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A new campaigning organisation – named after one of Manchester’s “finest civil rights campaigners” – will fight to remove the barriers to elected office faced by disabled people in the city.

The Trust Lorraine Foundation (TLF) was launched in Manchester on Saturday by Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) and Breakthrough UK.

It is named after the late Lorraine Gradwell, who helped found both organisations and played a significant role in putting Manchester at the heart of the disability rights movement in the 1980s and 1990s.

The new organisation will work with disabled people in the Manchester area who aspire to elected office, for example as members of parliament or local councillors.

It plans to push political parties to commit to “true diversity”, and campaign for the government to re-open the Access to Elected Office Fund (AEOF).

AEOF, which provided grants of up to £40,000 for disability-related costs for disabled people standing for the UK parliament and in other English elections, has been closed since the 2015 general election, supposedly while the government evaluates its success.

The new foundation plans to monitor progress towards increasing the number of disabled people in elected office, and to campaign for voting to be more accessible to disabled people.


Source: New campaign to fight barriers to elected office is tribute to Lorraine Gradwell | DisabledGo News and Blog


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


Dear Friends,

But us Brits still chuck away 2.5 billion plastic-lined coffee cups every year — and hardly any get recycled!

We have a chance to stop this. The government is asking the public whether we’d support them charging a 25p ‘latte levy’ for takeaway coffee cups.



Thousands of people with learning disabilities and other needs depend on support provided via a care worker sleeping overnight, but these services are under threat because of a huge back pay bill.

Social care faces a funding gap that has been described by the Care Quality Commission as pushing provision to a “tipping point”; we cannot afford  continuing uncertainty around how to fund the estimated £400m cost of back pay for sleep-in shifts.

This crisis has arisen due to lack of clarity in national minimum wage regulations and inconsistent government guidance. The result is an impending disaster for learning disability care. Services are closing and providers are handing back contracts. We are asking the government to ensure that funding is made available to cover this liability – which could stretch to up to six years of back pay.

While the government has waived financial penalties over back payments, it has not presented a solution or funding to settle the bill. Instead, it has instituted the Social Care Compliance Scheme, which encourages care providers to calculate the extent of their own liabilities and pay them to HMRC by the end of March 2019. As Matt Wort, a partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors, wrote last November: “Forcing care providers to pay for the government’s own mistakes and leaving essential services at the mercy of HMRC is both unethical and nonsensical.”


Source: Learning disability care faces disaster over back pay bill | The Guardian


Ministers have said they aim to improve bus access for wheelchair users, following a Supreme Court ruling.

Clearer signs saying wheelchair users have priority, and powers for drivers to remove people who refuse to move from a wheelchair space are among the measures considered.

It may also involve an awareness campaign for “bus-friendly” – easily folding – pushchairs.

The review followed wheelchair user Doug Paulley’s court case.

Mr Paulley, from Wetherby, West Yorkshire, took legal action after he was left at a stop because a woman with a sleeping baby in a pushchair refused to move out of the designated area when asked by the driver of a FirstGroup bus to Leeds in February 2012. She said the buggy would not fold.

Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Passengers with disabilities must have the same opportunities to travel as other members of society, and it is essential that the services they rely on are accessible and work for them.

“Where people live, shop, go out or park their car should not be determined by their disability.

“Accessible transport networks are vital if we are to support those with disabilities to live independent lives and fulfil their potential.”

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled it was not enough for drivers to “simply request” a non-wheelchair user vacate the space without taking any further steps, and they must consider whether it was reasonable to “pressurise” reluctant passengers to move.


Source: Bus access to be improved for wheelchair users, ministers say | DisabledGo News and Blog


Where is the ‘Duty of Care’, pending Safeguarding issues and many other aspects, we now see the true values of this Tory Government and persons with disabilities are now no longer valued.

Same Difference

Life began at 40 for severely learning-disabled Colleen say her sisters, when she moved into her own home.

She is living happily in her Coventry house, 11 years after leaving unsuitable residential care, thanks to a carefully-crafted network of 24-hour care and a range of state benefits.

But due to the impending removal of the housing part of her support, known as Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), that security has been mired in uncertainty and anxiety.

Colleen is one of 124,000 households in England who receive this particular benefit.

It helps them repay the interest on their mortgages and nearly half the recipients are pensioners.

However, within weeks the benefit will be axed and a loan offered instead.

Those who have not signed up to the new government scheme face losing their mortgage support.

Though small, the current funding arrangement makes enough difference to enable Colleen to live on…

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