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)

Anne Novis was awarded an MBE in the Queens New Years Honours in recognition of her dedicated work and ‘Services to disabled people’.

She writes:

I am a disability activist, you know one of those people who will complain, (how dare I?), when facing discrimination, challenge inequality wherever I find it and advocate for other disabled people.

Oh one of those you might say, YES! one of those who believes in the human rights of every single person, those ‘rights’ so many take for granted as they have not had them taken away yet.

I have fought, yes fought, for nearly twenty years for disabled people to be believed about their experiences of targeted hostility, harassment and abuse, hate crime and for an appropriate response from society.

Within all this I also fight for myself as a wheelchair user who needs care to live independently.
One of those who relies on benefits to live, to carry on having a family life, to practise my faith and be safe.

Oh I hear it already I am ‘burden on society’, ‘work shy’, a ‘fraudster’ and should have been ‘killed at birth’, I have actually been told this when attacked on a local high street and read it every day in the media .

I would love to get paid for the volunteering I do, for the contribution I have made to this society, for caring for my children and 23 foster kids, for advocating and counselling, advising and supporting other disabled people.

But hey I am part of the Big Society, one of those who does all this for free, you know like David Cameron wants you all to do now.

I am qualified up to my eyeballs, have attempted to get paid work many times often just a couple of hours here and there as that’s all I can commit to due to my body not being as active as my mind.

Most employers don’t want those who are sick, disabled a burden, work shy and fraudsters to work for them you know?

Now I face cuts in my personal care, the ILF which funds half my care package is scrapped and I will only get 5 more years of such support, that’s if I still qualify of course.

To qualify for ILF you must be on the high rate care component of DLA and need more then £340 plus pounds worth of care from your local authority.

But DLA is to be scrapped too , the local authority has no money and will be implementing increased charges for care and cuts in care as soon as possible.

I will be reassessed for the Severe Disability Allowance I get and probably have this taken away and be put on Job Seekers Allowance, after all I should be in paid work you know.
It does not matter about my health issues, regardless I must be in paid WORK!

Yet if I lose my care I cannot function, get up, get dressed, shop, socialise, practice my faith, in fact do nothing let alone be in paid work in some sort of ideal world where priority is given to sick and disabled people to get into work first before all those others sacked, made redundant, not sick, more experienced employees out there seeking work too.

I may get a basic income but I will have to jump through hoops, attend interviews, training and more and if I don’t ? Well I will be punished of course, the finance will be lessoned and eventually stopped.

Yet if I have no care support I cannot get up, dressed, eat, go out, and attend interviews or training.

But that does not matter I should make more effort as I am work shy, a fraudster and a burden on the state and ‘unsustainable’ as government ministers keep telling me.

So how will I survive? I will not.

But that’s ok too as then there will be less disabled people and we will save the government some money and all these incentives will have been shown to work as I, and so many others, will not exist.

And if we do mange to ‘exist’ it will be in residential care, or in bedsits, living on the scraps of funding society can ‘afford’ or deem reasonable for us to live on, we will return to begging on the streets then everyone will be happier as I will not be a ‘burden’ or a ‘fraudster’.

Yet once upon a time I had a dream, to own a home, have a career, travel and enjoy my retirement.
I was in paid work, as was my partner, we contributed to society by it’s current definition.

But oops! One day my body gave out, my back ripped apart and I entered the world of spinal injury, discrimination, inequality and prejudice.
Overnight I was unable to move from a bed, lost my work, my foster children, my partner and myself.

I did not choose this,it happened to me, as so many illnesses and accidents do.

One day you may find you or a member of your family becomes sick or injured, be born too early or face being different.

Now I face increased poverty, for no matter what you think disabled people on benefits are not rich, I face medical tests (many of them) by unqualified people who will decide whether I am too ill/disabled or not to be in paid work.

I face serious cuts in my care package, lose the five personal assistants I employ to help me, lose my wheelchair adapted car, lose DLA which was meant to help with some of the extra costs of being a disabled person.

