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Govt Newspeak

Disabled people protest against cuts
 ‘The Tories have repeatedly promised and failed to drive down unemployment figures while tightening eligibility and making cuts to out of work sickness benefits.’ 

Look closely enough and recent announcements reveal the two faces of Conservative disability policy. At the end of last month, Penny Mordaunt, the former disability minister and new international development secretary, announced the UK’s first global disability summit. To fanfare, Mordaunt positioned Britain as a global leader in disability rights, pledging to help other nations “tackle the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fulfilling their potential.” Then the same night, buried at 10pm, the…

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Why did Philip Hammond make this comment and is that what he and other members of the Conservative Party really believe. When you listen to others outwith the Conservative Party they say the opposite, that disabled people are at least as productive as others and more than likely to be more productive.

What have the Conservatives got against persons with disabilities for virtually every policy they bring forward is detrimental to disabled people.

If you look at this another way the Conservative Government is pushing to move more disabled people into employment, so are they effectively working for productivity to be reduced, that is if you believe Hammond is truthful in what he is saying. But then again he is a politician and do they ever tell the truth.

For Hammond is disgraceful for saying this and extremely derogatory to all disabled people.

Scope's Blog

Graham is Scope’s Engagement and Participation Manager. As a disabled person himself, with three disabled children, he had a strong reaction to Philip Hammond’s comments about productivity and disabled people. In this blog, “after a full day to calm down and sleep on it”, he responds and shares some other reactions.

It’s not based on any evidence

Firstly, as Scope colleagues and many others have said on social media, this statement hugely undermines the Government’s commitment to getting one million disabled people into work.

This wasn’t an off-the-cuff remark by Mr Hammond during an after-dinner speech – it was made in a formal Parliamentary committee meeting and broadcast to the world. So, apart from the slap in the face to working disabled people, he is contradicting Government policy.

His statement is not based on any evidence that anyone knows of. I’m extremely pleased that Scope has called out both the…

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Is this really a surprise, what is surprising is how ATOS and Capita can continue to be awarded Government contracts in the light of all this. Or is it that Quality does not really matter, for do the Government care about how persons with disabilities and others on low pay are allowed to live their lives.

Govt Newspeak

Atos and Capita have never even met their target once, according to the DWP’s current quality control scheme for Personal Independence Payments (PIP)

Theresa May’s government has released performance data about tests run by Atos and Capita

Thousands of disability benefit tests have been branded “unacceptable” by the government’s own quality control scheme.

Bombshell new figures say neither Atos nor Capita – the outsourcing giants paid more than £500mto assess people for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) – are meeting the target of 97% of assessments conforming to standards.

Latest audits show 6.4% of PIP benefit assessments were deemed “unacceptable” in the three months to October 2017.

The two firms have never met the target once, according to the current method of measuring performance.

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A good question for in the Tories austerity campaign there appears to be no room for manoeuvre to allow any reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

Will any existing European Union legislation be maintained into UK law and furthermore will EU legislation coming through be also included. Without these current and forthcoming EU legislations the outlook for disabled people will be even more depressing and unequal as it is already.

All of the UK needs to unify behind ensuring that disabled people now and after Brexit are not abandoned by this Tory Government, as you may also become disabled within your lifetime. Think of others like you would for yourself and your own family, otherwise the life for disabled will be far worse than it is now and now is not as good as it should be.

Britain Isn't Eating

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Ministers’ social care and welfare reforms represent a deliberately prejudiced, vicious attack on a significant minority of the population

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, made no mention of social care in his autumn budget. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

A recent United Nations report on its inspection into the UK’s record on disabled people’s rights was described as a “17-page-long catalogue of shame” by one commentator, who wrote:

Over the past seven years, cuts to benefits, social care, the legal system and local authority funding have effectively put decades of slow, painful progress into reverse.

Cuts in social care funding have made a mockery of would-be progressive policies on personal budgets and direct payments. Cuts in day services and restrictions on access to freedom passes have marooned many disabled people behind their four walls.

