Posts Tagged ‘blindness’


Sunday, July 14th, 2013


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 reeled off that were against these reforms/cuts. Facts and figures were given, and yet from governments front bench there appeared to be an attitide of boredom,  and total disregard for the situation many disabled people now found themselves to be in. They showed no interest in what opposition members were saying and at times their bodies were partly turned, away from whomever was speaking at that time. This was more noticeable when Tom Greatrex MP was speaking.

As the debate progressed you can imagine our horror when Mr Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, suddenly made an impassioned speech calling us ‘extremists’, and saying that we didn’t represent disabled people. We will be taking this further.

Me, Liam Byrne Pat

In between the votes, we met with Liam Byrne, and issues concerning both disabled people and carers were discussed. It was agreed how evidence is going to be more vital in future, for people to also contact their MPs and explain how the cuts are impacting on them. More importantly, our campaigning continues.

The vote on the motion itself was lost… Ayes 227, Noes 296 – but the day itself was not.

These last few years with cuts raining down – the whole solid brick wall against us – Labour and Tory both supporting the cuts and the charities having to fit in somehow, was beyond belief.


Now the consensus is broken there will be far more open debate and we may start to get somewhere.

Independent campaigners from many groups  took the lead in breaking down this wall. This experience has shown all of us that grassroots campaigners are essential to the political process.

We need to stay vigilant

We need to keep fighting

We need to ensure any promises turn in to real action.

 Well done every one.

But the Fat Lady hasn’t sung yet.

Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union Welfare Statement

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

The ideology of cuts affecting the most vulnerable people in our society is totally out of character for a nation that traditionally prides itself on bringing support to those in crisis. Over the years, the UK has led the way in terms of people and organisations who have gone way beyond the call of duty in terms of supporting others and treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve. This is a country that after years of struggle, made health, education and general wellbeing a basic human right.

This coalition government has taken the decision to fly in the face of these hard fought traditions and has instead, become hell bent on passing the responsibility and burden of the national debt onto those who can least afford it. As a result of this policy, we now see people struggling to make ends meet, forced into the ever-willing arms of  payday loan companies who, on the face of it appear to be offering help and financial security. The reality is that they push people into further poverty and desperation.

The introduction of the benefit freeze and the accompanying diatribes spewed by government ministers was designed to (more…)

Frankly Lord Freud, your Party don’t give a damn

Friday, January 18th, 2013


Yesterday was a busy day for most campaigners. Here at PP it was no different.

From WCA debates, evidence sessions relating to Draft Care and Support Bill, release of 2 reports, one from an alliance of groups, and one from The Centre for Welfare Reform. see notes below

dont give a damn

However, in this post we would like to share details of another debate that took place in the House of Lords, a motion presented by Baroness Hollis about the impact on families of changes to tax and benefits . You can see transcript here and also Impact on families  PDF here.

This was a quiet debate but contributors spoke with such feeling and passion as they stressed how cuts were disproportionately hitting poor families, working families, children, disabled people, and also carers.

One exchange with Lord Freud needs special reference though.  (We have highlighted it below but please read his full response on the Hansard link above)

Lord Freud

The noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, raised a question about cumulative impacts, and I was fascinated by her sums on this. However, I need to point out that this Government publish impacts of benefit and tax changes alongside each Budget and Autumn Statement. That is something that previous Governments did not do.


Baroness Hollis of Heigham:


Is the Minister acknowledging that the Government have not published a cumulative analysis of the cuts, benefits and tax changes since 2010? If he is so doing, which I think is what he has said, it is still done slice by slice. Can we hope that he will do so-will he give a commitment to do so in future?


Lord Freud: My Lords, it is bluntly impossible to do a total cumulative assessment. I have looked at doing it, and you do not know what to put in and what to leave out. No one has done it in the past; it is not possible. Doing it year by year, as we do, is the best we can do-and it gives a fair view of what happens in a particular year.


In her closing speech Baroness Hollis replied –


The noble Lord, Lord Freud, referred to cumulative assessment. With the help of Citizens Advice and Landman Economics, we were able to work out pretty precisely-to within 10p or so-the total cumulative effect, since 2010, of the benefit cuts and tax changes. I did it for one family type-the security guard with a wife and two children. If we can do it over a weekend with wet towels and half a bottle of gin, I am quite sure that the Government can do it with the numbers of staff that they have in the Treasury. The answer is that the Government are not choosing to do it. They do not want to be shamed by us and others as to the effect of what they have done over time. There cannot be any other reason why the noble Lord, of all people, who has the utmost respect from the House for his integrity on these issues, and the Government continue to duck the consequences of their action by giving us the cumulative statistics today.


