On Saturday, we as disabled people, stated we wanted Rights not Charity at the People’s Convention.

Here there is an instrument where we can exercise our rights – the UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

According to the Joint Committee of Human Rights published 4th January 2009

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was agreed in December 2006 and came into force on 3 May 2008. The Convention builds on existing international human rights instruments to “promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities”. The UK wasclosely involved in negotiating and agreeing the UNCRPD and was one of its first signatories.

We see clear benefits in UK ratification, particularly because it sends a strong signal that the Government takes equality and the protection of human rights for people with disabilities seriously.

Disabled people celebrated this protection of our human rights. Two years down the line before our first report back to the UN, we have a Call for Evidence on Article 19 – the Right to Independent Living by the Joint Committee.

Please do read the Call for Evidence and respond where you can. This is important because we can show how our rights have been violated and calls attention to it.

(www.parliament.uk/jchr.)

JOINT COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS

CALL FOR EVIDENCE

The Joint Committee of Human Rights, chaired by Dr Hywel Francis MP, today announces an inquiry into the implementation of the right to independent living for disabled people, as guaranteed by Article 19, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Committee invites interested persons and groups to submit evidence on this issue and would welcome written submissions by Friday 29th April 2011.  Further information about the Committee’s inquiry is set out below, together with questions the Committee intends to address.  You do not need to answer all of these questions in your written submission.  The Committee particularly welcomes submissions from disabled people and their families about independent living and how Government policies, practices and legislation or the activities of public authorities and others can implement the right to independent living in practice.

This Call for Evidence has also been prepared in an Easy Read version which is available on the Committee’s website: www.parliament.uk/jchr.  Copies can also be obtained by contacting the Committee on 020 7219 2384.

Background

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Disability Rights Convention) builds on existing human rights treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.  Its purpose is to:

“Promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”

The Disability Rights Convention is the newest treaty in the UN human rights framework.  The United Kingdom ratified the Convention on 8 June 2009.   The Convention has at its heart the principles of equality and independent living, which are designed to ensure that disabled people enjoy their rights on an equal basis to others.  The first principle of the Convention provides that there shall be:

“Respect for the inherent dignity, individual autonomy, including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons.”

Public authorities have specific duties to promote equality for disabled people in the Equality Act 2010.  These duties broadly reflect the obligations of the Government in the UN Disability Rights Convention..  That Convention recognises that disabled people have a right to access community life without discrimination.  For example, Article 19 provides:

“State Parties to this Convention recognise the equal right of persons with disabilities to live in the community with choices equal to others, and shall take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the Community”

The right to independent living

Independent living is described by the Office for Disability Issues as follows:

Independent living is about disabled people having the same level of choice, control and   freedom in       their daily lives as any other person.

Independent living was placed at the heart of the last Government’s policy on disability.  Each of the three main political parties expressed their approval of the Independent Living Strategy published in 2008, which sets out actions aimed at improving the choice and control disabled people have over the services they need to live their daily lives.[1] The aims of the strategy are that:

  • disabled people (including older disabled people) who need support to go about their daily lives will have greater choice and control over how support is provided; and
  • disabled people (including older disabled people) will have greater access to housing, education, employment, leisure and transport opportunities and to participation in family and community life.

In June 2010, the Government explained that it was looking at further ways of taking the Independent Living Strategy forward.[2]

In December 2009, the Scottish Government, the Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and the Independent Living Movement in Scotland signed up to a shared Vision for Independent Living in Scotland.[3] No similar national strategy exists in Northern Ireland or in Wales.

• Should the right to independent living continue to form the basis for Government policy on disability in the UK?

• Do existing policy statements, including the Independent Living Strategy, represent a coherent policy towards the implementation of the obligations in Article 19 of the UN Disability Rights Convention?  Could current policy be improved?  If so, how?

• What steps, if any, should the coalition Government, the Scottish Government or other public agencies take better to meet the obligations in Article 19 and to secure the right to independent living for all disabled people in the UK?

