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Disabled Peoples’ challenge to the next Mayor of London
Click here to download information leaflet
A fantastic opportunity to influence the redesign and procurement of assesment, supply and repair of wheelchair for users in these boroughs for a new service starting in April 2016. Click here for more details.
Urgent Call out for mass action to #SaveILF Tuesday, January 6th 1.30pm for 2pm start. House of Commons, SWIA 0AA
Following the loss of our court case against the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) we need as many disabled people and their supporters to join us for a mass visit to parliament.
At the moment only the Green Party have said they will keep the ILF open, Labour have shockingly refused to commit to do this. That is in spite of them paying lip service to the ideal of independent living when in reality all they offer is empty rhetoric.
We must stop disabled people being pushed back into the margins of society, we will not go back into the institutions, our place is in the community alongside our family and friends and neighbours and we are fighting to stay.
Join us for a DPAC- style lobby of parliament on January 6th 2015. Let’s kick of next year’s Revenge Tour campaigning by making sure we let politicians know we are still here and are neither going away nor allowing ourselves to become prisoners in institutions or our own homes.
Pop Up Shops, Home Care Costs, Party Wall Disasters (by BBC Radio 4)
Pop up shops began as a fun way to add interest to the high street. While they may not compete with the big retail hitters for sales, they're now managing to generate real business clout and making shopping local and small increasingly attractive.
The average cost of home care for elderly and disabled people is rising and set to rise even further as Councils countrywide are putting cutbacks in place. But one London Council says it's going to scrap charges altogether for home care next year. They say they will make the savings elsewhere. What does this mean for service users? And why can't every council follow suit?
And we talk to the homeowner faced with a huge bill when a neighbour chose a surveyor to examine their party wall. What are the pitfalls in building an extension when you share a wall and how can they be avoided?
Campaigning new disability rights network for London
A new organisation bringing together disabled people’s organisations in west London has just been launched. The launch of Hammersmith and Fulham Disabled People’s Organisations Network was made on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities last week and coincided with the local authority’s decision to abolish home care charges – something that the campaigners behind the new network (Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition Against Cuts HAFCAC), has long fought for.
The new network will collaborate with the council “to ensure disabled people’s involvement in the design and delivery of new policies and programmes”. In this guest post, Kevin Caulfield, who chairs HAFCAC, and fellow campaigner Debbie Domb, explain more about the new organisation and you can read more here.
Council to abolish home care charging: hard won victory for disabled campaigners in Hammersmith and Fulham
The announcement this week from Hammersmith and Fulham's recently elected Labour council that they will honour their manifesto commitment to scrap home care charging for older and disabled people marks the end of a hard won battle fought by local disabled campaigners Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition Against Cuts (hafcac).
The announcement was made at an event celebrating International Day of Disabled People organised in partnership between HF council and local Disabled People’s Organisations including hafcac, Action on Disability and HF Mencap Safetynet People First.
Council leader Steve Cowan told a room packed full of disabled people and our allies: “The current charge for home care is a tax on disability. There are 1,231 people in H&F who need help with everyday tasks that others take for granted, such as having a bath or doing the shopping. That help is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. In a civilised society, I believe home care is something people shouldn’t have to pay for.”
Joining the event to celebrate the victory from the Public Law Project was Ravi Low-Beer who represented members of hafcac when they took a legal challenge against the introduction of home care charging by the previous HF council administration on the grounds that that the equality impact on disabled people, women and BME residents had not been sufficiently considered. The challenge was ultimately lost but placed the issue firmly on the local political agenda leading to the HF Labour group’s manifesto commitment to end charging if elected.
Speaking at the event, Ravi said: "I am a lawyer with the Public Law Project, a legal charity which promotes access to justice for disadvantaged groups. I am honoured to have been asked to say a few words.
Kevin Caulfield, Chair of Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition against Cuts (HAFAC) said “We have campaigned hard for eight years against this unfair tax on disabled people just for having our needs met. Every other non-disabled HF resident would view it as an absolute violation of their human rights if they had to pay an invoice from the council before they could use the toilet, get washed and engage in day to day activities. We are over the moon to have a Council that now understands that”.
To watch video footage from the event including the minute the announcement was made go to: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1h4TYge0mf0
For the HF Council press release please go to: www.lbhf.gov.uk/Directory/News/Tax_on_Disability_to_be_abolished.asp#3
Disabled people in Hammersmith and Fulham celebrate International Day of Disabled People/ launch new network disabled people’s organisations
3rd December 2014
4.30pm – 7.00pm
Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall
Disabled people in Hammersmith and Fulham will celebrate International Day of Disabled People on 3rd December 2014 with an event to launch a new network of local Disabled People’s Organisations.
