Housing Cuts

· Consultation re tenure of social housing and rent increases closing date January 17th

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/socialhousingreform

· Email or telephone your MP and ask to meet with them to lobby them on all housing and Housing Benefit issues on February 15th.

· February 15th lobby of Parliament as above organised by the Housing Emergency committee of which DPAC is a member. 12-4 pm Central Hall, Westminster. Further information from eileenshort@hotmail.com

· Very critical reports from DWP and Social Security advisors on Housing Benefit cuts:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/lha-eia-nov10.pdf

It takes about 20 minutes to get through House of Commons security checks, as there is usually a queue.

ILF funding

Write to your MP and ask your MP to support EDM 1231 to stop the closure of the Independent Living Fund, or to ask a question about it being scrapped and what will replace it in parliament.

Draft letter –

The closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) and the loss of funding from this will result in 21,000 of the most severely disabled people being unable to continue to live independently in the community. This will cost the government even more money than they now spend. To force disabled people to live in residential car which on average according to figures produced by the Scottish Parliament will cost about £37,000 a year more on average makes no sense at all.

These are the very same people that the coalition government say they are committed to supporting, However this rhetoric can now be seen to be nothing more than empty words and empty promises: in fact lies.

There is clearly no commitment to ensure that disabled people can continue to lead inclusive lives or be treated as citizens. The result of the loss of funding from ILF, together with the drastic reduction to health and social care budgets will not only remove disabled people’s rights under the UNCRPD to live independently but will push the cause of independent living backwards towards third world levels of no support.

Any government should be ashamed of this. As your constituent I want you to please ask why ILF is being scrapped and why there is no commitment to support disabled people by this government.

I would also like to know how the government have reached the figure that closing the ILF will save £330 million a year. This seems to be another total inaccuracy.

Please also support EDM 1231 to stop the closure of ILF.

Cont. Work for 2011

December 30, 2010

To also do from Home

· Please email me at linda_burnip@yahoo.co.uk (linda underscore burnip) if you can adopt a group of MPs on behalf of DPAC to make an email list of them and send them messages from DPAC from time to time. The more people who volunteer the smaller the number of MPs each person will need to adopt.

· January 7th email Steve Webb and Maria Miller– The Lib Dem manifesto promised to introduce winter fuel payments for disabled people then Steve Webb said they weren’t needed as disabled people get an extra £8,000 a year in benefits already so don’t need any help with fuel costs. Ask Steve Webb and Maria the Mobility Allowance snatcher what he/she earns and how much they get for their housing costs and expenses. Ask him/her if he/she would like to live on your income. Tell them how losing DLA, mobility allowance, housing benefit changes, loss of the Independent Living Fund, etc will affect you.
steve@stevewebb.org.uk
or webbs@parliament.uk

Maria Miller via ministers@dwp.gsi.gov.uk or millerm@parliament.uk

· Midday, January 7th, try to crash DWP computers again. Please log onto  DLA consultations below.

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2010/dla-reform.shtml
DLA
· Respond to DLA consultation by February 10th

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2010/dla-reform.shtml

or use Disability Alliance website to do this
Please see the following email from Disability Alliance with regard to the Governments consultation on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reform.

The Government is planning to cut DLA expenditure by 20%, introduce a new assessment, limit the care component (to be renamed ‘daily living’) to two rates and re-title the benefit ‘Personal Independence Payment’.

The survey is a little long (but should take no more than 20 minutes to complete) Disability Alliance would like as strong a response as possible with your help – to make sure they cover as many angles as possible in defending DLA. The issue is, of course, not simple, and requires some level of detail/length in order to cover all the issues needed.

The survey now includes just Disability Alliance questions and is available at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/dlareform

They have added a further survey covering just the Government consultation questions at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/dlareformgovtquestions

If you would prefer a Word version of the questionnaire(s) then please let Disability Alliance know.

The closing date for the consultation is 10 February 2011.

Given the importance of this issue, we please ask again that you respond to the survey and highlight it to your clients, users and other organisations and encourage them to do participate too.