• If you consider changes to policies, practices or legislation in the UK are necessary, please explain.

Impact of funding on the right to independent living

The impact on the right to independent living of restricted funding, including proposals for cuts in the emergency budget and in the Comprehensive Spending Review, is not yet clear.  A number of changes have recently been announced which may impact positively or negatively on the ability of disabled people to “have the same level of choice, control and freedom in their daily lives as any other person”.

The Committee would particularly welcome evidence on these recent developments:

the decision, announced in the CSR, to remove the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance for all people living in residential care;

changes to the Independent Living Fund;

“the Big Society”;

restrictions on local authority funding, social care budgets and benefits reassessments;

increased focus on localisation and its potential impact on care provision, and specifically, on portability of care and mobility for disabled people.

• What impact does funding have on the ability of the UK to secure the right to independent living protected by Article 19 of the UN Disability Rights Convention?

• How will recent policy and budgetary decisions impact on the ability of the UK to meet its obligation under Article 19 to protect the right of all persons to independent living?

Participation and consultation

The Disability Rights Convention is based on inclusion of disabled people in policy development and decision making.  Article 4(3) of the Convention specifically provides that State Parties shall “closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities…through their representative organisations” in any decisions concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities.

•What steps should the Government take to meet its obligations under the Disability Rights Convention to involve disabled people in policy development and decision-making, including in budget decisions such as the Comprehensive Spending Review?

•Are the current arrangements for involvement of disabled people in policy development and decision-making working?

Monitoring the effective implementation of the Convention

The UK is required to submit its first periodic report on the implementation of the Convention to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in summer 2011.  This report is being coordinated by the national focal point in Government required under the Convention, in the UK, the Office for Disability Issues.  The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) -together with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) and the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) – has a responsibility under the Convention as part of the national implementation mechanism to promote the effective implementation of the Disability Rights Convention (Article 31).

• What steps should Government take to ensure that disabled people’s views are taken into account when drafting their reports to the UN under the UNCRPD?

• As part of the national monitoring mechanism, what steps should the EHRC, NIHRC and SHRC take to ensure that the Convention is implemented effectively?

You need not address all these questions. Short submissions are preferred. A submission longer than six pages should include a one-page summary.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to jchr@parliament.uk and marked “UK extradition policy”. An additional paper copy should be sent to: Greta Piacquadio, Joint Committee on Human Rights, 7 Millbank, London SW1A 0AA.

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the Joint Committee on Human Rights will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm

Please also note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed, placed on the Internet or circulated by the Committee at any stage. You may publicise or publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. Evidence published other than under the authority of the Committee does not attract parliamentary privilege. If your evidence is not printed, it will in due course be made available to the public in the Parliamentary Archives.
  • All communications to the Committee about the inquiry should be addressed through the clerk or the Chairman of the Committee, whether or not they are intended to constitute formal evidence to the Committee.
  • The members of the Committee Are:

    Dr Hywel Francis MP (Labour, Aberavon) (Chair)

    Lord Bowness (Conservative)

    Dr Julian Huppert MP (Liberal Democrat .Cambridge

    Baroness Campbell of Surbiton (Cross-Bencher)

    Mrs Eleanor Laing MP (Conservative, Epping Forest)

    Lord Dubs (Labour)

    Mr Dominic Raab MP (Conservative, Esher and Walton)

    Lord Lester of Herne Hill (Liberal Democrat)

    Mr Virendra Sharma MP (Labour, Ealing Southall)

    Baroness Morris of Bolton (Conservative)

    Mr Richard Shepherd MP (Conservative, Aldridge-Brownhills)

    Lord Morris of Handsworth (Labour)

At the Hackney Unites anti-cuts meeting last week, London Anti Racist Alliance chairperson, Arpita Dutt, spoke about activists using the Equality Duty as a tool for challenging public bodies planning to implement cuts in services, and the ARA’s community drama group, arts4REAL, performed an anti-cuts drama piece, “Hard Times  –  We’ve Got To Stop This!”, which had been premiered in December at a West London ARA anti-cuts event in Acton supported by Ealing TUC and local community organisations.

