Archives for category: conflict

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has breached freedom of information laws by refusing to explain how its new universal credit system of working-age benefits will affect disabled people.

Campaigners have been warning that the introduction of universal credit will see tens or even hundreds of thousands of disabled people with high support needs lose out on thousands of pounds a year because the new system will scrap the disability premiums that exist in the current system.

Both severe (£62.45 per week) and enhanced disability premiums (£15.90 per week) are currently added to some means-tested disability benefits to help with the costs of disability.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been insisting since 2012 that “transitional protection” would ensure that no-one moving onto universal credit would see their benefits cut in cash terms.

But campaigners have remained sceptical, while also pointing out that the transitional protections will not apply if there are any changes in the disabled person’s personal circumstances – for example if they move to a new home, or their relationship status changes – and will not apply to new claimants.

And last month, a terminally-ill man, TP, won permission for a judicial review of the financial impact of the introduction of universal credit on disabled people with high support needs, through the loss of the two premiums.

According to his lawyers, the removal of the premiums has seen TP lose £178 each month after he moved back to London to receive treatment and had to claim universal credit (UC) for the first time.


Source: DWP ignores freedom of information laws in bid to hide universal credit impact | DisabledGo News and Blog


Some time ago I was sitting in the Sunday school room of a local church, with posters made by kids depicting the teachings of Jesus curling at the corners on the walls. I was there to do my advice surgery in my role as a local councillor.

A man came in to ask for help getting his family moved to a bigger house. His daughter had two children who had been removed from her care but were allowed to live with her on condition that she live with her parents and they acted as guardians. I diligently took down the names and ages of the children to assess the size of house they needed.


Source: How many Telfords before we get serious about child grooming? | The Guardian – Jess Phillips

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The public “tit for tat” row between the government and Motability has intensified after senior figures in the organisation and the minister for disabled people gave evidence to MPs.

The Treasury and work and pensions select committees are holding a joint inquiry following political and media criticism of how the car scheme for disabled people is run.

Following the evidence sessions on Monday, the committees have asked the National Audit Office (NAO) to investigate the scheme.

Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, suggested during one of the evidence sessions that letters she would release to the committee would show that Lord Sterling, the Tory peer who co-founded the scheme more than 40 years ago, was wrong to accuse work and pensions secretary Esther McVey of making a series of untrue and misleading statements about the schemeto MPs last month.

Lord Sterling – who also gave evidence to the committees on Monday – had said in his letter that McVey was wrong to claim that it had been her intervention as minister for disabled people in 2013 that led to Motability agreeing to pass £175 million to former disability living allowance (DLA) claimants who were going to lose their Motability vehicles in the programme to be reassessed for the new personal independence payment (PIP).

The committees also suggested that they might use their report to call on the government to allow rival organisations to set up as competitors to Motability, which they said might drive down the price paid by disabled people to lease vehicles through the scheme.


Source: Motability ‘tit for tat’ row intensifies as bosses and minister give evidence | DisabledGo News and Blog


The government has failed to set up a single committee involving experts from outside the two departments examining the future of working-age social care, nearly four months after the programme of work was announced.

On 16 November, Damian Green, at the time the work and pensions secretary, announced that the government would publish a new green paper on older people’s social care by the end of July.

He also announced a “parallel programme of work” on working-age adults with care needs, which would be aligned with the green paper and would be led by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

But nearly four months later, and less than five months before the deadline Green set for the parallel green paper to be published, DHSC has told Disability News Service (DNS) that it has yet to set up a single committee or working group involving stakeholders from outside the two departments.

The admission came in a response to a DNS freedom of information request, which asked for the names of people from outside the departments who had joined any committees or working groups set up as part of the work stream.

DHSC said in its response to the request: “DHSC does not hold the information you requested, as no such committees or working groups have yet been established to support the programme of work on working age adults with care needs.


Source: ‘Extraordinary’ government response to question over social care progress | DisabledGo News and Blog


PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday he shared Britain’s assessment that Russia was behind a nerve agent attack on a former spy living in England and vowed to take measures in response in the coming days.


