Posts Tagged ‘hardest hit’

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.



Tuesday, July 9th, 2013


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.
Call for action
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 our hopes are raised that they will now agree that this needs doing for disabled people and carers.
take action
1. Write to your MPs asking for their attendance and that they back this motion. You can find their details here
That this House believes that the Government should publish a cumulative impact assessment of the changes made by this Government that affect disabled people (to be published by October 2013).
2. Use social media to broadcast all messages with the hashtag  #CIADisability
3. Sign and share the link to WOW Petition  
And it is vital that you watch the debate live on the day here
We have learnt an incredible amount by watching debates.
You can see how full or empty the room is!
See if your MP is interested in your issues.
Hear who really understands the challenges faced by disabled people and note who mentions the impact that falls on carers and families too.
And you can join in the twitter conversation at the same time as watching it all.
It will be a historic day for us – we hope you’ll be there too.


Friday, July 5th, 2013

Opposition Day (5th allotted day, 1st Part)



Edward Miliband

Mr Liam Byrne

Hilary Benn

Andy Burnham

Mrs Anne McGuire

Ms Rosie Winterton

That this House believes that the Government should publish, by October 2013, a cumulative impact assessment of the changes made by the Government that affect disabled people.

You will be able to watch live on the day here

Pats Banner

Pat’s Petition

Team PP meeting





This is an unacceptable abuse of power

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The government are accused of taking money and services from disabled people and carers, without any attempt to measure the cumulative impact of what they are doing. They do not deny that this. Apparently they think their duty of care does not extend to knowing what they are doing to disabled people.

Last night in the House of Lords there was a Motion of Regret moved by Lord Alton of Liverpool, with much discussion  following.

That this House regrets that the Social Security (Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, laid before the House on 4 March, will result in the loss of Motability provision for many disabled people; and that this House considers that transitional arrangements should be put in place urgently. (SI 2013/389

In his closing remarks Lord Alton stated –

House of Lords : 24 Jun 2013 : Hansard Column 599

I repeat what I said in our deliberations earlier this year. It is our duty to understand the impact of the decisions we make. The Minister has just said that we cannot reliably estimate the impact; we do not know. That is not a good position for us to be in. Decisions will affect the mobility and independence of people with disabilities. The noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, put it very well when she said that you turn a person from being independent to being dependent when you take such decisions

The economic crisis shows no sign of coming to an end. The Government and the Opposition remain determined to carry on with Welfare Reform and cut the Welfare Budget.

They haven’t predicted or measured the damage that they are inflicting on disabled people and carers. It is one big unquantified social experiment on vulnerable people who have nowhere else to turn. So we have no choice. We have to carry on fighting and asking the government to measure what it is doing.

The WOW petition is following on from Pat’s Petition and after that – we will do whatever it takes.


The government cannot carry on

taking from people

who have so little,

Government are refusing to take responsibility

and record what they are doing.

This is an unacceptable abuse of power



Nightmare on Care Street

Monday, June 10th, 2013

The theme for this week’s Carers Week – Prepared to Care? –  has made us think about the preparations that people take to care. Most people don’t think about it – we don’t think it will happen to us. Even armed with information and advice, sometimes we’re not as prepared to care as we think we are.

We all know life is uncertain – but are we really ready for what life throws at us?

Imagine you and your partner have been together a long time. You have made a home together, maybe brought up a couple of children. Now you are thinking towards retirement and putting some money aside for your old age.

And then – wham bang – out of a clear blue sky – one of you gets a serious illness or injury. You aren’t high earners, but you have both worked all your lives and paid all those National Insurance Contributions. You have lost one income overnight. You are now learning you are a carer. This is your time to get support from the state. Right?

No. Wrong.

Your partner may be ill or disabled, but the government have tightened up the system. Your partner is put on Employment Support Allowance in the Work Related Activity Group and you think it will be OK.

You are pleased to hear that he’ll be given support to find work that will fit with his disability. But then you both realise that if he doesn’t find work within a year, there will be no more money. ESA has changed from universal to means tested.