Disability Alliance contact details are:

Ken Butler, Tax Credits, Benefits and Membership Advisor

or email kbutler@disabilityalliance.org

Disability Alliance, Universal House, 88-94 Wentworth Street, London E1 7SA

Tel: 020 7247 8776

· If you haven’t already please sign this petition

http://www.petitiononline.co.uk/petition/petition-the-minister-for-disabled-people-to-recall-the-public-consultation-on-dla-reform/569/0aa4fc2026635b34c32b57a1e644d746

· Telephone your MP and ask for a home visit as a reasonable adjustment before or on February 11th. Tell MP what you think about DLA being scrapped. The vote on abolition of DLA will be on February 14th. If you don’t know who your MP is you should be able to google for your constituency office or find contact details at http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

· Mobility component of DLA being removed from those in residential care homes. Sign up to this e-campaign

http://e-activist.com/ea-campaign/clientcampaign.do?ea.client.id=78&ea.campaign.id=8727&ea.param.extras=source:Protect

(with all of their money and resources Mencap have so far only got 617 people to sign this- lets show that here at DPAC we can do better)

Housing Cuts

· Consultation re tenure of social housing and rent increases closing date January 17th
http://www.facebook.com/l/95a7dir7s3grMolX1cF5gN7yOeg;www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/socialhousingreform

· Email or telephone your MP and ask to meet with them to lobby them on all housing and Housing Benefit issues on February 15th.

· February 15th lobby of Parliament as above organised by the Housing Emergency committee of which DPAC is a member. 12-4 pm Central Hall, Westminster. Further information from eileenshort@hotmail.com

· Very critical reports from DWP and Social Security advisors on Housing Benefit cuts:
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/lha-eia-nov10.pdf

It takes about 20 minutes to get through House of Commons security checks, as there is usually a queue.

ILF funding

Write to your MP and ask your MP to support EDM 1231 to stop the closure of the Independent Living Fund, or to ask a question about it being scrapped and what will replace it in parliament.

Draft letter –

The closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) and the loss of funding from this will result in 21,000 of the most severely disabled people being unable to continue to live independently in the community. This will cost the government even more money than they now spend. To force disabled people to live in residential car which on average according to figures produced by the Scottish Parliament will cost about £37,000 a year more on average makes no sense at all.

These are the very same people that the coalition government say they are committed to supporting, However this rhetoric can now be seen to be nothing more than empty words and empty promises: in fact lies.

There is clearly no commitment to ensure that disabled people can continue to lead inclusive lives or be treated as citizens. The result of the loss of funding from ILF, together with the drastic reduction to health and social care budgets will not only remove disabled people’s rights under the UNCRPD to live independently but will push the cause of independent living backwards towards third world levels of no support.

Any government should be ashamed of this. As your constituent I want you to please ask why ILF is being scrapped and why there is no commitment to support disabled people by this government.

I would also like to know how the government have reached the figure that closing the ILF will save £330 million a year. This seems to be another total inaccuracy.
Please also support EDM 1231 to stop the closure of ILF.

Meetings

· Manchester Network X meeting January 15th and 16th if anyone can go from DPAC, or is going and can report back to us please.
There is a Facebook event page if you use Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=165446950159789

Actions

London
January 20th 11 am – London action which sounds really fun called by London Class War . See how the other half live – Visit Osborne’s millionaire father’s shop Osborne and Little, 304 Kings Road, and around the corner OKA furnishing store owned by Sam Cam’s Mum 155-165 Fulham Road

http://ianbone.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/osborne-and-little-thursday-january-20th/

London and National

January 24th second national day of actions against Atos and other poverty pimps.- including charities trying to make money out of getting us into work.

For more details watch out for announcements here or go to the Facebook event page:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=173084439389460

Warwickshire

February 11th and 12th Conservative local Government conference at Chesford Grange hotel which is stuck out in the middle of the countryside with no public transport, where they probably think they will be safe- any ideas for a protest there please urgently needed.

CoR week of action – February 14th –19th if anyone would like to organise anything for that week let us know.

Birmingham

Saturday, February 26th Birmingham Against the Cuts protest more details nearer the time. Planning meeting for this in Birmingham January 10th early evening if anyone can go to this for DPAC please let me know. ( linda_burnip@yahoo.co.uk)

For more info email Matt at righttowork.wm@googlemail.com

Leeds
Meeting of Leeds DAN ( disabled people’s Direct Action Network)who are campaigning against Workfare January 22nd venue tbc to plan for public meeting on February 5th in Leeds. Venue also tbc. For more info contact Luke at alternative_editor@hotmail.com ( alternative underscore editor)

Additional dates for steering group members and anyone else who is interested.