For a report on Arpita’s speech, speeches by other activists and the
drama piece, visit:      http://hackneyunites.blogspot.com

 

On Friday, a High Court judge squashed a decision by London Councils to cut £10m from its £26.4m grants scheme to voluntary organisations in the capital

Service users of two of the organisations affected by London Councils’ proposed cuts brought judicial review proceedings against them.

Louise Whitfield, a solicitor at law firm Pierce Glynn who acted for the claimants, said:

This case establishes that even in the current economic climate, it remains of paramount importance that public sector funding cut decisions are properly assessed for their gender, disability and race equality impacts. If they are not, public sector funding cut decisions will be unlawful.

You can read more about the ruling at the Local Government Lawyer website

Patrick Butler, in the Guardian today, questions if the court decision merely provides some respite but not a reprieve for charities against cuts.

..it is not the decision to cut the London boroughs grants scheme that was illegal, but the process of reaching that decision. Whitfield says that in her experience, authorities which are forced to re-examine decisions in this way often come back with less onerous proposals. But the Labour-led, Tory-supported London Councils has already scaled down its cuts package once, from 80% to 63%.

He asks if the other providers of services will go down the legal route but warns that –

….the window of opportunity is not open for much longer: councils will set legal budgets later this month, and the courts may be reluctant to retrospectively unpick those decisions. A charity which has not set a legal challenge in train already may have run out of time.

Read the rest at his article at The Guardian

Birmingham City Council are implementing £320 million of cuts which will have a drastic and very negative impact on provision of care and support for disabled people.

The eligibility criteria are to moved again to extra-critical only which will exclude huge numbers of disabled people in Birmingham from receiving the support they need to live inclusive and independent lives. We have submitted a FOI request to get more idea of numbers this would involve.

This protest is only a few days before the council meet to vote through the cuts. It is vital that we as disabled people have a presence at this demonstration.

Assemble Victoria Square,  noon Saturday February 26th

Dear  Margaret Curran,

We are writing to you as an organisation of disabled people concerned with what seems to be a sustained, unjustified and vicious attack against disabled people.

As shadow minister for disabled people we seek reassurances from you that you will support disabled people to be able to continue to live independently in the community and that you will work to prevent more and more disabled people being thrust even further into poverty.

We feel that these aims are fully in line with the United Nations Convention of Rights of  Persons with Disabilities which has been ratified by the UK government.

Our main concerns are

•    there should be a continuing commitment to provide the additional financial support disabled people need to meet the extra costs of their disability provided through Disability Living Allowance. We note with grave concern plans by the coalition government to arbitrarily remove one in five DLA claimants and that even for those disabled people who currently have been awarded DLA for life there will now be an expensive, unnecessary, and bureaucratic reassessments.

•    Plans to remove the mobility component of DLA from 80,000 disabled people living in residential care homes can only be described as heartless and as you are aware will deny disabled people their convention rights to a family life. Removing this benefit amounts to a reduction in income for residents of 60%. We would also like the government to explain to us what will happen to those disabled people who use this money to purchase decent wheelchairs that meet their needs. Will anyone who has the mobility component removed from them also have their wheelchairs repossessed?

•    Of particular concern in relation to independent living is the loss of funding from the Independent Living Fund which will be removed from 21,000 of the most severely disabled people by 2015 in spite of the fact that the coalition government promised they would protect this group of disabled people from cuts. Together with the unprecedented reductions to social services budgets this will result in independent living being impossible. In Warwickshire it is estimated that one-third of disabled people will lose their entitlement to free care, yet since only substantial and critical care needs are met these will be disabled people with the highest care needs. Failure to provide the care such people need is ultimately likely to result in them instead needing more complex and expensive health care. The admission of disabled people into inappropriate residential care due to lack of funding for independent living would further be much more expensive for the state to provide than to continue to adequately fund care in the community through the Independent Living Fund and social care provision.

