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Families which include both a disabled adult and a disabled child have lost more than 13 per cent of their income through seven years of government cuts, according to a new report by the equality watchdog.

The report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has been seen as “a vindication” of years of campaigning by grassroots groups to persuade the government to carry out such an assessment of the overall impact of its cuts and reforms on disabled people.

Ministers have repeatedly ridiculed the idea of carrying out such a cumulative impact assessment (CIA), ever since disabled campaigners began calling for such research six years ago.

Both Pat’s Petition, and then the War On Welfare (WOW) petition campaign, demanded the government carry out a CIA, which led to two high-profile debates in the House of Commons.

The UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities added its voice to calls for a CIA in August, following similar calls by EHRC and even the government’s own benefits advice body, the social security advisory committee.

The EHRC report shows the cumulative impact on various groups – including disabled people – of changes introduced between 2010 and 2017 to income tax, national insurance, VAT, social security, tax credits, universal credit and the national minimum wage.

It shows that households that include a disabled adult will lose almost £2,500 a year, while families with both a disabled adult and a disabled child will face an annual loss of £5,500 by 2021-22 (more than 13 per cent of their income).

It also shows that the higher the support needs of the disabled members of the household, the greater the impact of the cuts.

Lone parents will be hit proportionally even harder, losing 15 per cent of their income.

The report – which details interim results of research conducted by Landman Economics and Aubergine Analysis for EHRC – also found that while “the poorest are set to lose nearly 10 per cent of their incomes, the richest will lose barely one per cent”.

Rick Burgess, one of the founders of the WOW campaign, which was signed by more than 100,000 people and led to a debate in the House of Commons in February 2014, said: “Vindication is nice, it’s just a shame it takes so many years, years in which thousands of disabled people were made destitute and many died.

“And note this changes nothing: we still live under an oppressive regime who lie and are not challenged on this by a largely supine media.

“I expect nothing from this government, they have shown persistently that the Conservative movement are institutionally disablist and hostile to the wellbeing of disabled people. The only solution is to remove them from power ASAP.”

Ellen Clifford, campaigns and policy manager for Inclusion London, said: “The initial findings hold no surprises for disabled people living with the impacts of welfare reform, but they do prove that far from ‘targeting resources at those most in need’, as the government has repeatedly claimed for the past seven years, it’s the most in need they’re taking the most from.

“The interim report shows that disabled adults with disabled children are the worst hit and that the more disabled you are the more you are adversely impacted.

“This report also disproves the government’s claim that a cumulative impact assessment would not be feasible to undertake.

“Its findings add weight to the idea that their reluctance was instead motivated by having something to hide.

“The EHRC do not have the same resources at their disposal as the government and we continue to urge the government to carry out a fuller CIA to assess the cumulative impact of cuts to social care support in addition to benefit changes.”

Carole Ford, a member of the current steering group of the WOW campaign, said the government’s “steadfast refusal” to carry out a CIA “demonstrates an understanding that such an assessment would reveal that the policy of ‘compassionate Conservatism’ was in no way compassionate”.

Pat Onions, founder of Pat’s Petition, which was signed by more than 60,000 people and led to a debate in Westminster Hall in July 2013, said the failure to carry out a CIA was “disastrous for disabled people”.

She said she “unreservedly” welcomed the EHRC report, and added: “The findings of the impact on disabled people are truly shocking.

“Will this government and future governments learn from this disastrous experience and act more responsibly in future?

“Will the covenant with disabled people now ensure that no massive changes are ever introduced again without a full impact assessment first?”

Kamran Mallick, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said: “The report is clear evidence that the government’s reforms have been having a massive negative effect, driving disabled people deeper into poverty when they already don’t have enough money to live on.

“We’re acutely struck by the report’s conclusion that the reforms will continue to cause ‘particularly adverse impacts on disabled families’. This can’t go on.”

David Isaac, EHRC’s chair, said: “The government can’t claim to be working for everyone if its policies actually make the most disadvantaged people in society financially worse off.

“We have encouraged the government to carry out this work for some time, but sadly they have refused.

“We have shown that it is possible to carry out cumulative impact assessments and we call on them to do this ahead of the 2018 budget.”

The commission also called on the government to “reconsider” existing cuts and reforms that have impacted on those who are “most disadvantaged”.

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokeswoman refused to say whether it now accepted that CIAs can and should be carried out, or whether DWP accepted the EHRC figures.

But she said: “We carefully consider the equality impacts of individual policies on those with protected characteristics, including disability – in line with both our legal obligations and with our strong commitment to equality.

“HM Treasury publishes comprehensive distributional analysis* at the budget that is transparent and fair.

“The EHRC’s analysis does not paint a complete picture because it fails to take into account our successful jobs market or the steps we are taking to help people of all backgrounds get on in life, including expanding tax-free childcare, boosting apprenticeships and introducing the National Living Wage**.

“We are expecting to spend over £50 billion this year in benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions.”