January 8thNetroots conference London
January 10th – Housing Emergency meeting, London.
January 10th, – Meeting in Birmingham re February 26th protest ( early evening tbc)
January 11th – possible meeting London if organised by UKDPC
January 13th – London campaigning workshop with ALFIE and Newham coalition.
January 15th – Labour Representative Committee conference London
January 17th – RADAR APPGD 5.15-6.15 pm London ( digital Britain)
February 8th – Conference on Civil Society and third sector, TUC offices, London 2-5.30.

Happy New Year: Work for 2011

December 30, 2010

Hi all, it’s us again wishing you all a Happy New Year. Also although this is very lengthy if it will all post in one go here are the things we need to start to do for next year’s battles against the attacks we are all facing.
Please take the time to read through this, I have tried to split it into sections of cuts to different benefits and funding for independent living etc plus things that can be done from home by everyone.

DPAC Events 2011

3 really important events are

· February 12th A People’s Convention– a national conference in London to plan how we can all work together and to plan for the TUC march and rally on March 26th. We will be organising a workshop and putting forward a proposal to conference so we would like as many of you to be there as possible to support us and our fight.
More details and to book at http://www.facebook.com/l/95a7dFK1vHCRx0llOeet8-G-RNQ;www.righttowork.org.uk

· March 26th join us at TUC march and rally in London. We will try to organise with others a disabled people’s section of the march again. In Greece 3,500 disabled people protested lets see if we can do as well.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=176812472328977

or http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=108752325861545

http://www.tuc.org.uk/theme/index.cfm?theme=alltogetherlanding

 
· April 29th ‘ Wake for the welfare state, equality and justice’ London and nationally details to be confirmed later.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=110099975726266

and important to do from home or through your DPO locally

Human Rights generally

Disability Rights Watch is collecting information of disabled people being denied their human rights under the UNCRPD. This covers things like being denied council housing, being harassed, being denied the right to live independently, to get medical treatment, to have a decent income etc etc.

When as Disabled people we are excluded from buildings, stopped from fully participating in activities, not given jobs or accessible housing we are being denied our human rights.

The UK Human Rights Act was passed in 1998 and in 2009 the UK Government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In 2011 the Government has to report to the UN on how it is doing in ensuring that Disabled people are getting their human rights.

The Project is called “Disability Rights Watch” and is being piloted for the first time. This is a great opportunity for Disabled people, their organisations and allies to help to inform the United Nations of what is happening for Disabled people since the UK Government ratified the UNCRPD. UKDPC want to hear stories from Disabled people about how their human rights have been abused.

The information we provide will be used by UKDPC to produce a shadow report which will go to the UN Disability Monitoring Committee and to inform the UK Government of where changes are needed to improve, law, policies and practices to ensure Disabled people can enjoy their full human rights.

The UKDPC have created a website http://www.disabilityrightswatchuk.org/
where you can register and provide your evidence. The site also provides more detail about the convention and the project itself. Evidence can be provided in a number of formats such as letter, email, over the phone or directly onto a form on the website.

If you would like more information about the project or would like any support in providing evidence please send us a message.

“LET’S MAKE SURE OUR VOICE IS HEARD and MAKE SURE WHAT THIS GOVERNMENT IS DOING TO US IS TOLD”

Deadline for responses 28th February.

Seasonal wishes to everybody!

December 23, 2010

We wish to thank everybody who have supported disabled people in campaigning and protesting about the cuts and changes in DLA etc in any way and hope we all continue to fight the good fight in 2011. We have a long way to go yet.

Urgent appeal….

This is an URGENT need for sleeping bags, warm lightly used clothes, blankets and anything that can help our street folk NOW in London….
Please ring 07554718487 asap or mail hg_piliontrust @ hotmail.co.uk ….

http://piliontrust.blogspot.com/
Please circulate this info around your London contacts….

