Aug 212013
 

7.30pm til late

Saturday 31st August

Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, Tottenham, N7  6QN

Madpride compere Jason Why introduces an all star line up with films from Katherine Araniello, comedian Laurence Clark, singer/songwriter Angryfish, live performance of the DPAC Anti Atos anthem ‘Condem Love’ by Kevin Robins and headlining will be Rockinpaddy.

Tickets on the door (£2 unwaged, £5 waged and £10 solidarity) but please RSVP to say if you are coming: ellenrclifford@btinternet.com

31st Aug flyer -1- copy

 

Aug 212013
 

Sunday 1st September, 12.30 – 4.30pm

Venue: 128 Theobalds Road, Holborn, London,  WC1X 8TN

 Key speakers: Anne Rae: former UPIAS and current chair of the Greater

Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP), Colin Barnes: Professor of Disability Studies at Leeds Centre for Disability Studies

 As government and the private sector increasingly use a so-called ‘modern understanding of disability’ to redefine who is and who isn’t disabled it is more important than ever that we understand, defend and promote the social model of disability. This isn’t helped when the social model is not fully supported within our movement.

This event will be a chance to hear from a range of speakers and to discuss why the social model is still relevant today to our lives and our futures and to map out what we need to do to fight for it. The event will be live-streamed with the opportunity for people to participate in the discussion virtually.

We want everyone to be included in this -livestream link for the day  http://bambuser.com/channel/Bencavanna

You can also tweet questions/comments to: @Dis_ppl_protest (hastag #dpacrofsm) or email: mail@dpac.uk.net throughout the event.

Bus number 243

Nearest tube Holborn (not wheelchair accessible)

Directions Google maps https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=directions+to+unite+house+128+theobald%27s+road+holborn+london+wc1x+8tn&ie=UTF-8&hl=en

 Please note we are unable to provide any food or drinks- please bring your own if wanted: tea and coffee machine by meeting room

Places are limited so please book to guarantee entry or for access requests:

Ellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.co.uk

 

theory (Small)

Aug 062013
 

Edge is the most radical and socially responsible funding group built on principles we all share. Edge is leading the way in acting on the crucial issue of how funds should get to those working at the grass roots who may, or usually are considered too radical and political to gain funds from elsewhere- these are the groups that set the future and provide real and active critiques to force change-Edge has to count as one of them too-we salute Edge and all involved in developing this great process. But Edge can’t work if we don’t-we all need to support Edge, join as members and be a part of the continuing development of the radical and challenging-we need to help it grow and support Edge the way that Edge is supporting us. See Edge website to donate, get involved as an advisory member, join as an Edge member or keep up to date with the timing of the next funding round, but preferably all of the above http://edgefund.org.uk/

DPAC and Black Triangle joined the Edge fund on the 20th July to take part in the meeting where a set of leading grass roots groups and Edge met and distributed funding. We want to thank Edge not just for funds which will go towards our 7 days of action https://dpac.uk.net/2013/07/reclaiming-our-futures-7-days-of-action/ but for giving us the opportunity to be part of something amazing and giving us the opportunity to meet up with other great groups too. See post re-blogged from Edge below

30,000 pounds and 600 chickpeas

August 6, 2013

Round 2 of Edge funding came to a close 20 July during a meeting where 37 people came together to distribute £30,000 between 15 groups. Participants included applicants, Edge members and recipients of small grants from this round.

We met at the Stockwell Community Centre, which has a lovely hall with glass doors opening onto a courtyard garden. As is often the way on a Saturday morning, people arrived slowly from 10.30 onwards and the day started later than the 11.00 start we hoped for. After brief introductions and agreeing groundrules our facilitator started the day with an exercise which aimed to identify who’s in the room so that everyone can understand the different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs and other factors which they may need to take into account during the day. It also aims to highlight what people have in common as well as celebrating our differences. The exercise had a mixed response, some welcomed the opportunity to learn about each other as individuals and others found it uncomfortable or questioned its relevance.

We then shared a little of the feedback on applications from assessments submitted before the meeting. We explained that after lunch we would be breaking into Group A and Group B; applicants in Group A would set up a ‘stall’ for their group while Group B and Edge members would visit the stalls to find out more about their work and their application. Then they’d swap. Lunch was an opportunity to talk to those in the same Group as you, who you would not otherwise get a chance to speak with. An amazing spread of Indian food was served by one of our members who had got up at 5am that morning to prepare it, accompanied by an Iraqi dish from another member – it was delicious and very much appreciated!

As last time, the stalls brought the room to life with passionate discussions about issues facing communities in the UK. Groups unable to attend on the day joined us via phone or Skype. In the garden, groups of people huddled around laptops and mobile phones on loud speaker, finding shade under the trees. It was difficult to bring the discussions to an end, with a clear sense that people could have spent all day making new connections and learning about each other’s work.

Once Group A and B swapped around, we came back together in a circle. Our voting systems are still evolving, and after some discussion about the voting system for this round it was decided that 30 chickpeas should be given to each member and each applicant group to distribute between the 15 groups. The maximum number of chickpeas you could allocate to one group was 5 and you could not vote for yourself.  These votes were then combined with the scores submitted prior to the meeting (any duplicate scores were removed).

Each group was allocated £1,500 as a minimum, and the 5 groups receiving the highest scores were given an additional £1,500, bringing their total to £3,000.

£3,000 went to:

  • Disabled People Against Cuts
  • Why Refugee Women
  • Tottenham Rights
  • Independent Workers Union of Great Britain
  • Black Triangle Campaign

£1,500 went to:

  • Residents Action on Flyde Fracking
  • Space Hijackers
  • International Federation of Iraqi Refugees
  • Shafted?! HIV Army
  • Feminist Webs
  • Hands off our Homes
  • Quiet Riot
  • Alliance for Choice Belfast
  • Border Forum
  • CoResist

You can find out more about the groups here: http://edgefund.org.uk/what-we-fund/round-2-supported-projects/

The day finished with a go-round, where each person shared their thoughts about the day to the group. The comments were more outspoken than last time and sometimes quite critical, but what was reassuring was that people seemed to understand and appreciate that we are still very much in our early stages – learning and evolving as we go. Several people from applicant groups have now also joined us as members, which we are always very happy about!

Improvements from last time

There were a few things we wanted to correct from the Round 1 meeting. Firstly, we wanted a more diverse group of people. The group was much more diverse than last time, mostly because more groups run by and for communities facing injustice applied and were short-listed in this round. However, as pointed out by a member in the online survey, representatives from Edge Fund were “still mostly white, middle class”. This should continue to improve over time, so long as we can be aware of, and respond to, the factors that affect who joins us.

Applicants who took part in the last meeting said they wanted to know more about the groups ahead of time, so we sent out all the applications three weeks before the meeting to both applicants and Edge members. We also gave people more information about what would happen on the day, including referring people to the notes on the previous meeting on our website. We also asked people about people’s requirements in good time, including any cost reimbursements needed.

The scoring system changed from Round 1. In the last round, as it turned out, the highest grant was only £500 more than the lowest and people commented that this didn’t seem right considering the amount of time spent on assessing and scoring. Before the meeting we had agreed a system which translated the scores into a percentage of the amount requested in the application. However, this was quite a complex calculation and we felt it was important everyone understood how the grants were worked out. Therefore, this time we proposed that each group receive a minimum of £1,500, with the top 5 scored applications receiving an additional £1,500. People seemed to much prefer this system than the one used at the last meeting.

The venue we chose last time was not as accessible as it could have been in terms of central location, public transport options and proximity to the nearest station. This time we chose the Stockwell Community Centre, which is just around the back of the Stockwell tube station, which is well serviced by the Victoria line and several buses. The Stockwell Community Centre also has wi-fi, allowing people to join us via Skype (although the signal was not reliable inside). We ensured cups and plates were provided this time, instead of asking people to bring them along. Again, one of our members cooked lunch.

