The Truth At Last – Ministers humiliated over cumulative impact assessment

With thanks to John Pring at Disability News service – The truth at last.   “Institute for Fiscal Studies has proved that a cumulative impact assessment is possible for disabled people in Wales.” So the government excuse that a CIA was ‘too difficult’ has been shown to be a fiction.   Pat’s Petition team, along with many others, call upon the government to finally do a Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) for the rest of the United Kingdom. We have been calling for a CIA since 2011. Responsible governments don’t make cuts of this severity to the income of vulnerable people without a full risk assessment. You can read the report in full here  ...

WOW petition has passed 1st stage in Parliament

  Many thanks go to the team, and all supporters, behind WoW petition. Pat joined them in London today and will give an update on her return. Although poorly attended by MP’s, those that did speak spoke of the real horror stories they are hearing from some of their constituents. You can read it in full here   and watch it on Parliament TV here ( debate starts at 1 hour 47 mins ) We hope everyone has a safe journey home and look forward to their reports.          ...

Employment Support Allowance is a disaster

Yesterday members of Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch met with Kate Green, Shadow Spokesperson for Disabled People. From there they went to Lambeth Palace to meet with Archbishops advisers. Proposed Reforms to ESA – Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch For many chronically sick/ill and disabled people the barriers faced in the open job market are so significant that they do not have the opportunity to compete on equal terms. This is the elephant in the room. The main Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Group – the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) – is based on the false premise that chronically sick/ill and disabled people can compete on equal terms. It makes no allowance for the barriers in the job market. Many can compete on equal terms. But many others have a lot to offer but can’t compete on equal terms. It is unfair to place sanctions and time limits on disabled people in the WRAG until this problem is addressed and rectified. ESA/WRAG is currently a disaster and we suggest the following reforms – 1. Find out how to make the labour market inclusive. Disabled people have a lot to contribute. Face up to the question of disabled people and open competition in a flexible labour market. Explore quotas, kite marks, subsidies, public pressure and any other option you can find. 2. Meanwhile place far more chronically sick/ill and disabled people in a safe, long term ESA group. The WRAG is not a safe group because of sanctions, time limits and means tests. The criteria to be placed in this safe group should be that you have an impairment which means you can’t compete...

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  ...

Pat goes to Carers Parliament – Scotland this time

The first Carers Parliament took place at Holyrood in October last year. Places were limited for those wishing to be included so a ballot was held. Carers from each of the constituencies were invited to put their names forward and then were drawn by the steering group. I was unfortunate in that ballot, but, undeterred, I tried again this year. A phone call from Rhonda Fitzpatrick, Carers Scotland, told me I had been successful. I was delighted! This years theme is to be ‘Carers Rights’. After presentations and Q&A in the Scottish parliament during the morning, there will be workshops. Delegates will come from all over Scotland with their views, stories and ideas. In these times of financial hardship and cutting back to the bare bones for any social care, the role of carers is becoming ever harder. At Pat’s Petition, our message has always been for a cumulative impact assessment of the changes on all disabled people, their carers and families. This is something I look forward to raising at this years Carers’ Parliament. *************** Report from Maz’s blog after she attended last years event...

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...