Once I fail the ESA medical, which most do, I will become one of the invisible disabled, those not on anyone’s radar. I will face sanctions for not complying with job seeking requirement’s and lose even more of the pittance I am meant to survive on.

I will lose myself again.

Not due to an injury that was no ones fault but due to a society that is allowing a government to implement the most discriminatory harshest attacks on disabled people this generation has faced.

A society that is allowing those who can fight least to be targeted as the scapegoats for the financial mess they and the succeeding governments got us into.

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

Please contact Johny Void (thevoidblog at yahoo dot co dot uk) if you’re organising an event in your area to be added to have it added to the website, fb page etc

Take Action Against Atos Origin and the Poverty Pimps on the 24th January 2011.

Atos Origin have just been awarded a £300 million contract by the Con-dem Government to continue carrying out ‘work capability assessments’.

It is claimed assessments are to test what people can do rather than what they can’t. The real purpose is to strip benefits from as many people as possible.

 

This testing system has already led to people with terminal illnesses and severe medical conditions being declared fit for work and having benefits cut. GP’s are ignored in favour of decisions made by Atos Origin’s computer.

Plans announced for the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance have also revealed that this intrusive testing is likely to be extended to everyone on some form of disability or health related benefit.

To date around 40% of appeals against Atos Origin’s decisions have been successful.

The Government also plans to cut £2.5 billion from Employment Support Allowance. Plans to limit the benefit to just one year will mean that even those who are deemed unable to work will be presumed to have made a miraculous recovery. Meanwhile the budget for Disability Living Allowance is to be cut by 20%.

With the recent changes in Housing Benefit and possible changes to Council Tax benefit, these cuts will leave hundreds of thousands of people with severe health problems without enough money to feed themselves and heat their homes.

That’s if they aren’t forced into unpaid labour, no doubt inflicted on them by poverty pimps like SERCO and Action for Employment. Whilst millions of people face homelessness, disruption, debt and ill health the gravy train is being extended for those companies which seek to profit from the misery of others.

It’s time to fightback and hold these companies to account.

Atos Origin do not just do health related testing. They are a global IT and Consultancy company with offices around the UK. One speciality they boast of on their website is having: “a team of Organisation and HR professionals who undertake the analysis, design and execution of headcount reduction.”

A list of Atos Origins locations can be found at: http://www.uk.atosorigin.com/en-uk/about_us/locations/

Other poverty pimps include:

Action for Employment

REED

Manpower

Serco

 

Plus many more, please add details to the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=173084439389460

 

Supported by:

o Accept the challenge Iain Duncan-Smith!
(FB Group from Dundee Unemployed Workers)

o Benefit Claimants Fightback (fb group)

o Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign (fb page)
o Brighton Benefits Campaign
o Carer Watch
o Carer Watch fb page
o Crippen – Disabled Cartoonist
o Disabled People Against Cuts
o Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty
o Free London Listings
o Goldsmiths in Occupation
o Haringey Solidarity Group
o Ipswich Unemployed Action
o Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group
o Lancaster and Morecambe Against the Cuts!
o Norfolk Community Action Group
o Nottingham Claimants’ Union
o Oxford Save Our Services
o Nuneaton Against Benefit Cuts (fb page)
o Squattastic
o Tyneside Claimants Union
o Welfare Rights 4 u (UK) fb page
o Work Programme & Flexible New Deal Scandal
o World Homeless Day

 

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

Michelle’s speech is relevant to our campaign against the cuts and we salute her stand for inclusion, diversity and disability rights.