The Broken of Britain is running a campaign on the DLA reform –

…….Members of the public: We may feel quite powerless at times, but there is a lot we can do to maintain the pressure. To do this, follow the steps in this Campaign Resource. The 14th-16th of January 2011 will be the date of The Broken of Britain’s blogswarm, entitled “One Month Before Heartbreak”. The DLA reform consultation end on 14th February, Valentine’s Day, as BendyGirl explains. Between the 14th and 16th, we hope that thousands of people will write – preferably on a disability-related topic – supporting The Broken of Britain and our campaign. If you want to go further, phone your constituency office and ask for a face-to-face meeting with your MP so that you can tell them why they should oppose DLA reform.

NB: Rosemary O’Neill of CarerWatch has another idea for campaigning. If you are unable to protest outside of your home, get your MP to come to you! Phone your constituency office and try to get your MP to visit you at home. The 11th of January is the last date before the DLA reform consultation closes, but you could ask for a home visit on any date up to then if the 11th isn’t possible. MPs are all off from next week until the 10th of January so give them a call at their office to arrange something. Remember, you have a right to see your MP, and if you are not able to make it to see them, they should come to you. When they d visit, sit them down with a cup of tea and tell them your fears of losing DLA…..

Read more at http://thebrokenofbritain.blogspot.com/2010/12/say-no-to-dla-cuts-how-to-take-part.html

URGENT action from home needed today
p/s A sample message – Please halt the cuts. Cuts will cause further institutionalisation, homelessness and deaths for disabled people and others in poverty. This is false economy, unwise and unkind. Season’s greetings.

 

The government are trying to sneak through changes to Housing Benefit which will result in disabled people and others being pushed into further poverty and being likely to be evicted for rent arrears. This would mean that they would end up in inaccessible bed and breakfast accommodation, in a hostel for the homeless, or in a residential care home.

It seems that one Lib Dem MP, Stephen Lloyd will have the casting vote. See details below to email or tweet him which needs to be done today please.

If you have time please also email Steve Webb who is a Lib Dem DWP minister responsible for many of these plans and who has said disabled people are really well off and have an extra £8,000 a year in benefits  they don’t need any help with winter fuel costs.

You don’t need to say much just ask them not to support HB changes as they will increase homelssness and push disabled people into further poverty.

http://www.facebook.com/l/d55453WF1eVrqXXnz5qmOeA4I5w;stephen.lloyd.mp@parliament.uk

stephenlloydlibdem@hotmail.com

office@eastbournelibdems.org.uk

http://www.facebook.com/l/d5545Q6iWXOWhxqAW6esnVX6i7Q;twitter.com/#!/LibDems/

http://www.facebook.com/libdems

http://www.facebook.com/l/d5545A5Ry7eHBu48ddOG2Qqvbig;steve.webb.mp@parliament.uk

A backbench Liberal Democrat MP will cast the crucial vote tomorrow when MPs get a chance to pass judgment on the coalition’s fraught housing benefit package.
Changes to the benefit have been criticised by many, including senior Lib Dem MPs who fear moves to lower rental support, or local housing allowance, too fast will make many families homeless.
The government had resisted attempts to bring the proposal to a vote in the Commons, pointing out that changes to benefits do not ordinarily require votes.
But after the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, and the shadow welfare spokesman, Douglas Alexander, tabled a motion contesting the measures, the government set up a special committee to pronounce on the policies.
Now the composition of the committee raises a slim possibility of a defeat. Its eight Conservatives and two Lib Dems gives the government a lead over the seven Labour MPs and one Ulster Unionist, Ian Paisley, expected to vote against. But Labour have been pinning their hopes on one of the two Lib Dems, Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne, choosing to vote against.
But last night, Lloyd said he supported the “direction of travel in housing benefit changes” and would back the policy.
The other Lib Dem, Steve Webb, is bound by ministerial responsibility to support the package. Lloyd is under pressure from the opposition and charities who believe the vote to be the last opportunity to stop the policy.
A Labour source argued that senior Lib Dems such as Simon Hughes and Bob Russell who were concerned by the proposal had a chance to persuade Lloyd to force the government to reconsider. We’re not saying the whole thing should be called off – there are elements in the package we support – but the changes to the level of support for rent people will get, or the 30th percentile, will cause great churn and higher levels of homelessness. It’s a genuine opportunity for Lib Dems to show they know this.”