It is totally unacceptable to us that any disabled person as is now the case in Kensington and Chelsea should be refused night-time care and instead be issued with incontinence pads and waterproof sheets. This is a total and utter abuse of disabled people’s right s and dignity.

•    The continuing lack of transportability of care packages across county boundaries further makes it virtually impossible for disabled people to move, either to seek employment, to find more suitable, or even cheaper accommodation or to move nearer to family and friends who may be able to offer support. We would therefore welcome a commitment from you to support a national care service where an individual care package would be easily transportable.

•    While we welcome some of the moves to help disabled people who are able to seek work to find suitable employment we remain concerned that there are no real mechanisms in place to remove any of the considerable barriers disabled people face in being able to find and keep employment. Certainly the recent cuts to Access to Work funding will in no way contribute to facilitating getting more disabled people into sustainable employment.

Moving 1 million disabled people from Incapacity Benefit onto JSA in the midst of a recession and rising unemployment predicted in both public and private sectors while doing nothing to remove any of the barriers that exist and prevent disabled people gaining work is unacceptable to us. For most disabled people Incapacity Benefit is a contributory benefit which they are entitled to through having paid National Insurance contributions whilst working.

We are further very concerned that no consideration seems to have been given to how fluctuating impairments can effect disabled individuals and that they may as a result of this find themseleves subjected to having their benefits sanctioned if they are unable to meet the conditions imposed on them in seeking work. While we welcome any support we therefore feel that sanctions should not be used against disabled people.

The emphasis on ‘working’ means the needs of those disabled people who will never be able to work are not being fully met. The considerable input from disabled people into the voluntary sector is further ignored.
Heavily criticised ESA assessments which ignore GP and consultant views are earning Atos healthcare £100 million a year, how can this amount of money be justified?

•    Already 30% of disabled people live in poverty yet the bulk of the plans outlined by the coalition government in relation to Housing Benefits will exacerbate these levels of poverty further.

There is a continuing dire shortage of accessible social housing throughout the UK with one in four disabled people living in properties they are unable to get into and out of.

In Stratford-on-Avon constituency there is such a shortage of social housing that people are helped to rent in the private sector yet the reduction of Local Housing Allowance to the 30th percentile rent from October 2011 will mean that poverty amongst disabled people renting in this sector will soar, as is the case elsewhere in the country. In many London boroughs the waiting list for social housing is over 10 years.

Further no consideration is given to the difficulties faced by disabled people in finding suitable accommodation to meet a range of needs. For example a wheelchair user may need a larger and therefore more expensive property to meet their needs, someone with a visual impairment would find moving elsewhere very difficult, anyone with a learning disability may take several years to learn to find their way around an area and needs to have continuity of care and support.

All of these additional difficulties mean that for disabled people it is impossible to move to the cheapest properties in an area. Since disabled people are more likely to suffer disability hate crime living in the most deprived areas of towns and cities these actions are also likely to result in an increase in such crimes. Yet another breach of human rights under UNCRPD.

The plans to remove disabled people from social housing that is larger then their current needs dictate from 2013 is flawed. From a financial point of view since many disabled people who are currently living in a social housing property with an extra bedroom have had extensive adaptations made which in order for them to be able to continue living independently would then need to be done and funded yet again if they are forced to move by Housing Benefit being restricted to a one bedroom rate.

Further plans to extend the single room rate to anyone under 35 years of age unless they are in receipt of the higher or middle rate of DLA will affect many younger disabled people with Mental Health conditions, neuro-diverse conditions, and learning difficulties, Precisely those disabled people who need secure accommodation with a reasonable level of privacy. These cuts according to a recent DWP select committee report will result in a difference of an average £47 a week between the HB rates for a one bedroom flat compared to a room in multiple occupancy.

The same DWP select committee has expressed concerns over plans to reduce Housing Benefit for claimants who are out of work for over 12 months. As the select committee point out it is not until you have been out of work for 12 months that people are able to even try to access additional support to find work. Given the additional and substantial barriers that disabled people face in finding work at all this proposed change will impact very badly on them.

