Posts Tagged ‘disability’

Emergency Call for Ceasefire in Welfare Reforms

Monday, September 1st, 2014

emergency phoneSick and disabled people, and their carers, are suffering every day – caught up in the disaster that is the failed Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Groups from across the whole spectrum of disability campaigning have come together to call for a CEASEFIRE – until this is sorted out.

 We call for an immediate truce during which the following practices are ended, while a new programme is co-produced with disabled people and carers

STOP

* the use of sanctions

* timing people out

* means testing

* bedroom tax for disabled people

* repeated assessments

We also suggest that

* anyone can use the current Work Programme – but only on an opt-in basis and without sanctions

This does not prejudice any long term changes, and we recognise that different groups have different aims.

These measures are not a long term solution, but together they would offer a period of safety in which to consider a better way forward.

Jonathan Bartley – Green Party Spokesperson for DWP

Pat Onions – Pat’s Petition

Rosemary O’Neill – CarerWatch

Gail Ward

Mo Stewart

Pam Pinder – CarersforumUK

John McArdle – Black Triangle

Carole Rutherford – Act Now for Autism

Phil Connolly – DRUK

Sue Marsh – Spartacus

Catherine Hale

Simon Duffy – Centre for Welfare Reform

Paul Swann – Disability Wales

Ian Hodson    BFAWU

Rosemary Trustam   – Community Living  Initiatives Ltd.

CFAFS England

Sue Livett  – The Aldingbourne Trust

Bernadette Meaden

WOWcampaign

New Approach

Simon Barrow, Director of Ekklesia

Prof Peter Beresford

Prof Alan Roulsden

 

If you, as an individual or group/organisation, support this action, please add your name in the comments below.

You can also send any supporting statements to  patspetition@gmail.com or admin@carerwatch.com These will be added to correspondence sent to MP’s from all Parties.

Government said a Cumulative Impact Assessment wasn’t possible – THEY WERE WRONG

Friday, August 1st, 2014

 

.Pat’s Petition launched a petition on 1st November 2011 calling for a Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) . We, along with many supporters, also pressed for a debate in Parliament

Pat's petition sml
Liam Byrne said -
This afternoon, I pay tribute to Pat Onions and her fellow campaigners, to the authors of the WOW petition and to the thousands of people up and down the country who have supported their campaign and will follow this debate closely

In a debate in the House of Lords Jan 17th 2013 Baroness Hollis in her closing speech said –

 

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.

Therefore we welcome this report – Cumulative Impact Assessment: A Research Report by Landman Economics and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) for the Equality and Human Rights Commission – that shows that a CIA is both imperative and possible.

 

Press release

The Equality and Human Rights Commission will be publishing this report, by Howard Reed (Landman Economics) and Jonathan Portes (NIESR), on Thursday 31 July  on the cumulative impact of changes to taxes, benefits and spending on different groups (men and women, disabled people and non-disabled people, and other “protected groups”).

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Tom Shakespeare on Enabling Equality: from disabling barriers to equal participation

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Pat’s Petition team and Carerwatch would like to congratulate Tom Shakespeare on the ground breaking lecture ( read in full here ) that he gave to the British Sociological Association on Friday ( podcast will be available soon ). It was a breath of fresh air in a debate that has been hi-jacked by politicians and subverted for their own ends.

In his speech Tom Shakespeare emphasised that:

I do not think that equal treatment will liberate all disabled people, in the same way as it has the potential to liberate other disadvantaged groups.  I believe that a level playing field is not enough to equalize opportunity for disabled people.  It may work for those disabled people who do not experience major limitations in their functional abilities, but it will not work for people with more significant or complex impairments.

Equality1

That may sound controversial and does not sit easily with the models proposed by disability ‘leaders’. But it is reflected in the statistics for attitudes to disability amongst disabled people:

•46% of disabled people believe that health problems alone are responsible for them not leading as full a life as non-disabled people
•Of those disabled respondents who said they were not able to lead a full life, 87 per cent said it was because of their disability, while only two per said that it was due to attitudes and barriers in society and 8 per cent said it was due to both (ODI, 2008).

Government policies follow directly from the belief that disabled people can be liberated to compete in the competitive labour market on equal terms.  We have always argued that this is not appropriate for everyone, and that our society needs to ensure that those who cannot compete are supported with a safety net.

But disability leaders have fought for equal rights and removal of barriers. While that was well intentioned, it gave Iain Duncan Smith an open goal. He doesn’t need to pay support to disabled people who he thinks could get jobs and he doesn’t need to pay subsidies or insist on quotas for employers. It’s win win for him.

But it is now obvious that disabled people are not getting jobs: Employment Support Allowance is collapsing. We have millions of people who felt safe on Incapacity Benefit now being terrorised on the assumption of a false premise. We have to find a way of changing the accepted message to include the reality for disabled people and subsequently getting these policies changed.

So we are delighted with this lecture and hope it leads to a fresh look at campaigning on the basis of the reality out there in the job market.

 

 

Campaign Statement for the General Election

Monday, April 28th, 2014

 

Pat’s Petition called for a Cumulative Impact Assessment and are delighted that there is now talk of establishing one through the EHRC.

We understand that after the debacle that is welfare reform – a new government will want to take a very careful long term view as to how to get things right.

The long term solution will be more complicated than simply reforming the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). The WCA has to test for something meaningful. The Employment Support Allowance (ESA) groups at the moment are meaningless. People in the Work Related Activity group (WRAG) can’t move to work.

The new government has to understand that sometimes impairment does actually impair and lead to extra costs to the employer. As a society we need to think about whether it is government or employers who will pick up any on going extra costs of impairment when employing a disabled person. The government will probably have to (more…)

Inquiry – Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

With  reasonable adjustments many disabled people can work as productively as anyone else so that they can compete in the competitive  labour market on an equal playing field.

