A new rail station being built as part of a multi-billion pound regeneration programme will not enable wheelchair-users to board trains without the help of staff and a ramp, disabled campaigners have warned.
Brent Cross West Thameslink is being built as part of the £4.5 billion Cricklewood Brent Cross development in north-west London, a partnership between Barnet council and the private sector.
But current plans for the station, which is due to open in 2022, are that it will be step-free from the entrance to the platform, but not from the platform to the train.
This appears to be because building the higher platforms necessary for wheelchair-users to board trains without manual ramps and assistance would mean freight trains would have to slow down when passing those higher platforms.
Campaigners believe that although most freight trains will pass through the station’s dedicated freight platform, some will be routed through passenger platforms, and it could delay the passenger services behind them if they are forced to slow down.
The controversy could prove embarrassing for Govia Thameslink Railway, the company which will run Thameslink services through the station.
Source: ‘Scandal’ of new rail station set to be built without step-free access to trains | DisabledGo News and Blog
A legal case being heard this week highlights how disabled children who can be physically aggressive because of their impairment are currently being failed by equality laws, say inclusive education campaigners.
The upper tribunal this week heard the appeal brought by the parents of a 13-year-old disabled boy, known as L, who was excluded from school because of behaviour linked to his autism.
The way that Equality Act regulations are currently interpreted means children like L who are defined as having “a tendency to physical abuse” are often not treated as “disabled” and are therefore not protected by the Equality Act.
The lack of protection under the Equality Act means schools do not have to justify how a decision to exclude a disabled child in these circumstances is proportionate or explain how they have made reasonable adjustments to support the pupil so the behaviour can be prevented or reduced.
Statistics show that almost half of all school exclusions involve a child with special educational needs.
Two years ago, a report by a House of Lords committee on the impact of the Equality Act on disabled people said the regulations had “unintentionally, discouraged schools from paying sufficient attention to their duties” under the act.
Source: Autistic teen’s legal fight over ‘physical abuse’ school exclusion | DisabledGo News and Blog
Racism is truly alive and kicking in British society, not least in liberal, progressive universities. This was evident in early March when a black female student released a video of people shouting “we hate the blacks” outside her room in her halls of residence. Unfortunately, this incident is far from isolated.
In my new book, I examine how race and racism continue to disadvantage those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds both in universities and wider society. By virtue of their racial identity, such groups are positioned as outsiders in a society which values and privileges whiteness.
In Britain, policies that attempt to be inclusive actually portray an image of a post-racial society, in which racial inequalities and racism no longer exist. In reality vast inequalities between white, black and minority ethnic communities continue to exist. They exist in the access to the labour market, in schools – and in higher education.
Source: Why a post-racial British society remains a myth – even in universities : The Conversation
Lawyers and campaigners have raised fresh concerns about the government’s approach to providing legal advice to people who need help with discrimination and special educational needs (SEN) cases, after ministers abandoned efforts to award new contracts in those areas.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) had been seeking organisations to take on contracts to provide advice from 1 September on discrimination and education cases through the Civil Legal Advice (CLA) service.
But it has now announced that it has abandoned those efforts because there were not enough “compliant” bids from organisations seeking the new contracts.
There are now fears that the government’s difficulty in finding organisations willing to take on the CLA services from September could make it even harder for disabled people to secure the legal advice they need.
Following the passing of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) in 2013, it became possible to seek government-funded advice and assistance on discrimination and SEN issues only through the CLA telephone “gateway”.
But campaigners say the introduction of the telephone gateway has had a dramatic negative impact on the ability of disabled people – such as those with communication-related impairments, mental health conditions or learning difficulties – to access legal advice and support.
Jeanine Blamires, who gave evidence two years ago to the House of Lords Equality Act 2010 a
Source: Legal advice concerns after government abandons search for new contractors | DisabledGo News and Blog
A Deaf chief executive has won the right to question the government’s “discriminatory” cap on Access to Work (AtW) payments in the high court, in the latest legal challenge to the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) disability policy agenda.
David Buxton, chief executive of Action on Disability in London, is one of many British Sign Language (BSL)-users who have been hit by the imposition of the cap on payments made by the AtW scheme, which provides disabled people with funding to pay for some of the extra disability-related expenses they face at work.
Now the high court has ruled that Buxton’s legal challenge can go ahead, with his lawyers set to argue – under the Equality Act 2010 – that the cap breached the public sector equality duty and subjected him to indirect discrimination.
His judicial review case is being funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
It comes just weeks after another legal challenge forced work and pensions ministers into a climbdown over new personal independence payment rules that were found by the high court to be unlawful and “blatantly discriminatory”.
And earlier this 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 severe disability premium and enhanced disability premium.
Disability News Service reported last year how Buxton had been told that AtW would only provide him with enough support to pay for interpreters three days every week.
Source: Deaf chief executive wins right to challenge Access to Work cap in court | DisabledGo News and Blog
A disabled civil servant has told MPs how her career has stalled because of the failure of the IT systems in the Home Office to cope with the assistive technology she needs to do her job.
Jo-Ann Moran, a senior executive officer in the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, told the work and pensions select committee yesterday (Wednesday) that she had been encouraged to apply for promotion but declined to do so because of the IT problems she was facing.
She told the committee that it had been a “culture shock” to “all of a sudden be denied access” after 30 years of full-time employment.
Moran, who has a degenerative condition that affects her hearing and sight, said: “I am a top performer in my grade and I keep getting told, ‘Come on, go for it,’ but I can’t because I am just not going to be reliable.”
She added: “We just can’t get the assistive technology to work. It’s not through the [lack of] trying, it’s just about the infrastructure being able to cope with the additional technology.”
The evidence session was part of the committee’s inquiry into the role of assistive technology in improving disabled people’s employment rates.
Moran said she feared that if she applied for a job working for a minister, that minister would not be able to accommodate her if she had to say, ‘Sorry, my computer’s not working today.
Source: Home Office IT failure stalls disabled civil servant’s career, MPs hear | DisabledGo News and Blog