We have also seen disabled students’ allowances cut; a reduction in funding of Access To Work, which made it possible for many disabled people to get into and stay in work; and greatly increased reporting of disability hate crime – including incidents against disabled children.

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, in his autumn budget, made no mention of social care; the Care and Support Alliance saying that the “government failed to recognise the immediate crisis in social care”.

The government’s latest proposals delaying a promised green paper on social care until next year don’t include any disabled people or organisations in the team of “expert advisers”.

Disabled people of working age won’t be addressed in the green paper and we can get some idea of what’s in ministerial minds from a recent social care debate in the House of Commons. Social care minister Jackie Doyle-Price repeatedly emphasised the part yet more welfare reform will play in the government’s future thinking for this group.

Over the past seven years, the government has not so much increasingly failed to secure disability rights under the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities as appeared to attack those very rights.

Successive governments have denied this, but with suggestions that disabled people have died shortly after being identified as fit for work, or killed or contemplated killing themselves after the withdrawal of welfare benefits, it is difficult to see this as merely a matter of misguided policy or economic exigencies.

It is becoming increasingly difficult not to associate such catastrophic policies with something deeper, something more visceral. We have to ask why does this government and its recent predecessors seem so bent on harassing disabled people? Is there something about us they just can’t stomach?

The present government particularly has made cuts to social care and reforms to welfare benefits that – without exaggeration – can be said to have damaged and spoiled the lives of millions. We know that thousands of disabled people live in fear of the brown envelope through the door; that some have even starved to death after their benefits have been cut.

These are not isolated cases. They affect all groups: people with learning difficulties; people who are dying; those with major physical and sensory impairments; with painful and enervating long term conditions; with the most severe mental health problems.

Modern governments talk a lot about “evidence-based policy”, but evidence has highlighted the cruel, draconian effects of these social polices.

We need to look way beyond ideological discussions about whether or not policy is “fit for purpose”. Instead, we must ask where this apparent underlying loathing of large groups of people comes from. What is there about us as disabled people that prompts such extreme measures?

Of course we know that governments like ours clutch at a different rationale. Their attacks are not on disabled people per se, they say, but those pretending to be disabled, the “shirking” rather than the “striving” disabled people.

Sadly, it is disabled people indiscriminately – and those close to them – who are suffering appallingly through these measures, not some imagined cohort of con-people or impersonators.

The current direction of travel of social care and welfare reform doesn’t merely represent harsh policy or even reactionary ideology. Instead it is a deliberately prejudiced, vicious attack on a significant minority of the population.

Governments and policymakers haven’t caught up with the reality that medical advances and social and cultural changes mean that the nature of who we are as a population has changed. There are now many more disabled people. Making our lives increasingly difficult may kill some of us, but it won’t seriously change the maths.

The failure of policymakers is that so many disabled people still face appalling and increasing barriers to employment, education, training, family and social life. It’s not getting rid of us that welfare reform should be about, but about challenging and ending these attitudinal, institutional and cultural barriers. And to do this, this government needs to start very firmly with challenging itself and its ministers.

  • Peter Beresford is emeritus professor of social policy at Brunel University London, professor of citizen participation at Essex University and co-chair of Shaping Our Lives

 

Source : Why is the government waging a war against disabled people? : The Guardian


By STEVE TOPPLE

Amid the frenzy of the autumn budget, from ‘millennial rail cards‘ to ‘sticking plasters‘, there was one word that for me was glaring by its omission. And considering it represents 20% of the UK population, you’d think that Philip Hammond and Jeremy Corbyn would have given it a mention. But they didn’t. And that word is ‘disability’.

Missing in action

A quick scan using your internet browsers’ ‘Find’ function shows that ‘disability’ did not feature in either Hammond’s or Corbyn’s speeches. The Labour leader did say:

Too many are experiencing… long-term economic pain. And the hardest hit are disabled people, single parents and women.

But otherwise, that was it. And for me, it sums up the political attitude to disabled people entirely. That is, important when politicians want to look good; not so important in what they view as the grand scheme of things.

