Left Out In The Cold – PRESS RELEASE

New campaign launched today by The Broken of Britain

“We don’t want to be ‘Left Out In The Cold’ ”, say Britain’s disabled people.
On the eve of the second reading of the government’s controversial Welfare Reform Bill on 9th March, a stark image of disabled campaigner Kaliya Franklin aims to convey how vulnerable some of the bills proposals will leave sick and disabled people across the UK.

The photograph depicts a naked Franklin lying on the sand on a wintry beach, next to her empty wheelchair.

Just like Franklin’s wheelchair in the image, social care and support will be left out of reach for many of those most in need if these reforms go ahead, literally leaving many “Left Out in the Cold.”

“We decided to use one thought provoking image to make our point,” explains Franklin. “Sick and disabled people are often left voiceless in society, so we hoped using a single image might reflect this.”

Says Franklin, “It’s vital we all remember we are just an accident or illness away from becoming disabled. Many people think if they do become disabled that the state will look after them.

“But the fact is that even under current provisions, disability benefits are not enough for disabled people to live on. If the Welfare Reform Bill is passed, the situation will become unimaginably worse.”

In January, Franklin released a video on YouTube that explained how able-bodied people would be in for a major shock if they found themselves needing to apply for disability benefits. The video can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7EXSpmrVMU.

The Broken of Britain group has been campaigning since summer 2010 to raise awareness of the government’s wider anti-disability policies. The group has consistently drawn attention to disabled people being the target of unjust government rhetoric and sham consultations, tabloid slander and political myths.

It says: “We are now the targets of deep and damaging cuts to disability services that are contained in and symbolised by the Welfare Reform Bill. The Bill disguises cuts and changes to a number of benefits, from housing benefit to Income Support that will punish disabled people.”

Notes for editors

1. Kaliya Franklin and other case studies are available for interview.

2. A high resolution version of the campaign photograph is available on request.

3. For more information, contact Rhydian Fôn James at rhydian@thebrokenofbritain.org or 07774021785, or Kaliya Franklin at 07714208602

4. Contribution-related Employment Support Allowance will be restricted to 365 days, meaning that a married claimant would be unable to claim after a year if their spouse works.

5. The Welfare Reform Bill confirms that Disability Living Allowance will be replaced by the Personal Independence Payment which will use unfair assessment and conditions to disqualify 20 per cent of the current DLA caseload.

There is no evidence that supports government’s claims that DLA is “broken” and in need of reform. In fact, most evidence suggests that DLA is an efficient and popular benefit, and this support includes the vast majority of the DWP’s own research.

The inclusion of this benefit change in the Welfare Reform Bill took place before the consultation on DLA reform was completed.

6. Other cuts to disability services not included in the Welfare Reform Bill are:

• Plans to remove security of tenure from social housing tenants, as costly adaptations are a barrier to moving regardless of size of property.
• Many changes to the provision, entitlement to and charges paid for receiving social care and disability services provided by local authorities.
• The Independent Living Fund which provided for the highest level support needs in combination with the local authorities is now to be scrapped without consultation.
• Access to Work reform redefines what it is “reasonable” to expect an employer to provide for disabled staff, meaning it is likely to push many currently employed disabled people out of work and back onto benefits.

7. Disabled people are more likely to live in poverty than any other group in the UK and more likely to be unemployed or in low paid jobs. 60% of those with a work-limiting disability are unemployed, with 25% wanting to work.

Left Out In The Cold by Kaliya Franklin  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://thebrokenofbritain.blogspot.com/

A letter has also been sent to Maria Miller, Minister for Disabled People, which Carer Watch signed in support.

Dear Ms. Miller,

On the grounds of its unfairness to disabled people and undermining of their human and civil rights, we reject the Government’s implementation of welfare reform. The Welfare Reform Bill, to be presented for its Second Reading in the House of Commons next weeks, contains measures that could be described as ‘anti-disabled people’.

The Bill disguises cuts and changes to a number of benefits, from Housing Benefit to Income Support, that will punish disabled people, and especially those with fluctuating and hidden conditions. In particular, the Bill will time-limit contribution-related Employment Support Allowance to 365 days, so that a claimant becomes ineligible after a year if their spouse or partner works.

