Headway offers its support to Pat’s Petition team

Headway – the brain injury association supports the work of Pat’s Petition in highlighting the damaging impact the current programme of welfare reform is having on disabled people and their families and carers. Every day, the charity, which supports people affected by brain injury, receives calls to its helpline from people desperate for support, fearful of how they will continue to live independent lives in the face of cuts to their existing benefits. Many of these callers report receiving poor treatment during the claims process for key disability benefits such as ESA and DLA. Despite the attempts to improve the ESA claims process and the Work Capability Assessment, we are still hearing of people stuck in a distressing cycle of failed applications, successful appeals then reassessment just a few months later. Headway is also very concerned about the upcoming change of DLA to Personal Independence Payment, which has undergone a lengthy consultation period but still seems set to take essential support away from genuine claimants. The further award of assessment contracts to companies with track records of a failure to understand complex and often hidden conditions, such as ATOS, is extremely worrying. Headway has made repeated attempts to ask the coalition government to stop and rethink its damaging programme of welfare reforms. The charity has joined hundreds of other organisations across the UK in providing evidence to show the negative impact the current reforms are having on disabled people. It is with deep regret that these warnings continue to be unheeded. Headway offers its support to the Pat’s Petition team in its call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment. In...

Impact of Welfare Reform Act (2012) from DLA Help group

Supporting statement for team at Pat’s Petition for their visit with Liam Byrne To whom it may concern. The changes that the latest Welfare Reform Act brings are the most devastating set of changes to the UK welfare system ever to be enacted in one go by Parliament. Whilst we realise it is not legally possible for this Parliament to Repeal the WRA, it may be possible to enact further legislation that would remove some of the more disturbing impacts of this current Act. The Welfare Reform Act (2012) places a huge burden on those sick, disabled and those on low incomes to reduce the money spent on welfare. Whilst we can see a need for some reform of benefits, the whole idea being put forward is not driven by a concern for “targeting those most in need”, as the Minister for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith keeps on repeating, it is actually just a brutal and impersonal cutting of benefits to many different groups. The impact of these cuts cannot be underestimated.  In fact there is no study available (except the ones the Minister  refuses to publish) that shows what the total effect of all these cuts will be on ordinary people. Whole segments of society will be impoverished by these acts.  The elderly as much as the young and fit are affected as well as single parents and Carers to sick and disabled people. Please do all that is in your power to make the government do a full assessment and publish the results so that it can be debated properly before it is too late...

Supporting statement from DBC and Hardest Hit

Supporting statement for a cumulative impact assessment to be undertaken looking at the cuts to disabled people’s benefits, services and rights    Members of the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) and the Hardest Hit coalition back calls on the Government to publish information on the total impact of cuts to the benefits and support disabled people rely on. see here   The recent restriction of benefit rises to 1% a year for the next three years is the tip of the iceberg for disabled people who have already seen massive cuts to their benefits and support services, including – by 2015 – £18 billion from the benefits budget and £8 billion from social care.   With disabled people already twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people, these changes represent a serious threat to the independence and quality of life of millions. A recent report found that disabled people, who make up 8% of the population, are being hit by a massive 29% of all cuts being implemented.   Disabled people and their families feel they are being ‘squeezed’ from all sides and are worried about losing some or all of the support they get and how they will live without it.   In 2012, the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) reported that its inquiry into disabled people’s right to independent living: “received evidence that impact assessments of current reforms were not adequately carried out, and did not take into account the likely cumulative impact of reforms on disabled people. We therefore argue that the Government should publish a unified assessment of the likely cumulative impact of...

Open Letter to Liam Byrne – from WOW Petition group

  Dear RT Hon Liam Byrne MP The WOW Petition  is a crowd-sourced grass roots campaign created and supported by disabled people, people with physical and mental health illness, care workers, carers and family members. We have come together because we are frightened. We have each been affected by the devastating consequences of the Welfare Reform Act and feel we are fighting for our lives. We are determined to continue and build upon the achievements of Pat’s Petition. We are not satisfied that the government will understand or care about the consequences of the cuts and changes to benefits and services until a comprehensive impact assessment has been completed. We are aware of the Prime Minister’s intention to scrap impact and equality assessments. It is vital therefore, that a cumulative impact assessment is carried out with urgency. Since the WOW Petition was launched on December 18th 2012, at the time of writing almost 18,000 people have supported us. We expect to reach the 100,000 target as we expand into new initiatives and the campaign grows. Our petition has been championed by disabled actress and comedian Francesca Martinez. Francesca has spoken out publicly against the arbitrary cuts and the unfairness of disproportionately targeting the benefits sick and disabled people rely on. She has appeared on Newsnight and BBC This Week Programmes to voice her concerns. Baroness Grey-Thompson has also supported our campaign. Sick and disabled people do not understand why the government wishes to wage a “war on welfare” against them. People who are genuinely too sick to work have been cruelly labelled as “feckless” and “scroungers” by government ministers....

Supporting statement from Carers UK

  Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK:   “Carers fear finding themselves In the centre of a perfect storm, as, on top of cuts to already overstretched social care services, they may face a combination of cuts to disability benefits, changes to Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit and the introduction of the household benefit cap. We are shocked and disappointed at the lack of adequate analysis of the impact all these changes will have on carers. There is the real risk that the combined impact will have devastating personal consequences for carers and their families but will also bring greater costs to society and the economy in the longer term. Government should urgently publish full analysis of the impact of their changes to benefits on carers and disabled people, taking account of simultaneous cuts to vital social care support.” ****** Carers UK is gathering evidence about the financial costs of caring. They need carers’ stories on the extra living costs they face and the impact on their ability to earn Full details –  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/carerpanel...