Areas to improve

One major point from the last meeting was that there wasn’t enough time to talk with each applicant on a one-to-one or small group basis. Sharing applications ahead of time was an attempt to ensure that time spent at the meeting was more meaningful as people would already know who all the groups are. However, people again said that they would have liked more time to talk to other groups, particularly the few who did not have time to read the applications beforehand, and some felt uncomfortable making a judgement with the amount of information they had. Many people suggested that the day start with presentations, which we have been reluctant to do before now since it can be very intimidating to present to a large group, but we will need to reconsider this.

Whilst we had done our best to ensure all groups were able to participate in the day, including letting people know the date two months in advance and covering travel costs, four groups were not able to be with us in person. One of the groups could not even join us remotely and we noted that this affected their score; the scores they received based on their written application before the meeting were higher than the scores submitted on the day.

We need to get the balance right between asking people to be part of a decision-making process, which requires some critical thinking about other groups and their work, and trying to build community and connections as individuals. The two aims seem to be slightly at odds with each other. In this meeting, many people felt strongly the focus should be about the groups, not who we are as people, whereas others wanted to make more personal connections.

It seemed this time that people felt less able to participate compared to last time. This may be a reflection of the greater diversity in the room or perhaps the style of facilitation. Also, last time we paired applicants up with members well ahead of the meeting so they had a main contact person and support to complete the full application. This time we made this optional, so that groups were only paired up if requested. Only one group asked for support from a member and this may have had an impact on how comfortable people felt when they arrived. That said, the comments at the end suggested people were comfortable enough to air some of their honest thoughts.

As a fund with limited resources and many applicants, it is difficult to overcome the sense of competition. This was uncomfortable for some people on the day. There is no obvious solution to this as we will never have enough funds for everyone, but we are exploring other ways of helping groups so that more applicants can benefit from the process even if they don’t receive funding.

We’re very lucky that everyone who took part gave us honest and useful feedback on the day and we’ve already got a clear idea on how the next meeting should be structured. We’re also gathering further feedback ahead of our next members’ meeting to help us address some of these issues.

Feedback shared at the end of the day 

Considering this is a work in progress the day went outstandingly well. The intent and the heart of Edge Fund is very clear. Everything is done with sensitivity. It was a positive experience.

We repeated some of the same mistakes as last time. We ended up discussing how to use the scores again. There are always drawbacks whatever you choose to do, it’s hard to please everyone. It would be great if everyone could take responsibility for moving Edge forward.

I would like for everyone to be able to speak for a few minutes to the group as I was not able to meet everyone.

I enjoyed the morning’s exercise. I want to know who the people are behind the organisations otherwise I don’t feel connected. Hiding behind an organisation can be a way of distancing ourselves and that defeats the object of Edge Fund. I agree with the comments about the short presentations and stalls. We should have one voting system at a time. I enjoyed meeting people today.

The morning exercise didn’t work. Each group should have had 2-3 minutes at the beginning to present to everyone. We stumbled a bit at the voting stage and shouldn’t try to change the system on the day. Small groups worked really well. The afternoon was much better.

I enjoyed every moment. I learned a lot from the morning session, it helps you to know who you’re talking to.

I didn’t like the morning exercise. People need time to recover from emotional experiences like that.

I liked the morning, it helped to build trust and allowed us to get to know each other. It was quite moving.

I liked the morning too. I will use it with my group. I felt comfortable talking about my experiences. I liked the voting with chickpeas.

I have mixed feelings about the day. I am not sure how useful the morning was. Activities should be more connected to the aims of Edge – did it help meet the goals of creating change

I am always so impressed by the people I meet through Edge. I wonder, does it take too much time to come along to a day like this? I hope you will join us as members. Regarding the morning, I am not against inner work but it should be a distinct exercise for Edge as a radical organisation.

The morning was good. The projects this time were even better than last time and the voting system was better too.

The afternoon was flawed because you couldn’t talk to everyone. We need to have presentations.

The day was very positive on the whole. The beginning was helpful, as people arrived divided but it made people see what they had in common with others. But the questions need to be carefully considered. It feels like Edge is moving in the right direction.

It’s great to be able to talk about more controversial stuff and to celebrate ‘edginess’! The food was delicious. Perhaps groups could make posters next time, to communicate about their work. I was pleased with the outcome of the scoring, I can see why the top 5 were in the top 5.

I would like to give thanks, Edge is fantastic and refreshing. It is brilliant what Edge is trying to do. The scoring process was enhanced by being here but it could have been better. The structure was poor. I made connections today that immediately justified my time being here. Edge is so young, it’s a wonderful process to be part of.

I was not a massive fan of the morning, it went on for too long. There was not enough time for discussion and we needed more printed copies of applications. The £1,500/ £3,000 split worked really well. I agree we need short presentations.

I love meeting people in person at Edge meetings. I feel very energised. I like the process.

It’s good to have an introductory exercise but it needs to be shorter.

I have seen big companies run less effective meetings! Let’s remember – A lonely whisper, together we shout. Let’s support each other. This is just the start.

The morning session was not necessary. In the application it didn’t ask about our identity. It’s about the organisation, not the individual. The funding process was very good.

Very interesting to meet many people in the flesh who I had not met before. I was not happy about the first session. Individuals are not important, human rights are universal. So happy to see different groups together. Groups need the opportunity for shared experiences.

It’s amazing that Edge exists. I also prefer to have presentations. Maybe people could bring pictures and photos? It is different hearing in person than reading an application. I didn’t like the morning exercise, it made me see our differences. The voting system was good. I met interesting people.

I didn’t mind the morning – I quite liked it. But it needs to be shorter. I like the idea of posters. I would like to hear groups’ visions. What we are for, not just what we’re against. Should we score against set criteria?

It was a beautiful day. Opportunity to meet people. I would definitely like to hear 5-10 minute presentations. I still want to know more, would be nice to listen more. Excited about how Edge can go further. For the morning exercise there should have been a section with questions relating to groups.

I had a great day, feel reaffirmed. People were sensitive even when giving criticisms. Can people who like presentations support others who are less confident? We also need more help in the engine room of Edge.

We should focus on groups not individuals, with more information at the beginning about the campaigns. We missed a trick; should have made time to find ways of helping each other. The voting system was better than last time. Edge is radical. Fantastic organisation.

 

Aug 032013
 

DPAC and Black Triangle condemn the misguided, insensitive and inflammatory comments of Dr Phil Peverley. We also want to condemn the pitch and severity of the pieces in the Mail and Telegraph (2nd August) framing Peverley’s comments, as a further outrageous abuse of the facts and issues affecting disabled people and those with diagnosed long term health issues.

 

Peverley’s words are an insult to all those that suffer the misery and anxiety of Atos within the regime designed to remove support from disabled people. His words are an insult to those that have died shortly after being declared ‘fit for work’ or before an appeal which found that, once again, Atos were wrong-something that happens with increasing regularly in a system that is chaotic and unworkable.

 

Those people may also have been within the so-called ‘proportion of punters’ that Peverley claims ‘are hell-bent on trying to prove they’re really ill, and need us [GPS] to confirm it’ or maybe they were some of the perceived ‘disgruntled unworking well’ who are ‘full of indignation at being considered reasonably healthy.’ The Department of Works and Pensions DWP own figures show deaths within 6 weeks of tests were at over 10,000. The DWP are refusing to publish up –to date statistics, so we would guess that these figures have risen significantly.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Black Triangle on the 28th June 2012 the British Medical Association (BMA) supported a call to demand that the WCA should be ended ‘with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause unavoidable harm.’ Peverley on the other hand thinks Atos are doing a great job -despite new evidence everyday that they clearly are not, despite MPs, journalists, and the public accounts committee condemnation of their conduct and the multi-million Atos contract. (See Dr McCartney’s piece in the British Medical Journal and Black Triangles’ 2013 letter of support from Drs and MPS)

 

Remarkably, Peverley declared that he considered putting a picture of Stephen Hawkings in his surgery with the caption: ‘This bloke is not on the sick!’ The comparison of Hawkings to every single disabled person is beyond bizarre. This is a man with the funds to ensure a network of P.A. support, home adaptations and technical aids- something far out of the reach of the majority of disabled people –where even a basic level of support is becoming increasingly unlikely in the current slash and burn climate. Hawkings won’t miss his ILF payments if the appeal hearing against the DWP doesn’t produce the correct verdict. Hawkings won’t need to worry about local authority cuts or the tsunami of other cuts, caps, punitive costs, sanctions and penalties being imposed on disabled people and other low income people by this Government.