The coalition government have said that they have increased the amount of money available through Discretionary Housing Payments to help with such costs however a report by the Mayor of London shows that demand for DHPs will be 4 times higher than the extra amount of money made available to claimants, Further many councils do not pay DHPs for longer then 13-26 weeks and there is no right of appeal against being refused one.

We would be happy to brief you further on any of these issues and would like to leave you to consider a message from one of our members.

“Yes you, and you and you, all of you who stand by and say nothing or encourage such vicious and undeserving attacks are just as responsible for what is happening.

Those who stand by and allow this are equivalent to those who stood by when disabled people and Jews were targeted by the Nazi’s for annihilation.

Too harsh for you?

Its our lives we are fighting for, our very lives, some have already killed themselves due to what is happening, many more are considering it.

Will you stand by?”

Anne Novis MBE

We look forward to receiving your response which we will publish for our members.

Linda Burnip
DPAC

mail@dpac.uk.net

 

Historically, disabled people have been excluded from or marginalised within mainstream social activities. As a result we are often viewed as passive and dependent receivers of charity and services. Disabled people believe we have a right to self-determination and therefore need to take the leading role in decisions that directly affect our lives. This is why we insist on there being

“Nothing about us without us”.

Growing evidence
Disabled people are providing growing evidence that councils across the country are cutting the support they need to live independently. A disabled man in Dudley said the council had been cutting people’s support after moving them from direct payments to personal budgets. He said: “People who were on direct payments and are now on personal budgets are talking about a 33 to 50 per cent cut, but probably closer to 50 per cent. That is based on what a lot of disabled people are telling us.

In another urban borough, a disabled man, David has been given a package of four hours a week over four visits, plus one night visit a week. Another man in the same borough with a similar level of support need, who died earlier this year, had been receiving 24-hour support. David’s partner said she was told by a social worker: “If it had been so many months earlier he would have got it [24-hour care], but they have cut the packages and at the moment this is what we can offer…because of the cuts.”

A manager working for the borough’s centre for independent living said: “ It is looking like it is going backwards from community care. It could be that people will be going into nursing homes.”

Disabled people in the London borough of Brent say they have also been told by their council that they will have their hours halved from next November. She said “They are scared, they are really scared. They don’t know what is going to happen.”

Anthony from Camden faces a range of environmental barriers which mean that he needs someone available to support him 24 hours per day whereas his local authority alleges that he can manage with just 11 hours per day support.  When he was at university he was able to get the kind of support he needs, whereas now his local authority are effectively telling him to “cope” in an unsafe and highly restrictive environment.

Meanwhile, the Coalition on Charging has pointed to evidence that disabled and older people and carers are being hit disproportionately by spending cuts in local authorities, with some councils planning to restrict access to support and raise service charges.

30 September 2010 News provided by John Pring at http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Meanwhile we are hearing of more and more disabled people who are thinking of killing themselves because they feel that their lives will no longer be worth living.

“I am in receipt of DLA, without which I could not survive. I have severe allergies, home bound, mostly bedridden.  I have carers, and have to pay for extra hours not subsidized by social services. My utility bills are extremely high, and I have to contribute to the rent, which is not met by housing benefits. I also suffer from malnutrition!! Being chronically ill is costly, being depending on carers for everything.
Cutting DLA would mean, that I have to find housing within the Housing Allowance which is much much lower than rental market. There are pockets of housing, in undesirable areas, with mould and cockroaches, and no amenities, no lift, or if on the ground floor, simply not safe.
I could go on and on, about the misery it would cause, to remove DLA.
It would lead to a slow death painful death. Worth adding here, I have spoken to many in my situation, who are discussing mass suicide, rather than suffer more health miseries, for which there are no cures! They are not depressed, but pragmatic about what awaits all of us.” October 11, 2010

 

“I am disabled with both physical and mental health problems. For months now, I have been worried sick about all the benefit cuts due to happen, wondering how I will live and survive and sinking further and further into depression so severe, I am one of those who feels suicide would be the only way out.