We applaud Baroness Hollis for securing this debate, and pressing the need for a Cumulative Impact Assessment.  As for Lord Freud, we have a message for him.

Saying something is “bluntly impossible”  is –


For the health, wellbeing and safety of people in this country, it is vital a full cumulative impact assessment is carried out.

                        We ask as many people/groups join with us

and demand the Coalition government 

make a committment to this.


Many people/groups reading this have been with us from the beginning, others join in daily as awareness grows, of these callous policies from the Coalition government and the impact they will have on many families.

YOUR help is needed again.


Contact your MP, details here.

Write and ask them to press David Cameron for a full Cumulative Impact Assessment to be undertaken,  of how ALL these changes, at the same time, are wrong.

Contact Lord Freud – tell him how you are being affected by the changes to benefits and services.


and all at PP




Work Capability Assessment  –  Hansard transcript here

watch live here    frwd to 2 hrs 18 mins

The Centre for Welfare reform -         A Fair Society report

Draft care and Support Bill    Wednesday Jan 16th watch here

Thurs  Jan 17th   watch here

The Other Care Crisis –                    full report here


All Pat wants for Christmas is …..

Monday, November 19th, 2012


YOUR continuing support in calling for a Cumulative Impact Assessment regarding changes to benefits and services

Thank you to all our supporters. It feels like such a long time ago now that the petition finished, but it is only three weeks. In that time you haven’t heard much from us, but believe me, we’ve been busy.

We may not have reached the magic 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a potential debate – but that’s just a number.

 When did a little thing like that stop us?

We have written to Liam Byrne and Ed Miliband (see copy here), asking that they request a debate in parliament regarding a Cumulative Impact Assessment. This is within their powers and we hope they act promptly.

Please can you e-mail Liam and tell him how much this means to you and how strongly you feel about this.  ( )

It would also help if you could write to your own MP. (To find your MP insert your postcode here)

Tell them that you want a debate, put the pressure on them to secure a date. And at the same time, raise their awareness of what these changes mean for us. When it gets to a debate, we’ll need to make sure all MPs know the true impact for their constituents. Let’s face it, their surgeries are going to be filled with people once the full effect of these changes hit.

We know that. Let’s make sure they do.

It may be that you fear losing Housing benefit or Disability Living Allowance.

It could be that you worry about losing services from social care, or that you have lost a valued member of staff in the NHS changes.

You might be in the middle of an appeal for Employment Support Allowance or have just received a dreaded brown envelope.

Whatever it is, tell them in your own words. It doesn’t have to be long, but the passion and truth of your real story could make a difference for all of us.

 Please do it today

We have such a wide range of people supporting us now that we really hope with your help that Liam will give us this debate.

So please, let us know which MP you contact, several ways to do this listed below. Send us all the feedback you get from your MP so that they can be involved when the debate happens.

Add to pp facebook page here.

Email info to

Tweet to @patspetition , also use hashtag #patspetition

Add in comments below

 Together we can do this




Please share on facebook and twitter



Pat’s petition may fail because good people did nothing

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

courtesy of @MidWalesMike

As I type this, the petition calling on the government to “stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families”, informally known as “Pat’s Petition”, which requires 100,000 signatures to secure a debate in Parliament, has gained just a few more than 60,000.



You have till 10.12 am today to sign and then share with others.

The Prime Minister understands disability for the rich – but not for the poor

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Mr Cameron in his conference speech claimed to understand disability from his own family experience. He cried at the point in his speech where he mentioned his disabled son Ivan who died. It was very moving. He also made a big point about his disabled father.

So the question is – does David Cameron understand about disability from his own family experience as he claims.?

And the answer is – he has experience of disability in the family as a rich person.

But he understands nothing about disability if you have nothing and are up against the state – as your only source of income.

Absolutely nothing.


Disability References In David Cameron’s #cpc12 Speech

Call Time on This Wretched Government and Its Assault on the Disabled – Andy Worthington

What 26k  Feb 2012

 George Osborne seals deal for £10bn welfare cuts


Please sign the petition here, check for activation email, and then share asking others to do the same.