 In Sept 2012 the BMA also said that GPs workloads had massively increased due to the chaotic system of the WCA and increasing numbers of appeals. Peverley also says: ‘’These fitness-to-work assessments – under Atos, and under anyone who takes the role for that matter – generate a massive amount of work in general practice’ in his column in the Pulse. However, neither the Mail nor the Telegraph wanted to pick up on the increased workloads the Atos/WCA system is causing for GPs.  None wanted to mention that people can now be charged up to 200 pounds for GP reports, to support them in an assessment, or that GPs increasingly refuse to supply reports either.- a further hurdle for disabled people and those with debilitating long term health issues in the attempt to gain the support they need in the punitive assessment process.

 The Mail and Telegraph both carried the comments of Peverley. True- they’re both right wing newspapers and tools of Tory propaganda. Yet, the pitch and severity of both pieces in framing Peverley’s comments was a clear abuse of the facts and issues facing disabled people; as are Peverly’s inflammatory comments.

The Telegraph carried the headline: ‘A GP incensed at his surgeries being full of the “disgruntled unworking well” has said he considered displaying a poster of Professor Stephen Hawking along with the caption: “This bloke is not on the sick”’.

While the Mail went that bit further with the more loaded headline:  ‘THIS bloke is not on the sick! Angry GP cites Hawking to shame hordes of patients asking him to sign them off’.

Peverley’s original Pulse piece fits the welfare ‘reform’ agenda perfectly. An agenda that incorporates the right wing media and Governments constant demonising of disabled people as feckless/workshy/scroungers  – Peverley’s original rallying cry in the Pulse was that he did not want to sign ‘sick notes. The piece headlined: ‘Save me from the unworking wellwas posted on the 29th July. Neither the Mail nor the Telegraph showed the same eagerness to publish his jaunty column of 25th April ‘A Curious Case of Missing Sick Notes’ which talks about the constant losing of sick notes by the DWP. But why would they?

Peverley has played into their hands, not only does he appear to support the discredited bio -psychosocial model, beloved of Aylward and Freud, that removes GPs and replaces them with private companies paid with huge amounts of public money- he has given them the final piece of the puzzle –privatise the sick note and remove it from any element of medical evidence. Let’s have 100% ‘fit to work’ even if a 100% drop dead in the process. Those that can afford it, like Hawkings can buy their own private back-up plan’.

In the meantime Peverley has been reported to the GMC. Twitter @gmcuk

There is a facebook campaign group at facebook.com/permalink.php?…

Peverley is on twitter @PhilPeverley

His surgery address for letters is at the link below-please do not use the surgery telephone lines!

Dr Phil Peverley 

Old Forge Surgery
Pallion Park
Pallion
Sunderland, SR4 6QE

 To Protest against this and the other attacks on disabled people join DPAC’s 7 days of Action https://dpac.uk.net/2013/07/reclaiming-our-futures-7-days-of-action/

DPAC twitter: @dis_ppl_protest

Black Triangle twitter: @blacktriangle1

 

Jul 162013
 

DPAC Logo 3 amendment 1 (Small)Our rights are being stripped away day by day by the neo-liberal policies being imposed on us all by the Condems leaving us without any hope for our futures or our children’s futures.

 

DPAC say this is not fair, not acceptable and we must fight back against the continuing attacks. We will be having a week of actions nationally and virtually from August 29th and culminating on September 4th with  mass events and actions in London.

 

Thursday 29th August – launch on anniversary of coffin delivery to Atos, make Crossrail fully accessible protest, plus more….

 

Friday 30th August – local protests –go to local MPs, Atos offices, schools and colleges that are creating barriers to inclusion..plus more…

 

Saturday 31st August – disability, art and protest exhibition and gig

 

Sunday 1st September –
The Social Model In The 21st Century – Why Is It Still relevant?

 

Monday 2nd September – Media direct actions, picking up the pace as we come to the end of the week of action, despite everything we do it is getting more and more difficult to get media space to present the facts whereas there is plenty of space given to misrepresentation of stats and government lies

 

Tuesday 3rd September – ‘I Dare’ day – to reinforce that we want Rights not Charity and a society where we are able to operate on our own terms as disabled people.

Approximate time 1pm -2.30pm

 

Wednesday 4th September – Grand Finale events in London and public launch of the Manifesto ‘Reclaiming our Futures’

noon- 4pm followed by lobby of parliament 5-6pm

 

We want to get disabled people from around the UK out resisting, based on their experiences, creating disabled people’s space, raising awareness of what we are all about. But there is plenty of social media stuff too- everyone can be an ‘extremist’!

 

The Anti Atos message last year was very clear and very successful. This year we want the messaging to be broader and to be about what we want and expect from any future government including all aspects of inclusion.

 

At the Rethinking Disability Policy event last September a network of Disabled People’s Organisations agreed to develop a manifesto of demands. The manifesto is nearly ready for consultation and sign up. Let us know if you’d like a copy.

 

The Reclaiming Our Futures week will launch the manifesto and say what we want to protect our futures.

 

Last year’s ATOS GAMES protests had at least 33 separate local protests in different locations in England, Scotland and Wales over the course of the week.

 

While the Atos Games focused on demonstrating and closing things down, this year’s week of action will retain that anger and include direct action but it will also be a celebration of disability pride.

 

DPAC has some funding for the week of action and we have worked out what we have the capacity to do. We are asking other groups to think about what they can put on and contribute to the week. This needs all of us!

 

We are asking people around the UK to do things as well – debates, forums, art exhibitions, protests, to link in with this. Let us know what you’re planning and we’ll publicise it!

 

If you need help with funding to get to London (4th Sept) email us at mail@dpac.uk.net with details. DPAC members will get first priority but we’re hoping to be able to contribute to all that want to come along. If you are unable to come but would like your picture carried send us a photo or message. Please get in touch with any other queries as well and we’ll try to help.

more to come…….

Jul 162013
 

By William Walker

 Members of the RMT Union converged on the East Staffordshire Town of Burton-Upon-Trent to protest against the government’s rail policy which will take away jobs and significantly increase the barriers disabled people face to accessing the rail network.

Back in 2011 the government asked Sir Roy McNulty to commission a report into how the rail network could make savings. The McNulty report suggeststhat up to 20 000 jobs could be cut across the rail network including the closure of up to 675 ticket offices.

In Burton the local Conservative MP Andrew Griffiths has previously dismissed claims made by the RMT and the TUC backed campaign group Action For Rail as ‘whipping up concern over nothing.’

Previously the RMT and Action For Rail have held two previous protests in the town which encountered strong opposition from both the town’s MP and the train operating company East Midlands Trains who run the station.  

So on July 3rd the RMT hit back bigger and better than before.

Joined by the disabled people’s rights group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), members of Derby Trades Council and the local Labour party to leaflet the passengers about the dangers of the McNulty report.

Paul Walker a member of the RMT’s executive council told the assembled local media We do expect a reduction in hours. Let’s look at what East Midlands Trains has said – ‘not at this moment in time’.

“It means when the franchise is up for renewal in another couple of years it will be expected to take on the McNulty Report.

“It talks about 20,000 jobs and driver-only trains. If you take the train manager and the guard off a train – their primary function is the safety of passengers.

