Stop the Bedroom Tax – Newcastle Rally

  The delegation from Scotland consisted of Susan Archibald, Citizen Smart and myself – all travelling down in Susan’s van.  Arriving at Newcastle Civic Centre dead on 1.30pm we were delighted to find such a huge crowd milling , waiting, banners at the ready. Wheelchairs, buggies of all shapes and sizes. White canes, a Guide Dog, police, children and people with all their faculties in tact. A buzz of excited anticipation greeted us. It was a little unfortunate that the police directed us along a road which was blocked by a locked electric barrier which was not for moving. Bit of clever limbo manoeuvres got everyone through. Spreading ourselves out along the pavement we made our way chanting towards the pedestrian crossing. Being at the front we had no idea that the back of the march got caught as the lights changed to red. Thinking about it afterwards it would have been in the spirit of the day if the police had just stopped the traffic for a few minutes. Making our way up through town, weaving around bollards in the precinct, expertly guided by officers in their high vis jackets we arrived at Grays Monument. it was hot. Very hot. Gail Ward, our MC, brought the speakers on. Some disabled, some not, but all had a message to share and they were all passionate in their words. Some only spoke a few words, while others could have gone all day such was their message. Citizen Smart entertained us with his music especially written for the day. People sang, clapped and stomped their feet where they could. The whole...

Paul Maynard MP requests to have Hansard corrected re ‘extremists’ comment

The debate last week was a great day for Pat’s Petition team, and other campaigning groups. The MPs who spoke in favour of our petition could not have done more to support us. And it is a massive change to have the full support of the Labour Front Bench for the first time. This only the beginning. The only sour note was the extraordinary accusation from Paul Maynard that we were ‘extremists’. The term is offensive to us. We contacted Mr Maynard for further explanation. We were pleased that, as a result of these communications, he agreed for the word ‘extremist’ be excised from the record. However, Hansard have now replied to him saying this is not possible. We have therefore asked him to write a correction on the copy of Hansard in the House of Commons library. (Awaiting response) Wednesday 10th July was a great day for the whole disability movement and once this issue has reached a satisfactory conclusion,  we would like to move forward and make sure that the government ‘stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families ’ Exchange with Mr Maynard below. Letter to Mr Maynard July Reply from Mr Maynard Letter to Mr Maynard Reply from Mr Maynard today Cross over of emails Letter to Mr Maynard      22nd July Letter from Mr Maynard    22nd July        ...

Report – OPPOSITION DAY – EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE

  Wednesday 10th July 2013 was a great day for Pat’s Petition.  After a year of working to get over 62,700 signatures we finally had our debate  in the House of Commons. Two of our team travelled from Scotland and the North East to watch the debate live from the gallery. Pat is blind, and Rosemary is a family carer, but they made it. On arrival at Kings Cross they met with Rick and Jane from WOW petition, ( please sign and share as widely as possible), and then all made their way to Westminster. There they met with more campaigners, Ian, Andy and Adam. Following a short chat it was time to gain admission to the debate. Jim Hood MP, who had secured the tickets to enable Pat and Rosemary entrance to watch/listen to the debate live arrived, and pointed out that HoC business was running late. This caused all previous plans about meeting up with other campaigners afterwards to be changed. Following section from Pat and Rosemary. Having to hand over phones meant we were unable to keep supporters informed as to how the debate was going but we knew many many people were watching the event on parliament tv, and engaging with each other via social media. We were later informed the hashtag #CiaDisability had trended for over 2 hours, peaking at UK trend no 3. The MPs who spoke in favour of our petition could not have done more to support us.  Coalition ministers that spoke were unable to name an individual, academic, grassroots group, a charity – that agreed fully with their policies. Instead many names were...

DEBATE TODAY

TODAY marks an enormous change in the Labour Party position on the many cuts to benefits and services that are falling disproportionately on disabled people. TODAY Wednesday 10th July 2013 Parliament will debate ‘The Effect of Government Policies on Disabled People’ and hopefully call for a Cumulative Impact statement.The debate will follow shortly after PMQs finish at 12.30pm and there will be a vote at about 4pm. TODAY we are finally having the debate that all the people who signed Pat’s Petition and the WOW petition called for. Watch the debate on this link http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=13471 or on the television – Parliament Channel TODAY you can see what your MP and other MPs really think about government and disabled people and carers. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jul/09/debate-on-disability-pat-petition And what do we make of this?...

URGENT CALL TO ACTION FOR DISABILITY CAMPAIGNERS

  What a weekend! We have done an amazing amount of work over these last few days, and amazing to see all our supporters rally round. At the beginning of last week, no way could we envisage the events of this weekend just gone.     On the sunniest weekend of the year, we have been sweltering inside, organising blog posts, booking train tickets, desperately trying to arrange seats to watch the debate inside the House, contacting the many MPs who have been sympathetic to us, finding out about pauper’s picnics and now asking every one of you to make one final push for Pat’s Petition.   You have rallied around. Supportive MPs have now found seats for Pat and Rosemary so that they can be there on this important day.   The debate on Wednesday will be the last chance to get our voices heard in Parliament for some time. MPs will break up for the summer recess and then return, after their Party Conference, in October.   We need to make sure they are all briefed to understand the impact of Government Policies on disabled people and carers.   They need to know we are watching this debate. They have to be aware that they are under scrutiny on this issue.   We need them to vote for a Cumulative Impact Assessment. They have continually said this is impossible and too complicated, and we have answered that they wouldn’t conduct huge experiments with anything else, so why do it on disabled people? We have now heard that “the publication of cumulative impacts is a Coalition initiative” so...