Posts Tagged ‘broken of britain’

At last – a crack in the wall of silence on benefit cuts‏

12 January 2012

The government was defeated three times in a row in the Lords last night on its proposals to save money be limiting the benefits paid to ill and disabled people who claim Employment Support Allowance. You can read about it here

The three main parties have until now maintained a solid wall of silence acting together on welfare reform to cut and limit benefits to disabled people. Now – at long last it is sensational to see the first crack in this wall of silence.

Lord Patel made a compelling case. ( You can watch in full here , forward to 40mins for the start of the debate ).
 
It was great to hear him spelling out so clearly that people placed in the WRAG group of ESA who are being threatened with these sanctions and time limits are all people who have been assessed under the new tests as people who are not fit to be required to work. So why are these people being time limited and treated as if they are fit to work? As Lord Freud made very clear in the debate – the limits are being put on their benefits only to save money. ( Lords Hansard text here)
 
The deficit cannot be reduced on the backs of people who are assessed as not fit to work – some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the community.
 
More votes including one on DLA are coming up in the next few weeks. Campaigners are working tirelessly lobbying members of the House of Lords and media. Further details can be found here
 
It is even more important now to get the details of Pat’s Petition out to people to give them a chance to register their support for campaigners where the government can see and hear them. Please let people know what is happening and how they can sign Pat’s Petition.
 

Sign Pat’s Petition here

 
More details about the petition and the supporters here
 
See Pat’s Petition on FaceBook
 
and on Twitter
 
Read Resonsible Report ( Spartacus report ) Responsible Reform
 
Listen to Baroness Meacher here
 
Watch video of protest outside Westminster here  
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First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. And then we win

8 January 2012

Copy of a post by Kaliya Franklin

Some much needed positive news….

As most of you know Sue Marsh has been co-ordinating a report researched, authored and funded by sick and disabled people which is released formally on monday.

As happens with every government welfare report, mysteriously, somehow, details leaked out to the media yesterday and so the coverage has already started. It turns out that Boris Johnson’s submission to the DLA reform consultation which closed in February 2011 was the smoking gun we needed and the government hoped no-one would ever find. The Mayor’s submission stood out from the other consultation responses, not because it was supportive of our claims (almost all the submissions were) but because it was incredibly thoughtful, well written and researched.

see here for her article in full

Legal aid bill goes into the Lords committee stage today – Dec 20th 2011

20 December 2011

Guest post by Carita Thomas –  a member of Young Legal Aid Lawyers.

It’s Christmas, and I don’t know about you, but pennies are tight, and I’m only halfway down my shopping list! Austerity Britain is not much fun at the moment, and all this talk of “tightening belts” and “tough choices” is not creating much festive cheer. Then I read that the City is due to take home £4.2 billion in bonus cash this Christmas, instead of saving that to stave off another bailout from the state.

Helping the City through the credit crunch has meant bankers now cost us more than bin men, so a nice bonus on top of all that seems a bit wrong. We are going through the worst cuts of a generation – doesn’t everyone have to prove their value for money nowadays? I’m sure those bankers will get a firm talking to in 2012…. But for now the Government has other priorities.

This week its plans to reform legal aid are in the spotlight. Like so many public services, the Government wants to cut free legal advice back as far as it can, and on 20th December, the bill containing the proposals will be debated by the committee of the House of Lords.

Now, some might ask why anyone would object to plans like these. The Government’s proposals for legal aid would save £350 million. Who can argue with that sort of money?

Well, that’s small change out of £4.2 billion. And I don’t believe these cuts will save money, at least not in the long term. Studies have shown that legal aid can save money for the state, with Citizens’ Advice estimating this could be up to £8.80 for every £1 spent.  Getting help with a problem in the early stages stops things snowballing, leading to more public costs later down the line, like paying for homeless assistance if someone gets evicted because they get into debt and stop paying rent. Let’s talk one year after the cuts and see how bright the plans look then, when more people have had to turn to the state without basic help to let them fix their own problems.

Also, where is the talk of alternatives? The Government has either been unlucky in a game of cuts roulette or deliberately chosen policies that home in on people who have most to lose. At the moment, 80% of those who use legal aid are in the poorest 20% of the population, and 650,000 people will lose help each year if the cuts go ahead. You can do the maths about who is coming off worst. This bill is a travesty as it takes away the right to equality of arms from the poorest, making them stand alone against opponents who can pay for help, not least the state, whose pockets are deepest of all.