“All the major transport unions in the country are backing the campaign. It is not just something that is being made up or pie in the sky as Andrew Griffiths seems to think.’ Andrew Griffiths had previously suggested that the RMT were only carrying out these protests in a bid to ‘make themselves look good’ but Paul Walker countered those arguments by saying ‘If making ourselves look good means that we highlight real issues and concerns to the travelling public and as a result we end up saving lives, then we are happy to look good as a movement because we have achieved our goal.’

The RMT’s Regional officer Ken Usher said ‘these are real concerns as you can see the McNulty report is real and if Andrew Griffiths wants to dispute these claims we are happy to do so any time, anywhere and any place.’ He added ‘The Union is not going to shy away from reality unlike the Tories.’

Protests against the government’s rail policy take place at railway stations across the country and Action For Rail is backed by all four of the major transport unions with the custodians being the TUC. The RMT branch in Burton sends its special thanks to Disabled People Against Cuts who have supported the campaign nationally and offered their support to the Burton action after hearing of the political situation in the town.

The next national day of Action for Action for Rail will take place in September however there are plans for further action in Burton before then depending on the responses of East Midlands Trains and the Tory MP.

Read the report in the Burton Mail: http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/News/Protesters-air-concerns-on-rail-industrys-future-20130703164334.htm

For more information on what the future of railway staffing means for disabled and older passengers go to: http://actionforrail.org/what-does-the-future-of-railway-staffing-mean-for-disabled-and-older-passengers/

 

Jul 112013
 

27 July is a national day of protest against the Bedroom Tax – see leaflet here

. Email details of your plans, and if you want help with speakers, leaflets etc.
We know of protests in Liverpool, Manchester and across London including city centre marches, car cavalcades and tours of estates with street meetings. Pensioners groups defending universal benefits might want to join you- see http://npcuk.org/

North East Rally against the Bedroom Tax 27th July , Newcastle Civic Centre -Grey’s Monument Newcastle

Councillors against the Bedroom Tax and benefit cuts are signing a statement to show support – ask your Councillors to sign it: Councillors statement

The more we protest and organise, the stronger we get. A Federation linking new groups across Greater Manchester launches 20 July, after the 100-strong protest at the CIH Housing conference: http://nobedroomtax.co.uk/

Other dates and events
Fundraiser for the Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation: Friday 2 August from 7.30pm at the Tottenham Chances, 399 Tottenham High Road London N17 6QN. Tickets – £5 waged / £2 unwaged £10 solidarity (tickets can be ordered in advance from benefitjustice@gmail.com ). Organised with MadPride. accessible venue

Sat 13th July central London DPAC and others discussing Disabled People and the fight against austerity; plus Tommy Sheridan of Scottish Anti Bedroom Tax and Eileen Short of Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice, on How can we stop the Tories’ assault on welfare? see www.marxismfestival.org.uk

Tue 30 July Rally for Legal Aid – London 4.30pm-6.30pm Old Bailey EC4M 7EH (nearest tube St Pauls) www.savelegalaid.co.uk / justicealliance@justallianceuk

24 Sept Labour Conference meeting Brighton ‘Cut rents not benefits – build the council homes we need’ 6pm Brighthelm Centre North St

29 Sept protest at Conservative Party conference Manchester

Let us know what’s happening, for website antibedroomtax.org.uk and facebook

– See more at: https://dpac.uk.net/2013/07/national-bedroom-tax-protest-27-july-and-more/#sthash.WrvhbSFt.dpuf

Jun 192013
 

While recognizing that there is a real need and desire for a movement which mobilizes activists , unions and communities onto the streets together, we are disappointed that the People’s Assembly looks unlikely to bring it about…
at least while it has an entry fee and a cursory nod to inclusion and accessibility. 

Any attempt at bringing together all those sickened by this Governments shameful and harmful policies to fightback, should include those who have been fighting this fight in the streets, not just in the broadsheets. Those who have led the resistance have earned the right to be part of any movement worthy of the name.

An assembly of this nature can only work if it’s :
Brought about by a collective of workers, activists, communities together:
With a shared vision of what we are trying to achieve:
Working in an inclusive way:
Using every possible means at our disposal:
In a strategic attack on Governments ability to carry out its work,
And bring about its end.

Members attending will not be offered an opportunity to achieve any of these aims. Without grassroots street activists being part of driving this initiative from the outset, any decisions or outcomes are likely to be repeats of tried and tested failures of the past. Without the risk of radical action, the Government is unlikely to be concerned by another march, petition or one day strike. 


DPAC/Black Triangle members will attend the event in an individual capacity to engage with attendees, and encourage others to join us in our call for sustained mass, widespread civil disobedience from every section of society until this Government falls. 

DPAC SG
Johnny Void
Taxpayers against Poverty
Black Triangle
Beat on the Street

DPAC wishes to add that despite trying to feed in to ensure adequate access for the event we have not been listened to by the organizers

May 222013
 

DPAC Logo 3 amendment 1 (Small)On the day of the success of the ruling against the WCA-Activists from DPAC and disabled workers attending the TUC Disabled Workers Conference have blocked Tottenham Court Road in an unprecedented act of solidarity.

 This Government has repeatedly used the language of division, trying to divide workers and claimants, public and private sectors workers, non-disabled and disabled people. Today we strike back as one, united voice.

 The Cuts imposed by the ConDem Government under the cloak of ‘Austerity’ impact on disabled people in every area of life. The scrapping of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the Independent Living Fund (ILF) will tens of thousands of disabled workers, and will force many of them out of their jobs. Hundreds of thousands of disabled people both receive and deliver public services as workers in Public Service Departments, Local Authorities and the Voluntary Sector. ILF and DLA play critical roles in maintaining people in these jobs. The 1% uplift limit on Benefits, Universal Credit and the Bedroom Tax will impact on many disabled people both in and out of work.

 The removal of many of our basic rights affect not just disabled people, but all of us. For example, the removal of Legal Aid for medical negligence claims comes at the same time as every single contract within the Health Service is open to tender by private companies. This has serious and significant implications for each and every one of us who make up the 99%.

 But not everyone is being hit by austerity. While multi-nationals like Atos and Capita make fortunes, tax avoidance and evasion to the tune of tens of billions goes uncollected. The wealthiest 1000 UK residents increased their wealth by some 35 billion last year while disabled people and the poorest members of society were pushed into poverty and despair as the targets of brutal cuts.

 Disabled activists have led the fightback against this Government since the beginning, and today disabled activists and workers lead the way again in the first joint, co-ordinated direct action by campaigners and unions on the streets of the U.K.

 Shabnam O Saughnessy from DPAC said: “We are delighted to be joined on the streets today by our union comrades. This represents the first steps towards uniting resistance from communities and workplaces. It dispels the myth of disabled people as scroungers and workshy. We are not some separate group of others, we are your friends and neighbours, we work alongside you. Many millions of disabled people are being affected by cuts, and today is about getting our voices heard.”

 Sean McGovern, co-chair of the TUC disabled workers committee said: “Trade unionists would like to send a clear message to this government that trade unions, workers and grass roots disabled groups stand together against the onslaught of vicious cuts rained down upon us by the Condems.”

DPAC and disabled workers from the TUC conference block Tottenham Court Road 22nd May

Notes

1)    Disabled People Against Cuts is a national campaign led by disabled people to oppose the attacks on disabled people being carried out under austerity. www.dpac.co.uk

 

2)    The 2013 TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference takes place on 22-23 May. The TUC Disabled Workers committee recently rejected an invitation to join the government’s new Disability Action Alliance on the grounds that involvement would restrict the TUC’s ability to campaign against government policies that are affecting disabled people.

 For more information contact Ellen Clifford on 07505144371 or ellenrclifford@btinternet.com

For updates see twitter: @Dis_PPL_Protest

and Disabled People against Cuts Face book Group

We previously incorrectly attributed a quote to  Mandy Hudson that was said by Sean McGovern. This has now been corrected after we were alerted to this by Sean (26th May)

May 142013
 

Wednesday 15th May, 9.30am

Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, WC2A 2ll.

