Archives for posts with tag: disability rights

John Pring Disability News Service 14th September 2017

About 900,000 disabled people will see their weekly incomes fall by at least £50 a week by 2020, because of the continuing impact of the government’s welfare reforms, according to new research.

The research by the consultancy Policy in Practice found that, of 7.2 million working-age, low-income households, more than two-fifths of those containing a working-age disabled person would lose at least £50 a week, compared with November 2016.

The report, The Cumulative Impact Of Welfare Reform: A National Picture, says the impact of measures introduced after November 2016 will see the average low-income household containing a working-age disabled person lose £51.47 a week by 2020, compared with an average loss of £35.82 for households not containing a disabled person.

This will come on top of an average weekly loss of more than £20 for low-income households containing a working-age disabled person as a result of welfare reforms introduced pre-November 2016 – such as the benefit cap, cuts to housing benefit and the bedroom tax – although this figure does not take account of rising living costs.

 

Source: Welfare reform ‘will see £50 a week more cuts to 900,000 disabled people’ – Black Triangle Campaign

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What is the point of the UN when nations just ignore it.

We have North Korea thumbing their noses at the UN by continuing with their aim to be a nuclear based country.

But is the UK also doing something similar by ignoring the UN report on the situation of disabled people in the UK.

So on the one hand the UK is condemning North Korea for not abiding by UN directives, while at the same time doing the same over disability rights, so to equalise the situation should not sanctions be raised against the UK.

Political Concern

Equal Lives chief executive Mark Harrison said: “In a very short space of time we have gone from having some of the best rights in the world to a crisis situation where people are dying because of the barriers and discrimination caused by austerity.” 

In 2015, a team of United Nations investigators began a two-week visit to the UK as part of an inquiry into allegations of “systematic and grave” violations of disabled people’s human rights.

Stephen Naysmith Social Affairs Correspondent of the Herald has reported that the UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled People has issued a 17 page report on the UK which contained more recommendations for improvement than for any other country in the committee’s 10 year history.

UK rapporteur to the committee Mr Stig Langvad, said the review had been “the most challenging exercise in the history of the Committee”, and criticised the government for…

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Disabled campaigners say they are encouraged by a new public statement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which describes how it will prosecute disability hate crime.

The statement was one of a series published by CPS that cover the different strands of hate crime, with others covering racist and religious hate crime; and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime.

Its publication came only days after the Disability Hate Crime Network (DHCN) wrote to the solicitor general to warn him that that “alarm bells are ringing” over the “massive discrepancies and inconsistencies” in the way the criminal justice system deals with disability hate crime prosecutions.

That letter pointed to the network’s “deep dismay” that six recent court cases involving violent attacks on disabled people – reported last month by Disability News Service (DNS) – had not been treated as disability hate crimes.

In its new statement, CPS pledges to “identify disability hate crimes and other offences targeted at disabled people as early as possible”, “build strong cases with our partners”, “remind the court of its powers to increase a sentence” under section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 if there is evidence of disability hate crime*, and “apply for an increased sentence in all other cases where disability is an aggravating factor in the case”.

The statement also includes a commitment to the social model of disability, and a recognition that the belief that disabled people “are somehow inherently vulnerable, weak and easy targets is an attitude that motivates some crimes against disabled people”.

But it also states that some crimes are committed “because the offender perceives the disabled person to be vulnerable and not because the offender dislikes or hates the person or disabled people”, and are therefore not disability hate crimes.

CPS says that any such evidence will still be put before the court – even if the offence was not a hate crime – so that “the sentence reflects the gravity of such offending”.

It also promises that it will “not make assumptions about a disabled victim’s reliability or credibility, and [will] challenge

 

Source: CPS hate crime statement wins support – Black Triangle Campaign


The government has been accused of “sending out mixed messages” on independent living, after it emerged that it wants to charge VAT on the payroll services provided to disabled people who receive direct payments for their social care.

Cheshire Centre for Independent Living (CCIL) is having to take HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to the first-tier tribunal to fight off its attempt to force it to charge disabled service-users 20 per cent VAT on top of their monthly fee for using its popular payroll service.

The tribunal case is due to be heard in Manchester in early December.

Other disabled people’s organisations are also challenging the HMRC VAT demand on their own payroll services, but CCIL’s will be the first to be heard at tribunal.

CCIL insists that its payroll service – which is used by nearly 3,000 disabled people across the north-west of England who use direct payments to employ personal assistants – should not be subject to VAT under HMRC’s “welfare” exemption.

It has been trying to persuade HMRC to withdraw its claim for more than four years, but the government refused even to take the dispute to a mediation service.

Tom Hendrie, CCIL’s head of policy and communications, said the imposition of VAT on payroll services was “absolutely not right”, but he said HMRC had refused to see it as qualifying for an exemption and had “really dug their heels in about it”

 

Source: Government’s VAT attack ‘sends out mixed messages on independent living’ – Black Triangle Campaign


The bus industry is facing fresh legal action over its failure to ensure disabled people have access to the designated wheelchair spaces on buses, six months after a Supreme Court judgment that campaigners hoped would finally settle the issue.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in January that wheelchair-users have a right to priority access over the wheelchair space on a bus, and that a driver must do more than just ask a non-disabled passenger to move if they are occupying the space and it is needed by someone using a wheelchair.

But accessible transport campaigners said this week that, although there had been an initial improvement following the judgment, standards “were starting to slip again”.

London’s user-led accessible transport charity, Transport for All (TfA), met last week to mark six months since the Supreme Court judgment.