The Government admits the bill will have a disproportionate impact on certain groups, and one of these is disabled people. Just take benefits advice, which the Government wants to cut completely. 58% of clients here are disabled – which means 78,000 disabled people will lose out each year in this one area of law. Other important changes include a plan to only allow debt advice if your home is at risk. And for both debt and community care you will have to call a telephone line to get help, with no guarantee you’ll see someone face to face. This comes just as local authorities have to make tough choices about what they spend money on so it will be harder to get basic advice if you think you are not getting the social care service you deserve.

With all the other government “reforms” we have seen rolled out, it’s not a pretty picture ….  Tanni Grey-Thompson got it right when she said welfare reform plus a lack of appropriate legal advice is a “double whammy” for disabled people.

If we go back to what is value for money, I’d say carers beat the bankers hands down. Care provided to family and friends saves the state an unbelievable £119 billion per year, which deserves more than just a pat on the back. Pat Onions said it best when she asked the Government to stand by its duty to disabled people and carers and review the cuts to benefits and services that will affect them.

There is a Christmas message for the coalition if ever I heard one – if you have not signed Pat’s petition already – do this today. (click here!)

People like Pat get my fighting spirit back. There is still loads we can do and lots of peers with principles who can be encouraged to stop the worst of the bill. If you want to take action against the cuts to legal aid, join the campaign.

You could take a seat in Scope’s “virtual parliament” or tell them your story about how legal aid helped you. Check out these websites for more ideas and information: Save Legal Aid, Justice For All and Sound Off for Justice.

You can still make a huge difference, so please get involved.

DPAC – Campaign to save Independent Living Fund

6 December 2011

received from DPAC. If you want to add your name or want further details, please contact Linda –  linda_burnip@yahoo.co.uk 

Independent Living Fund letter

Thousands of disabled people rely on funding from the Independent Living Fund to enable them to live independently with choice and control over their lives. ILF users have been left shocked and extremely anxious since it was announced in 2010 that it would be closed down by government in 2015. Already closed to new applicants since May 2010 this decision was taken with no evidence of an equality impact assessment having taken place nor any consultation carried out with current and potential beneficiaries of the fund.

 “The Independent Living Fund is a ring fenced resource, for a priority group of disabled people with high support needs that can provide a better lifestyle and outcomes for service users whose full needs would not be met by local authority funding. “

The Local Authorities have had their resources severely reduced and therefore now only provide basic personal care. Without this extra funding ILF user’s only options will be placement in residential care or more responsibilities being placed on already over stretched family carers, that’s if the disabled person has family support.

(more…)

Medway Council proposes £2.1m adult social care cuts

23 November 2011

Medway Council has laid out its proposals for cutting £2.1m from its adult social care budget.

It anticipates saving £1.1m in care home charges by privatising three residential care homes and closing an adult day care centre

READ IN FULL HERE

Coalition government – a ‘machine’ made from steel

8 September 2011

For countless years, with successive governments, family carers have continuously raised their voices outlining the many problems they face, about resources, finances, respite and/or equipment.

Yet no matter how much they chipped away at the brick wall no real action has been taken, by past and present govts. Campaigns have followed one after the other from many individuals, groups, and charities.

We are currently witnessing the biggest shake up of welfare benefits in over 60 years and still the issues surrounding Carers Allowance are not being addressed.  It is the LOWEST of all benefits at £55.55  per week.

As campaigners we will not give up even though the brick wall is now made of re enforced steel. Behind that wall lies a Coalition machine made from cold steel too. It shows NO understanding, NO compassion. It operates so clinically, so precise and its actions prove that it has no heart.

It speaks of Responsibility, Big Society, yet continues on its mission to persecute many disabled people, their families, and carers, with this current Welfare Reform Bill.

Is this the future we want for ourselves, for our children?

A future where disabled people and their families are battered from all directions.

Borrowing the famous words from Winston Churchill and altering them slightly…

Never has so much been given so freely by so few, for the benefit of so many.

 Carers need action and they need it NOW

 Please contact any groups/charities you belong to. Tell them your concerns surrounding Welfare Reform.

Contact your MP . Add your postcode in the box on this link to find their details

Feel free to use this template from Sue Marsh of The Broken of Britain

Support the Hardest Hit campaign which following on from a successful march in May 2011 are now planning local protests.

One simple change re ESA

As individuals any action we take may seem so small, but collectively we can be stronger.

A space to discuss the Dilnot report – funding of Care and Support

4 July 2011

Tomorrow sees the publication of the Dilnot Commission’s report into the funding of care and support – a significant policy development for anyone interested in social care for people of all ages.

