Anybody’s Child – ChatBack Production

Very busy evening last night. Two important functions attended. First of all the Premier of the latest Chatback Production.

This film group is made up of kids in care. The latest film “Anybody’s Child” was written & performed by kids from the group. A very emotive film about how easy, how fast & how kids can easily become embroiled in Child Sexual Exploitation.

The kids as ever did a fabulous job. The DVD will be no doubt for sale & it is something every family should be aware of. As soon as the DVD is out on sale I will let people know.

A close family friend is involved with the film so I will be quite happy to send people their way to get a copy. I really hope every school will be buying a copy to show to each year group.

I was very proud to be invited & to see the kids doing something very poignant. I’ve had the pleasure of attending the last 2 premiers. By the way Josie Lawrence has again given her time to be in the film. She is such a great supporter of the things the kids have done she’s been in every film I think

Then we were off to UKIP Stourbridge branch event at the Hare & Hounds. The ever lovely & thoughtful Margot Parker MEP gave up her time to speak at the event.

She told people about how she became involved in politics, the hardship endured by those who don’t have private means to fall back on however sheer determination can see you through on relatively little because you invariably still have more than those who come to you for help.

It was a message of hope. That no matter how financially poor you are, in UKIP you must graft, work with the intention of helping make life better for those locally, get involved nationally etc. The key message being that UKIP is an extended family whereby we all look out for each other.

We help people in all regions in every practical way possible whether it be sorting out ASB or the ever glamourous litter picks. There is always a way to help & help people a few at a time.

I’m with Margot & am fully on board with the UKiP family. It’s how we work, it’s how we can support each other to do what we do.

Ps; pain meds worn off so I’m awake waiting for time when I can take my next does. Must remember to get to the chemist later, I’ve run out out of a few of my meds so need to get them or I will be bonkers barmy with pain later!

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How much lower will ATOS go?

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/mentally-ill-woman-sheila-holt-rochdale-6553258

I honestly thought the system in place regarding the Work Capability Assessments undertaken by ATOS could not get any worse. I was wrong! Sadly a mentally ill lady who is in a coma and has suffered a heart attack since her benefits were withdrawn last year.

This lady has a long standing illness, her Bipolar disorder has meant she has been unable to work since leaving school. Her medication will have helped to keep her at a level of equilibrium but it cannot and and would not cure her condition,

Sheila was pushed to the limit by the worry over the changes to the benefit system, she was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after her benefits where withdrawn. The worry of her benefits being withdrawn, the impersonal nature of how the assessments are carried out, the dismissive letters that are “standard” are written in DWP Jargon and are quite frankly difficult to understand. I have trouble with them and have to read them a number of times. I admit that I have had to phone up to try to get the letters explained. It’s very frightening, you feel like you have done something wrong, there is no humanity involved. You know to the people in the departments see you only as a number, a file on the computer, a list of DWP regulations and you feel terrible.

Quite honestly you feel like you are on trial. It is such a scary and frightening process, you know yourself that you are too sick to work. You feel that the assessors don’t listen to what you say. They barely look at you as they are too busy typing on the computer.

Sheila was likely asked to fill out her form, it was possibly done by someone in her family and someone who cares for her. They will have answered to questions honestly and to the best of their ability. Before Sheila was pushed over the edge, she possibly could have done the majority of the physical tests. Sheila would likely be able to pick up an empty box, pour herself a drink from a 1 or 2 litre carton, she may also have been able to walk more than 50mts. Sheila was not physically disabled she had longstanding mental health issues.

In October 2013 the DWP were told they must contact all of the people involved with the care of patients with Mental Heath issues so that all of the evidence required to assess the person in relation to their capability for work. Some people with mental health issues can and do work, however there comes a time when all they will sadly have a breakdown and need time off or need to be and in patient.

Mental health issues are just as dibilitating as physical disabilities. Surely the DWP know this, you would expect they would have devised a form that will not be oppressive, will be open questions so people can explain their individual physical and or mental issues, the questions are not helpful and so many appear to be asking the same question just in a slightly different way. The forms are like a mini novel, it can take people a few days to fill in. There really has to be a better way.

