Posts Tagged ‘independent living’

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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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

x

 

 

Report – OPPOSITION DAY – EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE

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.

Brick_Wall

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.

URGENT CALL TO ACTION FOR DISABILITY CAMPAIGNERS

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
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE
 
 
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.
 
 
 
 

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.

Subject:

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

3:36 PM (1 minute ago)

To:

Rt Hon Mr. Liam Byrne, MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
House of Commons
London, England
SW1A 0AA

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 (http://carerwatch.com/reform/?p=1697), 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…)

OPPOSITION DAY – EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE – How to take action

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Pat’s Petition welcome this debate on Wednesday 10th July 2013 regarding ‘The effect of Government Policies on Disabled People.’

Over 62,000 people signed Pat’s Petition calling for this debate.  And 48,905 people have now signed the WOW Petition . Please add your name if not already done so and then share asking as many others to do the same. ( 5 months remaining ).

We, along with many others, have continuously asked the government to conduct a Cumulative Impact Study to assess the cumulative effects of the myriad of changes in policy falling on disabled people and carers. The government refuses on the grounds that this is too difficult. It is totally irresponsible to conduct an enormous experiment like this on disabled people without attempting to predict or measure the effects on disabled people and carers. It wouldn’t be allowed in any kind of building project – so why is it possible to experiment on disabled people without checking that it is safe.

With recess 18th July – 2nd Sept,  followed by Party conferences 13th Sept to 8th October , this will be one of the last opportunities to get disabled peoples’ voices heard for some time.

Here at Pat’s Petition we will be sending briefing papers to MPs from all parties, but it is vital you contact them too.

It is personal stories about how these changes to benefits and services are affecting you and your families, that they need hear. This will help them understand why a Cumulative Impact Assessment is a necessity.

 

take action

 

 Actions you can take

 

1. Write to your MP and ask them to back the motion. Contact your MP   via this link

Here’s the motion in full:

 

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).

Ask them to attend and speak on your behalf

2. Watch the debate live on the day using this link

3. Share the information with all your friends, family, work colleagues, local media.

 

4. Don’t forget to use social media to raise awareness of this Disability debate.

Share the details on Facebook, and if you use Twitter we will be using the hashtag      #CiaDisability

 

Times are hard for everyone, employment, housing, cost of living – are problems for us all. We are all supposed to be in this together. But disabled people are not in this together because they often have far fewer options.

Support disabled people on Wednesday

 

 

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

 

 
 
 
 

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!

 

cairn

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

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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