Thank you to Michelle Daley for giving permission to publish her speech at the UNISON 17th National Disabled Members’ Conference in Telford International Centre on Sunday 31st October

Michele Daley

Michele Daley

It gives me great pleasure to be speaking at your national disabled members‟ conference.
I have been asked to present on how to ensure disabled people’s inclusion and participation are preserved in the mainstream of society. This is a really important subject to disabled people who have been denied far too many opportunities but also it is a human rights issue.
I believe the concept of inclusion is such an important subject to all groups of people globally. Inclusion is in more than a theory it is about belonging and acceptance which plays an essential role to how society values, recognises individuals but also how different groups are represented.
I want to start my presentation by asking the question why disabled people are systematically excluded from society.
What I intend to do in my discussion is to draw on this question.
In order to go forward in our journey to achieve inclusion we have to go back in history as a way to understand our situation today.
History has taught society to regard disabled people as useless eaters, dependable and non-productive. It is for this reason we have been shut away in institutions or placed in segregated service provisions as a way to keep us disconnected from society.
Like other oppressed groups within society disabled people radicalised themselves to form mass movements to help to generate the uprising of Disabled People. It was important for them at that time to inform society about their unjust and inhuman treatment. They no longer wanted to be regarded as powerless, dependable and institutionalised.
Another important factor that I believe is pertinent to the root of our exclusion from society is to do with capitalism which I am sure I am not the first person to raise this point. As Marx said, “the ideas of the ruling class are the dominant ideas in society”
What this creates is a system based on the survival of the fittest. Vic Finkelstein a prominent figure within the Disabled Peoples Movement makes a interesting point when he says that:

“Our society is built on a competitive market foundation and it is this social system that disables us. From this point of view disabled people are forced to live in a social prison. While no one can object to campaigning for „rights‟ so that the prison in which we live is made more humane it is only a political buffoon who believes that exploring prisoner experiences can lead to emancipation! Nothing less than dismantling the prison and replacing it with a non-competitive form of society can break-down the doors which bar our emancipation”

I also want to draw our attention to another point made by Rachel Hurst (1996) who is also prominent figure within the UK Disabled Peoples Movement who presents in an discussion paper titled Disability & Policy – Survival of the Fittest says:

“What is common to all survival systems -whether based on the individual or the group – is the instinctive recognition of what makes good reproductive/survival material, how the best material can be obtained and rejection of anything different”

This experience continues to remain the situation for far too many disabled people who are shut away in segregated institutions for this very reason mentioned above.

I want to now look at another important point which I believe is crucial to our full inclusion and participation within society – this is the notion of equality. Al Sharpton (2010) a US Civil Rights activist in a recent speech talks about equality for everyone. He said that someone said to him that:

“… we got an African American president we‟ve achieved the dream of Dr. King. I told him that was not Dr. King’s dream… the dream was not to put one black family in the White House. The dream was to make everything equal in everybody‟s house.”

How many disabled people have you heard say something similar to this. You would hear comments like “we have accessible taxis, we have legislation” and so on… Yes, this is true we do have a few disabled people now sitting in parliament, yes we do have parts of an accessible transport system, yes our government has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People and yes disabled people are now given the option in how they receive social care…
I recognise that there has been much progress made for disabled people and it would be silly of me not to say so. The grouping of oppressed groups within society have without a doubt contributed to cultural, social and political change on policy and legislation and many other changes disabled people and others are able to enjoy today.

Disabled people have made much progress in a number of areas for example in the area of Personalisation Agenda which gives disabled people greater choice and control over their support needs, improvement in Education where we have many more disabled people enjoying inclusive education as well as greater access to the public transport system.
I want to echo Sharpton’s (2010) point that is what these people have not understood, is we still do not have full equality. Let me raise another question that is how can we begin to contemplate thinking about our inclusion when we still have not achieved full equality?
In my opinion, I believe disabled people and others are dealing with a sophisticated way to which disabled people and others are excluded from society. Today society has become more advanced in the way it thinks and responds to difference. Society has become mindful about the way it implements services to make it look like it is not disadvantaging certain groups by using certain rhetoric language of equality.
Just to give an example of this which can be found in the Coalition Government ambition to “Building the Big Society” (Cabinet Office, n.d). The rhetoric of “Building the Big Society” is to imply fairness and improving opportunities (Cabinet Office, n.d). However as Saádia Neilson a good friend of mine who is Disability Equality Consultant said that it is “about scrutinizing people and giving them nothing”.