Please join us outside the Royal Courts of Justice to show solidarity and support to the claimants taking a challenge against the Government’s ‘Bedroom Tax’ that came into force on 1 April this year. The ten claims, made by a range of people affected by the Bedroom Tax, will be heard together over three days starting on Wednesday 15 May.

The ten claims, made by a range of people affected by the Bedroom Tax which came into force from 1st April this year, will be heard together over three days starting on Wednesday 15 May.

Jacqueline who has spina bifida is not able to share a bed with her husband and as there is not enough space in her bedroom for a second bed he sleeps in a second bedroom. The couple have been awarded a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the 14% under-occupation penalty on their housing benefit that came in from 1st April but this payment will only last 6 months and they do not know how they will meet their rent when it ends.

Richard is a wheelchair user whose disabled stepdaughter lives in university halls of residence during term time. He uses his third bedroom to store equipment including a hoist, power chair and shower seat. He has had his housing benefit reduced by 25%, on the basis that he is under-occupying by two bedrooms but there are no suitably adapted properties for him to move to in either the social rented or the private sector.

The challenge comes less than a week after the Sunday People told the story of how disabled mother Stephanie Bottrill tragically took her own life after being ordered to pay an extra £20 per week under the government’s vicious bedroom tax.

The vigil is being called by Camden United for Benefit Justice, Disabled People Against Cuts, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, Taxpayers Against Poverty, and WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities).

For more information about the hearing:

http://wearespartacus.org.uk/bedroom-tax-hearing-starts-15-may/

http://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2013/March-2013/Government-lose-Bedroom-Tax-challenge-decision

 

 

May 012013
 

A question of independence: What is the future for

disabled people?

11.00am to 2.30pm, Wednesday 8th May 2013

London Lighthouse, Lancaster Road , W11 1QT

Changes to disability benefits which came into effect this month have affected hundreds of thousands of claimants. In this seminar we will be asking ‘What is the future for disabled people?’ We will consider if the the current welfare changes are fair and look at ways we can support people locally who have been affected by the changes.

The keynote speaker will be Debbie Jolly a disabled activist, writer and co-founder of DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts). The seminar is open to both the statutory and voluntary and community sector, and is hosted by the Social Council and Action Disability Kensington & Chelsea.

Please register here.

Apr 092013
 

action for rail

Meeting for MPs and campaigners
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF RAILWAY STAFFING MEAN FOR DISABLED AND OLDER PASSENGERS?
24 April, 1.30pm–3.30pm, Grimond Room, Portcullis House
With government and shadow transport representatives
The government and rail industry’s plans to find savings of up to £3.5bn will place up to 20,000 jobs at risk and entail the de-staffing of a large proportion of our trains and stations. Disabled passengers may suffer as a result.
Speakers from Transport for All, the National Pensioners Convention, Disabled People Against Cuts, rail unions and others will be invited to discuss their experiences of rail travel and the role that staff play in meeting their needs and to raise their concerns with MPs and government representatives.
RSVP actionforrail@tuc.org.uk

Download the flyer here: Action for Rail – Disabled and Older Passengers – 24 April 2012-1

 

Please also be aware of:

 Keep Staff on our Railways

Kings Cross Station Protest

4.30pm – 6.30pm

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Apr 042013
 

With Brighton having already committed to NO EVICTIONS on the bedroom tax, other Councils are looking at ways around the problem.

Campaign pressure from Leeds has forced the Council to follow Nottingham’s example and ‘redesignate’ flats as one-bed less to reduce impact of Bedroom Tax.  See:

http://newsfeed.leedsvirtualnewsroom.co.uk/2013/04/council-looks-to-help-tenants-affected.html#.UVyCrfbjuSs.twitter

Leeds Anti-Bedroom Tax Protest – 20th April

http://handsoffourhomes.org.uk/

Also for Nottingham:

http://ncclols.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/bedroom-tax-when-is-two-bedroom-flat.html

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/Bedroom-boost-flats-dwellers/story-18531985-detail/story.html#axzz2PQ0KzBfB

 

Apr 042013
 

With the bedroom tax and other benefit cuts taking effect from 1st April many people are being left unable to pay and not knowing where to turn. Local benefit justice meetings have been organised bringing together local communities to support each other and to organise campaigns to put pressure on local councils and housing associations to say no to evictions and to look at redesignating properties to avoid the bedroom tax. There are already strong campaigns in Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Liverpool among other places and meetings have been held in Gillingham, Chatham, and Tower Hamlets.

More are planned – see below for a current list. For more information about any of these meetings please get in contact. Also please let us know of other meetings we may have missed.

Harlow – 6th April

Waltham Forest – 9th April

Strood – 17th April

Hackney – 18th April

Barking – 18th April

Tulse Hill – 20th April

Southwark – 25th April

Hamersmith and Fulhdam – 9th May (called by local Trades Council)

Bromley – 13th May

Croydon to be confirmed

Milton Keynes to be confirned

National Benefit Justice Summit 2 – 11th May Westminster

Apr 042013
 

With austerity Armageddon about to hit, the Tories have been on a calculated and cynical media offensive that confirms just how nasty these millionaire scumbags really are.

Sadly the range of vile attacks on disabled people that Monday ushered in were no April Fool. Over the past few years of ConDem assault on our rights and entitlements we have suffered the notorious Work Capability Assessment, cruelly designed and brutally run by private company Atos with the aim of pushing disabled people off benefits and the income they need to survive. Disabled people found fit for work related activity have been pushed into workfare and then sanctioned when they have been unable meet the conditions of their placements. To add insult to injury the harassment and destitution of disabled people has been justified by a narrative repeated and enflamed with relish by the right wing media that paints benefit claimants as scroungers and has led to a rise in hostilities towards disabled people and an increase in disability hate crime.

Now a whole host of new benefit changes and cutbacks are about to hit including:

–          The bedroom tax (or ‘under-occupation penalty’)

–          The end of Council tax support

–          The benefit cap

–          The scrapping of Disability Living Allowance and reassessment for Personal Independence Payments

–          The introduction of Universal Credit

–          The closure of the Independent Living Fund

Meanwhile benefits have only been uprated by 1% which is far below the rate of inflation.

Meanwhile legal aid for welfare cases has ceased which will leave many claimants unable to access representation to appeal decisions.

Before this government came into power disabled people were twice as likely as non-disabled people to live in poverty. Discrimination and prejudice against disabled people was rife in every aspect of live from unequal access to healthcare to discrimination in the workplace to prevalence of abuse and all too frequent occurrences of disability related murders.

This is the group of people the Tories have taken on and deliberately targeted to bear the brunt of the cuts. By 2015 over just five years disabled people will have lost more than 28 billion pounds in welfare while the poorest 21% of the population are carrying 39% of the cuts. For disabled people with the highest level of support need they are being hit 19 times harder than the average person in this country. After the new range of cuts hit even more people will be left with 0 or even minus income, dependent on food banks they cannot get to, facing eviction from their homes.

All of this is far from fair or decent.

The Tories therefore have to make a special effort to justify what they are doing and over Easter weekend we have had to endure the most sickening display of Tories at their worst. The frontbench, and Esther McVey, have been paraded one by one through the media pulling out their usual range of dirty tricks but with an audacity that, despite all we have been through, is yet able to shock.

On Saturday Esther McVey, Minister for Disabled People, denied people are disabled. On Sunday Grant Schapps pulled out Employment and Support Allowance figures as evidence of the success of welfare reform, celebrating how few claimants had been found eligible for the full benefit while endlessly repeating the mantra that people are being freed from a life trapped on benefits (freed by being pushed to their deaths?). On Monday Iain Duncan Smith assured everyone he could live on £53 a week if he had to. Then today George Osbourne talked at low paid workers in an attempt to stir up hatred against benefit claimants (while at the same time his government is looking to reduce the minimum wage).

