Tories Investment opportunity

Tories Investment opportunity

Description: Cameron is seated at a large table opposite Clegg and Miller. Behind him is a large board on which is written: The disabled – Label them all as benefit cheats; ignore all disability equality legislation; take away all of their benefits; get them all into residential care. Cameron is saying to the MPs: “Who wants to become Minister for the promotion of private sector investment in resdiential care?!”

from crippencartoons


It actually started appropriately outside Downing St where DPAC was with disabled people   protesting with the Housing Emergency  Coalition against the Housing Benefit Cap and social cleansing. Like the biblical story where the Romans called for a census and people have to moved – Joseph had to go to Bethlehem with Mary from Nazareth.

People were gathered there with cardboard boxes and sleeping bags. Inspite of the spitting rain, there was a respectable turnout.

Housing Emergency Coaltion Demo

Housing Emergency Coalition Demo


protestor with The right to Shelter is a human right on her box wheelchair user

Disabled and non disabled protestors and Richard Downes, organiser of the BIG CHIEF Campaign for Housing, Independence, Equality & Freedom and Linda Burnip, Maz, Adam Lotun were all there.

When all to be said was said and done, there was concern by the news that we might be not be able to move over to Trafalgar Square because the ‘donkey’ will be a health and safety issue. And we had not asked for clearance. Heritage Wardens were most vociferous we could not have our gathering there. (read Adam’s comments at here)

The ‘donkey’  was duly introduced and there was some hilarity and we ignored the warning and those of us who were disabled continued on to Trafalgar Sq. for well deserved hot drink before the nativity scene planned.

Joseph with the donkey

Joseph with the donkey

Many more people joined us under the Christmas tree including a lone photographer from the BBC, and some other media folks.

Jan Pollock agreed to be the hard hearted inn keeper who refused us – “no room for the inn”  which is inaccessible anyhow and the different boroughs which would be affected by the housing changes.

We exchanged stories, networked and ate mince pies in the rain.



(no to homeless cripples)

(The Heritage Warden tries to explain that one can’t protest there.)

More stories can be found at London: Disabled People Against Cuts, “Nativity Play”, Trafalgar Square

And a couple more reports in the other cities –

Glasgow: Citizens United

Oxford: Uninvisible Rally

More photos at

from DPAC

DPAC video of protests

December 15, 2010

Hope you like it. Its not definitive – if I have time I will try to improve on it.

Thank you to Captain Ska for letting us use “Liar Liar” and photographers for the photos: Alison Wilde, Lynn Harrison, Debbie Jolly, Mikael Barnard and others. Thank you everyone for being there.

Campaigners against cuts to public services joined forces for a rally in Kirkcaldy town square on Saturday.

Group photo with banner 'Right to Work, No cuts to save Jobs'

The trades council has claimed public spending cuts will devastate services and result in as many as a quarter of public sector workers being made redundant.

Groups including the Campaign Against Charges and Cuts (CACC) and Right To Work were among those attending, along with disability rights campaigner Susan Archibald and Labour‘s disability officer for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Peter Lockhart.

Mr Lockhart, who uses a wheelchair, said proposed changes to disability living allowance could severely affect people like himself.

“This is a vital benefit being taken away from disabled people,” he said.

“There will be stringent tests. If someone gets a prosthetic limb that allows them to walk, they will stop getting DLA.

“They are going to start looking at wheelchairs. If you can get about in a wheelchair, that would stop you getting DLA.”

He added, “The government is saying it’s being abused by fraud but, in the Department for Work and Pensions‘ (DWP) own figures, fraud accounts for only 0.5% of claims.”

Ms Archibald, a member of the DWP’s equality reference group, said the seeds for benefit cuts were sown by Labour.

More information at The Courier

The new Housing Emergency Coalition has called a protest outside Downing St on Wednesday December 15th at 12 30 (or if you want to go en group – there is one setting off from Trafalgar Sq at 12 15)  – they want people to take cardboard boxes and sleeping bags and after the Downing St protest disabled people will move to Trafalgar Square for an alternative Nativity scene at 3pm. (free mince pies while they last and bring your borough name on a placard to be turned away by the inn keeper)
The Housing Emergency Coalition against the Housing Benefit cap and social cleansing start to demonstrate outside Downing Street at about 12.30. They want people to take sleeping bags and cardboard boxes emblazoned with Housing Emergency on them as props to show the consequences of the coalition’s plans.

