Nov 282013
 

It’s been a busy few days for DPAC gathering evidence on the cumulative impact of cuts on disabled people, and on the crisis in independent living.  On the 25th we heard moving and powerful testimonies of how the Government are ruining lives through their austerity regime. Disabled people are faced with a range of cuts and so called ‘reforms’ which are contravening our basic human rights. We are faced with stark choices between eating or heating while having our dignity stripped by a range of psychological attacks at the same time as having support removed.

 Testimonies will be sent to the UN rapporteur on disability-thanks to everybody who came to London to tell their stories and to those that submitted their experiences through email. This event was originally arranged by Just Fair, however due to the rapporteur being unable to come to the UK due to illness DPAC and Inclusion London stepped in to run this at the last minute, so we could get these important stories out to the UN.

On the 26th the morning saw a hugely successful protest on fuel poverty organised by DPAC, Fuel Poverty Action, the Greater London Pensioners and UKUncut: ‘Bring down the Big Six – Fuel Poverty Kills!’ against the increase in fuel poverty deaths and increasing profits and prices of the big 6. Supporting groups included No Dash for Gas, Campaign Against Climate Change, Climate Revolution, Young Friends of the Earth, Frack Off London, Power for the People, Barnet Alliance for Public Services, Lewes Against the Cuts, SOAS Energy & Climate Change Society and Southwest Against Nuclear. There were also protests in Oxford, Lewes and Bristol.

In the afternoon of the 26th the Emergency meeting on the crisis in independent living took place at parliament hosted by DPAC and Inclusion London.  An event originally planned by Just Fair to launch their report to the UN rapporteur which DPAC and Inclusion London stepped in to run with a new focus on the crisis in independent living.  This was in response to the successful appeal outcome at the courts on the Independent Living Fund-and the continuing awareness of the crisis for ILF users, those trying to access local authority support and the Government’s apparent non-compliance with article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The afternoon launched DPAC’s report on the crisis in independent living and cumulative impacts of the cuts, one of many that DPAC is working on, as well as the film by Mary Laver an ILF user. The afternoon was complimented by speeches from John Evans and reflection on the past battles for independent living.  We heard from the brilliant Louise Whitfield (one of the solicitors in the ILF case) and were treated to an excellent DPAC theatre performance which brought to life the reality of impacts on disabled people and the different barriers we face.

Despite extremely short notice the event was well attended by MPs and those from the Lords. Kate Green , Hywell Williams, Katy Clarke, Anne Begg, John McDonnell, Jim Shannon, Andy Slaughter, Baroness  Campbell, Baroness Wilkins  and a host of others including Mary Laver’s MP.  Apologies were sent from Anne McGuire, Caroline Lucas, Lucy Powell, Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa Pierce

Mike Penning ‘our’ new minister for disability was invited but did not respond or send apologies!

Many thanks to all that attended, supported and worked so hard towards the afternoon-especially the many DPAC members and supporters that wrote to their MPs and publicised this. Some may ask why English national formal disability organisations with much more money and resources than us aren’t putting their energies into these types of activities all the time- we don’t have any answers or understanding on that.

We will have a more detailed report on the Emergency meeting on the Crisis in Independent Living event in Parliament with film and photos soon

Download DPAC report Crisis in Disabled People’s Independent Living 

See Mary Laver’s film on ILF View the movie

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Jun 262013
 

At the end of this month, the Department for Work and Pensions will be releasing their Annual Report, and Iain Duncan Smith and his henchministers will no doubt be touring the TV studios to deliver more propaganda about worklessness and disability.

We’ve decided to celebrate the release of the DWP Annual Report by releasing a report of our own.

It is a report into how the DWP and DWP Ministers have made claims which are simply untrue. We’ve selected 35 claims and and found clear evidence that these claims have no basis in the facts.

So when you next see Iain Duncan Smith on the TV News, ask yourself, is he lying? or is he simply making it up out of thin air again?

You can read the full report here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/149776210/DPAC-Report-on-DWP-Abuse-of-Statistics-Final-22-June-2013

Apr 302013
 

If you can judge a nation by how it treats those in most need, the judgement on this nation is damning. Those with the highest needs are effectively being attacked by a government for a circumstance they had no choice in: being disabled.

It is a damning indictment of this government that they have launched attack after attack on disabled people leaving them without support and removing income. The proposed closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) is the latest in that assault.

Five severely disabled people whose right to live independently in the community and who face having their lives trampled on by a decision which has never been discussed let alone voted on in parliament have vowed to carry on their legal fight against the callous Coalition government’s proposed closure of ILF.