The onslaught continues – sign Pat’s Petition

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Sign Pat’s petition here.  

Conservative conference is underway and by the hour we are hearing statements and interviews from government ministers regarding welfare reform and cuts. See links below

 It is even more vital now that we have all these issues debated in parliament.

Will Pat’s Petition achieve 100,000 by Nov 1st? We believe it will if we all push it forward as wide as possible.

The petition has reached over 50,000 signatures – quite incredible for this small group of unfunded friends with no large organisations behind them. But we need to reach 100,000 by the deadline at the end of the month.

As Pat says –  “That can sound quite daunting, but other petitions have done it. Anne Williams last year got 40,000 signatures on the very last day for her petition about her son Kevin who died at Hillsborough. Richard Branson had his support within a week. And the cuddly badgers achieved their target in weeks. If only people would support disabled people in the same way.”


link to Youtube video, click here –       Pat’s Petition


The group are asking people to be quick about taking actions:

Sign the petition at

Check junk boxes for activation emails.

Share the petition link by e-newsletters, facebook, twitter – get to places where people are already online

Add to blogs, write letters to media and your MP

If you are attending A Future that Works Oct 20th march ensure the petition details are shared with fellow marchers

Grassroots groups have been extremely supportive and we ask you to give this a final push.

Campaign teams from charities to come on board and raise awareness to your memberships. Time is running out so you need do this quickly.





1. David Cameron on Andrew Marr show

Q: Nick Clegg said there would be more austerity after 2015. Was he right?

Yes, says Cameron. The cuts will have to be decided before the election. The government will have to look at things like welfare

2. Iain Duncan Smith Guardian 19.26 pm

“This quote is from 19:26 Sunday –

“A delegate asks Duncan Smith if he could cut more from the welfare budget, saying that would be very popular with the public.

IDS says he’s cut more than any other secretary of state – £18bn – but these are “difficult” times.

Once he has reformed welfare, everyone will be able to recognise that those who are on benefits are genuine claimants, he says, and not scroungers.”

3. George Osborne plans to cut another £10bn from welfare budget





Labours ‘One Nation’ must include disabled people

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Wow -Labour Party Conference in the magnificent old Manchester Central Railway Station. What a beautiful venue. Over 11,000 people passed through the X-ray security gates in 4 days. That’s a lot of people.

It was raining when we arrived in Manchester. Rains a lot I’m told. Armed with my pac-a-mac, programmes, lists of events, names, Pat’s Petition business cards,  and tons of enthusiasm we launched ourselves into the conference halls.

We had a good idea who we wanted to meet and made a few contacts beforehand. Fringes where the topics were Social Care, NHS, Welfare and we hoped, disabled people.

Conversations where Ministers were given a chance to speak freely. And breakfast discussion groups where we always missed the food. No amount of homework could prepare me for what lay ahead. Delegates, Ministers, MPs all seemed to have turbo charged roller skates on as they rushed in all directions. I couldn’t keep up with them. Karen my friend, fellow PP and ‘enabler’, had a hard time preventing me from being mown down. We quickly learnt how to side step.

I went with one question, to ask as many who would listen:

“Why are you doing nothing to stand up and fight for ALL disabled people, their carers and families?”

We are facing disproportionate cuts to ALL our services. Some listened politely. Others dismissed this question – lumping us together with the elderly. We are after all – living longer. Not sure how the two are connected but it seemed an answer of sorts. We changed our minds about who we wanted to listen to as our confidence and side stepping skills improved.

I talked to members of the public who wanted to tell me their life stories and how they sympathised with disabled people, but it was challenging to hear too many stories of the real scroungers they knew who are cheating the system. Nothing will convince them of how we are being treated disproportionately.

I enjoyed meeting Andy Burnham. A very approachable young man who actually listened. And I won’t mention names as they’ll know who they are, but the word disability gave one Senior politician great difficulty. He had his super turbo skates on and left before I could even stand up.

Overall I was extremely disappointed and angered that the subject of disability was still an unsexy and taboo word for Labour politicians. Many words were spoken which were less meaningful than reading the telephone directory.  No it wasn’t political jargon – just strings of clever sounding nouns, verbs and adjectives. Worthless. They didn’t get it.