International Day was launched by the United Nations to bring about the “full participation and equality" of disabled people in life and the development of society, enjoy living conditions equal to those of other citizens and to have an equal share in improvements resulting from socio-economic development.
At a time when disabled people are suffering disproportionately under austerity (1) and the UK government is under investigation by the United Nations for grave and systematic violation of disabled people’s rights (2), ground breaking initiatives in Hammersmith and Fulham are putting the issues that matter to disabled people centre stage.
The Hammersmith & Fulham Disabled Peoples Organisations Network (3) will work in co-production with the Council to ensure disabled people’s involvement in the design and delivery of new policies and programmes that affect them.
Organisations involved in the Network include Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition against Cuts (HAFCAC), Action on Disability and HF Mencap Safetynet People First.
Kevin Caulfield, Chair of HAFCAC said: “We are very excited to launch our unique network at a time when disabled people’s lives have been turned upside down under the pretext of austerity. We need each other and allies more than ever.
For more information contact Ellen Clifford.
Notes for Editors
1) A fair society? How the cuts target disabled people by Dr Simon Duffy found that the cuts are hitting disabled people nine times harder than the average UK citizen. For disabled people with high support needs that figure rises to nineteen times.
3) A Disabled People's Organisation is an organisation or group where at least three quarters of the management committee are disabled people.
Andy Slaughter MP for Hammersmith spoke in the House of Commons debate on the future of the ILF on 18/6/14
Mr Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab):
Breaking news - 2nd court case to challenge ILF launched
The Department of Work and Pensions is facing a judicial review challenge by a group of disabled people of the decision of Minister for Disabled People Mike Penning to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in June 2015, taken just weeks after the Court of Appeal quashed a previous, almost identical decision as being unlawful. ILF provides vital support and funding to some 18,000 severely disabled people in the UK to enable them to live independent and fulfilling lives. To be eligible people must already receive a substantial care package from local authority social services, but ILF funding provides a top-up for those with particularly high support needs. The ILF system was set up in 1988 in recognition of the fact that more severely disabled people are at high risk of social exclusion and face particular barriers to independent living and working, but their needs in this regard were not adequately addressed by council provision with its focus on meeting basic needs. The claimants, represented by Deighton Pierce Glynn and Scott-Moncrieff & Associates, fear that loss of ILF support would threaten their right to live with dignity, and they may be forced into residential care or lose their ability to participate in work and everyday activities on an equal footing with other people. Click here to read more...
Don’t waste Your Vote! – Disabled People’s Votes Count!
Campaign takes to the streets of Hammersmith and Fulham
On Tuesday 20th May disabled people took to the streets of Hammersmith and Fulham in an accessible bus to encourage local people to vote.
The bus stopped to run stalls at Fulham Broadway and outside the Hammersmith and Fulham town Hall. Council officers came down to see what all the noise was about as disabled people chanted:
“Whose Council? Our council!
Hundreds of people took leaflets explaining why they shouldn’t waste their vote and stopped to talk. A number of people who told us they didn’t see the point in voting when they first stopped left telling us they were definitely going to now use their vote.
Campaigners urge disabled people to vote in Thursday's local elections
Don’t Waste Your Vote Roadshow! Disabled People’s Votes count
On 22nd May 2014 local and European elections will be taking place across the UK.
It is important that everyone who can vote does vote.
Traditionally disabled people have faced barriers to voting and having our say in elections.
The law now says that being able to vote is a right accessible to all disabled people.
These elections really matter to disabled people, our families and supporters because we are facing cuts to our living standards. It is important that disabled people vote in these elections and have a say in who will be running your Council for the next few four years.
On 20th May disabled people will be driving round the Borough in our own accessible roadshow bus and handing out accessible information about the elections.
WE WANT YOU TO JOIN US ON TUESDAY 20TH MAY 2014!
Or come and join us at one of our stalls:
12pm – 2pm Fulham Broadway outside Snappy Snaps 354 North End Rd Fulham SW6 1LY
If you want to travel with us on the roadshow bus please contact by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 0778 909 5049
For more information about what the different local parties say on the issues that are important to disabled people check out the NEWS section of our website www.hafcac.org.uk
HAFCAC asked political parties standing in the local elections on Thursday May 22nd 2014 six questions on issues important to us as local disabled people.
Disabled people, our families, neighbours and supporters know that disabled people have been severely affected by numerous cuts to services, support, welfare benefits that have affected our day to day living standards and ability to be equal citizens.