While Conservative MPs around the country continue to churn out platitudes that their party will protect the ’most vulnerable’ the reality of what their ministers are actually doing is far different. The loss of the Independent Living Fund will have disastrous consequences for disabled people with high support needs and as DWP and Local Authorities have said will result in people being forced back into care homes or left in danger in their own homes.

How many will have to be abused or die through neglect before society takes this threat seriously enough to say this is a cut too far? Anyone of you could become disabled and need this level of care to keep living in your community or at home with your family and friends. This is not about party politics this is about justice, morality and dignity. It is about the right to continue to have a life worth living if you do become disabled at some point in your life.

All five will appeal the decision handed down in the High Court on April 24th claiming that the government failed to meet its Public Sector Equality Duties when carrying out what they claim was a flawed consultation process.

DWP have previously said that the ILF fund was unsustainable. They fail to clarify as part of the consultation if there will be any guaranteed on-going extra funding devolved to local authorities to take over the additional costs of meeting people’s care and support needs after 2015. Something which could be a slap in the face for already hard pressed Local Authorities whose budgets are already being squeezed by a further 28% and who will have to implement these cuts.

If, like us, you think its wrong that disabled people (8%of the population) bear 29% of all cuts and that disabled people with severest needs (2% of the whole population) bear 15% of all cuts[i]-

Please support the five and write to your MP to say this is a cut too far.

Find your MP

________________________________________
[i] ‘A Fair Society?’ Centre for Welfare Reform, January 2013

Dec 082012
 

After a year of very hard work and wonderful encouragement from all of our friends and supporters Pat’s Petition  closed with over 62,600 signatures. We then sent an open letter to Liam Byrne.

We are delighted to announce that all the effort succeeded

and we have a result.

Liam Byrne has been in touch and the Labour Party are giving us an Opposition Day Debate in the Commons based around Pat’s Petition. This means the debate will take place in the Chamber at the House of Commons with Ministers and front benchers as well as back benchers.

So fantastic news – Pat’s Petition is moving to Pat’s Debate. Tell everyone – shout, sing, tweet using hashtag #PatsDebate. Let’s shake this government into listening to us at last.

The debate will probably take place some time in January and we will only have a weeks notice so the important thing now is to get ready for the debate and make sure all the issues we have been campaigning on get attention.

The theme of the motion for the debate will be the Pat’s Petition demand that the government – Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families and a demand for a Cumulative Impact Assessment. It’s a very wide brief so if you want to focus on a particular issue that’s fine.

We will need lots of help from you all to make sure that after all your effort this debate gets real results.

We are hoping that many of you will put up blog posts in support of Pat’s Debate and that we can collect the links together here.

We will also need your help to ask MPs from all Parties to speak in this debate and if we can direct them to your blog posts it will show them the kind of messages we want to put across.

Contact your MP details via this link

Watch this space to see how the plans for the debate are progressing.

Time is running out.

Please get behind this debate and make it a game changer.

Pat x

for further details contact  –  patspetition@gmail.com

If you have any suggestions/comments please add at http://carerwatch.com/reform/?p=1246

Dec 192011
 

DPAC are learning that a rising number of disabled people are losing their entitlement to DLA and are being refused DLA. This is before the coalitions promised cut of 20% of DLA cases and before the change from DLA to Personal Independence Payments (PIP). At the DPAC conference many suggested that DPAC used more personal stories in lobbying.

We are asking for your personal stories on DLA and on DLA reassessments.

DLA was originally set up to pay for the extra costs of being disabled in society of barriers for disabled people-these barriers still exist. DLA is a social model focused payment which originally recognised the extra costs of being disabled, although the test has always been based on the medical model.

The extra costs of disability come from the barriers that people face or the adaptations they might need because of their impairment or long term illness. For example  needing your own, or a form of accessible transport, extra costs of attending hospital appointments, needing aids to overcome barriers caused by the design of certain products, aids to get around, needing to spend more on shoes because of mobility, needing a special diet, needing someone to help you stay safe and so on.

Please write to your MPs with your stories and copy DPAC in to your emails

We are asking you to send:

Your personal stories, your experiences of being refused DLA and what the extra costs of disability, impairment, long term illness are for you

To find your MP see they work for you and also copy to DPAC mail@dpac.uk.net

Deadline: 12th January

MPs will be back in parliament on the 12th January and will discuss changes from DLA to PIP on 17th January

The stories that you copy to DPAC will be put together for DPAC lobbying and campaigns: on changes to DLA, on the welfare reform Bill and disability benefits overall. We will post updates on progress on the DPAC web www.dpac.uk.net

DPAC has a wide network but it is only by people spreading the word that we can grow stronger together and work to highlight what is happening to disabled people across the UK together.

 see: social model response to loss of DLA