Posts Tagged ‘welfare reform’

Employment Support Allowance ‘easier to claim’ – joke

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch welcome the discussion on 5th September 2014 comparing the ease of access to ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) with access to the old IB (Incapacity Benefit).

ESA logo

However it is important to compare like with like. The new ESA is not equivalent to the old IB and they should not be compared directly. We would suggest that the new ESA Support Group alone should be considered as equivalent to the award of long term IB. If you compare these figures you will find that it is much harder to get in to the Support Group than it was to claim IB.

The ESA WRAG (Work Related Activity Group) is a temporary, time limited benefit, suitable for people with short term injuries or illnesses, who will get better and return to work within a year. It only lasts twelve months. It is the equivalent of the old short term IB.

We would also note other distortions to the figures including the time taken to process the initial application. If there is a short time to process, then all the short term injuries need to be counted, whereas with a longer processing period, these short term disabilities are gone before they are included.

We have pressed for a cumulative impact assessment of these changes and slowly we are seeing acknowledgement that this must be done . We cannot wait much longer.

We have always said that changes should not be brought in until the full effects are understood: they wouldn’t do this in any new transport system or construction plan so why are they allowed to experiment in this way on disabled people? .

There are many other issues involved in the comparisons – this needs serious analysis from professional and independent statisticians such as those at Sheffield Hallam University. This would all be part of a thorough cumulative impact assessment and we urge the government to ensure this is completed as a matter of urgency.

Pat Onions

Frances Kelly

 

 

 

 

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.

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

Friday, July 5th, 2013

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

WEDNESDAY 10 JULY

EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE

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

FURTHER INFORMATION ADDED SOON

 

 

 

Having a serious diagnosis doesn’t cut the mustard any more

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Taken from the Guardian

“At almost any other moment in the past 60 years, announcements of spending cuts of this scale would have created a storm,” says Institute for Fiscal Studies director, Paul Johnson . “The scale of cuts would have caused social unrest in any other era.”

So why this eerie silence from the public?

But social unrest doesn’t just consist of demonstrations and days of action. The millions of people affected by austerity know what’s happening: they have television and the internet. They know that this country hasn’t got any money and they are each busy fighting for their own security.

Times are very, very hard as the Spending Review  made clear. Every one is struggling – whether it is housing costs or lack of jobs or the rising cost of living. And we are all in this together.

Or are we?

Somehow rich and wealthy people aren’t quite in this with every one else.

And there is another group of people who are not in this together. People who are ill and disabled live in the community and are facing exactly the same difficulties as every one else. But when it comes to changing and adapting and fighting through these hard times disabled people are not in the same position. They have less options.

We know that disabled people can be strong, courageous and fearless – it goes with battling for services, and experience at negotiating life every day with less options. But a lot of ill and disabled people do need support. Those of us who were born fit and became unwell or disabled know the difference. That doesn’t mean we’ve given up the fight to show our abilities. We just want recognition that it’s ok to expect that society will support those members that need support – and that could be any of us at some point. We expect the right to safe state support.

mustard

Freud and Purnell and Iain Duncan Smith have out played us by redefining what a disabled person is – just having a serious diagnosis doesn’t cut the mustard any more – not if you can pick up a piece of paper from the floor.

They have eliminated the concept of disabled people which was a perfectly well understood concept. If we, or ours, get sick we go round to the doctor and ask for a diagnosis, not whether they can pick up a piece of paper. This concept has now disappeared in favour of images of cheats, Stephen Hawkins, Paralympians, and disabled people going off to work. This totally ignores the challenges of finding employers who can be flexible to the needs of disabled people, or that regular employment may itself cause relapses, or that people are unable to pick up that piece of paper from the floor.

Our mission at Pat’s Petition is just the same – we need to get the message out about what they are doing to disabled people and carers – past the image of the cheating football referee or the capable Paralympians.

wow-splash So keep fighting with us for disabled people – sign WOW  petition.

Send us your suggestions for getting this message across to the public.

 

You can read about Pat’s Petition at change.org

 

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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