Why is it important for you to come –

The future prognosis for housing following June’s budget and CSR is grim

• Already 30% of disabled people live below the poverty line and 1 in 4 families with disabled children can’t afford heating.

• The Chartered Institute of Housing has calculated that the cumulative effects of the coalition’s proposals mean that by 2020 every tenants’ Housing Benefit will be too low to cover their rent.

Proposed changes to Housing Benefits from April 2011

The size criteria will be adjusted to provide for an additional bedroom for a non-resident carer ( ie not a member of your family who shares your home) where a disabled customer has an established need for overnight care. This must be claimed for and will not be awarded automatically.

While this is a very small positive change it still totally fails to address Lack of an extra room for disabled children who need an extra bedroom, pensioner and other couples who need an extra room due to their medical needs, and a wide range of other disability related factors which mean disabled people need extra housing space including the need for space for dialysis, room to store equipment, room to use a wheelchair, ground-floor and level access accommodation. The recent DWP Select committee into LHA said that these factors were posing considerable barriers to independent living and should be addressed urgently but still have not been. In essence the overall proposed changes to LHA will simply increase these barriers.

Under 35s
Anyone under 35 years of age who is disabled but not in receipt of middle or higher rate DLA care component will not be able to claim for more than a shared room rate.

From October 2011

The Local Housing Allowance will be set at the 30th percentile rent in each Broad Market Rental Area, rather then the 50th percentile as now. Disabled people will only be able to afford to rent in the cheapest properties in an area, which are more than likely to be inaccessible.

This will also increase the difficulties disabled people face in finding suitable accommodation to live independently , increase homelessness amongst disabled people and push disabled people further into poverty especially if DLA recipients are cut by one-fifth as planned by DWP.

The proposed changes to the 30th percentile, rather then the median, rent being used to calculate LHA from October next year will only make these matters worse than they already are and will constitute serious breaches of UNCRPD particularly article 28, article 19,and article 7. New changes to our legislation should not be allowed to contravene these convention rights.

Longer term reforms

These will require primary legislation

from 2013-14 Local Housing Allowance and Housing Benefit rates will be upgraded in line with CPI ( Consumer Price Index) rather than on the basis of local rents. CPI does not include any account being taken of housing costs so this will result in the amount of money people can get to help pay their rents being even lower. At the same time this will apply to increases in other benefit rates and an estimate I have seen is that disabled people will be £300 per month worse off because of this.

Social Rented Sector
There are plans to remove any security of tenure from social housing tenants and to increase rents to 80% of market values. Together with the caps on Housing Benefits this will make renting in the social housing sector unaffordable in many higher priced areas of the country.

From 2013 housing benefit for working age social rented sector customers will be restricted for those who are occupying a larger property than their household size would warrant. This is something that the Labour government and DWP tried to introduce in Welfare Reform bill 2007 but were forced to drop by pressure from Housing Associations. It means that if you are living in an adapted property which may have cost thousands of pounds to adapt then if you also have an extra bedroom you have no apparent need for you will only get HB paid at the one bedroom rate.

Time limiting Housing Benefit customers who are claiming Job seekers allowance will only receive their full Housing Benefit award for a period of 12 months. After that their benefit will be reduced by 10% and they will continue to be ineligible for the full out of work Housing Benefit rate until after they have left the benefit system and been in work for a period.

This needs to be understood in conjunction with the work capability assessment for ESA which is designed to get as many disabled people as possible off Incapacity Benefit and into non-existent jobs which should be completed by 2013. therefore this will probably affect a lot of disabled people too.

Discretionary Housing Payments

Recognising the chaos their HB reforms are going to make the sum allocated by government has increased by £10 million in 2011 and by £40 million in 2012. This will apparently give more flexibility to local authorities but DHPs are not supposed to cover long term housing costs and have to be applied for every 13 weeks. There is no right of appeal if they are refused although you can seek a Judicial Review. Leicester for example has now introduced a policy where they will only pay for a maximum of 13 weeks during which time disabled people getting a DHP are harrassed to move to a cheaper property, regardless of their independent living needs.

Less important changes for disabled people who live outside of London, but disastrous for anyone living in London.

Local Housing Allowance levels will be restricted to the 4 bedroom rate. The 5 bedroom rate has been scrapped.