But many others can’t.

http://www.onethousandprinces.tumblr.com

Elephant in the room by Grace Collins
http://www.onethousandprinces.tumblr.com

This Elephant is not being addressed. It is sitting squarely in the road stopping further progress. Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch are submitting evidence to the Inquiry into  Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments being conducted by the Commons Select Committee for the   Department of Work and Pensions.

Full details on link below

We urge every one concerned about disabled people and carers to do the  same

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/esa-wca-inq-2014/

We will be drawing attention to the Elephant in the  room. Some disabled people have an impairment which means that, although they  can and would like to do some work, even with reasonable adjustments they cannot work as productively as people who do not have impairments. This means  that the potential employer will be faced with extra costs or losses. 
  
Employers recruit through the mechanism of a competitive labour market and this puts barriers in the way of disabled people   who are not able to work as productively. No effort has been made to name this problem or to solve it. Who should bear the extra costs or losses to the employer of taking a worker who cannot be as productive because of their impairments? Until this problem is named and addressed the progress of disabled people in to the workforce is blocked. The Elephant is sitting in the road.

As disability campaigners, we do not want to  undermine the image of disabled people who, with reasonable adjustments and enlightened attitudes, can compete in the labour market. But not speaking up  for disabled people who can’t compete on a level playing field has to stop.

WCA is finding many disabled people fit to work, but they are not fit to get a job in a competitive market. The misery being visited on these disabled people is cruel.  Sanctions, time limits, forced workfare – intolerable pressure to do something they cannot do.

Let’s get that Elephant moving. Let’s work on ways to  address the dilemma faced by employers in recruiting disabled people who will not be as productive. Society creates this barrier with a competitive labour   market and society needs to find ways to remove it.

Please come and help us formulate our evidence in the discussion group at   – http://patspetition.myfineforum.org/about31.html

Shocking Extent Of Sick And Disabled Benefit Sanctions Revealedread here

Sanction numbers for Employment & Support Allowance claimants revealed – read here

 

 

 

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Disability is just not that simple

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

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.

shaking-hands-150x150What 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.

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Employment Support Allowance is a disaster

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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.

elephant 1

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 in the labour market on equal terms. WCA isn’t designed to determine this. It doesn’t make allowances for the barriers in the labour market.

So scrap Work Capability Assessment

Some disabilities might involve a little more investigation, but with most the diagnosis should be a passport to a safe group.

3. Fraud has nothing to do with disability. Stop making the association.

4. Spend all the money on dedicated person centred support either to get paid employment that supports you financially or to live a happy, productive life doing voluntary work, permitted work, other activities – and don’t dismiss the second option.

This statement has received support from –

Pat Onions                               Pat’s Petition

Frances Kelly                            CarerWatch

Rosemary O’Neill                      CarerWatch

Rick Burgess                             Wow Petition

Jane  Benz                                 Wow Petition

Professor Nicholas Watson      Institute of Disability Studies, University of Glasgow

Sir Tom Shakespeare                University of East Anglia

Dr Simon Duffy                         Director Centre for Welfare Reform.

Paul Swann                               Disability Wales / Anabledd Cymru

Mo Stewart                               Disability Researcher

Gail Ward                                 Disability Campaigner

Catherine Hale                         South East London ME Support Group

Jim Elder-Woodward OBE      Chair of the UK Committee of the Campaign for a Fair Society

Jackie Maceira                         Scottish Disability Equality Forum

Michele Findlay                       Disability Campaigner

 

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WOW petition recently reached their target of 100,00 but there is another week to go. Time to still gather more support.

If you have not already signed, please do so and then share the link as wide as possible.

For further details see WoW website here

 

 

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Making Employment Support Allowance fit for purpose

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

 

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.

http://www.onethousandprinces.tumblr.com
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 then addressed.

Of course there are many disabled people who, with adjustments and adaptations, can overcome their individual barriers to work and are just as competitive as everyone else. Talk about being less competitive is the last thing they want to hear.   But for many others this just isn’t the case. They are less competitive. And the relentless can do approach taken by ESA pushes them up against a brick wall.  ESA denies the can’t do. These people do not want to be written off as being unable to work (Support Group) but they can’t compete in the open labour market (Work related Activity Group (WRAG)). So there is no ESA group for people who have difficulty competing and they have nowhere to go. And these people have lost the security of safe benefits.

Let’s face up to and overcome the structural barrier in the job market. Because someone is less competitive it doesn’t mean they can’t work and contribute and there are still lots of options that might help them. Quotas, subsidies, campaigns, lots of opportunities for permitted and voluntary work. The government could intervene in the job market to make it a level playing field. Perhaps this needs a name – Supported Work. And being pushed down to work for less money below your level of competence is not a level playing field. Brick_Wall

Meanwhile stop the unfair PUSH economics that is pushing less competitive disabled people up against a brick wall. They need the return of a safe secure benefit while they negotiate this impossible situation.   ESA is not fit for purpose. It has two groups. The Support Group provides long term safe support for disabled people who are not expected to be able to work. All other disabled people are put in the WRAG and classed as being ‘on their way back to work’ and they are expected to compete in the open job market. Some can compete but there is no group for the many who can’t.

A new structure is needed that recognises the reality of disability and the job market and provides safe, secure support for all disabled people.

 

 

 

 

 

Point of Order re Pat’s Petition

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

 

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.

 

parliament-uk-logo

 

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

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Pat goes to Carers Parliament – Scotland this time

Monday, September 9th, 2013

The first Carers Parliament took place at Holyrood in October last year.

Carers Parliament 1

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.

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Report from Maz’s blog after she attended last years event