Posts Tagged ‘iain duncan smith’

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.




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.






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.

Letter from Samuel Miller to Liam Byrne

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Permission has been granted to copy this letter here, that was originally posted on Twitter.


July 10th Parliamentary debate: Cumulative Impact Assessment (‘The effect of Government Policies on Disabled People’)

3:36 PM (1 minute ago)


Rt Hon Mr. Liam Byrne, MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
House of Commons
London, England

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 (, and in your capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

It is vital that such a cumulative impact assessment include a (more…)


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





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





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.




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


And still they lie ………….

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Yesterday’s viewing of the UK government debating the benefits uprating bill was horrendous for disabled people, their carers and families.

Attending Newcastles protest

We were aware of what was happening: we’ve been campaigning for long enough. We knew the facts – that a 1% rise in benefits is a real terms cut for people who are struggling and we are disappointed that our government would even consider it.

But it still comes as a shock to see those MPs stand up and weave their lies. George Osborne and his fellow Tories (and some LibDems) have repeatedly said that benefits for disabled people are protected. This is a lie.

We will not be disheartened though. The tide is turning as more and more people realise that this government is out to get them too. That the protections offered to people who cannot support themselves are being whisked away and that there is no safety net for those when they need it.



George Osborne lied – Benefits for disabled people are NOT protected

Monday, January 7th, 2013


Pat’s Petition and supporters have always pointed out that disabled people, their carers and families are hit the hardest by every cut and change that this government makes.

George Osborne

The latest Welfare Uprating Bill is yet another example. Disabled people and their families often have no choice but to rely on benefits and George Osborne, in his assertion that their benefits would be protected, recognises this.

But he lied.

Employment Support Allowance is the main benefit for disabled people (alongside Disability Living Allowance), yet ESA will not be protected. ESA was not included in his list of protected benefits.

George Osborne lied.

We recommend reading this link for a clear explanation


Parliamentary business for Tuesday 8 January 2013


Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill – Second reading.

You can watch live here from 12.30 pm.

Those participating on twitter can use  #WelfareBenefits  and/or #UpratingsBill.