The Bill confirms that Disability Living Allowance will be replaced by the Personal Independence Payment which will use unfair assessment and conditions to disqualify 20% of the current DLA caseload. The inclusion of this benefit change in the Welfare Reform Bill took place before the consultation on Disability Living Allowance reform was completed.

The reasons for this reform are unclear, as reported by the Social Security Advisory Committee, with Ministers denying that cuts are the motivation for change. Objectivity and independence of assessment are some of the reasons offered by the Minister for Disabled People and while we understand there may be a case for a more objective assessment of needs, we believe that evidence from GPs and specialists should be sufficient in many cases as it is at present. We are concerned that the reasons given by the Minister suggest GPs and specialists cannot be trusted to provide medical evidence. This seems to conflict with the Secretary of State for Health’s policy of increasing GP responsibility for commissioning NHS services.

Available evidence, including DWP research, suggests that Disability Living Allowance is an efficient and well-regarded benefit, with the lowest rate of fraud in the benefits system. As such, any reforms should be undertaken with caution, and it is important that any evidence-gathering is relevant, truly independent, conducted by appropriately qualified professionals, and that proper weight is given to other external evidence, for example from the claimant’s GP.

For these reasons, we call for the reform of DLA, and other ‘anti-disability’ provisions that will place extra pressure on social care and social services, to be removed from the Welfare Reform Bill.