Discussion on Twitter has used the #dilnot hashtag for people’s thoughts and to share links/information regarding the Commission. ( also #carecrisis and #socialcare)

People on Twitter have built networks and will be interested in the many responses that will be published by individuals/groups/charities etc. For many time will be limited.

Therefore after a discussion among a few people who host highly respected blogs, it was agreed that ArbitraryConstant  (aka Rich Watt) would offer space, so a frank and open discussion could take place by anyone interested in social care issues.

With many thanks to @rich_w, @monstertalk and @jrfemma for their willingness to try this.

So once you have read the Dilnot report, if you want to discuss the details, please join in with the discussion here

End the care crisis: Dilnot must be a ‘turning point’

2 July 2011

End the care crisis: Dilnot must be a ‘turning point’

Care and Support Alliance

 

In advance of the publication of the Dilnot Commission’s recommendations on care and support funding, 25 members of the Care and Support Alliance – organisations representing older people, those living with disabilities and long-term conditions and their families – have set out the case for reform. In a joint statement they said:

“The publication of the Dilnot Commission’s recommendations must be a turning point in social care. We can no longer ignore the demographic reality of an ageing population and people living longer with illness and disability. Nor can we ignore a growing number of stories of abuse, neglect and unmet need from a chronically underfunded care system, which now faces further cuts. Successive Governments have kicked the question of long-term care into the long grass. This must not happen again, and the public will not forgive delay or half-measures.

The time is past for tinkering with a crumbling system, and urgent, fundamental reform is needed. A central part of that, and our bottom line for reform, must be additional public funding.

The current system is a postcode lottery of often high charges and poor quality services. Years of underfunding, compounded by cuts this year, mean that hundreds of thousands are going without vital support to eat, wash and live their everyday lives. If we want a care and support system raised to the standards we would all expect, then substantial additional funding cannot be avoided. Hard choices need to be made about who pays, but we cannot afford for decisions to be postponed as too costly or too controversial.

Unless you’ve been through the social care system it is difficult to understand how urgently it needs reform. If you need medical treatment, the NHS provides wherever you live. But different councils provide different levels of care services, and the state only pays for the care of people with the lowest levels of income or savings. If you have savings, income or a home worth more than £23,250, the costs of care in your own home or in residential care can be catastrophic.

The current system means that someone with dementia and their family could end up having to pay over £100,000 for the costs of care. Disabled people who want to live independently face a lifetime of huge bills to get basic support. Carers caring round the clock for loved-ones are forced to pay hundreds of pounds to get a few hours rest.

This is not simply a question of a societal duty to a small group of the vulnerable. Every family in this country will be affected by ageing, illness and disability. We all need a care and support system which protects families from catastrophic care costs, ends the postcode lottery in care and delivers fairness, dignity and independence.”

 Signed:                                          (more…)

Potential DLA legal challenge – Disability Alliance UK (United Kingdom)

2 July 2011

 UPDATED WITH BBC VIDEO – Watch from 1 mins 48 secs

You may have heard that Disability Alliance might be taking legal action against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over some Government welfare plans. Our legal advisors, Unity Law, have examined Government plans and believe there is a very credible case.

Disability Alliance is especially concerned over plans to abolish Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working age people (defined as 16-64 years of age by DWP) and introduce a new benefit (Personal Independence Payment – PIP) which will have a £2.17 billion lower budget by 2015. PIP will not provide an equivalent level of support for the 652,000 disabled people currently receiving low rate care DLA payments.

We have raised our concerns with DWP over the last year, since plans were announced in June 2010. We have ensured our member organisations’ views and those of the disabled people we have surveyed have been communicated to DWP. We have aired concerns in meetings, briefings, a consultation and evidence to two parliamentary committees. Over 5,500 organisations and people responded to the Government consultation on DLA reform. But concerns have sadly gone unanswered and the Government have made no changes to plans to reflect the level of anxiety disabled people and organisations like Disability Alliance have communicated.

Potential DLA legal challenge – Disability Alliance UK (United Kingdom)

Joint Committee on Human Rights – Tuesday 28 June

29 June 2011

This meeting can be watched from the start here

Committee Room 4a
Meeting started on Tuesday 28 June at 2.22pm
ended at 4.12pm

The implementation of the right of disabled people to independent living
Witnesses

  1. Disabled people with experience of independent living issues
  2. Carers UK, People First, Scope, and Age UK

 Visit the Committee’s homepage.

 


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