A new upper limit will be introduced
£250 a week for a one bedroom property
£290 a week for a2 bedroom property
£340 a week for a 3 bedroom property
£420 a week for a 4 bedroom property

According to government figures about 3-3,500 disabled people rent privately in central London. DPOs in London however have raised concerns that as the centre of London becomes unaffordable to most disabled people then there will be additional pressures on local councils for example in Brent where there is already a 10 year waiting list for re-housing as more people are forced to move.

Mortgage Interest changes
Changes to the amounts paid to mortgage interest for disabled claimants have been estimated to potentially lead to an additional 64,000 disabled people becoming homeless.

I wrote about Jody McIntyre being pulled out of his wheelchair and many people have been disturbed and concerned by the rough treatment meted to him. He’s had a few interviews since then. (this is the footage where he got pulled out of his wheelchair)

The way the media has handled it shows their disablism and condescension  and apparently not more so than tonight at Ben Brown’s interview with Jody at BBC News 24, here is an excerpt from James Martin Charlton’s complaint to the BBC

I work at a University where we all work very hard at ensuring that especially vulnerable students and staff, for example those with disabilities, are treated with respect and allowed to recount their experience with dignity. No doubt the BBC believes that it practises to the same standard. On the evidence of this interview, in which your journalist showed his opinions and colours only too clearly, you have failed to live up to any kind of civilised standards. If your interviewer were a member of staff here and had spoken to a disabled student in that fashion when listening to a complaint, he would be on disciplinary as a result.

(full complaint to the BBC at James Martin Charlton’s blog)

And a complaint here from J Campbell

I have just finished watching an interview with Jody McIntyre on BBC News Channel. I did not know anything of this story until watching this item on the news channel (20.15) and was utterly appalled at the treatment of this man at the hands of the police- shown in footage during the interview.
But I was also totally disgusted and also apalled at the interviewers totally negative and provoking questions.

The BBC is a national broadcaster and I have never been so angered at an interview or felt such disgust at the standards of journalism this interview sunk to and have emailed them to complain and gone online to see more about this story.


There have been other complaints in twitter too about the way the interview was conducted.

If you saw the interview and want to complain to the BBC about it you can do the complaint here. According to his twitter he had a Sky News Interview I wonder how that went.

This is Jody McIntyre’s blog you can show your solidarity by writing to him.

“Your lives are too costly to fund” – that’s the message Disabled People have been told by the Coalition Government in the space of the last week.

Following the reform of DLA, which serves as nothing more than a tool to remove those deemed to have the lowest needs from the benefit bill, Disabled People have been left reeling after the Government announced they are to abolish the Independent Living Fund (ILF).

The Independent Living Fund which helps disabled people to live independently in the community is to be scrapped by 2015 to save £330 million. The other portion of the cost is – theoretically at least – met by Local Authorities.

However, despite Local Authority budgets being slashed, particularly surrounding the provision of care, there are no plans to cover the portion of payments currently paid by the ILF.

This leaves many disabled people faced with the prospect of returning to more costly residential care homes or long stay hospitals.

Following on from this there are savage cuts to legal aid funding and plans to end equality duties for central and local government departments.

It is clear that there is absolutely no commitment on the part of this government to maintain disabled people’s human rights despite last year’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The situation in some areas is currently dire, and fails to maintain the human rights Disabled People are entitled to expect met, for example disabled people unfortunate enough to live in Kensington and Chelsea are now being given incontinence pads and waterproof sheets instead of overnight care funding. In Birmingham the eligibility has been restricted to those classed “extra critical.”

Debbie Jolly one of the co-founders of DPAC said: “Disabled people have had every single support targeted for ‘reform’, cut or scrapped completely. DLA ‘reforms’ set out to cut 20% of claimants saving 17 million pounds. The Independent Living Fund allowing disabled people to stay in their homes: scrapped to save £330 million, many cuts are being applied to social ‘care’ in local authorities, housing tenure is being restricted to two years with additional cuts to housing benefit, Access to Work funds to help with additional aids in the workplace has been drastically reduced. The government while undermining every right that disabled people have achieved, say they support disabled people–it is impossible to see how.”

Ian Burnip, a 24-year-old ILF service user said: “I have relied on the ILF to enable me to go to university, obtain a BSc and an MA, and live independently in the community I choose. This has allowed me to develop and maintain key friendships with people from all walks of life, and live what society would deem a perfectly normal life. Without the financial support provided by the ILF I could not have done this.