In another example in which services can exercise their right to exclude us is through the use of the word “reasonable” within Disability Discrimination Act / Equality Act 2010 which gives service providers the legal right to justify discrimination. How can disabled people ever have the same opportunity when the word “reasonable” is contrary to the core principle of inclusion?
A good friend of mine Jaspal Dhani, the Chief Executive of United Kingdom Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC) has often said to me “Daley” that‟s what he refers to me as, in our numerous conversations about disability politics and other equality issues he says to me “I do not think it‟s “reasonable” for disabled people to be denied the same opportunities to access all areas of mainstream society.” I reply by saying “I agree”. I believe that we disabled people have to preserve the positive aspects of the work that has been achieved to bring about changes for disabled people. We must continue to work at all levels to share our experiences both past and present within society to help further influence changes.
We have the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People and this supports the inclusion of disabled people we must use this to help strengthen the struggle for full inclusion and our participation within society.
Contradictory to UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People in my opinion, I believe is the recent Comprehensive Spending Review 2010
(HM Treasury, 2010) which has severely disadvantaged many disabled people and other group of individuals. A number of disabled people‟s Organisations have analysed this Spending Review and put out information papers to share their concerns about it.
Inclusion London analysis of the Comprehensive Spending Review made a pertinent point that is significant to our subject of ‘inclusion’. They said:

“The spending plans represent a choice: a choice to make disabled people and others who are among the poorest in society, already facing enormous discrimination and inequality, pay for an approach to deficit reduction which is riddled with the risk of creating a double dip recession”

When I think about this statement at a deeper level, the reality is that choices for disabled people are limited. Choice is an integral aspect of the principle of inclusion – it is about increasing people‟s freedom and opportunity to improve their life chances. However if we continue to have limited choices made available to us, our opportunities to achieve equality of opportunity will continue to be seriously limited. What this means is that our full inclusion is being threatened.
There has been much progress made by disabled people to improve the quality of service delivery and accessibility to the built environment.
However the spending review seems to have taken disabled people backwards in their journey for full inclusion within society.
I am horrified that individuals living in residential settings will no longer receive mobility component of Disability Living Allowance. Straight away this takes away an individual‟s freedom and liberty to move about freely.
If equality is about having the same opportunities as others and my non-disabled sister can access public transport but I cannot, I believe that I have been discriminated against but also I do not have same opportunity to equally participate within society. By me not having full access to all parts of the public transport system results in me being excluded from being able to enjoy certain parts of society – this is unfair!
I like everyone else want to be included in society in a full way, something which is being denied to me and other disabled people.
What this tells me is that equality and diversity are immutably connected to the fundamental principles of inclusion which is about designing systems that allow everyone the same opportunity to participate.
As I come to the end of my presentation I believe that the words of our disabled activists and also the disabled people‟s movement must be
preserved because their words are around our emancipation and social change. We must never allow their words to die.
Even in these difficult times where the recession has resulted in many disabled people losing their jobs, cuts in budgets, weakening in legislations and so on, your involvement has never ever been so important in helping to strengthen the voices of disabled people struggle to address our inequality and unfair treatment experienced by disabled people.
We must preserve solidarity in unity to voice that full inclusion is a human rights issue. Therefore we must reject patch work implementation of equality because this can never achieve our full inclusion in society.
Reference:

1. Cabinet Office. (n.d) Building the Big Society.
2. Inclusion London. (2010) Comprehensive Spending Review and disabled people: a brutal attack on equality. Key points in the CSR and their implications for Deaf and disabled people in London.
3. Finkelstein, V. (2001) The Social Model of Disability Repossessed.
4. Hurst, R. (1996) Disability & Policy – Survival of the Fittest.
5. HM Treasury. (October, 20 2010) Spending Review 2010
6. Red Disability. (n.d) All in it together ?.
7. Sharpton, A. (May 2010) Explains His Obamunist Dream Of Equality.