It is important that politicians recognise disabled people as citizens with voting power. It is also important that they address our concerns and not just theirs.
We sent the questions to the Conservative Party, Green Party, Labour Party, Trade Union and Socialist Party. Lib Dems and UKIP did not reply.
Visit Power Up Project website for information on free training and events for London's disability sector run by Inclusion London and Transport for All. www.powerupproject.org.uk
New date for ILF closure announced by government
The government new announcement that the Independent Living Fund will close permanently from June 2015 has been met with fear and anger by disabled people who use the Fund and their supporters.
In November the Court of Appeal quashed the government decision to close the Fund on the basis that government Ministers had not been fully informed of the impact of the closure when they took the decision. The judges found that the DWP had failed to fulfil its duty, under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, to have “due regard” to the need to promote equality of opportunity between disabled and non-disabled people in its decision to close the fund. It was found that briefings given to then disability minister Esther McVey by officials did not adequately make clear “the potentially very grave impact” the closure of the ILF could have on service users and that whereas responses to the consultation indicated that “independent living might well be put seriously in period for a large number of people”, this was not conveyed to the minister in clear terms.
Today Mike Penning, current Minister for Disabled People, announced that the government has looked at the evidence and retaken the decision, simply moving the closure date back by three months to allow for time lost following the Court of Appeal judgment.
Actor Liz Carr who plays Clarissa Mullery in BBC's Silent Witness said: "The closure of the Independent Living Fund will inevitably lead to the erosion of independence, inclusion and freedom for disabled people who have high levels of need. I am one of the 18,000 people in the UK who receive support from the ILF and it is this funding to pay people to do the things I physically can't do which enables me to get up in the morning, work and have the same kinds of opportunities as everyone else. I don't think I'm being overdramatic when I say that today's news is devastating to those of us whose lives and existence owes a great deal to the Independent Living Fund. How can already strapped for cash Local authorities take up the slack when the Fund closes in the summer of 2015? How many of us are going to lose our independence as residential care provides a more cost effective option? A future without the ILF is terrifying."
Tracey Lazard, CEO of Inclusion London said: "the decision to close the ILF is a cut masquerading as a reform – a cut made with no thought on the impact of the closure of the lives of disabled people. Through the legal challenge it became clear that the likelihood of the Government funding ILF support after 2016 was very small. It is equally clear that the mainstream social care system operated by Local Authorities, that the Government said would be able to take over meeting the needs of ILF users, can do no such thing. This is a service in crisis that is failing to provide even the most basic of personal care to increasing numbers of people. Without ILF many thousands of disabled people will see their support dramatically cut leaving them isolated at home or forced into residential accommodation, unable to contribute and without any quality of life, choice or control."
Campaigners will continue to fight the closure. Ellen Clifford from Disabled People Against Cuts, the campaign who supported the legal challenge said, "The fight continues. We are seeing the impact of the closure on 2010 and how local authority support is failing to meet the needs and rights of disabled people under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The strength and resolve of grassroots disabled people got us this far and we are not giving up now. This has never just been about protecting support for existing ILF recipients, however important that certainly is, but it is also about the fundamental right to independent living for all disabled people.”
To read the statement from Disabled People Against Cuts: http://dpac.uk.net/2014/03/dpac-statement-on-government-announcement-on-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund/#sthash.51PgOnNl.dpbs
To read the statement from PCS Union: http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/news_centre/index.cfm/closure-of-independent-living-fund-devastating-for-disabled-people
o read the government announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/future-of-the-independent-living-fund
Act Now for a legal right to independent living
We urge you to contact your MP to support an amendment to the Care bill and to encourage all your members/contacts to do the same. WE MUST ACT NOW FOR A LEGISLATIVE RIGHT TO INDEPENDENT LIVING FOR DISABLED PEOPLE.
The Care bill is reaching its final stages through Parliament. Widespread concern has been voiced by organisations including Inclusion London and the Law Society about the failure to reference the right to independent living. Inclusion London suggested amendments which were put forward in the House of Commons by Liz Kendall, Shadow Minister for Carer Services and robustly debated but sadly lost the vote. The Joint Committee has now put forward an amendment to be considered as the Care bill passes into Commons' Report Stage to include a free-standing right to independent living that could be directly enforceable by individuals in domestic law.
We urge you to contact your MP to support this amendment and to encourage all your members/contacts to do the same. WE MUST ACT NOW FOR A LEGISLATIVE RIGHT TO INDEPENDENT LIVING FOR DISABLED PEOPLE.