Labour’s courting of Lloyd comes after it emerged at the weekend that the party’s director of policy, Greg Beales, had written to members of the shadow cabinet banning them from using the word “coalition” to describe the government, because the term was too reasonable and failed to convey the government’s “ideological, rightwing agenda”. Instead they are to refer to the “Conservative-led government”, with Clegg unable to affect the direction of coalition policy.

See more at –

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/19/labour-courts-lloyd-housing-benefit?INTCMP=SRCH

Newham Coalition Launch

December 20, 2010

Newham Coalition was kind enough to send us an invite to celebrate with them in their launch. And it was celebratory and joyful with good speeches from the likes of Peter Beresford (his own article is at Community Care), singing by John Kelly and Rockin Paddy, comedy from Laurence Clark and music from Africa.

Dancers enjoying the music

Dancers enjoying the music

Speakers mentioned the social model, personal assistance, independent living, and user led organisations such as the Newham Coalition and their achievements thus far. I told them about DPAC and the protests we were having on the 15th in Central London and Simone Aspis told about a young people’s project and what they did, Sterre Brouwers as the young person involved in the project. Michelle Daley and Brian Stocker of Newham People First chaired the meeting and moved it along.

I found it very heart warming to have this celebration in the midst of the gloom of the announced cuts of disability benefits and services. It is to protect the achievements and services of such disabled people organisations and individuals as those in Newham Coalition that we should protest and fight to maintain.

Newham is one of the poorer boroughs in London, I couldn’t get a taxi after the event – luckily Michelle gave me a lift. The next day I learnt from a taxi driver (black cabs which are accessible) that they do not bother to cover taxi services after a certain hour because they depend on taxi card users and disabled people do not go out at night! And he claimed that disabled people in that part of London only go out to Bingo. What would happen when taxi card scheme get curtailed and taxi cards depends on verification from DLA which is being phased out. How are disabled people going to travel to access services, for social activities etc then? or even to the odd bingo night!

(More photos from DPAC flickr)

– Eleanor Lisney

God help us all!

December 19, 2010

Introduction

Not a week goes by without a fresh onslaught against disabled people at the hands of a Government who appear hell bent upon making the Orwellian nightmare into a reality. Big Brothers Cameron and Clegg have unleashed their bloody thirsty pack of rabid mongels – some simply pleased to be given the opportunity to climb the greasy pole; others who are like the pathetic playground bully, want to hurt those who can’t fight back.

 

The huge talking point in recent weeks has been the release of the consultation document on replacing the Disability Living Allowance with the absurd Personal Independence Payment (PIP). I say ‘absurd’ because everything about it adds up to smashing disabled people’s ability to be independent. For legal reasons DPAC must be careful not to stray into personal attacks – therefore I will merely state that during my reading of this document, Captain Ska’s song “Liar, Liar” was pulsing through my head.

 

Before I look at the consultation document itself I’d like to invite you to read the petition at:

 

http://www.petitiononline.co.uk/petition/petition-the-minister-for-disabled-people-to-recall-the-public-consultation-on-dla-reform/569/0aa4fc2026635b34c32b57a1e644d746

 

Adding insult to injury

 

In the Ministerial forward Maria Miller states:

 

“The Coalition Government is committed to helping disabled people to exercise choice and control over their lives.” I want to suggest we ought to keep this statement firmly in our minds as we consider all the implications behind their proposals. She goes goes on to say, “We have been absolutely clear that our welfare reform plans are designed to protect people in the most vulnerable situations, including disabled people.”

What is absolutely clear is that this is “doublespeak” – it means the Government will discharge any responsibility for the well-being of the majority of disabled people.

 

The document is full of questionable assertions which are impossible to challenge if you’re a lay person. Here is a flavour of what I mean:

 

“For example, many people incorrectly believe that Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is an income-replacement benefit for people who are unable to work due to disability.”

 

This comes from their own research … the words ‘they would say that wouldn’t they?’ spring to mind.

 

“The introduction of legislation, for example the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and Equality Act 2010, to protect the interests of disabled people and prevent discrimination has helped many disabled people lead more independent lives.

 

What kind of evidence is there to support this claim?