Having heard David Cameron’s speak about protecting the sick, old and vulnerable, I could feel my jaw drop to the floor in sheer disbelief at the lies coming out of his mouth. Not only am I worried about meeting my bills, the medical re-assessments despite being awarded DLA indefinately, but I have now after 7yrs of having direct payments been told I must pay £200 per month towards my care. The government are now doing a complete u-turn and as mentioned above, this will kill people.”

Liz Carr

Liz Carr

Disabled comedian and activist Liz Carr will be speaking at the People’s Convention on February 12th.

We are also running a workshop in the afternoon ‘At the Forefront of Resistance’

We would like as many disabled people as possible to come to this to tell us what you think. It starts at 10.30- 5 pm but the afternoon workshop if anyone is unable to come for the whole day should start at 2pm. Please support us.

The venue is Friends Meeting house near Euston Station. You need to book tickets from www.righttowork.org.uk £2 unwaged £5 waged to cover the costs of putting on the conference.

March 26th TUC march and rally, London – meeting Victoria Embankment from 11 am. More details to follow regarding this but please come if you are able to and tell others about this very important date.

DPAC supporters who are able to go would like to carry with us placards and banners with the photographs of anyone who would like their views about  these savage attacks against us all represented.

Please could anyone who would like to be represented in this way send a photograph and if possible short statement to say what they think for attention of Linda Burnip c/o Melanie, Warwickshire and Coventry Council of Disabled People, Room 6, Koco Building, Unit 15, The Arches Industrial Estate, Spon End, Coventry, CV1 3JQ by the end of February

If you are unable to do this please email to mail@dpac.uk.net

If you haven’t already asked your MP to visit you at home to tell them how important DLA is to you please try to speak to them or email before February 14th. You can find their contact details at www.parliament.uk or many have their own websites with details of their constituency telephone and email contact details there. Letters should be sent to your MP at House of Commons, London, SW1 0AA.

There are at the moment 2 very supportive EDMs concerning independent living which we should be asking our MPs to sign. However as many MPs are unable to sign up to EDMs since doing so may commit their parties financially and ministers/shadow ministers in particular are sometimes not allowed to sign EDMs also ask them to raise the issues on your behalf if they don’t feel able to sign the EDM itself. ( draft email/letter below)

Early Day Motion on the Disability Living Allowance Consultation . EDM 1332 tabled  by Hywel Williams MP (Arfon).

Early Day Motion 1231 to stop the closure of Independent Living Fund. (ILF)tabled by Katy Clark, MP

Please support EDM 1231 to stop the closure of ILF.
That this House notes with concern the Government’s announcement that the Independent Living Fund will be permanently closed to new applicants and completely phased out by the end of this Parliament; further notes that this will affect around 21,000 current recipients as well as those who would have applied to the fund in the future; acknowledges the fantastic assistance that the Independent Living Fund has provided severely disabled people to live independently; and calls on the Government to reconsider its decision, which will affect thousands of severely disabled people and will in the long term lead to greater financial costs as more people are placed in long term care.’

Dear Member of Parliament,

Please sign EDM’s 1231 and 1332 both of which support disabled people’s right to independent living. If you are unable to sign EDMs please let me know you intend to support the contents of the EDM and confirm you will write to the Government highlighting my concerns.

The closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) and the loss of funding will potentially put at risk 21,000 of the most severely disabled people around the country; disabled people who as a result may be unable to continue to live independently in the community. The existing fund is already failing to meet current demand against a restrictive criteria.

These are the very same people, disabled people with the highest support needs, that the coalition government says they are committed to supporting. However this along with a host of other policy decisions that adversely affect disabled people, would suggest that this is not the whole truth.

There is clearly no commitment to ensure that disabled people can continue to lead inclusive lives and to be treated as citizens. The result of the loss of funding to the ILF, and DLA together with the drastic reduction to entitlements to health and social care budgets will be in contradiction to disabled people’s rights under the UN Convention on Rights for People with Disabilities to live independently.