A “budget speeches”

There are an estimated 13.3 million disabled people in the UK; 20% of the population. And for seven years, this community has been subjected to what the UN called “grave” and “systematic” violations of its human rights, at the hands of successive Conservative-led governments. The situation is so serious that one UN representative said the government had created a “human catastrophe” for disabled people in the UK.

Figures from 2015 showed 90 people a month were dying after the government told them they were ‘fit-for-work’, when in fact it should have been supporting them. This is how far the rights of disabled people have regressed in the UK. Yet neither politician felt the need to dedicate any part of their speeches to disabled people.

One issue sums up their wilful ignorance best: the ongoing dispute between transport unions and Southern Rail.

What’s good for the goose

At the heart of the dispute are alleged breaches of the Equality Act 2010, because disabled people can’t just ‘turn up and go’ at every station; at some, they have to book assistance 24 hours in advance.

Now, imagine if the BAME or LGBTQ+ communities were told that, if they wanted to get a train quickly, they couldn’t. There would (rightly) be a public outcry. But politicians, companies and much of the public think it’s fine for disabled people because, well – y’know. They have wheelchairs and stuff, right?

Wrong. The situation encapsulates what’s known as the “social model” of disability. It says that disabled people are only disabled because society makes them so – for example, companies not investing properly in the railways so disabled people can get a train like everyone else. Or disabled people not being able to enter a building because it only has a flight of steps.

No person is disabled because of their disability. They are disabled in spite of it. And it’s that which the public and politicians, by and large, fail to realise. They are happy to see disabled people as a sub-species, now so far removed from the social model it’s untrue.

Killed by wilful ignorance

My friend and activist Paula Peters summed it up best recently. She called Theresa May a “murderer”, and she’s not far wrong. Politicians’ wilful disregard for disabled people is killing them. And by ignoring the community in both their speeches, Hammond and Corbyn have, to me, declared their positions: they are fine being seen allowing disabled people to die.

I’m tired of writing about this, but I’m more tired of ignorant politicians and their supporters ignoring my friends and loved ones. Enough is enough.

Get Involved!

– Read more from The Canary on the autumn budget.

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured image via YouTube/YouTube

 

Source : In both their budget speeches, Hammond and Corbyn threw 20% of the population under the bus [OPINION] : The Canary


By 

The idea that we are different and don’t want to work, laugh in a pub, or go on a date is far too common. The result, for far too many, is stark isolation

A wheelchair-user using a ramp. ‘It’s still often impossible for us to get in a building.’ Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Increasingly, I feel lucky to leave the house. That’s a strange feeling for someone to have, particularly someone in their early 30s. As a millennial, I know I should be concerned with my nonexistent pension or ever diminishing chance of buying a home – and I am, really. But as a disabled person, I’m aware that nowadays even basic parts of a normal life can’t be taken for granted: going to the office, meeting friends in the pub, even regularly seeing another human being.

New research from the disability charity Scope has found almost half of working-age disabled people are chronically lonely, saying they “always or often” feel lonely. Staggeringly, that works out at about 3 million lonely disabled people in Britain.

The Office for National Statistics has described Britain as “the loneliness capital of Europe” – finding that we’re less likely to have strong friendships or know our neighbours than inhabitants of any other country in the EU. Young people are said to be particularly affected.

But the Scope research points to what can only be called an epidemic of loneliness for disabled people in this country. It’s possible, of course, to be surrounded by people and still be lonely – but break down this week’s study, and this is about stark isolation. On a typical day, one in eight disabled people have less than a half-hour’s interaction with other people.

We’re rightly increasingly aware of how old age can lead to severe isolation – a recent study by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness found that almost three-quarters of older people in the UK are lonely – and the psychological and physical damage this can cause. However, we rarely talk about how, for a whole section of society, loneliness linked with disability and long-term health problems is a stain on decades of people’s lives. Perhaps one of the most disturbing findings of Scope’s research is how younger disabled people, like millennials generally, are affected: 85% of young disabled adults (classed as 18- to 34-year-olds) admit they feel lonely.