Source: After hesitancy, France backs Britain over Russian role in attack : Reuters


The government must do more to offer incentives to businesses to take on disabled people as employees, and to tackle the barriers that prevent them finding jobs, according to cross-party MPs.

MPs from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and the Conservative party all pushed the government to improve its policies.

Disability Rights UK, which helped secure the debate, said afterwards that it was the first time MPs had debated disabled people and economic growth in the main Commons chamber.

Disabled MP Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, told fellow MPs that the government had done far too little to remove the barriers faced by disabled people in the employment market.

She said: “It is a matter of serious concern that we have a government who barely speak about removing barriers, while actually creating new ones through their austerity cuts and their punitive social security system.”

She said the disability employment gap – the difference between the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled people – currently stood at more than 31 percentage points, and was even higher for some impairment groups.

De Cordova was among MPs who criticised the government’s Disability Confident scheme, which is supposed to encourage employers to take on disabled employees.

She said it had been “a dismal failure” and “has yet to produce any concrete evidence of results”.

She asked the minister for disabled people, Sarah Newton, how many disabled people had found jobs as a direct result of the scheme, but Newton later failed to provide an answer.

De Cordova told fellow MPs how one deaf man had been offered a job by an employer signed up to the Disability Confident scheme.

But when the employer realised that the man’s Access to Work support would be capped – because of government policy – and they would have to meet the rest of his disability-related workplace costs, the job offer was withdrawn.


Source: Government ‘must do more on disability employment’, MPs hear | DisabledGo News and Blog


Bus drivers will be given the power to remove passengers who refuse to vacate wheelchair spaces to allow people with a disability to get on, under Government proposals. Legislation should be amended to enable bus drivers to remove passengers who “unreasonably refuse to remove when requested from the wheelchair space”, ministers wrote in a statement to Parliament. Improved signage should also be introduced to “better reflect the behaviours expected from drivers and passengers with respect to use of the wheelchair space”, they suggested. “Our view is that drivers need to play an active role in ensuring that the wheelchair space is made available for passengers in wheelchairs, which includes requiring other passengers to move where necessary, but that drivers also need more powers than they have currently to enable them to do this effectively,” the task and finish group on the use of wheelchair spaces on buses said.

Source: Bus drivers to get powers to move pram users from wheelchair spaces : i


The minister has said that the strategy is “to be better and compete” with the EU on all fronts.

The revelation comes as a string of chief executives from EU countries took part in a round table discussion in Downing Street today.

The meeting with Theresa May comes amid reports that industry in Germany is “beginning to panic” that the European Commission tactics will lead to Britain walking away from talks damaging their biggest export market for cars.

The minister told the Daily Express: “We have taken a polite approach and tried to be as reasonable as possible so far but in the end we have the means to compete and outdo the EU.


Source: Brexit WALKOUT: No deal on the cards as UK ministers left fed up with stubborn EU : Express


The  presenter branded Michel Barnier “Jack Cherry McCherrypicker” after the publication of the latest set of EU  guidelines revealing Brussels’ intentions for the next phase of talks with Britain.

The latest Brexit guidelines, presented earlier this week, set out the EU terms to secure a free-trade agreement between London and Brussels.

Neil slapped down Mr Barnier, calling him out for allegedly wanting to “cherry pick” the terms of a future arrangement after warning Britain against it.

The BBC This Week host said: “In Brussels, Michel Barnier, the Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, revealed the EU’s bargaining position for the next round of talks.


Source: Andrew Neil DESTROYS Barnier’s latest Brexit threat with this BRUTAL point : Express


According to a report in German newspaper Heise, the decision could affect nearly 200 treaty agreements between EU member states.

The verdict, published yesterday by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), could have a huge impact on investment protection agreements beyond the specific case – at least between two or more EU member states.

This ruling has been made as a result of a claim by Dutch insurance group Achmea against Slovakia, who in 2006 had partially reversed a lucrative liberalisation of the health insurance market.

The Achmea group, which had a subsidiary in Slovakia, then sued for lost profits, citing the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), an investment protection agreement signed by Czechoslovakia and dissolved in 1993 with the Netherlands.


Source: EU FARCE: Hundreds of treaties at risk as ECJ rules clause ILLEGAL : Express

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