WELCOME TO ALL FELLOW CAMPAIGNERS for DISABILITY RIGHTS - a pan disability blog connecting my work with, EQUAL LIVES, the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and the Survivor History Group.

Protest, Norwich Job Centre

Protest, Norwich Job Centre
Fatso Gets Militant!

Monday, 6 June 2011

The article Kathy is responding to below is the same article that was published in the Eastern Daily Press the same day. It is the article I responded to in my letter published 2nd June and which is written up and posted here above on 2nd June. It ties in nicely too with a separate excellent letter to the Evening News by Mark Harrison The three then are displayed here.


Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People response to Maria Miller article Evening News 01.06.2011

From Kathy Saunders, Chair, Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People

It is good to know that the minister for disabled people, Maria Miller, pays attention to the concerns raised by the Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People in the Evening News. Interviewed last week, Mrs Miller suggested NCODP’s interpretation of the impact of proposed Government changes was inaccurate, in particular about Disability Living Allowance.

Mrs Miller is quite right that DLA needs to be reformed, that it is too complex to be fit for purpose and that it does not always reflect the additional costs experienced by some disabled people. Drawing on our extensive knowledge of DLA applications and the daily living experience of disability, and along with our colleagues in dozens of disability organisations, NCODP is actively offering advice to the Minister and her civil servants to try to ensure that the new Personal Independence Payments will correct some of the past difficulties.

However, the Treasury costings for the 2010 budget clearly signal an intention to cut both the number of people receiving PIP and the overall cost by 20% in the next four years. We fear the aim of reform is ultimately to reduce the number of people and rates of DLA/PIP payments, which will impact on thousands of disabled people’s ability to live independently, to go to work, to look after their families and to enjoy the same life chances as all others in our society. There is no inaccuracy here, it is the Government’s own words.

During The Hardest Hit national protest march against the cuts on May 11th, Mrs Miller stated that current DLA payments favour those with alcohol and drug related illness more than those with visual impairments. Mrs Miller was quoting publicly available government statistics which show 5,100 blind people, and 3,400 people with alcohol and drug abuse in receipt of high level care component. For the high rate mobility component, 9,100 with alcohol and drug abuse compares with 7,100 who are blind, giving 12,200 blind and 12,500 with alcohol and drug abuse in the highest care and mobility categories. However, Mrs Miller should know that until April 2011, very few blind people were allowed to have high rate mobility, and close to 20,000 more blind people now receive the award. In fact, just short of 70,000 blind people receive one of the 11 different combinations of DLA payments compared to 23,000 people with alcohol or drug problems.

More blind and visually impaired people are in other categories of “main disabling condition”. A further 700 are deaf and blind, and at least a third of 360,000 people with learning difficulties are also blind or visually impaired. This compares to 585,000 people with arthritis among a total of just over 3 million.

A system with 11 different combinations is indeed easy to misunderstand, and possibly to add up inaccurately, but the Minister has had three weeks to take notice of correction and still voices the same error, which by coincidence, or purpose, encourages intensely negative stereotypical views of disabled people. This is in itself damaging, but also potentially illegal under the Equality Act which requires public sector bodies to promote equality of all disabled people by ensuring decision making is based on real life experience and evidence of need, rather than arbitrary assumptions and stereotypes.

Rather than soundbites with negative insinuations, NCODP would prefer a constructive conversation with our national and local Government, which recognises current pressures but also achieves good life chances for all disabled or ill Norfolk people and their families. But we will not flinch from telling it like it is, even if our analysis is not what Government wants to hear, or what they want our county residents to hear.

The NCODP report on the cumulative impact of the national and local government cuts and changes on disabled people in Norfolk predicts a drop of a third in the living standards of around 100,000 disabled people and their families over four years if all the changes being considered take place. That is why we will continue to highlight the effect of the local and national cuts at every level and to press for them to be reconsidered. Current Government policy will indeed result in fewer people being eligible for support under PIP. Not inaccurate, Mrs Miller, just your own Government’s facts.

More information:
        Budget 2010 policy costings HM Treasury, June 2010.
         HYPERLINK "http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/junebudget_costings.pdf" http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/junebudget_costings.pdf
        Disability Living Allowance recipients by main disabling condition and care rate (and         mobility rate) : May 2010.          HYPERLINK "http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2011/dla_care_mob_may_2010.xls" http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2011/dla_care_mob_may_2010.xls
        The impact of national budget cuts, tax changes and local reductions in services on
        disabled people and their families in Norfolk. A report commissioned by the Norfolk         Coalition of Disabled People. Chris Edwards, January 2011.
         HYPERLINK "http://www.campaignagainstcuts.org.uk/documents/facts/impact-of-cut-on-disabled-        people-in-norfolk-012011.pdf" http://www.campaignagainstcuts.org.uk/documents/facts/impact-of-cut-on-disabled-        people-in-norfolk-012011.pdf

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The Tough Tenor (when I could walk)!

In a Mellotone

In a Mellotone
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