Emergency Call for Ceasefire in Welfare Reforms

CALL FOR A CEASEFIRE FOR ESA STOP the SANCTIONS and TIME LIMITS in the WRAG – UNTIL EVIDENCE SHOWS PEOPLE ARE GETTING JOBS 19.04.2016 VIVA DEAD PARROT Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch have consulted with as many campaigners as possible and reached a conclusion. WCA should be a ‘can’t do’ test. The positive and optimistic ‘can do’ narrative has completely overwhelmed the reality of the ‘can’t do’ narrative. All sick and disabled people should own and be out and proud about both their narratives. Every one has a ‘can do’ and a ‘can’t do’ narrative. Viva Dead Parrot has had a great reception. Read all about it here and here and here 04.03.2016 Today John Pring followed Ekklesia and reported on the Dead Parrot campaign on the Disability News Service here Let’s bring the bar to the Support Group down to a safe level 29.02.2016 Ekklesis support Dead Parrot Campaign – here 28.02.2016 PP and CW launch the Dead Parrot Campaign please come and support here   ESA is a dead parrot ESA (Employment and Support Allowance ) has destroyed the covenant between sick and disabled people and the state. It has to go. Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch working with other campaigners suggest the following basis for reform: The replacement for ESA should be paid, without conditionality, to anyone who cannot find work because of reduced productivity. The current labour market is ruthless. It will take people who can do the most work for the least money. People with reduced productivity, even after all reasonable adjustments have been made, will be rejected by this market. They need unconditional support. The bar for entry into the Support...

Disability is just not that simple

As most campaigners reflect on 2013, and look towards 2014, it was interesting to read this viewpoint.   This is also true of what I am now calling the ‘work shy’ movement, a movement that likes to call themselves the ‘sick and disabled’ movement but I feel it is unfair and wrong for these people to claim to represent all sick and disabled people, when they are simply about one way of thinking, and that is a way I find quite offensive. The ‘work shy’ movement is led by people like Sue Marsh, and Kaliya Franklin (better known as Bendygirl) How can any one claim to represent all sick and disabled people. We are sure no one, including Simon Stevens makes this claim.   The confusion seems to arise because there are sick and disabled people who can overcome the societal barriers to work, and sick and disabled people who can’t,  and are overwhelmed by the barriers. In the middle are a spectrum of people having good days and bad days, and falling in to both groups for part of the time. What is needed is for us all to work together to get more support for both these groups. It is unhelpful for any campaigner to identify with and campaign for only one of these two groups. Disability just isn’t that simple....

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...

Making Employment Support Allowance fit for purpose

  HEALTH WARNING This statement contains a message that no disability campaigner wants to hear – let alone campaign on. At first sight it appears negative and discouraging. However we believe that the best way to overcome a barrier is to name it and address it. And if it isn’t named, it leaves the government an open goal to take away safe, secure benefits. MAKING ESA FIT FOR PURPOSE. Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch are concerned that Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) uses PUSH economics to take away safe benefits as a means of forcing disabled people in to work. But many disabled people can’t compete in the open job market and ESA is pushing them up against a brick wall. They have nowhere to go. The failure of the Work Programme is the result. Elephant in the room by Grace Collins http://www.onethousandprinces.tumblr.com   This is because many sick and disabled people have residual impairment, even after all adaptations are made, and are not as competitive in the open labour market as anyone else. Jobs are acquired through open competition: it is like asking disabled athletes to compete in the mainstream Olympics. This is a very hard thing for disability campaigners to admit. We want to encourage people and talk up their strengths, not their weaknesses.  To admit that some disabled people are less competitive in the open labour market sounds like defeat. But the Social Model is about overcoming barriers. So far the focus has been on individuals overcoming their own individual barriers. But the competitive job market presents a structural barrier that also needs to be named and...

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...

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...