When the Joint Committee on Human Rights published their Independent Living Report in 2012 they recommended that a freestanding right to independent living should be expressly included in any forthcoming legislation on adult social care. They concluded that: "[...] merely filling in the gaps in the current legislative framework will still not accord the right to independent living the legal status that its fundamental importance deserves". The government ignored this recommendation when drafting the Care bill, claiming that independent living is covered by the well-being principle included in the legislation. The well-being principle is not however directly enforceable as an individual right in domestic law.
The lived experiences of disabled people overwhelmingly support the need for a free-standing, enforceable right to living independently and being included in the community. With the closure of the Independent Living Fund it is now entirely the responsibility of local authorities to meet the social care support needs of disabled people with the highest levels of support need yet we are seeing support packages cut to the bone with the consequence that disabled people are increasingly denied equal life chances and quality of life.
We agree with the Joint Committee that the Care Bill is the most appropriate opportunity for the Government to provide the necessary legislative underpinning of the right to independent living as enshrined in Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
Link to Joint Committee suggested amendment: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201314/jtselect/jtrights/121/12105.htm
Link to Law Society briefings:
Inclusive education campaigners speak out against the Children and Families Bill
The leading disabled people’s charity, Alliance for Inclusive Education, has warned that over 1 million children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) will lose their right to mainstream education, breaking its promise to young People with SEN and their parents about special education reforms in the Children and Families Bill.
Before Christmas disabled campaigners and allies occupied the foyer of the Department for Education having tried in vain to get a meeting with education Minister Lord Nash for six months. The protest secured a meeting but as the Children and Families bill enters the Lords for its third reading the Alliance for Inclusive Education issued a press release speaking out against the Government’s removal of rid of crucial legal protections that enable children and young people with SEN to be included in mainstream education.
Download Allfie’s press release below:
Job Centre Plus staff referred many claimants for a sanction inappropriately – says select committee report
JCP must be very clearly incentivised to get people into work, not just off benefits
Evidence suggests that Jobcentre Plus (JCP) have referred many claimants for a sanction inappropriately or in circumstances in which common sense would dictate that discretion should have been applied, according to a report published on 28 January by the Work and Pensions Committee.
The Chair of the Select Committee, Dame Anne Begg MP highlighted problems with the way JCP’s performance is currently measured, which is primarily by the proportion of claimants leaving benefit and said that “JCP must be very clearly incentivised to get people into work, not just off benefits”. Dame Anne Begg MP also said:
“The processes by which JCP currently establishes claimants’ needs are haphazard and prone to missing crucial information about a person’s barriers to working, including homelessness and drug dependency. A more thorough and systematic approach to assessing claimants’ needs is required.”
The report recommends that DWP take urgent steps to monitor the extent of financial hardship caused by sanctions. These should include collecting and publishing data on the number of claimants ‘signposted’ to food aid by JCP and the reasons why these claimants were in need of assistance.
Dame Anne Begg MP pointed out that there had been an unprecedented number of claimants were sanctioned in the year to June 2013 and said that, “Increasingly strict conditionality must be accompanied by more in-depth and effective advice and support for people struggling to find work, particularly those facing real barriers to employment, including health conditions and disabilities.”
The report also recommends that the ‘unacceptably high ratio of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants to specialist JCP Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs)—currently over 600 ESA claimants to each DEA’ must be addressed.
The Committee recommends that there should be a separate, broader independent review of the operation of benefit conditionality and sanctioning to ensure that the rules are being applied fairly and appropriately. This review should also investigate whether, and to what extent, sanctioning is having the desired effect of encouraging claimants to engage more actively in job-seeking. This answers concerns raised by Inclusion about the narrowness of the Independent Review conducted by Mathew Oakley, which only focused on claimant’s understanding of the sanctions system. See Inclusion London’s response to the review at: http://www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/Jobseekers-Allowance-sanctions-Inclusion-Londons-views
The Select Committee’s report, ‘The role of Jobcentre Plus in the reformed welfare system’ is available: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmworpen/479/479.pdf
More information is available at:
UK benefits are ‘manifestly inadequate’ says Council of Europe Committee
The European Committee of Social Rights found that levels of UK benefits are 'manifestly inadequate'.
The Committee's annual report for 2013 on the conformity of the UK with the European Social Charter, found that minimum levels of short term and long term incapacity benefits, state pension and jobseeker’s allowance are 'manifestly inadequate' for the purposes of Article 12 of the Charter, as they fall below 40 per cent of the median income of European states.