The lowest point came with the release of the Daily Mail’s front page for 3rd April which cites the conviction of benefit claimant Mick Philpott for the manslaughter of his children as proof that the welfare system in the UK is broken (‘Vileproduct of Welfare UK’). As if everyone who claims child benefit turns into a murderer. It’s also not just disabled people and unemployed people who claim benefits, an increasing number of low paid workers are reliant on benefits as rents and costs rise while wages are drive down by schemes like workfare.

The timing of the Philpott court case and judgment that led to this story breaking is no coincidence. We know that the government uses the right wing to its advantage feeding in misrepresented statistics on ESA and DLA, but to use the tragic deaths of six children at the hands of an abusive father to score political points is just truly nasty.

It also shows that the Tories are scared.

We cannot let them dominate the news with misrepresented figures and statistics, stirring up hatred against disabled people and division between workers and claimants.

We must fight back.

Evict a Millionnaire – 13th April 2013 www.ukuncut.org.uk

Benefit Justice Summit 2 – 11th May, Westminster Central Hall, 11am  benefitjustice@gmail.com

To make a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission cite the demonisation and outright harrasment of benefit claimants as apparently taste and decency are not sufficient grounds for a complaint: http://www.pcc.org.uk/complaints/makingacomplaint.html

 

Mar 272013
 

Action for Rail – date for your diary and call out for your stories

On Wednesday 24th April the TUC, Disabled People Against Cuts and Transport for All will be holding a lobby of Parliament from 1.30 – 3.30pm followed by a speak out action at King’s Cross station from 4pm to highlight the impact of railway staff cuts on disabled people. The McNulty Review could lead to over 20,000 job losses including rail guards and staff in ticket offices and on station platforms. The lobby and action will give disabled people the chance to speak out about the importance of customer assistance and rail staff for making rail travel accessible, bringing us together with rail staff who want to be able to give good quality assistance but who are held back by cutbacks and restrictions.

We also need your stories and examples of how staff cutbacks will affect you. Please email mail@dpac.uk.net.

If you will be attending the lobby and have access needs please let us know at mail@dpac.uk.net

 

Mar 252013
 

A one-day seminar for Young Disabled People and supporters

Saturday 6 April 2013

10:30 am – 14:45 pm, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1S 3LS

 

10:30 Registration and refreshments

11.00 Welcome from Megan Dobney, SERTUC Regional Secretary

 

11.10 Further and Higher Education: the specific challenges facing disabled young people followed by Q&A and discussion

 

Jawanza Ipyana, National Union of Students

11.50 Panel Discussion: Employment, Policy and Good Practice in the workplace

Rob McCraken, CWU Rep

Jonathan Naess, CEO Stand to Reason

 

12.30 Lunch

 

1.15 Question Time: How the Paralympics’ dream was destroyed by the cuts

Tara Flood, Paralympic Gold Medallist and Director of Alliance for Inclusive

Education

Penny Pepper and Roger Lewis, Disabled People Against Cuts

Rob McCracken, CWU workplace Rep

Jawanza Ipyana, NUS Disabled Students’ Committee

 

2.35 Closing remarks from the Chair

2.45 Departure

 

To register email Joanne Adams on JAdams@tuc.org.uk or call 020 7467 1218

Online Signup: http://youngdisabledpeople-eorg.eventbrite.co.uk/

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/490184461030411/

Twitter account: @sertucyouth

 

Mar 232013
 

In the court case taken by five disabled people against the proposed closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) , and supported by a campaign led by DPAC and Inclusion London certain documents were used. These documents are mainly correspondence between civil servants at the Government’s Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) and the minister for disabled people: Esther McVey.

These documents were released and declassified after the court case because they had been mentioned in the case. This is a summary of those documents.

Early analysis of responses to the consultation on ILF Closure (undated)

This document gives a breakdown of responses and several points for McVey to take into account. First, the consultation asked:

Question 1Do you agree with the Government’s proposal that the care and support needs of current ILF users should be met within the mainstream care and support system, with funding devolved to local government in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales?[1] This would mean the closure of the ILF in 2015.

 

Question 2What are the key challenges that ILF users would face in moving from joint ILF/Local Authority to sole Local Authority funding of their care and support needs? How can any impacts be mitigated?

 

Question 3What impact would the closure of the ILF have on Local Authorities and the provision of care and support services more widely? How could any impacts be mitigated?

 As we see never were questions asked on extending the ILF or keeping it open. In fact question 1 is what is called a ‘leading question’

In the documents DWP tell McVey:

       ‘As we expected with the current challenges facing the care and support system, the majority of ILF users are opposed to closure of the fund, with many doing so on the basis that there could be no guarantee that their current level of funding would be protected in the future’

and….

           ‘A range of smaller national and local disability groups expressed similar concerns with our proposal. Some have been able to support the closures in principle but usually conditional on current user awards being protected as part of ring-fenced funding. The most vocal group has been the relatively new Disabled People against Cuts, DPAC. This group has taken a very strong critical position on a range of DWP policies’.

Yes we have and both Miller (our old mister for disabled people) and McVey refused to meet us and ILF users several times-in fact they didn’t even bother to respond to these requests!

We were very surprised to see this section advising McVey:

           ‘The consultation exercise has been immensely useful and we have been satisfied that we have listened to a collection of views that is representative of all those individuals or organisations that have an interest in or may be impacted by closure and devolution and have considered whether to modify the preferred position set out in the consultation in light of those views’ (emphasis added)

Amazing! Because if most said : keep it open, and if most said people would lose support or enter institutions, including responses from local authorities: what exactly did they listen to?

The documents recognize that ILF users will see a drop in support with some not being eligible for support at all

             ‘We do recognise that upon reassessment by LA’s most users are likely to see some reduction in the current funding levels, and there are a group of users with low care needs that may not be eligible for local authority support under current needs thresholds in most LA’s.’

The cost of closure will be £39 million! One document states that some of this has been achieved by the savings from closing ILF to new users in 2010. But closure cannot be publically defined as value for money-indeed!

        ‘The transfer costs mean that this proposal will cost rather than save money and therefore it cannot be defined as value for money. However the transfer costs are fully affordable’.

Not to ILF users they aren’t!

And wouldn’t £39 million, plus transfer cost be better put into ILF? Of course that’s not what they want to do, in spite of a consultation exercise where the majority appeared to say a resounding NO to closure.

Why did the DWP think it would Easy to Close the ILF?

One of the reasons given that the DWP found it so easy to close the ILF to new users in 2010 was the lack of any objections from the ‘big disability organisations’ which DWP call ‘Major Departmental Stakeholder Responses’ whatever that is.

In terms of the announcement of proposed closure in 2015 it was noted that none of these ‘stakeholders’ had requested a meeting with ministers from Westminster. Basically most had kept quiet, and hadn’t seen the closure of ILF as any big deal. Great support guys!

On this basis the DWP tell McVey in another document around the potential announcement of the closure in 2015

         ‘on the basis of attention shown so far, we do not think this will   receive  significant attention on its own…’

Guess they forgot about that vocal group DPAC and Deaf and Disabled Peoples’ Organisation: Inclusion London, because the closure of the ILF has now received significant attention in the UK and in Europe, at European Parliamentary level through MEPs and at UN level and we’ll make sure this continues.

Neither DPAC nor Inclusion London has the millions for campaigning that the big disability charities have, nor dedicated media, press and campaign teams. But we do have passion, and we do care about what happens to us all as disabled people, and we care what happens to independent living. ILF users taking the case and supporting the case have appeared on TV, on radio and in newspapers to get the message across that ILF is important and this will continue too.

Any journalists that want to know more or run stories can contact: mail@dpac.uk.net

So what did these so called ‘stakeholders’ say in response to the consultation? According to the DWP, there was not enough resistance at all.