Sheila is now in hospital, in a coma and ATOS are demanding that she be available and must attend a further assessment. Sheila is too ill to send a reply, she is too ill to attend any assessment centre. What will the DWP do when they do not hear from her? Will they send a letter saying they are sanctioning her?

I hope that the local JCP will read this and see how Sheila is currently,

1) can she move an empty box? NO.
2) can she feed herself? NO.
3) can she put a pen in her top pocket? NO.
4) can she walk without any help or aids? NO.

Sheila cannot do anything for herself, she needs 24 hour care and why is that DWP/ATOS? It is because you have scared a very vulnerable lady, you made her feel so scared that the fear caused her to have a total breakdown and her Biopolar was not under control. On top of the break down which will also have exacerbated her physical health she suffered a heart attack. she now has little chance of having any form of life, it is highly unlikely she will ever be anywhere near as well as she was before.

Her life is effectively in the balance all due to an uncaring Government who are happy to see the super wealthy avoid tax but if you’re a person who has health problems then you will be vilified, made to feel like you’re a fraud and that you are cheating the system. We can only say well done to the Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration who have been instrumental in these reforms, maybe their intention was to cut fraud but as only 0.3% of all claims involving sickness or disability then they seek to go after the most vulnerable in order to weed out the scammers.

I hope David Cameron, Nick Clegg and all the ministers in the DWP and their staff, the ATOS assessors read about Sheila and then look in the mirror. Are you proud of this? Are you proud of the numbers of people who are taken off the ESA benefit? How can any compassionate human being see the reports daily where people like Sheila, like you, like me, have become seriously ill or in an increasing number or examples the person has died!

Whilst assessments are a good idea, they need to be conducted in a better, more human way. Full patient history should be examined by a qualified GP or even a specialist in the area the persons illness falls into.

Sorry but for people like Sheila your current system is a disgrace and you should hang your heads I shame. Maybe you should look at the real scammers oh you do they are around you I the Commons! How many of you put paper clips on your expenses, the odd tv, maybe a stereo, a couch, a porn film, stamp duty costs because you decided to cash in on the property boom in London, the tax pays funded that home but did one penny of the profit go back into the coffers……..did it heck as like.

This administration is a much of a joke as its predecessors. Yes everyone the MP’s who are whipped to vote how they are told are no better because they aren’t acting in the best interests of their constituents.

I hope Sheila will come out of the coma, I hope she will get well enough to leave hospital. I hope she never has to undergo an ATOS or Capita assessment ever again.

Get well soon Sheila.

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Big Benefits Row

Ok have just tried to watch the #BigBenefitsRow. I know many others on twitter and other social media have done the same.

I make no secret of my physical ill health and disability nor my mental illness. I refuse to hide it because it’s part of me and I believe in honesty.

I am on benefits, no I don’t like it, yes I’d love to be well enough to get back into work. I do apply for jobs still, I do have a lot to offer but being realistic my health issues make it basically impossible for any employer to give me a chance unless I could do it all from home at times to suit me and my illness/medication.

I like many others want to feel useful and not surplus to societies requirements. I am able and do try to help people via e-mail, telephone, at times to suit me. It pays nothing but i do get that glow of satisfaction that I’ve helped make life a little better for another person or family.

Some people can’t do what I can for many reasons, they do feel down, it can lead to a spiral of depression this is one of the mental issues people want to talk about & get help via sorts of talking therapies such Psychotherapy. Alas access to good mental health help varies throughout the country. With help being so sporadic & ranging from great to being put on a waiting list for years! Surely it is better to treat the person via immediately accessible mental health services then they would be able to get well, have the help and return to some work slowly and eventually they would be able to work full time and not be reliant on benefits. All of these approaches must have a caveat, some people with all the help possible are simply not able to cope in the world of work. So this will work for some but not all.

I am all for working if you are able bodied and not suffering from a severe or mental illness. We have read and seen how people in a coma, in severe kidney failure and on dialysis, people who have had strokes, brain tumours etc who are told they are fit for work because they can lift an empty cardboard box, put a pen in their top pocket and hold a 2litre milk carton. This does not take into account the way the illness/disease actually prevents them from being available to work for certain amounts of time etc.