The meeting heard from one wheelchair-user

 

Source: Bus industry set to face fresh legal action over access to wheelchair space – Black Triangle Campaign


Disabled campaigners have written to a government minister to warn him that “alarm bells are ringing” over the “massive discrepancies and inconsistencies” in the way the criminal justice system deals with disability hate crime prosecutions.

The Disability Hate Crime Network says there is “increasing concern” over these failings.

And it has asked solicitor general Robert Buckland to create “tighter and understandably clear guidance”, and to pressure the system to comply with the rules on disability hate crime.

Stephen Brookes, a coordinator of the network, says in the letter that he and his colleagues felt “deep dismay” that six recent court cases involving violent attacks on disabled people – reported last month by Disability News Service (DNS) – had not been treated as disability hate crimes.

Source: Minister told ‘alarm bells are ringing’ over disability hate crime – Black Triangle Campaign


Disability rights currently safeguarded by EU legislation may be under threat, while grant funding could be withdrawn without replacement

Source: What does Brexit mean for people with disabilities? | Social Care Network | The Guardian


A disabled people’s organisation (DPO) has intervened in a “hugely significant” court of appeal hearing that is set to decide how far the government’s Care Act protects disabled people’s independent living and well-being.

Inclusion London is the first DPO to intervene in a case involving the “flagship” Care Act 2014, while it will also be the first such case to be heard by the court of appeal.

To highlight the importance of the case, Inclusion London will hold a vigil outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Thursday (17 August), from 9.15am, to show the three judges the impact the case will have on disabled people’s lives.

The case has been brought by Luke Davey, a disabled person with high support needs, whose support package was “slashed” after the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in June 2015.

He lost his high court case earlier this year, after seeking a judicial review of Oxfordshire County Council’s decision to cut his support from £1,651 to £950 a week from May last year.

The council had decided both to increase the number of hours Davey spent without the support of his personal assistants (PAs), and reduce the rates of pay of his PAs.

His lawyers are now arguing that the care plan drawn up by the council should be quashed, while it should draft a new plan that takes into account the risks its decision poses to Davey’s wellbeing.

They will argue that the council is breaching the Care Act by suggesting that he can rely on volunteers or unpaid family carers if he wants to go out for longer than three hours at a time.

And they will argue that the council should have seriously considered the risk to Davey’s wellbeing if his long-established team of PAs broke up.

Source: DPO plans court vigil as it intervenes in ‘hugely significant’ Care Act case – Black Triangle Campaign


A newly-elected disabled MP is calling for action to address the bullying and harassment he has witnessed in the House of Commons, in a bid to introduce a new culture of “decorum and professionalism” into parliament.

Jared O’Mara has previously spoken to Disability News Service (DNS) about some of the access barriers he has faced in parliament since he defeated former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg to win the Sheffield Hallam seat in June.

Now he is calling on the House of Commons to draw up a policy on bullying and harassment by MPs, and to carry out a regular access audit of the parliamentary estate.

Many disabled people were appalled when O’Mara – who is unable to stand for longer than five or 10 minutes – described earlier this month how he had been unable to attend a couple of debates in the main Commons chamber because there were no seats available.

But he has now told DNS that he wants the parliamentary authorities to introduce an anti-bullying and harassment policy that would prevent the kind of behaviour he has witnessed in the Commons chamber.

He said he had not been bullied or harassed directly, but had been affected by the comments and “jeering” directed against male MPs who have taken advantage of new rules allowing them not to wear ties.

The new rules are believed to have been introduced by the Commons speaker, John Bercow, after O’Mara made it clear he was unable to wear a buttoned shirt and tie because of his impairment.

All male MPs are now allowed to speak in the Commons chamber without wearing a tie, while O’Mara has also been allowed to wear a tee-shirt under a jacket.

But O’Mara said that comments made by the transport minister, John Hayes, who warned that he would refuse to take interventions from any male MPs who were not wearing ties, had made him feel “really upset and uncomfortable”.

He said he had taken these comments as “harassment”, even though they were not directed at him.

A spokesman for Hayes had failed to respond to a request for a comment by noon today (Thursday).

O’Mara said: “There has been other jeering when MPs have been not wearing a tie. It’s Neanderthal and bestial.”

He said he was also disturbed by the general “heckling and shouting” at fellow MPs that takes place in the Commons chamber during debates.

He said: “That comes under that umbrella of bullying and something I would like to take up, so people are more civilised while in the chamber and so they don’t make other people uncomfortable.”

He said that this kind of “very shrill, aggressive, intimidating environment” could cause problems for MPs who have

 

Source: Jared O’Mara calls for action on bullying and harassment by MPs – Black Triangle Campaign


A new report has called for greater awareness of the rights enjoyed by disabled people through the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU), as the country moves towards Brexit. The Implications Of Brexit For Disability Rights looks for ways in which disability organisations can work together to push the government to ensure that disabled people’s rights do not suffer after the UK leaves the EU. And it describes the “key priorities” for disabled people in a post-Brexit Britain. The Disability Rights UK (DRUK) reportwarns that too much of the Brexit debate appears to be about trade tariffs rather than rights, and that disabled people “have too little awareness of their rights and what they can achieve”. It quotes disability consultant Jonathan Kaye, who has said he fears that unless those EU rights important to disabled people are highlighted during Brexit negotiations, most will “simply be disregarded and seen as being ‘unnecessary red tape’ once the UK formally leaves the EU”. Kaye says

Source: Disabled people ‘have too little awareness of rights’ in lead-up to Brexit | DisabledGo News and Blog

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