In the early analysis document those who the DWP define as key stakeholders are broken down and their responses analysed. Below is what DWP said of their ‘Major Departmental Stakeholder Responses’ in the exact words of the DWP to McVey

 Carers UK-Weakly Disagree

-User packages would be reduced placing extra demand on unpaid care

Disability Rights UK-Concerned

-Lack of choice and flexibility under Local Authorities (Las)

-User packages will be reduced

-Poor perception and past support of Las

-Difficult for ILF users to transition easily

 Disability Wales- Strongly Disagree

-users packages would be reduced which could make it impossible to support ILF users in a family environment

-since the 2010 closure of the fund to applicants disabled people have had to start entering residential care.

-believes the government is targeting the disabled for cuts

-LAs could not cope with the additional workload

-Lack of choice, flexibility and dignity for ILF users under LAs

-Do not believe transitional protection will be offered

 Inclusion Scotland-Strongly Disagree

-The proposal would create a postcode lottery of support

-User packages would be reduced

-LA support is budget led rather than needs led

-ILF expertise would be lost

-Lack of choice and flexibility under LAs

 MENCAP-Pragmatic Agreement

-If reforms go ahead they should be about finding a better system, not cutting costs

-Funding should be allocated to LAs as a separate ring fenced funding stream based on current ILF regional spending patterns in which current users enjoy time-limited protection

-need for Government to provide advice and information to all parties

 MS Society- Concerned Agreement

-Consolidation of funding streams would simplify the care system

-The proposal should not be enacted until the impact of current welfare reform is understood

-Lack of choice, flexibility and dignity for ILF users under LAs needs to be addressed

-LAs need as far as possible, to replicate the personalised expertise of ILF

-Representative groups need to be closely involved in the transition design

 RNIB-Weak Concern

-Concerned that closure might lead to a breach of article 19 on UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

-Representative groups must be closely involved in transition design

-Current levels of support must be maintained

 SCOPE-Concerned Weak Agreement

 -Consolidation of funding streams would simplify the care system

-The proposal should not be enacted during current funding constraints

-The mainstream care and support system needs more experience and commitment to independent living to be able to undertake the responsibilities of the ILF

 Spinal Injuries Association-Disagree

 -Funding is likely to disappear into wider LA budgets on transfer

-ILF is more efficient than LAs

 

‘Rights not Charity’ seems very apt as the major charities for disabled people appeared to agree with the closure, after all more institutionalisation of disabled people might benefit them mightn’t it?  Disability Rights UK (DRUK) a so called user-led organisation incorporating, but clearly forgetting the principles of National Centre for Independent Living, did not offer more than ‘concern’.  The Spinal Injuries Association ‘disagreed’ but what this needed was for all to come out and say ‘Strongly Disagree’ as Disability Wales and Inclusion Scotland did.

 Remember that when the charities ask you for money, remember that when those groups that didn’t come out fully against the closure of the ILF say they are on the side of disabled people or are working for disabled people: we believe they can no longer justify either of those statements.

 The DWP told McVey that ‘stakeholders’ (SCOPE, DRUK etc)

‘..have traditionally found it hard to defend the ILF model of funding care..’

‘none of the largest national disability organisations requested ministerial meetings and many did not submit responses to the consultation. While we have had an increasing number of letters from MPs on users’ behalf, the proposal to close the fund has received almost no attention in the mainstream media’ (correspondence to McVey 7th November 2012)

We will work through more of the documents looking at issues on transition, and the DWP’s media strategy which is unsurprisingly at odds with any issues raised by disabled people-you know the stuff Closure of ILF will give ‘choice and control’ , ‘committed to supporting disabled people’ blah, blah, blah.

The big difference here is that it is clear from the documents  that the DWP are perfectly aware that ILF users will lose funding and that their needs won’t be adequately met through the local authority system.

Cuts versus Reform

Finally, the DWP were keen to try and put the message out that the closure of the ILF was not about ‘cuts’ but about ‘reform’ –what’s the difference? They do appear to believe that if they say reform we all think this is a good thing, rather than identifying that everything that comes under the heading of reform is actually another cut.

The documents cannot be clearer: this is a cut

A cut to the dignity, life chances and lives of disabled people-not just those who are currently supported to lead independent lives through ILF , but also those who would have qualified before closure to new applicants in 2010 and all who could benefit from the ILF system in the future

Support ILF users now; support a better future-say no to the closure of the ILF!

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] Funding for ILF users in Northern Ireland is currently the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Department for Social Development, not the Department for Work and Pensions.

Feb 102013
 

The Public Accounts Committee this week published their report on the Work Capability Assessment and criticised the Department for Work and Pensions for their handling of the contract with Atos, for allowing them a monopoly and for being complacent about the numbers of wrong decisions.

See the reports through Black Triangle’s website:  http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2013/02/08/public-accounts-committee-report-on-the-dwp-atos-contract-management-of-medical-services/

BBC news and Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Committee speaking: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21376915

DPACers speaking to the media this week about the WCA:

John Smith and Kevin Watts were on Radio BBC Northampton:  (about 1 hour 6 mins into the programme): http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p013kwpk/Stuart_Linnell_at_Breakfast_OneThird_Of_Incapacity_Claimants_Are_Fit_For_Work/

Channel 4 were going to do a story but horse meat knocked it off the running order.

Jan 262013
 

Frances Ryan of the New Statesman is asking for disabled people’s experiences/fears/thoughts stories on the bedroom tax. Please send your stories direct to Frances at frances.ryan18@btinternet.com also on twitter @frances__ryan

Also please see http://www.dpac.uk.net/2013/01/bedroom-tax-and-discretionary-housing-payments/ for possible help

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 102013
 

Next week sees 2 disabled people take on the government in a judicial review (1) on the grounds that the process is not accessible for people with mental health conditions.
 
On 15th, 16th & 18th of January lawyers for 2 members of the mental health resistance network
(2) will be in the administrative high court, the division of the royal courts of justice (3) which handles judicial reviews , in London .
The DWP introduced WCAs to assess disabled people for eligibility for disability benefits. Despite criticism from MPs,(4) the British Medical Association (5) and campaigners, this policy rumbles on.
 
Dozens of disabled people are dying every week (6) following assessment. nearly 40% (7) of those who appeal the decision to remove benefits, have the decision overturned, meaning thousands of people are wrongly being put through a traumatic and harrowing experience needlessly. The governments own appointed assessor of the policy has ruled it ‘unfit for purpose’ .
 
This isn’t good enough. This would not be acceptable in any other government contract, yet goes without comment or sanction by this government. No-one is called to account, no-one takes responsibility.
 
DPAC and MHRN call on ALL activists and supporters to join them in a vigil outside the court to show your support for those taking the case, and your disgust at this shameful and harmful policy.
 
Action is :
 
Weds 16th January
@ 12pm
Royal courts of justice, the strand, London wc2a 2ll.
 
Send a strong, clear signal to those who make the decisions.
 
We are NOT going away, we are not backing down. There is no hiding place.
 
We will fight you in parliament, on the streets and in the courts!
 
ENDS
 
p.s send messages of support to Mentalhealthresistance@lists.aktivix.org or mail@dpac.uk.net
 
1.http://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/2012/07/26/judicial-review-of-work-capability-assessment-granted/
2. mentalhealthresistance.org
3. http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/rcj-rolls-building/administrative-court
4. http://www.disabilitywales.org/1168/3817
5. http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/gps-vote-to-end-the-atos-farce/
6. http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2012/04/32-die-a-week-after-failing-in.html
7. http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/press_20120817

Jan 062013
 
The Co-Op have said that their new occupational health contract starts in March and that the bidding process for the new contract has already begun. The Co-Op have refused to publicly rule out a bid from Atos. Tendering processes are generally geared towards awarding the contract to the lowest bidder. If the Co-Op were going to make their decision based on ethical concerns, which they have said will be a factor, they would have already publicly rejected a bid from Atos. Atos’s unethical behaviour has already been well documented in the mainstream media and Disabled People Against Cuts have compiled a list of Atos’s unethical behaviour for the Co-Op. Pickets with calls for boycotts and communication blockades and the resulting damage to a company’s reputation does have a significant economic impact and has been shown to work with other campaigns. The Co-Op is particularly vulnerable to such tactics as their ethical image is their unique selling point in their part of the market.Hundreds of people have already complained about the contract on TheCo-operative Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/TheCooperative
and by tweeting @TheCo-operative:
https://twitter.com/TheCooperative

Why not join them and tell the Co-Op that you will stop shopping at their supermarkets or that you will close your Co-Op bank account unless they publicly state they will not be renewing their contact with Atos? 

