Posts Tagged ‘universal credit’

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…)

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…)

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…)

St Helens Mental Health Forum supporting statement

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

To all at Pat’s Petition

Several years ago, our groups took our concerns over welfare reform to our Local Implementation Team meeting. Our main worry was that the move to support in primary care implied that we would no longer receive support for claims for disability benefits through letters from psychiatrists and care coordinators. At the time, this felt disastrous, and we anticipated a local solution. We were told to take up our worries directly with the DWP.

Since then, we have become increasingly alarmed by the redesign of the NHS, welfare reform, slashes to local authority budgets, loss of legal aid, and other changes, all at the same time as unprecedented economic austerity which has had an impact on local voluntary sector services. This is all too much at the same time, and is surely a disaster waiting to happen.

We have (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.

 

 

(more…)

MIND supports the call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

MIND

 

For the last couple of years, the issue of welfare reform has consistently been an important issue for people with mental health problems. Mind has called for changes to the Work Capability Assessment but the pace of reform has been too slow, meanwhile tens of thousands of people are being reassessed using a test which is still not fit for purpose. We hear from many people who tell us that changes to the welfare system are adversely affecting their mental health, and that the demonisation of disabled people claiming welfare benefits in the media only serves to compound the stress and anxiety they experience. We support the need for a cumulative impact assessment to reveal the true extent of these reforms on the hardest hit in society.

Paul Spencer

Parliamentary Officer

MIND

 

Why I require a Cumulative Impact Assessment of proposed changes to my benefits.

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

A personal statement by Brian Barefield.

1. About me:

I am a 63-year-old male and I live alone in a one-bedroom flat which I have occupied since 2001.

I have two recognised forms of disability: the first is “cyclical depression”, a form of bipolar depression. I have lived with this condition since I was a teenager and apart from a three-month stay in a residential community in 1987 I have not missed work because of it.

The second and most disabling condition led to my enforced retirement from work in 2004. “Degenerative Disc Disease” is a condition similar to osteoporosis. It is gradually destroying discs in the lumbar region of my spine causing the spine to “crumble”. Arthritis occupies the spaces left by destroyed discs and puts pressure on various nerves and, to some extent, on the spinal-cord. In addition to affecting my mobility this second condition means I live with continuous chronic back pain and Sciatica, and, because the degenerative nature of the condition means I wake with a different “disability” each morning, I experience occasional bouts of encopresis and/or enuresis.

Because of my inability to adjust to the requirements of formal education – caused by what I now realise were early symptoms of my developing mental illness – I left school in 1965 when I was 15 years old and embarked on a journey which led to me achieving my true academic potential when I was 40 years old.

In a nutshell, during my teens and early twenties I made (more…)