Beware of thinking that loneliness is some natural byproduct of disability. The strain of ill-health and disability can often lead someone to be isolated, but how society chooses to respond can either help fix it or compound it. I recently had a bad health spell that meant I was pretty much stuck in bed for two months. But even once I was better, I was very aware that – without support to leave the house or a relatively flexible job – I would still be in bed. These sorts of fears are even stronger at a time when the government is dramatically underfunding the social care system, and tightening eligibility on disability benefits.

I speak daily to disabled people who are essentially cut off from society – twentysomethings unable to go to university, and not because of health problems but because they don’t have a social care package that enables them to get to lectures. Others are forced to be “put to bed” at 8pm because their council has restricted their care slots.

Increasingly I hear from disabled readers who for years have used the Motability car scheme to do something as basic as go to the shops but who, in their tens of thousands, are now housebound after cuts saw this benefit taken away. Or wheelchair users who haven’t been outside for months because, stuck in inaccessible housing, they can’t get beyond their own front door.

Last week the Guardian’s Disability Diaries chronicled how wheelchair users have to turn down invitations to see friends because the pub or restaurant – or public transport – isn’t accessible. It isn’t exactly surprising that disabled people are isolated when it’s still often impossible for us to get in the building.

But attitudes towards disability are also powerful barriers. Two-thirds of the British public admit that they actually feel uncomfortable talking to disabled people, according to separate Scope research. Worryingly, millennials are twice as likely as older people to feel awkward around disabled people: a fifth of 18- to 34-year-olds have actually avoided talking to a disabled person because they are unsure “how to communicate with them” – as if having a disability makes us a separate species.

It’s well established that there’s a stigma around admitting to loneliness – but for disabled people, a stigma around disability is contributing to loneliness. Imagine how lonely day-to-day life can be when the majority of the public avoid talking to you.

Whether it’s government policy removing our social care packages or a stranger ignoring us in the street, tackling this persistent idea that a disabled person is somehow different to other people – that we don’t want to work, laugh in a pub or go on a date – is going to be a crucial part of ending disability’s chronic loneliness.

Britain has a problem with isolating disabled people. Acknowledging that this actually matters is perhaps the first place to start.

 Frances Ryan writes the Guardian’s Hardworking Britain series

 

Source : Loneliness: the second cruel stigma Britain inflicts on disabled people : The Guardian


Victimisation, fear of reprisal and the need for more police support mean thousands of hate crimes against disabled people go unreported

Source: Why disability hate crimes are woefully under-reported  : The Conversation


“Conference, delegates, friends. I know I speak for the whole Disabled Members Group, and for disabled people up and down the country, when I say we are deeply grateful for the overwhelming support shown by so many branches, members and elected representatives for this resolution.

When the UK signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities in 2009, Labour were in government, and although disabled people were already dying from Blair’s reforms, the full weight of these seemingly disparate deaths wasn’t yet understood.

A year later, when the Coalition took office, we know that they had already received a Coroner’s Report on the Prevention of Future Deaths, which would save lives if implemented. Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling decided to ignore it, and the Tory/LibDem Coalition dedicated their time in government to implementing sweeping, devastating cuts to social security, health and social care – a programme which continues to cut further and deeper with every passing year.

In 2012, Disabled People Against Cuts began the formal process of triggering a UN investigation into violations of the CRPD. This was based not just on the lives lost, but on the multitude of ways the Austerity cuts have made life harder for disabled people. We have been pushing for a cumulative impact study for years, because disabled people are rarely affected by just one cut.

It takes a long time to initiate an investigation, as multiple sources of evidence have to be submitted, verified and researched. In 2014, the UK became the first government to ever be investigated by the CRPD, a shameful mark on our history. No UN investigation is undertaken frivolously – t

 

Source: My Speech on the UNCRPD Judgement at the SNP Conference-Fiona Robertson – Black Triangle Campaign


Some taxi services in Wales are refusing to pick up passengers who use wheelchairs or assistance dogs, a campaign group has claimed. Disability Wales said

Source: Disabled people ‘humiliated’ by taxi refusals | DisabledGo News and Blog

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