You can also email customer.relations@co-op.co.uk or contact Chris Mills, their Ethical Policy Manager: 
chris.mills@co-operative.coop
Telephone: 0161 827 6160
Mobile: 07921 893 949
Facsimile: 01618276230
Up to 5 free faxes can be sent from this website:
http://www.freepopfax.com/
Perhaps you could fax them the gift of a file of a classic book, many of which are available to download for free online.

————————–————————–

Some background information:

It has recently been discovered that the Co-Op Bank and group of companies have had a 4 year occupational health contract with Atos and that the contract is due for renewal. Atos make huge profits carrying out work capability assessments on sick and disabled people on behalf of the Government. As was exposed by a Channel 4 documentary they automatically pass 7 out of 8 people as fit for work – to comply with Government targets for benefit cuts. Their decisions are not based on objective medical opinion. Citizens Advice Bureau Scotland have received 24,000 complaints about Atos. CAB win 80% of appeals against Atos finding people fit for work. The Daily Record reported on a Government survey that showed half of those found fit for work by Atos end up destitute.

The Government are cutting benefits as part of their austerity measures aimed mainly at the poor, while those responsible for the public debt continue to get richer. Despite the media headlines about one or two bankers losing their bonuses, generally bankers’ bonuses and those of company directors continue to grow. Sales in luxury goods are also rising. Nearly 50,000 new property millionaires were created in the UK in 2012. £2 billion of cuts in housing benefit and child tax credit where announced in the chancellor’s autumn statement, while £3 billion of cuts in corporation tax was announced in the same statement.

The Co-Op sells itself as an ethical company, but what ethical standards are they maintaining by not publicly ruling out awarding a new contract that gives millions to a company that cuts the benefits of sick and disabled people?

Claimants Resisting Unfair Treatment, Cuts and Harassmentwww.thecrutchcollective.blogspot.co.uk

Supported by 
Clydeside Industrial Workers Of The World 
www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Clydeside-IWW/216550781713688

Glasgow Solidarity Federation
www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Glasgow-Solidarity-Federation/237568036376381

Jan 032013
 

wowpetition122Disabled people and supporters have launched a petition calling for an end to the War on Welfare being waged by their own government.

The Welfare budget, and particularly benefits going to disabled people, has been heavily and unfairly targeted for cuts. It is said we can no longer afford the current welfare state. In reality however, as a percentage of GDP, the welfare budget is now lower than it was at any time during the eighties. While at the same time the combined wealth of Britain’s 1,000 richest people increased by almost 5% to over £414bn.

In order to resist the government’s cruel and failing welfare policies, disabled people, together with their carers, families and friends, have combined using social media to produce the #WOWpetition. This calls for an end to the War on Welfare. Spearheaded by actress and comedian Francesca Martinez the WOW petition aims to get 100,000 signatures to end this War On Welfare by the government. We will be calling for a Cumulative Impact Assessment, an independent inquiry and if necessary, the repeal of the Welfare Reform Act of 2012.

We believe that every single person in the country has a reason to resist the War on Welfare. Any one of us could have need of the Welfare State at any time.

The ‘Greatest Generation’ fought WWII believing they had secured this safety net for themselves, their children and generations to come. Don’t let it go without a fight! We owe it to them. We owe it to ourselves to ensure a decent and dignified life for all, and to provide security for all our futures. The deaths of disabled people linked to the Welfare Reform Act and the Work Capability Assessment administered on behalf of the Government by the private corporation Atos are reported in the press with alarming regularity. We believe that in any humane society the Government would want to know if one of their flagship policies was in any way responsible for a ‘slow genocide’ of disabled people.

Please join Francesca and the WOW campaign in resisting the deaths and unnecessary suffering being caused:

Sign wowpetition.com

http://wowpetition.com/

For more information please contact: info@wowpetition.com

Watch Francesca Martinez’s outstanding performance on Newsnight during DPAC and UK Uncut’s Atos games in August:

http://

Dec 212012
 

Disabled people with the highest support needs have been left in fear and distress as they face the prospect of being denied the right to have Christmas in their own homes following a government decision announced this week to abolish a key source of independent living support.

The government decision to close the Independent Living Fund and instead devolve responsibility to local authorities follows a consultation that disabled people claim is unlawful and on which an urgent hearing has been scheduled by the High Court to go ahead on 13/14 March 2013.

Kevin Caulfield Chair Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition against Community Care Cuts said, “The announcement of the closure of the ILF is yet another nail in the coffin of the increasing numbers of disabled people being discarded into isolation, social exclusion, deteriorating health and premature death. This is more evidence that we are so far from being all in this together.”

Whereas support received through the ILF has transformed thousands of lives, local authorities are not able to provide the same level or range of support through their current systems. With central funding to local authorities being cut this can only get worse.

Current ILF recipient Jenny Hurst said she “can’t bear to think of a return to life” without the opportunities the ILF has given her. “Before I was referred for funding from the ILF I received a package of 4 hours a day, one hour for getting me up/showered and breakfasted, one hour for house work and lunch, one hour for supper and an hour to do the “put to bed”. In between times I couldn’t get a drink or use the toilet- let alone do anything meaningful with my life.” With support funded by the ILF she was able to go to university, get a full time job and become a Trustee of a charity.

ILF recipient Anne Novis who received an MBE for services to the community, said ”I employ five PA’s, their jobs will be at risk as I know and have been told I will receive less funds … from my local authority”. She added “I definitely will not be able to contribute to society, have my grandchildren over to stay, or even have a life worth living.”

The government’s decision to push ahead with their plans comes in spite of overwhelming opposition from disabled people and their families. Local Authorities have widely expressed concerns that without ring fencing there will be a loss of support for existing ILF users and for some individuals no option but to go into residential care. Given the current surge of abuse revelations concerning people placed in institutional settings such as those associated with the Winterbourne View case, it is distressing that the government is nevertheless abandoning the right for disabled people who require round the clock support to live in the community in a home of their own and with choice and control over their lives.

Notes to Editors

1)  Inclusion London is a pan-impairment organisation promoting equality for London’s Deaf and disabled people.
2)  Disabled People against Cuts is a national campaign led by disabled people to oppose the attacks on disabled people’s human rights and independent living being carried out under the guise of the austerity agenda.
3)  The Independent Living Fund (ILF) was set up in 1988 to provide the additional funding disabled people needed to live at home when the alternative was residential care.

4)   The Fund which was permanently closed to new applicants in December 2010 will be shut down completely from 31 March 2015.5)   The action by the Westminster government contravenes article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People on independent living and goes against the principle of the Convention as well as against the European Convention on Human Rights
 
For more information:
Ellen Clifford,
Campaigns and Communications Officer
Inclusion London                   Tel: 07505 144371
 
Contact:
ILF recipients:
Kevin Caulfield: 07899 752877; info@hafcac.org.uk
Jenny Hurst: jennyahurst@yahoo.com
 
Solicitors representing the claimants involved in the legal challenge:
Scott-Moncrieff &Associates (Diane Astin/Kate Whittaker)
Office 7, 19 Greenwodd Place
London NW5 1LB   Tel: 020 7485 5588/07792 700825
 
Deighton Pierce Glynn (Louise Whitfield)
8 Union Street
London SE1 1SZ     Tel: 020 7407 0007