Do you earn more than £7000 a year?

Have you saved more than £16,000 for retirement?

Sorry – you won’t qualify for ESA any more.

And the Disability Living Allowance you might have received to help you meet the costs of disability, including a taxi to work or equipment to help you access the internet, has changed to Personal Independence Payment. But PIP has been tightened up and he might not qualify for that any more. Without that you won’t get Carers Allowance.

So you start to worry about what life will be like after a year in the WRAG group. He has no disability benefits. You don’t receive carers allowance. You both start to feel depressed and anxious about what lies ahead. Can you carry on working when you can’t concentrate with the worry? What if his support needs start to increase and he needs more care?

Is this really the sort of welfare system you paid in to? Is this what you expected to happen when you needed it?

safety netLife is uncertain. But we used to be able to trust the government to help us at these times of crisis. Not any more. So remember if the time ever comes when you step up and say you are prepared to be a carer – you may be on your own. Iain Duncan Smith has taken away your parachute and your life jacket.

The safety net you thought would be there has been stripped away.


We stand united together and will grow and grow

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

As a gardener I am always looking for new ideas to add to my garden. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Like most of us who enjoy plants and trees – each new addition means a little less lawn to cut as we find a space for our latest acquisition.

Up here in Scotland we have some beautiful natural stone. Most of it huge and attached to a mountain but my garden has its own fair share.

Granite is plentiful in many areas. As such it is used a lot in buildings as it is one of the hardest stones known to man. And woman who digs it out of her garden!



A cairn is often used to mark the tops of mountains – people who reach the summit can add a stone. They are also used to mark paths keeping travellers safely away from the dangers of the edges. The lasting durability of the stone cairn is a symbol to those that follow behind.


So the idea of building a cairn in the garden was born.and it will represent those 62,709 people who signed Pat’s Petition before it closed.

I laid the first stone and it will be added to as and when weather, time and availability of gathered stones allow.


cairn laying 1st stone 2

I don’t think I can count 62,709 but will use one stone per 100 signatures. The strength and hardness of these stones represent us all – disabled people, carers and their families.


PP closed 4 months ago but we are still inundated with requests from people wanting to add their support. To this end a space has been created here. New stones will continue to be added to the cairn as these numbers increase.

Like the cairn which won’t crumble into the soil – we stand united together and will grow and grow.

There are still some important petitions open on the government website.


WowPetition  sign here   – further details of the campaign group here


Stop the Abolition of Disability Living Allowance for Personal Independence Payments  – sign here





This is just the end of the beginning – Welfare Reform

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Iain D Smith

The government is bringing in so many cuts that a Cumulative Impact Assessment is far too difficult

April Fool – it’s actually really very simple 


At last more and more people are waking up to the realisation of the horrors lying in wait for disabled people, their carers and families. At last there are debates in Parliament with dozens of MPs relating true stories from their constituents. They all tell the same story. How disabled people, those with serious illness, and carers are being hit the hardest.

And this is just the end of the beginning.

Six more drastic cuts come on line today.

It is the perfect storm

That’s why I’m so proud of Pat’s Petition and what we achieved together.Pat’s Petition asked the government to “stop and look at the way all these changes would add up and impact on the lives of disabled people and their carers.” 62,709 people signed in the year that was open to us.

But the government refused. They say it is too difficult. You can read their response on Pat’s Petition here . They are conducting one enormous social experiment and leaving it for history to tell them what they did to us.

How can they get away with this?

Well – they can’t get away with it. We won’t let them. And neither will you.

The government are pretending that it is amazingly complicated when we are asking for something that is really simple. We are asking for an assessment of the impact on individual disabled people. There is no reason why they can’t run example cases through all the benefit changes one by one and show us, and the voters, exactly what they are doing to individual disabled people.

Scope/Demos  have released research on these changes. And it isn’t as impossibly difficult as the government maintain.

We aren’t going anywhere until the government face up to their responsibilities and produce a projection of what their policies are, and will be doing, to disabled people and their carers.

