Point of Order re Pat’s Petition

  Many of you will remember the Parliamentary debate Pat’s petition secured just 2 months ago. The motion calling for a Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) was led by a powerful speech from Liam Byrne. Other Labour MPs were just as supportive for us in their knowledge of how disabled people and carers are facing such unjust hardships under this Coalition government. Speaking against the motion was a Tory MP – Paul Maynard. His choice of words angered and upset so many of us especially when he named Pat’s Petition team as ‘extremists’. In the days immediately after we corresponded with him in a series of open emails.  He agreed to follow Parliamentary procedure to gain a further entry in Hansard.     True to his word an entry appears in Hansard on September 2nd 2013  ….. details here On a point of order, Mr Speaker. May I clarify for the record that, in the Opposition day debate on 10 July, I did not intend to suggest that I regarded either Pat’s Petition or We Are Spartacus as extremist groups? John Bercow (Speaker) That is commendably clear and pithy, and we are grateful to the hon. Gentleman. Pat x  ...

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...

OPPOSITION DAY – EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE

Opposition Day (5th allotted day, 1st Part) WEDNESDAY 10 JULY EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE Edward Miliband Mr Liam Byrne Hilary Benn Andy Burnham Mrs Anne McGuire Ms Rosie Winterton That this House believes that the Government should publish, by October 2013, a cumulative impact assessment of the changes made by the Government that affect disabled people. You will be able to watch live on the day here Pat’s Petition Team PP meeting FURTHER INFORMATION ADDED SOON    ...

Edinburgh 5th June – Welfare conference

Scotland is devolved from the rest of the UK in all but 3  government departments. Welfare is one of those 3 so I was keen to attend this conference. Much has been written and discussed about the welfare cuts coming out of Westminster and very little is spoken in favour of any of them. I was apprehensive that this conference was going to be one of – well this is it – nothing we can do – so we all roll over in acceptance. How wrong I was. Far from accepting it there was a definite air of anger in that room. This was a conference about how welfare reforms were going to affect the people of Scotland and what we intended to do. The format for the day was 4 sessions with speakers from across Scotland, all experts in their own field, talking for around 10 minutes with questions from the 50 attending. With my escort Sue firmly attached to me , we all settled down for a long day. We opened with words from Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare. She was joined by David O’Neill, the President of Cosla (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) and Michael McMahon  MSP ( Chair  Welfare Reform Committee).  They spoke powerfully about the cuts in general which probably explains why i didn’t get a sensible answer to my question on ESA and disabled people. Must remember to tell my friend Mo Stewart that Unum was mentioned as being behind the Westminster plans. The speakers on disabled people and those with long term ill health followed after lunch.. Much was spoken...

We stand united together and will grow and grow

As a gardener I am always looking for new ideas to add to my garden. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Like most of us who enjoy plants and trees – each new addition means a little less lawn to cut as we find a space for our latest acquisition. Up here in Scotland we have some beautiful natural stone. Most of it huge and attached to a mountain but my garden has its own fair share. Granite is plentiful in many areas. As such it is used a lot in buildings as it is one of the hardest stones known to man. And woman who digs it out of her garden!   A cairn is often used to mark the tops of mountains – people who reach the summit can add a stone. They are also used to mark paths keeping travellers safely away from the dangers of the edges. The lasting durability of the stone cairn is a symbol to those that follow behind.   So the idea of building a cairn in the garden was born.and it will represent those 62,709 people who signed Pat’s Petition before it closed. I laid the first stone and it will be added to as and when weather, time and availability of gathered stones allow.   I don’t think I can count 62,709 but will use one stone per 100 signatures. The strength and hardness of these stones represent us all – disabled people, carers and their families.   PP closed 4 months ago but we are still inundated with requests from people wanting to add their support. To...

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...