*These analyses have only measured how changes affect households of different incomes, and do not examine the impact on different groups, such as disabled people

**The EHRC report does take account of reforms to the national minimum wage

 

Source : Watchdog’s report shows impact of years of ‘hostile’ cuts on disabled people : Disabled News Service

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Disabled people’s organisations who travelled to Geneva this week to help highlight the government’s continuing human rights violations have praised a UN committee of disabled experts for publicly exposing the UK’s failings.

Civil servants from eight UK government departments, and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, were grilled over two days about the UK’s record in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The two days ended with the chair of the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD), Theresia Degener, telling the UK government that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe” (see separate story).

Another CRPD member, Stig Langvad, said members were “deeply concerned” by the government’s failure to implement the convention, and delivered a withering putdown, telling the UK delegation: “I could provide a long list of examples where the state party doesn’t live up to the convention. Unfortunately, the time is too limited.”

Among the DPOs that travelled to Geneva were representatives of Inclusion London, the Alliance for Inclusive Education, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Equal Lives, Black Triangle, Disability Rights UK, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales.

Source: UK faces UN examination: DPOs ‘delighted’ with exposure of government’s failings – Black Triangle Campaign


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


Ministers have been accused of ignoring a public consultation and ploughing ahead with plans that will make their “fitness for work” testing regime even more stressful and unfair for sick and disabled people.

A presentation delivered by two senior Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants earlier this month suggests that ministers have decided – as many disabled activists feared after the publication of last year’s green paper – to introduce new benefit sanctions for sick and disabled people with the highest support needs.

The presentation at a DWP “Operational Stakeholder Engagement Forum” appears to confirm that the government had decided how it would reform the system of out-of-work disability benefits before its “consultation” process had finished on 17 February.

The government had claimed that it wanted to make the work capability assessment (WCA) less of an ordeal for claimants, with work and pensions secretary Damian Green telling last October’s Conservative party conference he wanted to support those disabled people who cannot work, and “sweep away unnecessary stress and bureaucracy which weighs them down”.

But slides from the presentation appear to show that his new regime will be even harsher, and that many employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants with the highest support needs and barriers to work will for the first time face having their benefits sanctioned if they do not co-operate with the regime.

The slides show DWP has already begun introducing a compulsory, face-to-face “health and work conversation” (HWC) with a jobcentre work coach that will apply to nearly all new claimants of ESA, weeks or even months before they go through the WCA process to decide whether they are not fit for work and eligible for the benefit.

Source: DWP presentation on ESA plans ‘confirms worst fears’ about green paper – Black Triangle Campaign


Former recipients of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in England experienced a loss of support, a greater reliance on unpaid care and an “adverse” impact on their physical and mental health after its closure, according to a government report. The research, published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), confirms many of the warnings and concerns raised by disabled activists who campaigned against the decision to close the fund, before it shut in June 2015. Researchers only spoke to 50 former ILF recipients – or their relatives – out of nearly 17,000 disabled people with high support needs that the fund had been helping to live independently at the time it closed. But they concluded that those former recipients who saw their support “heavily reduced” as a result of the closure – which saw non-ringfenced funding passed by the government to local authorities – “experienced multiple changes” to their lives. The report says: “They argued that reductions in care were unfair and

Source: DWP report confirms fears over impact of ILF closure | DisabledGo News and Blog


Campaigners

Source: Campaigners call on minister to reject rail access funding delay | DisabledGo News and Blog


A trio of user-led organisations have challenged the capital’s next mayor to address the inequality faced by disabled Londoners. Inclusion London, The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) and Transport for All launched a manifesto this week, which brings together the key commitments they want all of London’s mayoral candidates to sign up to. The Disabled People’s Challenge To The Next Mayor of London includes polices on independent living, inclusive education, transport and housing. More than 30 disabled people were outside City Hall to launch the event. The three disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) point out that the mayor and the London Assembly – which is also facing elections on 5 May – have “significant powers that can address disadvantage and enable disabled Londoners to participate as active citizens in the life of the capital city”. The main candidates seeking election as mayor are Tory Zac Goldsmith, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, Sian Berry for the Greens, Liberal Democrat

Source: Trio of user-led organisations challenge London’s next mayor on equality | DisabledGo News and Blog


A new London-wide scheme has seen the number of disability hate crimes recorded by police increase by 500 per cent within weeks of its launch. The Metropolitan Police’s Disability Hate Crime Matters (DHC Matters) initiative only began rolling out in January, with briefings to officers from teams responsible for community safety, road and transport, local policing, emergency response and crime screening. But already – even before it has fully rolled out – the scheme has seen 89 offences recorded as disability hate crimes across London in February, compared with 15 in the same month in 2015, an increase of about 500 per cent. DHC Matters is led jointly by the Metropolitan Police and the pan-London Deaf and disabled people’s organisation (DDPO) Inclusion London, and was the idea of disabled activist Anne Novis, the force’s independent chair of its disability hate crime working group and an Inclusion London trustee. The initiative aims to improve the way police identify, investigate and

Source: Hate crime initiative sees police reports leap by 500 per cent | DisabledGo News and Blog


Original post from Disabled Go News

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Bedroom Tax demonstration

Disabled people’s rights are regressing in every area of their lives, while the government has “abandoned” its target of ensuring full equality, according to new research by a leading disabled people’s organisation.