Pat’s team is working with many other campaign groups and we are meeting with government statisticians to discuss how they can carry out a Cumulative Impact Assessment.

The WOW petition is still active and you can sign that here. Their number of supporters is growing daily. Please share this petition as wide as possible asking others to sign and share too.  You will note they have had a preliminary response in which again the government states –

“Cumulative impact analysis is not being withheld – it is very difficult to do accurately and external organisations have not produced this either.”

This is NOT acceptable.

We still receive many emails and requests from people wanting to support this campaign. To this end a space has been created here to add your support, comments can be added too.

This Cumulative Impact Assessment

is going to happen





Inclusion Scotland – Impact of the Change from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Received from Inclusion Scotland


Change in Assessment Criteria:

In December 2012 the UK Government announced an unexpected change in the PIP Assessment criteria. This change reduces the distance someone can walk (safely) before qualifying for the Enhanced Mobility element of PIP from 50 metres to 20 metres (the Enhanced Mobility element of PIP is equivalent to the Higher Rate Mobility Component of DLA).

The change has contributed to a substantial increase in the numbers expected not to qualify for the Enhanced Mobility element of PIP – up from 250,000 to 428,000 (a 70% increase).

Using the DWP’s own UK-wide projections of expected “winners” and “losers” arising from the replacement of DLA by PIP Inclusion Scotland have now calculated the equivalent figures for Scotland. These are set out below.

One piece of good news is that the majority of disabled people on life-time or long term awards of DLA will not now be re-assessed for PIP until after October 2015. However the following groups will be assessed before then –

* disabled people making new claims

* people currently in receipt of DLA whose awards end before Oct. 2015

* people whose condition/level of impairment changes before then to a level where it amounts to a change of circumstances requiring reassessment.

Mobility Component:

Using DWP projections, by 2018, Inclusion Scotland estimates that (more…)

TeamPP heads to London tomorrow to meet with Liam Byrne

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Pats Banner


Early  Wednesday afternoon Feb 6th, will see 5 of us meeting with Liam Byrne in London. 4 of us from PP with the 5th member from VIA Scotland – she will ensure Pat arrives safely and in a timely manner.

We are backed by others who can’t make the journey, and our memories of our friend who died just as we reached the petition end.

It is incredible to think that although PP has worked together for 18 months, and in a larger on line group before that, most of us have never been able to meet each other. We will spend a few hours together then leave for our respective homes spread many hundreds of miles apart.
We will have with us printed statements of your support, your real life stories, over 62,700 signatures and many questions to be answered. We have prepared as much as we can for what will undoubtedly be an interesting meeting with Liam.

Can we ask you to pledge your tweets tomorrow to this meeting. Hashtag  #TeamPP , especially from 2pm onwards when the meeting starts.

This is to represent not just those attending this meeting,

but each and every supporter/signature/group/charity.


This list below is not complete, please accept apologies if we have not as yet added your name or that of groups/organisations you belong to. It will be updated over next few days.




Act Now for Autism supporting statement

Monday, February 4th, 2013


Received from Carole Rutherford on behalf of Act Now for Autism

The Welfare Reform Bill is impacting in a negative way within the autism community both financially and emotionally.

We fully support the team at Pat’s Petition. There has never been a greater need to pause before continuing with measures that are having a catastrophic impact within our community.

Adults and families living with autism are finding it harder to cope with the changes every day.  We were told that the reforms would ensure that those with the greatest needs would be taken care of, this is not what is happening. We are hearing from adults with autism on a daily basis who are terrified about the prospect of a face to face assessment without anyone to enable them to communicate effectively.

Adults with autism do not have the ‘historic’ evidence or otherwise that we are hearing will be necessary.  The bedroom tax is set to have a massive impact on families who cannot safely allow a child with autism to share a bedroom with their siblings. Families are going to be penalised for having a child with a disability.

It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the disabled. Our current Government is morally bankrupt. 

We need to be assured that Labour will not show the same lack or care and understanding towards the sick, needy and disabled