Open letter to Liam Byrne

This letter was sent to Liam Byrne on Friday 16th Nov 2012

Download a copy to send to your MP

Open letter to Liam Byrne – Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary  – word doc


Dear Liam,

We are writing to ask you to secure a parliamentary debate to request a Cumulative Impact Assessment of all the changes which impact disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families.

As you may know – Pat’s Petition recently reached over 62,600 signatures on the government e-petition site. This was an amazing result considering that unlike many other petitions it was not sponsored by any organisation – it was promoted by seven women from home – all disabled and/or carers – and had no funding.

The government e-petition site relies on internet access, which is limited amongst disabled people and carers and was not disability friendly. Within the same year a further 25,000 paper signatures for a Xmas card were presented to Downing Street at Christmas by the Hardest Hit campaign.

Pat’s Petition asked the government to – Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services, which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families. The petition is now closed, short of the 100,000 needed to trigger formal consideration by the Backbench Business Committee.

However, because of the pressing need to explore the detail, on the ground, of the cuts that are raining down daily on disabled people and carers, in your constituency and the UK, we are asking you to help us get a debate on this subject. We need to pause this untested process and make it safe, which needs strong parliamentary voices to call for a proper impact assessment.

You will see from the government response to Pat’s Petition that they just cite the aspirations behind their policies. No one could argue with these fine aspirations. However the implementation of these policies was never trialled, and disabled people and carers are coping daily with an avalanche of piecemeal untested cuts on the ground. Between the aspiration and the detail of the cuts falls the shadow of how these fine ideas are turned into decisions that affect individual lives. And this has not been sufficiently examined to make this process safe.

The many people calling for a Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) of all the changes demonstrate the widespread concern about the rushed way these reforms are being introduced. These include the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, CarersUK, JCHR, EHRC, and more. The recent Hardest Hit report helps show why these requests cannot be ignored.

So we ask you to help us with this and secure a debate where MPs can examine the detail of what is being done in their name and request a Cumulative Impact Assessment to ensure that the full effects of these changes are understood and responded to.

We look forward to your reply.

Pat Onions x


Rosemary O Neill           CarerWatch

Frances Kelly                 CarerWatch

Karen Machin                 Mental health campaigner

Richard Hawkes             Scope

Paul Jenkins                   Rethink Mental Illness

Paul Farmer                    Mind

Steve Winyard                RNIB

Rebecca Rennison         Leonard Cheshire Disability

Emily Holzhausen          Carers UK

Jaspal Dhani                    UKDPC

Simon Duffy                   Centre for Welfare Reform

Steve Donnison              Benefits and Work

Holiday Whitehead         Benefits and Work

Neil Coyle                       Disability Rights UK

Bill Scott                         Inclusion Scotland

Rhian Davies                 Disability Wales

Mark Harrison                NCODP

Steven Rose                  Choice support, Campaign for a Fair Society

Peter Beresford             Shaping our Lives

Pam Pinder                   CarersforumUK

Frances Leckie              Independent Living

Tracey Lazard               Inclusion London

Ian Hood                       Learning Disabilities Alliance

Fiona Sinclair                Autism Rights

Ian Hodgson                 Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union

Claire Glasman             WinVisible

Debbie Jolly                  DPAC

Linda Burnip                  DPAC

Gail Ward                       Social Welfare Union

Norma Curran               VIAScotland

Jane Young                  WeAreSpartacus

Kaliya Franklin              The Broken of Britain

Sue Marsh                    Responsible Reform report

Mo Stewart                   Disabled veteran (WRAF)

Charles Huddleston      Carers campaigner

Ian Sandeman               DLA/PIP Help Groups