I have made every effort to make myself employable, and contribute to enable the support to be provided to those who need it. If I can no longer fund the care I am entitled to receive, I do not know what I will do. The outlook for me is bleak. I will fight to stop this regressive cut, as I for one will not be forced to live in residential care. It is unfair, and it’s about time this Government realised Disabled People cannot and will not tolerate being exploited in this way.”

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) calls on the coalition ministers to meet with us and our members and explain how destroying the lives of disabled people can be ‘fair’ when billions of pounds in Corporate Tax remain unpaid.

DPAC have also requested an urgent meeting with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to discuss these issues

Eleanor Lisney, another co-founder of DPAC and a trustee of Council of Disabled People Warwickshire and Coventry remarks: “with the DLA changes and the forthcoming scrapping of the ILF, I do not see how the minister, Maria Miller, can still mention independent living and fairness. It seems obvious that she needs to meet more disabled people and understand the desperate and perilous conditions that these changes can be making to disabled people’s lives.”

Sasha Callaghan, a Past President of the University and College Union said: “This represents the most vicious attack on disabled people since the 1834 Poor Law and the University and College Union defies the Coalition to show us where the decision to abolish the ILF is in either party’s election manifesto. This savage assault cannot be justified and we call upon the Coalition to reverse this ill-thought out proposal.”

The Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller said: “Personal independence payments 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. It is only right that support should be targeted at those disabled people who face the greatest challenges to leading independent lives.”

Notes to Journalists/Newsdesk

Data from Family Resources Survey and the National Equalities Panel found that:
· 75% of disabled women and 70% of disabled men are already at the bottom end of Britain’s income distribution scale living in poverty.
· A tenth of disabled woman have incomes below £31 per week and a tenth of disabled men have incomes below £59 per week including earned income and benefits.

· Already 30% of disabled people live below the poverty line and 1 in 4 families with disabled children cannot afford heating

The Minister for Disabled People’s quote comes from the Disability Allowance reform Executive Summary ministerial foreward which can be found at


Linda Burnip 01926 842253

Sasha Callaghan 07505275581

Ian Burnip 0116 2704951

Dec 15th protest events

December 13, 2010

The new Housing Emergency Coalition has called a protest outside Downing St on Wednesday December 15th – they want people to take cardboard boxes and sleeping bags and after the Downing St protest disabled people will move to Trafalgar Square

Some people will be meeting at Trafalgar Sq at 12.15 if you wish to meet first.

The Housing Emergency Coalition against the Housing Benefit cap and social cleansing start to demonstrate outside Downing Street at about 12.30. They want people to take sleeping bags and cardboard boxes emblazoned with Housing Emergency on them as props to show the consequences of the coalition’s plans.

alternative donkey created by Frieda Van de Poll

After this disabled people will move on to the Trafalgar Square xmas tree, at about 3, for some nativity themed photo ops. We will be visited by Joseph and Mary and their lovely donkey. (created especially and in the ethos of the occasion).  You are also welcomed to come as angels etc . We will meet them with placards carrying our borough names and turn them away.

All welcomed, singly, in groups, with colleagues, family and friends  for chance to reflect, network and connect for future actions.  Everybody coming to the action loved and greatly adored. (especially in this weather). Free mince pies while they last!


An alternative nativity








copyright Crippen


Write to Rich

More information at their facebook group site

Ministers plan to stop paying out cash to help more than 21,000 severely disabled people live in their own homes.

They will unveil plans within days to phase out the Independent Living Fund by spring 2015.

Read more at the Mirror

The Government plans to reform Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for ‘working age’ adults (16-64 years of age) but may use a new assessment process for all people needing DLA.

Disability Alliance is examining DLA and the Government proposals to ensure we have strong evidence to contribute to the consultation.

DLA was introduced to help disabled people meet the higher costs of living associated with health conditions and impairments. Disability Alliance is concerned that DLA is not meeting its original purpose; a third of disabled people currently live in poverty in the UK.

We are very concerned that Government reform is based on cutting DLA expenditure by 20%. This may result in greater numbers of disabled people unable to access support and living in poverty.

Your input to this survey will help identify who the Government cuts and proposals will affect and how people may lose out. Please respond by 10th February 2011. This will allow us to include your answers in our response to the Government consultation.

Link to the survey –