Any government should be ashamed of such decisions which in day to day terms can only push disabled people even further to the margins of society.

As your constituent I want you to please ask why the ILF is being scrapped, even before any consultation has taken place and why there seems to be little practical commitment to support disabled peoples’ equality and human rights by this government.
Yours sincerely,

(add your name)

for Solidarity!

January 23, 2011

London:

ATOS protest tomorrow meet 2pm Triton Square, near Euston Road, NW1.
PCS are supporting this.

All out for Saturday 29th January demonstrations

One of our members has asked us to bring these other demos to your attention. She says
“Although the demonstration has education as one of it’s main points, it is also a demonstration against privatisation in general, and this demonstration is also being supported by the unions, so really everyone needs to get out there!

People need to get on the streets and support each others’ causes, for maximum impact and effect. The way this government is destroying the NHS by the back door is a disgrace, and it is parallelled by the way it is denying further education to anyone other than the privileged classes….both issues are fundamentally related – after all if the wealthy are the only ones getting educated, and getting into positions of power, they are certainly going to be the ones who are not averse to selling out our precious institutions – such as the NHS – to private corporations, for vast sums of money…

I think we need to get a body of people out there this Saturday voicing their support of free further education, in support of the Unions, and against privatisation of the NHS! We need to make people aware as to what is going on, because I don’t think most people realise the implications of the NHS White Paper!”

http://anticuts.com/2010/12/20/a-two-of-two-demos-demonstrate-in-london-or-manchester-29-january/

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=184694258211136
LONDON – March for Education, Fight Every Cut
Assemble 12noon ULU, Malet St. March to Parliament
PUBLICITY: http://educationactivistnetwork.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/unite-for-education-29-jan1.pdf

MANCHESTER – March for A future that Works
Assemble 10:30am Manchester Museum. March to Platt Fields Park:
PUBLICITY:

http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/2/f/futurethatworks_29jan_poster.pdf

http://educationactivistnetwork.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/unite-for-education-29-jan1.pdf

These are two very important demonstrations on 29th January in London and Manchester. The “Unite for Education” London demonstration has been supported by UCU, PCS, GMB, UNISON HE Committee and CWU Gen Sec Billy Hayes. The “Future for All” Manchester demonstration has been called by NUS, UCU and the TUC and is supported by PCS, GMB, UNITE, NUT, FBU and PCS.
The attacks on education and young people are part of a wider assault on workers and public sector services. A record one million under 25s are now unemployed.
These demonstrations present a real opportunity to bring trade unionists, parents, the unemployed, disabled people, pensioners and all those under attack in behind the student movement to build a movement that can stop fees, win back EMA and defeat the government.

Details of transport ( no information about accessibility ) to the demo on the PCS website.
http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/campaigns/campaign-events/march-for-the-alternative–london-saturday-26-march.cfm

From Benefits Claimants Fight Back – for those who cannot make it to Monday protests physically but still want to make an impact –
STOP PRESS – don’t forget you can also troll atos origin direct

Email: customer-relations@atoshealthcare.com

Switchboard
…Tel: 020 7830 4444

The first National Troll A Tory Day on the 15th December led to an outpouring of righteous anger, much of it on the facebook pages of Nick Clegg and David Cameron. Spread the word now and let’s make this one bigger!

As part of the National Day of Cuts Against Benefit Claimants on the 24th January 2011 Tories and their Lib Dem lackys will be told exactly what the nation feels about their sham coalition.

For details of other events happening on the day please visit: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=173084439389460

The obvious candidates are the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and The Sun. All allow comments and in the Mail’s case these comments are sometimes unmoderated. Find a recent story about benefit claimants, or just dive in an interrupt the latest chat about X Factor.