 

“People are unclear about whether or not they are likely to qualify and there is evidence that people awarded DLA do not fully understand what the benefit is for. For example, some view the benefit as a form of compensation for being disabled, some don’t view themselves as disabled and others incorrectly believe that their DLA payments will stop if they return to work.”

 

The fact the current system is too complex, I would argue, is down to the administration of it not the basic framework of the benefit itself. Again, like poor workers blaming their tools, the DWP are shifting the blame for ‘not understanding the benefit’ onto claimants and away from the zealot gatekeepers at the DWP.

 

Finally,

 

“Evidence suggests that DLA can also act as a barrier to work 6, when it should enable people to lead independent lives, including having or getting a job. DLA is widely perceived to be an out-of-work benefit and receiving it appears to reduce the likelihood of being in employment, even after allowing for the impact of health conditions or impairments. There is evidence that people who receive DLA have lower work expectations.”

 

As I said it is difficult to challenge the nature of this evidence because of how it was collected, but I suspect many disabled people and their organisations would suggest this doesn’t reflect their knowledge or experience.

 

The sleight of hand

 

In my opinion there’s evidence of sleight of hand to go with the ‘doublespeak’; the crucial one being the description of the principle behind the payment of DLA and future PIP.

 

First of all Miller states:

 

“We are steadfast in our support for the principles of DLA, as a non-means-tested cash benefit contributing to the extra costs incurred by disabled people.”

 

However in the very next paragraph she writes:

 

“Personal Independence Payment will maintain the key principles of DLA, providing cash support to help overcome the barriers which prevent disabled people from participating fully in everyday life, but it will be delivered in a fairer, more consistent and sustainable manner.”

 

Within the consultation document itself we find another articulation:

 

“We need a benefit that helps contribute to the extra costs of living independently, in a way that is right for each individual.”

 

(Emphasis added in each quotation – BWF)

 

Providing a cash contribution to offset extra costs arising from living with an impairment, helping to remove disabling barriers to participation in every day life, and contributing to the extra costs of living independently, don’t necessary add up to mean the same thing.

 

How dare these arrogant people at the DWP talk about confusion with the existing DLA when their own document is a dog’s dinner? The question is whether or not this “muddle” is deliberate or just the work of people who are “not fit for purpose”? Either way, the methodology is utterly flawed.

 

The document states: “The benefit will continue to take account of the social model” – excuse me? The existing benefit tilts it head at acknowledging ‘disabling barriers’ but in no way could the processes currently in place be regarded as working within a ‘social model’ perspective! Let’s not beat about the bush, it is possible to talk about ‘disabling barriers’ whilst enacting policies and practices which are firmly based upon ‘the individual model of disability’ – local authorities and charities do it all the time. Often both disabled and non disabled people are guilty of crude reductionism when talking about “disabling barriers” and the basic analysis that flows from the social model of disability. Within the original social model disability was understood to be social restrictions that were placed on top of the impact of having an impairment.

 

The model therefore focused upon the ways in which the structures, systems and social enviroments within western capitalist society excluded oer marginalised people with impairments in mainstream society. I would argue these social restrictions are primarily organised at the macro level of society, but they are experienced often as ‘disabling barriers’ at the micro level. This said, I would argue that not all social restrictions take the form of a barrier to participation – a defined social activity. The social model makes a clear distinction between the nature and degree of an impairment, and the imposed social restrictions. Attitudes towards impairments might result in disabling barriers, but they can also produce social restrictions in terms of negative evaluations of disabled people’s lifestyles which go beyond being prevented from taking part in an activity.

 

In my opinion the ‘disabling barriers’ approach found within the consultation document has nothing to do with the social model approach – it risks imposing an over-determinist approach through the construction of lists of ‘disabling barriers’ existing at the mirco level of social interaction that certain types of disabled people may or may not expected to encounter. Why do I say this?

 

“The new benefit will have two components, linked to a range of activities that will be considered in the new assessment. One will be awarded on the basis of the individual’s ability to get around (the mobility component), the other on their ability to carry out other key activities necessary to be able to participate in daily life (the daily living component).”

 

If this were to happen, it would adopt a similar methodology to that found in the oppressive ESA assessment process. Disabled people would become the Pavlov dog’s of the 21st Century – no wonder they’ve cooked up a dog’s dinner, eh?