The information paper, published by Inclusion London – which supports 78 user-led organisations across the capital – provides evidence of multiple breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

It says that disabled people are reporting less choice and control in their lives, growing poverty, “dramatically” decreasing levels of support, and increasing levels of hostility towards them as a result of the “scapegoating” of benefit claimants.

It also accuses the government of the “systematic” introduction of policies that discriminate against disabled people.

The Inclusion London report was released days before the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) own five-year review of progress on social justice concluded today (Friday) that disabled people’s rights have gone backwards over the last five years.

Inclusion London’s report – which is based on more up-to-date research than the EHRC’s – concludes that rights have regressed in access to benefits, employment, access to justice, and disabled people’s right to self-organise and have a say in policy-making.

The report says: “Not only have cuts and changes removed essential support from Deaf and disabled people but our ability to challenge injustice and defend our rights has been eroded through the removal of access to legal aid, removal of funding from advice and advocacy services and a weakening of the public sector equality duty.”

It says the government has abandoned the target set by the Labour government in 2005 of achieving disability equality by 2025.

And it accuses the government of trying to hide what it has been doing behind “misrepresentation of statistics”, and “feeding misinformation to the media, and creating a narrative that is hostile to benefit claimants”.

Among the areas the report covers are cuts to social care, the closure of the Independent Living Fund, rising levels of poverty, cuts to disability benefits, harsher benefits assessments, the shortage of accessible housing, benefit sanctions, the bedroom tax, disability hate crime, and cuts to people’s Access to Work packages and to legal aid.

It also examines the increasingly difficult financial environment faced by Deaf and disabled people’s organisations, with many closing or “increasingly struggling to survive”.

Tracey Lazard, chief executive of Inclusion London, said: “It confirms that the experience of Deaf and disabled people’s organisations, and of Deaf and disabled people, is that things are getting a lot worse.

“Things are deteriorating, rights are regressing across all areas of life, including participation, independent living, inclusion, you name it…”

She said the report was “yet more evidence to add to what is, we think, a pretty sizeable mountain of evidence”, and an attempt to provide people with an informed opinion “about what is going on”.

She added: “It is unfortunate that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It is pretty universally bleak, but that is the experience people are facing every day and this backs that up and confirms that.”

The paper was published as the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities completed its evidence-gathering visit to the UK, as part of an ongoing, confidential inquiry into alleged “grave and systematic” violations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

But it has also emerged that another UN body is reviewing the UK’s compliance with its international human rights obligations, this time under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

This review – which the UN stressed was “not an investigation or inquiry launched in response to a particular situation” – will look at issues such as whether austerity measures introduced through the coalition’s welfare reforms “disproportionately” affected marginalised groups, such as disabled people, asylum-seekers, and women.

The issues they will examine include disabled people’s access to employment, housing and an adequate standard of living.

The UK will be one of seven countries – including France and Sweden – examined by the committee on economic, social and cultural rights, as part of the programme of regular reviews carried out every few years of countries that have ratified the ICESCR. The UK was last reviewed in 2009.

Discussions between the committee and the UK government are likely to take place in public next June, with the committee’s findings due to be published “on or around 24 June”.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said: “The committee on economic, social and cultural rights will indeed be reviewing the UK and six other countries next June as part of its regular cycle of examinations.

“It is not an investigation or inquiry launched in response to a particular situation. As the UK has ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, it undergoes periodic reviews of its record.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman added: “This is not an investigation but a routine request for information that occurs every few years as part of the periodic reporting process to the UN.

“We are committed to supporting disabled people and spend around £50 billion every year on disabled people and their services.”

Meanwhile, the mental health charity Mind has published research that shows DWP issued more than three times as many benefit sanctions to people with mental health conditions than the number of people supported into work.

The charity says almost 19,259 benefits sanctions were handed to people who were out of work because of their mental health in 2014-15, while only 6,340 people in this group were successfully supported into a job in the same period.

The Mind figures, secured through Freedom of Information Act requests to DWP, relate to people claiming the out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA) primarily because of their mental health.

Those placed in the work-related activity group of ESA can have their benefits sanctioned – temporarily cut or stopped – if they fail to carry out certain activities.

Only last week, ministers rejected a call by MPs on the work and pensions select committee to order a full, independent review of the sanctions regime and the conditions placed upon benefit claimants.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “It is perverse that people with mental health problems are more likely to have their benefits stopped than they are to be supported into employment.

“We have long been warning the government that a punitive approach towards people who are out of work because of their health or disability is not only ineffective but is causing a great deal of distress.

“By continuing to refuse to listen to the numerous expert voices calling for a fundamental rethink of the use of sanctions, the government is not only undermining its ambition of helping a million more disabled people into work, but is also failing its duty of care for the health and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of people with mental health problems.”

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Aden

Hi I’m Aden, I work at DisabledGo as the Digital Marketing Manager and I manage the blog and all social media channels.

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