Watchdog’s barrister calls for legal right to independent living | DisabledGo News and Blog


Legal advice commissioned by the equality and human rights watchdog has called for disabled people to have a legal right to independent living.

The barrister was asked by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) last year to examine if there needed to be a right to independent living in law for disabled people, because of concerns that their right to choice and control over their lives was being “eroded”.

The lawyer has now concluded that there does need to be a legal right to independent living, although there are several options for how that could be achieved.

Now EHRC is consulting on which of those options it should recommend, and it is likely to publish its conclusions by the end of the year.

An EHRC spokesman told Disability News Service that the barrister’s advice contains “quite a few options” on “how such a right could work in practice”.

He said: “We are going to speak to a range of people involved and see if we can narrow down those options and will then come forward with a set of proposals.”

Although he said EHRC could not yet say that it agreed that there needed to be a legal right to independent living, he said its proposals would “take into account” the barrister’s advice.

Last autumn, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) called on the UK government to recognise disabled people’s legal right to independent living, one of the key demands disabled people and their organisations in the UK had made in their submissions to the committee .

has called for disabled people to have a legal right to independent living.

The barrister was asked by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) last year to examine if there needed to be a right to independent living in law for disabled people, because of concerns that their right to choice and control over their lives was being “eroded”.

The lawyer has now concluded that there does need to be a legal right to independent living, although there are several options for how that could be achieved.

Now EHRC is consulting on which of those options it should recommend, and it is likely to publish its conclusions by the end of the year.

An EHRC spokesman told Disability News Service that the barrister’s advice contains “quite a few options” on “how such a right could work in practice”.

He said: “We are going to speak to a range of people involved and see if we can narrow down those options and will then come forward with a set of proposals.”

Although he said EHRC could not yet say that it agreed that there needed to be a legal right to independent living, he said its proposals would “take into account” the barrister’s advice.

Last autumn, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) called on the UK government to recognise disabled people’s legal right to independent living, one of the key demands disabled people and their organisations in the UK had made in their submissions to the committee .

 

Source: Watchdog’s barrister calls for legal right to independent living | DisabledGo News and Blog

TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference: UN convention ‘must become part of UK law’ | DisabledGo News and Blog


Disabled trade unionists have called UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPDthe TUC and unions across the country to campaign for the UN disability convention to be incorporated into UK law.

Disabled members of 22 unions, who were at the annual TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference in Bournemouth, voted unanimously for a motion calling for a national campaign on the issue.

The conference was held just a few months after the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) told a UK government delegation that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe”.

The UN committee called on the UK last autumn to make more than 80 improvements to the ways its laws and policies affect disabled people’s human rights.

But delegates in Bournemouth heard that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was not legally binding in the UK, and so the government was free to continue breaching any of its articles.

David Chrimes, of the FDA union, which represents senior public servants and professionals, who proposed the motion, told the conference about his brother, Richard, whose case was featured by the BBC earlier this year.

Richard Chrimes has to crawl up and down his stairs several times a day – and crawl from his front door to his car – because there is not enough space to adapt his two-storey house to make it accessible for him or even to fit his wheelchair through the front door.

 

Source: TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference: UN convention ‘must become part of UK law’ | DisabledGo News and Blog

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


BY 

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

DWP agrees to test new approach in latest sign of softer approach to sanctions | DisabledGo News and Blog


Ministers are to test a new approach to dealing with claimants who breach strict benefit conditions for the first time, in the latest sign that the government is finally listening to calls to soften its much-criticised sanctions regime. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has agreed to trial handing out warnings instead of benefit sanctions when a claimant breaches the conditions imposed on them for the first time. It is one of five recommendations made in February’s report by the public accounts committee (PAC) on benefits sanctions, all of which have been accepted by ministers, according to a document sent by the Treasury to the committee earlier this month. It is the latest sign that years of campaigning by disabled activists and anti-austerity protesters aimed at raising awareness of the harshness of the sanctions regime might finally be paying off. The decision to agree all five of the report’s recommendations comes only weeks after the UN’s committee on the rights of perso

Source: DWP agrees to test new approach in latest sign of softer approach to sanctions | DisabledGo News and Blog

UK wants to promote its disability policies to rest of the world, says Mordaunt | DisabledGo News and Blog


The minister for disabled people has dismissed a damning UN report on her government’s disability rights record, arguing that the rest of the world should instead be learning from the UK’s policies. Penny Mordaunt was speaking weeks after the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities said the government’s social protection policies had caused a “human catastrophe” for disabled people. The short debate was secured by the SNP’s Deidre Brock, but took place towards the end of the parliamentary week, when most MPs had returned to their constituencies, so only a handful of MPs were in the Commons chamber to hear the debate. Brock said the government’s austerity policies were responsible for causing disabled people “a river of human misery”. And she said the UN committee had criticised the government’s “austerity fetish” and had called on the government to “backtrack” on its cuts to independent living support. Brock called on Mordaunt to promise to include disabled people and

Source: UK wants to promote its disability policies to rest of the world, says Mordaunt | DisabledGo News and Blog

Labour demands answers after UN described Tory cuts as a ‘human catastrophe’ for disabled people


Work and Pensions Secretary called to appear before Parliament and answer for the Government’s failure to uphold disabled people’s rights.

Source: Labour demands answers after UN described Tory cuts as a ‘human catastrophe’ for disabled people

UK cuts ‘have created a human catastrophe for disabled people’ | DisabledGo News and Blog


Cuts to social services have “totally neglected” the needs of disabled people and created a “human catastrophe”, the chairwoman of a UN human rights committee has said. Theresia Degener, who leads the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), accused British politicians of failing vulnerable members of society. UK officials have also faced allegations of misrepresenting the impact of policies through unanswered questions, misused statistics and statements on policies and legislation. Ms Degener said evidence seen by the committee and a review it carried out last year made clear the impact of austerity policies in the disabled. She said the controversial “fit to work” tests were based on a correct assumption that disabled people could find employment. “However, evidence before us now and in our inquiry procedure as published in our 2016 report reveals that social cut policies have led to a human catastrophe in your country, totally neglecting the vulnerable

Source: UK cuts ‘have created a human catastrophe for disabled people’ | DisabledGo News and Blog

UN confirms that UK government’s disability treaty violations were both grave AND systematic | sdbast


The United Nations (UN) committee that found the UK government guilty of violating the UN disability convention has revealed for the first time that its breaches of the human rights treaty were both “grave” and “systematic”.

The decision to clarify the seriousness of the UK’s breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) shows for the first time just how seriously the committee viewed those violations.

Source: UN confirms that UK government’s disability treaty violations were both grave AND systematic | sdbast