 

Another obnoxious and hypocritical part of this document – again proof of the Government’s disingenous nature – is the bankrupt idea that support should go to those “who face the greatest need”. Why do they insult us with this nonsense? How do you square ‘greatest need’ with enabling disabled people to fully participate within society?

 

What defines “need” within the the context of the ‘principles of the social model of disability’, Ms Miller? Why can’t this gutless “normies” be honest and call it “rationalisation” because every disabled person knows what the phrase “who face the greatest need” means; snot off the end of their noses for some and sweet FA for everybody else!

 

Once again the DWP relies on its own reseach to justify its claims:

 

 

“As it is difficult to measure costs objectively on an individual basis, DLA currently looks at ‘care’ and ‘mobility’ as proxies for the extra costs disabled people are likely to incur, giving priority to the people with the greatest care and mobility needs. Although these are important issues and reflect some disabled people’s biggest challenges, they do not necessarily remain the best proxies for cost. In fact, there is currently conflicting evidence on the factors that affect the extra costs that disabled people face in the 21st Century.”

 

Source: Review of the existing research on the extra costs of disability, 2005, DWP Working Paper 21. Review of the international evidence on the cost of disability, 2008, DWP Research Report 542.

 

The Consultation Questions

There are 22 questions within the document however I will only comment on a selected number.

 

1.       What are the problems or barriers that prevent disabled people participating in society and leading independent, full and active lives?

3.       What are the main extra costs that disabled people face?

 

Are these questions for real? How can they seriously expect a

meaningful response from people concerned with welfare reform by

the 14th February, 2011. Colin Barnes wrote a whole book that merely

touched the surface! Let’s be clear: this is a political honey trap. It is

not possible to produce a complex matrix which takes into account,

for example, a myriad of impairments and illnesses, the range of

personal experiences that relate to these. All the systems,

structures, social environments, cultures and attitudes that are

involved in disabled people’s social interactions (recognising too all

the equality strands) vis-à-vis participation within society.

 

The DLA focused upon personal care and mobility because they are the mainstay of human activity. If the DWP are claiming these are considered outdated, why haven’t they made more public their “evidence”? Come on Miller, either put your money where your mouth is – produce the goods – or sling yer hook!

 

4.      The new benefit will have two rates for each component:

 

• Will having two rates per component make the benefit easier to understand and administer, while ensuring appropriate levels of support?

• What, if any, disadvantages or problems could having two rates per component cause?

Why is there a consultation process if the DWP have pre-determined

the framework of the new benefit?

 

6. How do we prioritise support to those people least able to live full and active lives? Which activities are most essential for everyday life?

 

Surely this is not the same remit as meeting ‘the extra costs of living independently? Miller appears to moving the goalposts again with this question. Remember the Independent Living Fund; trying to be clever isn’t smart – we can see right through your shallowness!

 

8. Should the assessment of a disabled person’s ability take into account any aids and adaptations they use?

 

Depends on whether or not the DWP want to demonstrate their complete ignorance of the role aids and adaptations play in the lives

of disabled people – how many different ways does this Government want to penalise us?

 

11. An important part of the new process is likely to be a face-to-face discussion with a healthcare professional.

 

• What benefits or difficulties might this bring?

• Are there any circumstances in which it may be inappropriate to require a face-to-face meeting with a healthcare professional – either in an individual’s own home or another location?

 

Many disabled people know more about their medical conditions than

healthcare professionals – so why attempt to “medicalise” everyone’s experiences? So much for the ‘principles of the social model’!

 

Question 12 asks how the reviews be carried out? For example:

 

• Should there be different types of review depending on the needs of the individual and their impairment/condition?

 

Doesn’t this sit oddly with Question 11?

I could go on and on raising issues with question after question, but the end result would be the same: it’s all a pile of ill considered poo!

 

I have tried to stay focused and avoid flying into a rage, but it has proved difficult. There’s not a polite way to describe this consultation document and I would dearly love to personally return it to Maria Miller but doing to her what she and her Government are attempting to do to disabled people is clearly not the answer.

 

As soon as the festive season is over we must do all we can to turn the heat up on the Government and disablist lackeys at the DWP.

 

Bob Williams-Findlay