The full report is available at: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/socialcharter/Conclusions/State/UKXX2_en.pdf
Sources for this article include: http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/
Appeal Court Quash decision to close Independent Living Fund!!
Posted: 06 Nov 2013
This morning the Appeal Court in London unanimously quashed the Government's decision to close the Independent Living Fund on the grounds that it breached the Public Sector Equality Duty.
Although this ruling is a very positive development, one victory does not win a war! Solicitors Louise Whitfield, Diane Astin and Kate Whittaker and barrister David Wolfe QC have given us this opportunity through their commitment and tireless work, helped by the intervention of the EHRC and the hard work of a small group of claimants, ILF users and activists.
See stories from ILF users http://dpac.uk.net/independent-living-fund/
It is now up to the Disabled People's Movement to intensify its campaign to save the Independent Living Fund and defend independent living rights with the support of the PCS union and all those opposed to closure.
Well done to all those who have worked tirelessly for this victory.
We hope that those Disabled Peoples' Organisations that stayed silent will now join us in this fight for disabled peoples' rights to independent living
Press release: ILF press release – final
Transcript of case: bit.ly/18YYYW0
The fantastic Kate Belgrave who has supported this and many other DPAC campaigns throughout, this includes a video and features footage of Inclusion London who have done the same:
BBC News link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24834558
A curious piece by Patrick Butler with quotes from a large disability Charity and Jane Young for no apparent reason we can think of -we asked if Mr Butler would like to talk to any people actually involved in supporting the past three years of the ILF campaign. He responded to tell us the ‘onus' was on DPAC to get in touch with him and apparently not on him to contact us….
Independent Living Fund information for recipients about transfer to local authority support
The Independent Living Fund (ILF) has started to send out information to recipients to let them know about how the transfer from the ILF to local authority funded support will be managed over the next two years until the closure of the ILF in April 2015.
You can download copies of the information being sent out here:
To donload information, please click on the subject below.
From 1 April 2013 The Public Law Project will be looking for exceptional funding referrals
On 1 April 2013 the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 will come into force, taking whole swathes of civil law out of scope for legal aid. PLP will seek referrals from solicitors and advisers who do not have the capacity to make exceptional funding applications for their clients or challenge unfair refusals of funding. Click here for more information.
Independent Living - Because we're worth it
The Coalition government said they would always support those with the greatest needs . This is likely to be an empty promise when the Independent living Fund closes. The closure of the Fund will result not only in a loss of support for disabled people leading to a greatly reduced quality of life but also to instances of people being forced into residential homes against their wishes.
The government admitted this in their response to the consultation that was carried out on the Future of the Independent living Fund.
They are going against disabled people's right to live in the community with choice and control over our lives. The closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) affects everyone in the UK.
There are many ways you add your voice to the campaign: www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/Independent-Living-because-we-are-worth-it
HAFCAC has asked our local MPs to resist closure of the Independent Living Fund. Download our letter to MPs on the ILF in rtf format , and for Greg Hands' response in pdf format . Also available to download is a response from Andy Slaughter.
Use the powerful series of short films made by journalist Kate Belgrave highlighting the impact of the closure of the ILF by circulating the links to the films through email or social media. Campaign groups and disabled people's organisations could show the films at meetings.
Ask people to sign up to this petition created by Disability Equality Forum Bristol: click here for petition online
Send a press release to your local newspaper to highlight how the closure of the Independent living Fund will impact on ILF recipients in your local area. You can download a template press release here. You can find the number of ILF recipients in your area as at the end of June 2012 from this document: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/ user-profiles-0612.pdf
Email Inclusion London for copies of Independent Living Fund campaign postcards to give out for people to send to their MPs: email@example.com
Follow the campaign on twitter: @dis_ppl_protest SEPartridge @BecauseWe_R-WorthIt
LOBBY DECISION MAKERS Set up meetings with local Councillors and MPs to urge a commitment to ring fencing ILF money transferred to Local Authorities in April 2015. You can download a copy of any responses your Local Authority (LA) sent in to the Future of the Independent Living Fund using the links provided on the attached list gathered together by DPAC .
Write to your MP asking them to sign up to support the campaign to defend independent living and save the Independent Living Fund. There is an attached template letter you can download here. If you can, include information about how the closure will affect you personally. Not all MPs will sign Early Day Motions and frontbenchers are not able to so if you know the request to sign EDM 651 will not be relevant to your MP do leave it out.
Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition Against Cuts, ADKC Centre, Whitstable House, Silchester Road , London W10 6SB
Tel: 020 8960 8888 ext 21 SMS (not typetalk) - 07899 752 877 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org