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...

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...

Letter from Samuel Miller to Liam Byrne

Permission has been granted to copy this letter here, that was originally posted on Twitter. Subject: July 10th Parliamentary debate: Cumulative Impact Assessment (‘The effect of Government Policies on Disabled People’) 3:36 PM (1 minute ago) To: Rt Hon Mr. Liam Byrne, MP Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions House of Commons London, England SW1A 0AA Dear Mr. Byrne, I am a 56-year-old Disability Studies specialist from Montreal, Canada who has been reporting frequently and voluntarily, since January 2012, to senior United Nations officials (see attached) on the crisis for the United Kingdom’s sick and disabled. Austerity measures, consisting of draconian welfare reforms and “sham” means-testing (Atos Healthcare U.K. and the Department for Work and Pensions) are ostensibly to blame for their plight—with disability hate crime and inflammatory media attacks factored into this mix. I am writing you regarding this Wednesday’s Parliamentary debate on the effect of government policies on disabled people (http://carerwatch.com/reform/?p=1697), and in your capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. It is vital that such a cumulative impact assessment include a thorough and proper investigation of the number of sick and disabled benefit claimants who died, committed suicide, or became destitute as a result of the draconian austerity measures and welfare reforms. I am currently experiencing difficulty procuring post-November 2011 benefit claimant mortality statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions. Please see DWP refuses to provide information on ESA/IB deaths. What is it hiding? http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/dwp-refuses-to-provide-information-on-esaib-deaths-what-is-it-hiding/, Atos deaths: A letter to Mr… Smith http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/atos-deaths-a-letter-to-mr-smith/, Requesting that the DWP hire an epidemiologist and consult with David Stuckler of Oxford University http://mydisabilitystudiesblackboard.blogspot.ca/2013/07/requesting-that-dwp-hire-epidemiologist.html; and related:...

OPPOSITION DAY – EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE – How to take action

Pat’s Petition welcome this debate on Wednesday 10th July 2013 regarding ‘The effect of Government Policies on Disabled People.’ Over 62,000 people signed Pat’s Petition calling for this debate.  And 48,905 people have now signed the WOW Petition . Please add your name if not already done so and then share asking as many others to do the same. ( 5 months remaining ). We, along with many others, have continuously asked the government to conduct a Cumulative Impact Study to assess the cumulative effects of the myriad of changes in policy falling on disabled people and carers. The government refuses on the grounds that this is too difficult. It is totally irresponsible to conduct an enormous experiment like this on disabled people without attempting to predict or measure the effects on disabled people and carers. It wouldn’t be allowed in any kind of building project – so why is it possible to experiment on disabled people without checking that it is safe. With recess 18th July – 2nd Sept,  followed by Party conferences 13th Sept to 8th October , this will be one of the last opportunities to get disabled peoples’ voices heard for some time. Here at Pat’s Petition we will be sending briefing papers to MPs from all parties, but it is vital you contact them too. It is personal stories about how these changes to benefits and services are affecting you and your families, that they need hear. This will help them understand why a Cumulative Impact Assessment is a necessity.      Actions you can take   1. Write to your MP and ask them to...