Liam Byrne offers to make ESA fit for purpose

Pat’s Petition went to Westminster to see Liam Byrne. Liam agreed that the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)  isn’t working. He agreed that the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA is not the helpful, safe, supportive place it was meant to be. Liam told us that he is about to run a six month ‘conversation’ with disabled people about making ESA fit for purpose. He said that at the end of the six months he hopes to put together a set of proposals about how to change ESA so that it works for everyone. So this is the time to look carefully at ESA and tell Liam  how we want it changed. The first knee jerk response will be to continue to complain about the assessment process because that is where people first hit ESA. But this assessment is only the gateway to the real problem of the WRAG. If you are allocated to the WRAG and spend a year there then when you look back at the assessment it may look like a walk/ride in the park. The campaign that will actually do the most to improve people’s lives is a campaign to make the WRAG a supportive place instead of a living hell. If you are allocated to the WRAG you will have to take part in the work programme. Disabled people are terrified of having to do this and being required to do things that they feel they may not be able to do. Your advisor will be working for a private company and will be paid by results so you have a bounty on...

TeamPP’s meeting with Liam Byrne and Anne McGuire

Yesterday some of  the team at Pat’s Petition went to Westminster to meet Liam Byrne and Anne McGuire. Thank you to all of you who sent messages of support which we handed on to Liam. The meeting was very successful. Liam is determined that he will give us an Opposition Day Debate as soon as he can calling for a Cumulative Impact Assessment – if possible before the budget. We are all aware how thick and fast the cuts are raining down and that so many more cuts are due to be implemented in April. So this is a matter of urgency and we have to be prepared to move on this as soon as we get the week’s notice. This will take us all standing together. More details...

STATEMENT – VALUES INTO ACTION SCOTLAND

STATEMENT VALUES INTO ACTION SCOTLAND   Values Into Action Scotland believes that people with learning difficulties and individuals on the autistic spectrum should have the opportunity to have paid employment.   We understand that, for many, good quality support is needed to help them achieve this. People with learning difficulties and individuals on the autistic spectrum who have enjoyed a successful working life have told us that the support that works for them is:-   * Good quality benefits advice * Help to think about and plan out what an ideal job might look like * Job finding support * Help to talk to employers * Support on/ off the job * A career for life (with planning and support to achieve this) This process is often referred to as Supported Employment.   Currently there is no UK wide programme that offers this type and level of support. Instead, there is growing concern that many people with legitimate significant support needs who undergo the Work Capability Assessment are being told that:-   * They are ineligible for Employment Support Allowance and are transferred onto time limited Job Seekers Allowance. * They are ineligible to be placed in the Employment Support Allowance Support Group. Instead they find themselves in the Employment Support Allowance Work Related Activity Group.   From either of these two scenarios, people are often then placed onto the Work Programme. Following investigation, Panorama recently aired a programme exposing the following:-   * Work Programme providers are only helping a very small fraction of disabled people into work. * They are failing to refer people to sub-contractor charities...

Inclusion Scotland – Impact of the Change from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Received from Inclusion Scotland   Change in Assessment Criteria: In December 2012 the UK Government announced an unexpected change in the PIP Assessment criteria. This change reduces the distance someone can walk (safely) before qualifying for the Enhanced Mobility element of PIP from 50 metres to 20 metres (the Enhanced Mobility element of PIP is equivalent to the Higher Rate Mobility Component of DLA). The change has contributed to a substantial increase in the numbers expected not to qualify for the Enhanced Mobility element of PIP – up from 250,000 to 428,000 (a 70% increase). Using the DWP’s own UK-wide projections of expected “winners” and “losers” arising from the replacement of DLA by PIP Inclusion Scotland have now calculated the equivalent figures for Scotland. These are set out below. One piece of good news is that the majority of disabled people on life-time or long term awards of DLA will not now be re-assessed for PIP until after October 2015. However the following groups will be assessed before then – * disabled people making new claims * people currently in receipt of DLA whose awards end before Oct. 2015 * people whose condition/level of impairment changes before then to a level where it amounts to a change of circumstances requiring reassessment. Mobility Component: Using DWP projections, by 2018, Inclusion Scotland estimates that over 80,000 working age disabled people in Scotland will lose either some or all of the mobility allowance that they would otherwise have been entitled to: * 47,000 will lose higher/enhanced rate mobility allowance. The subsequent loss in income to disabled people in Scotland will be at...

Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union Welfare Statement

The ideology of cuts affecting the most vulnerable people in our society is totally out of character for a nation that traditionally prides itself on bringing support to those in crisis. Over the years, the UK has led the way in terms of people and organisations who have gone way beyond the call of duty in terms of supporting others and treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve. This is a country that after years of struggle, made health, education and general wellbeing a basic human right. This coalition government has taken the decision to fly in the face of these hard fought traditions and has instead, become hell bent on passing the responsibility and burden of the national debt onto those who can least afford it. As a result of this policy, we now see people struggling to make ends meet, forced into the ever-willing arms of  payday loan companies who, on the face of it appear to be offering help and financial security. The reality is that they push people into further poverty and desperation. The introduction of the benefit freeze and the accompanying diatribes spewed by government ministers was designed to set a trap for the government’s opponents. In the end, it only served to further highlight their total lack of understanding or empathy, never mind respect for the British people. The government made it abundantly clear that they were more than happy for those on low incomes to be used as political footballs, in order to achieve nothing less than petty, childish point-scoring. As a trade unionist I didn’t join the movement in...