on Twitter and Facebook #No2Sanctions

JOIN US – Thursday 30 MarchPlease join an event near you on Thursday 30 March to stop benefit sanctions in your community.

We will continue to add new actions on a regular basis, so please check back.

For further information please email your Unite community cordinator (see below).

London & Eastern – David Condliffe
Herts and Beds Branch: Luton, Jobcentre, Guilford Street – 12.00 noon.
Contact: Rachel Holmes, Branch Secretary – Email: RedR8chel@hotmail.com | Mobile: 07526282356.

Kilburn Jobcentre – 12.00 to 1.00 pm.

East and West Midlands – Shaun Pender
Protest & Film – Stop Benefit Sanctions – Save Eastern Ave JCP
Manor Top, Sheffield – 5.00 to 9.00 pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/405106473173499/


South East – Kelly Tomlinson

North East, Yorkshire & Humberside – John Coan

North West – Sheila Coleman
Wirral Community Branch has created a Thunderclap:
https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/53094-stop-benefit-sanctions

South West – Brett Sparkes
Lemon Quay, Truro 12.00 to 3.00 pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/1835696733335875/

Bridgwater Jobcentre: 11.00 to 1.00 pm
Bridgwater High Street, next to Admiral Blake: 11.00 to 1.00 pm

Film | I, Daniel Blake – 7.00 to 9.30 pm
Venue: Somerset Film @ The Engine Room, 50-52 High St, Bridgwater TA6 3BL Phone: 01278 433187. £3 standard ticket but if people can afford more there is a solidarity ticket at £10.
For more information visit: http://www.somersetfilm.com/diary/?action=evrplusegister&event_id=147
https://www.facebook.com/events/1420001918045217/

We will also be raising money for Bridgwater food bank.

Wales – Mary Williams

Scotland – Jamie Caldwell
Outside Dunfermline Jobcentre – 11.00 am

Ireland – Albert Hewitt
Portadown Jobs & Benefits Office – 12:00 to 1.00 pm
https://www.facebook.com/events/256582661460078/

– See more at: http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/communitymembership/day-of-action-against-sanctions/#sthash.jVbfpy3m.dpuf

 Posted by at 15:47
Mar 122017
 
 Posted by at 13:36