Yours sincerely,

Hywel Williams MP
Jon Cruddas MP
John McDonnell MP
Jonathan Edwards MP
Kate Green MP
Glenda Jackson MP
Martin Caton MP
Rt Hon Elfyn Llwyd MP
Linda Fabiani MSP
Kenneth Gibson MSP
Jamie Hepburn MSP
Anne McLaughlin MSP
Bill Kidd MSP
Leanne Wood AM
Bethan Jenkins AM
Helen-Mary Jones AM
Nerys Evans AM
Dai Lloyd AM
Lord Dafydd Wigley of Caernarfon
Baroness Anna Healy of Primrose Hill
Gavin Hayes, Compass (Director)
Hilton Dawson, BASW, the College of Social Work (Chief Executive)
Alison Garnham, Child Poverty Action Group (Chief Executive)
Alexandra Kemp, Women and Carers’ Pensions Network
Anne Coote, New Economics Foundation (Head of Social Policy)
Prof. Julie Allan (University of Stirling), Education
Prof. Colin Barnes (University of Leeds), Disability Studies
Prof. Peter Beresford (Brunel University), Social Policy
Prof. Anne Borsay (Swansea University), Medical Humanities
Prof. Roger Burrows (University of York), Sociology of Health and Illness
Prof. John Carpenter (University of Bristol), Social Work
Prof. Luke Clements (Cardiff University), Disability Rights Law
Prof. Viviene Cree (University of Edinburgh), Social Work
Prof. Graham Crow (University of Southampton), Sociology
Dr. Graham Day (Bangor University), Social Science
Prof. Ann Davis (University of Birmingham), Social Work
Prof. Hartley Dean (LSE), Social Policy
Prof. Mark Drakeford (Cardiff University), Social Policy
Prof. Nick Ellison (University of Leeds, Sociology and Social Policy
Dr Iain Ferguson (University of Stirling), Social Work
Dr. Joanna Ferrie (University of Glasgow), Disability Research
Prof. Mike Floyd (City University), Disability and Rehabilitation
Dr. Margaret Flynn, Journal of Adult Protection (Editor)
Prof. Barry Goldson (University of Liverpool), Charles Booth Chair of Social Science
Prof. Nick Gould (University of Bath), Social Work
Prof. Gordon Grant (Sheffield Hallam University), Health and Social Care
Prof. Jennifer Harris (University of Dundee), Disability Research
Dr, Laura Hemingway (University of Leeds), Disability and Housing
Prof. Paul Higgs (UCL), Sociology of Ageing
Prof. Kelley Johnson (University of Bristol), Disability Policy and Practice
Prof. Michael Lavalette (Liverpool Hope University), Head of Social Work
Professor the Baroness Ruth Lister of Burtersett, Social Policy
Prof. Jane Millar (University of Bath), Social Policy
Prof. Patrick McGuiness (University of Oxford), Modern Languages
Dr. Janice McLaughlin (Newcastle University), Policy and Ethics
Prof. Stuart Murray (University of Leeds), Contemporary Literature and Film
Prof. Andrew Oswald (University of Warwick), Economics and Behavioural Sciences
Dr. Kevin Paterson (University of Glasgow), Disability Research
Prof. Chris Phillipson (Keele University), Applied Social Studies
Dr. Susan Pickard (University of Liverpool), Sociology of Chronic Illness
Prof. Mark Priestly (University of Leeds), Disability Policy
Prof. Diane Richardson (Newcastle University), Social Policy
Dr. Gwyneth Roberts (Bangor University), Social Policy
Prof. Alan Roulstone (Northumbria University), Applied Social Sciences
Prof. Karen Rowlingson (University of Birmingham), Social Policy
Prof. Jonathan Rutherford (Middlesex University), Cultural Studies
Dr. Sonali Shah (University of Leeds), Disability Studies
Dr. Alison Sheldon (University of Leeds), Disability Studies
Dr. Margrit Shildrick (Queen’s University Belfast), Disability Theory
Prof. Nick Spencer (University of Warwick), Child Health
Prof. Paul Spicker (Robert Gordon University), Public Policy
Prof. Bruce Stafford (University of Nottingham), Disability and Social Policy
Prof. Kirsten Stalker (University of Strathclyde), Social Work
Prof. Guy Standing (University of Bath), Economic Security
Prof. John Swain (Northumbria University), Disability and Inclusion
Prof. Allan Walker (University of Sheffield), Social Policy and Social Gerontology
Prof. Nick Watson (University of Glasgow), Disability Research
Dr. Rose Wiles (University of Southampton), Sociology of Chronic Illness
Prof. Charlotte Williams (Keele University), Social Policy
Prof. Fiona Williams OBE (University of Leeds), Social Policy
Prof. John Williams (Aberystwyth University), Welfare Law
Prof. Sue Wise (Lancaster University), Social Justice
Dr. Sarah Woodin (University of Leeds), Disability and Independent Living
Prof. Alys Young (University of Manchester), Social Work Education and Research
Peter Ede MA (Cantab), Solicitor
Alan Woodall GP
Shannon Murray, model and actress
Liz Crow, Roaring Girl Productions
Dave Lupton, cartoonist
Anne Novis MBE, disability rights campaigner
James Hourihan, Timian Training and Development (Director)
Naomi Jacobs, campaigner and PhD student in disability studies
Fiona Laird, theatre director and writer
Mat Fraser, actor and comedian
Claire Litt, freelance interior and exhibition designer
Sue Marsh, campaigner on chronic illness
Lisa Egan, Helen Thomas, Philippa Willitts, Emma Crees, DH Kelly, Louise Bolotin, Sharon Brennan, of the Where’s the Benefit? blog
Frances Kelly, Rosemary O’Neill, founders of CarerWatch
Carole Rutherford, on behalf of Act Now
Kaliya Franklin, Rhydian Fôn James, Lisa Ellwood, Melissa Smith, on behalf of The Broken of Britain

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5 Responses to “Left Out In The Cold – PRESS RELEASE”

  1. Susan Brown Says:

    This is an excellent article and I support this fully there are many disabled people I know who are making themselves ill with worry about their future.

  2. malka Says:

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant………..but i’m afraid ms miller is of the closed mind mentality and will not listen unless she is forced to……….but let’s have more of this ………

  3. charles47 Says:

    Absolutely spot on.

  4. John Hargrave Says:

    Even a criminal would not be treated so harshly as to what is in store for disabled people, whose monetary loss will be felt for a lifetime, and our quality of life lost forever. We are already bottom of the pile. how much lower do they expect us to sink?

  5. Alison Wilde Says:

    Although the protest is crucial and I agree with the aims, the imagery and style of of the press release is very disappointing, reinforcing dismal/abject portrayals of disabled people .

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