But for me the prize for star speaker goes to Richard ‘Scope’ Hawkes. He gave a powerful speech about how we will suffer unspeakable deprivation. This got him huge applause and quite rightly so. Thank you Richard. You’ve got it.

I did enjoy visiting the stands. In particular the unions – from burly firemen who gave me sweeties to paramedics who were impressed I knew the difference between a paramedic and technician!

The teachers union listened and got it.

Unite, PCS, Unison and the TUC all got it.

The Post Office didn’t get it and neither did the pleasant chap on the Motability scooter stand.

Many new contacts were made, and conversations were had with old friends, of which we have too many to list but including PCS, Carers UK, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness – thank you to each and every one who has stood by us since the start.

My overall verdict? I would definitely go again but not today.

The Labour party must listen to what we are saying and take notice. They must admit disabled people are facing serious problems. My message to them is that you managed to parade the Paralympians with no worries, so remember there are tens of thousands of us who cannot hop skip or jump.

If it is ‘One Nation’, you must include us.

Pat x

Labour will make cuts to welfare budget if it wins 2015 election, says Liam Byrne

We know our supporters are many, some have walked side by side with us since the beginning of this petition.

We only have a few weeks and we need you again.  It is vital to give a final push to gather more signatures. Remember to check junk boxes for the activation email you will be sent.

If you have e newsletters please include the petition details. This is the area where we have witnessed the biggest spike in numbers.

Add to blogs and social media sites. Maybe you have done so in the past, but do so again.

For further details contact  Pat at


Pat’s Petition – Urgent Call for Action

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012


We have now reached the last two months for the epetition ( sign here ) and now, more than ever, we need your support.

Charities like Disability Rights UK, Carers Trust and Carers UK have added our flyer to their newsletters, and grassroots organisations including Disabled People Against Cuts, Spartacus, Act Now for Autism and many more  have promoted it.

You may already have done this in previous months. But can I ask you to repeat it?

Send it to your contacts, media organisations, charities, trade unions and local community organisations, anyone who can send it on further. Don’t worry about duplicating the message – they need to know we all want this to succeed.

With the Paralympics and the week of ATOS protests, as well as the recent TV programmes about the Work Capability Assessment, we can see that people are becoming more aware of the perfect storm that lies ahead. But we do not have much time to get this petition to 100,000.  Virgin Trains achieved their target within one week. The changes impacting on disabled people will affect far more people.

Now is the time to act.

I have copied the text of our flyer below – please use it and edit it to suit your situation. We recommend making sure you include the epetition link to make it easy for people to sign.

If you need more information, or want a formatted version of the flyer, please do just get in touch.

Thank you, Pat x


Pat’s Petition



Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services, which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families

The petition is just one of many actions being taken by disabled people and their supporters. The idea is to get a debate in parliament. To force those dismantling our public services, rights and entitlements, to account for themselves. There is no illusion that the petition will stop anything by itself. But every small action joins with other actions, so that together they can make a difference.

A small group of volunteers has got this to over 44,000 signatures. Now we need to get it to 100,000 by November 1st.

Together WE can do this.

So please sign, and as important, send on to friends and colleagues. Add to e-newsletters, blogs, and social media platforms – spread the word.

Further information here – Pat’s Petition 

 Contact Pat –


       Download a copy here   –    Call to Action sept 2nd




The Best Birthday Present you can give me – YOUR SUPPORT

Friday, August 17th, 2012
There are a couple of very important dates rushing towards me. Oh yes I will be having a birthday – a big one. It has the numbers 0 and 6 in it and I leave you to put them in the right order. Of course, like so many others of my vintage, I have to wait a few more years util I actually ‘retire’ . That will be my new job description – ‘retired’. Forms where I used to leave blank because there wasn’t a category ‘disabled’ or ‘carer’ will now be completed in the usual way. ‘Retired’.’ On the same day will be my little granddaughter’s 1st birthday.

Hardest Hit event London

As if these 2 occasions weren’t enough yet another birthday awaits me. It will soon be one year since I, and 6 other ladies, joined together to discuss welfare reform and the idea of a petition was raised. Some of us had attended Hardest Hit events but we knew so many others had been unable to attend. This petition was for them and everyone else.
12 months ago my first blog telling you all how (more…)