In the event comments are removed or strictly moderated then why not switch to Tory/Lib Dem bloggers. Government supporting website Guido Fawkes is one of the most prominent. Again comment moderation may be turned on, but don’t let that put you off, make them work for their living for a change. Should you tire of these, then Iain Dale suspiciously retired from blogging on the first Troll a Tory Day however his blog still has a handy list of the top 100 Conservative blogs to get your teeth into. There’s a similar list of Lib Dem blogs on Libdemvoice.

http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/09/top-100-conservative-blogs.html

http://www.libdemvoice.org/top-75-lib-dem-blogs-the-total-politics-list-15984.html

Facebookers might want to pay a visit to the facebook pages of David Cameron, Nick Clegg or Vince Cable. Conservative Home, and conservatives.com also have the facility to leave comments. Lots of Tory councillors and MPs have blogs, use google to find them and give them a piece of your mind. If you have a blog yourself why not write a post about the upcoming benefit cuts or use facebook, twitter or any of the new fangled devices available to show your contempt.

You can write to your MP via theyworkforyou.com. Or how about a letter to your local paper explaining to them how the vicious benefit cuts are likely to impact on you or your family.

The internet gives us unprecedented opportunity to tell this spineless Government exactly what we think of them. Let’s come out in force on the 24th January and start the fight back against the welfare and housing benefit cuts set to devastate so many lives.

Please feel free to leave more links to Tory and Libdem scumbag’s sites in the comments.

For links to all the above mentioned sites visit: http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/national-troll-a-tory-day/

DPAC was asked to help circulate this for HAFCAC

hafcac logo

No happy new year for local disabled and older people in Hammersmith & Fulham and across the country!

Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition against Community Care Cuts (HAFCAC) is sending a New Year’s card to all of Hammersmith & Fulham Councillors, local Members of Parliament, residents and supporters. It is sent to register our opposition to the devastating cuts proposed by both government and local councils.

 

The New Year brings only fear and justified concern that our right as disabled people to live independent lives can no longer be taken for granted. The government, along with local Councils, is making some of the severest cuts ever to take place in benefits and social care support and services. All of which will reduce the ability of disabled people and older people, their families and carers to manage on a day to day basis.

Kevin Caulfield, Chairperson of HAFCAC said:

“These cuts have nothing to do with fairness. They are reckless. Disabled people are now experiencing being doubly penalized, as we are targeted in a disproportionate and discriminatory way by both central and local government.

Hammersmith & Fulham’s budget proposals for 2011- 2014 outline million of pounds worth of cuts in the adult social care budget. See HAFCAC website http://www.hafcac.org.uk

Our Happy New Year card highlights a recent report which states:

“Many disabled people in Britain are living socially isolated, cash-strapped lives and struggling to participate in normal activities.”

Life Opportunities Survey, Office of National Statistics, December 2010

There is not, even before the cuts, a level playing field in society for disabled people. Statistics show that disabled people and their families are poorer than their peers and have less access to education, training and jobs because of discrimination and barriers in society. Therefore they are generally more reliant on benefits and services than other sections of the population.

Kevin Caulfield said:

“If the main focus of cuts is these very benefits and services then it is inevitable that they can only lead to greater social exclusion. The government says the Big Society is an inclusive society but actions speak louder than words.”

David Cameron wants us to believe we are all in this together.

Yet the Daily Mail critically reported that Nick Johnson, Hammersmith & Fulham’s Council’s interim Housing Director and the Chief Executive of H&F Homes was paid £260,000 in 2009/10  “the highest-paid council-funded official in Britain.”

Also in a month where bankers (who contributed significantly to the financial crisis) are due £7 billion just in bonuses we disagree with the Prime Minister.

The New Year card highlights just some of the cuts to disabled peoples standard of living proposed by the government and Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

Join Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition against Community Care Cuts (HAFCAC) and say No to cuts that affect disabled and older people and result in poverty.

They can be contacted at

PO Box 60928, London, W12 8UP

Telephone 07899752877 Type talk 18001 07899752877

Email hafcac@hotmail.co.uk

Web: http://www.hafcac.org.uk