Yes there are some people who do abuse the system, yes there are some who pretend to be single parents when they have their partner live with them. This is because the rules make it financially beneficial to be “a single parent” rather than valuing marriage, cohabitation etc which is really the best for any kids to live in a two parent family.

Some people are told at the Job Centre they will be worse off by £x.xx if they take this or that job. That is wrong and people should be better off in work than on benefits. However, when we take a view of it like “if I take this job I will lose out on time with my child, most money will go on childcare, the cost of travel to work, and with all taken in to account I will be £3 per week worse or better off”

In the above scenario you will get many people who would rather be in work and will take it because being on benefits and not having a routine, a place to be, a reason to get up and get outside can leave a person really isolated. There are more than just money that is gained when a person takes employment. These other really positive aspects aren’t discussed. I humbly suggest they are.

I think people are brassed off with those people, small minority, who have never worked and seem to have a much nicer lifestyle than the person working on minimum wage. It can get vey upsetting and it can be irksome.

However, those people may have “invisible” health conditions that mean they cannot work, again this aspect is overlooked in any discussions.

I had until I got sick, 5 years or so ago, I had always worked and or been in education. I am only just coming to terms with the steep decline of my health and it’s still no fun and I don’t like being in this position. I’d give anything to be able to control my illness (there is no cure) so that I could maybe work part time. I know lots of others I a very similar situation.

There is no easy answer to this but I do feel that putting pensions into the same calculation does give a very warped view of the money spent on benefits. Maybe it would be helpful if the costs were put into their respective headings. It may help.

We have had a really terrible down turn, recession, double dip recession and during that time many thousands of people have lost their jobs, in some areas they have found it almost impossible to find any other job. Lots of people have moved to find work. Many cannot due to children being in eduction at a critical time such as SATS, GCSE’S or at College undertaking education or training.

Anyway remember 99% of people who are out of work, wish they were in work. We have graduates on the checkout at supermarkets, alas this is a state of the employment market BUT I respect everybody who takes a job they are vastly over qualified for because they would rather have some money coming in rather than being on benefits.

Benefits street as a programme focused on such a tiny microcosm that is it impossible to to actually use that as an example of the norm for all those who are out of work and claiming benefits.

Maybe there should be a programme on showing how hard many people try to get a job, any job. Showing the people who send off vast numbers of applications per day yet don’t even get an email/letter/phone call back to acknowledge their application or to say thanks but no thanks.

Most of all you must for the most part think “There but for the grace of god go I” because sadly illness and injury can change your life over night.

Well that’s my 2p’s worth if it’s worth anything at all?

Coming off benefits is like Ground Hog Day!!!

As many of my blog/tweet/website friends know I have been in receipt of ESA. I have had to endure the system imposed on me. I have always done everything as openly & honestly as is humanly possible.

Since we (Me & Hubs) were elected by the votes cast by people on 22nd May I have been phoning, writing, e-mailing, sending smoke signals, semaphore & morse code to all the various DWP/HMRC agencies to update them!

I rang a number of them on 23rd of May (the same day as results were counted & verified) explained the situation. Frustratingly I was unable to get past their tick boxes. So I thought I know I will send them a letter. After all there is only a number of times per day that you can keep going through the Spanish Inquisition to get to speak to a human being.

It is now 4weeks since the election, I have 2 Tax Credit Award notices, one is correct as far as I can see and states we are now over the limit & are no longer eligible. The second and most recent one is contrary, it states we are entitled & will be give £x.xx every 4 weeks!

I have tried calling the Tax Credits people every day, I have endured the inquisition only to be told at the end of a 5 minute call to a computerised voice that “there are no Customer Service Operatives free to take my call, to call back at a different time of day, goodbye” There is then a dial tone.

This is ridiculous & unfair on any claimants who must pay for a wasted call to an 0345 number. Is it any wonder so much money is “lost” in the Benefits Budget?

I want to stop receiving money, I want them to take me off their system. I have written, phoned & filled in official forms all to stop being given money to which I very much doubt I am entitled to!

I am at a loss as to what more I can do. It seems that no matter what I do the system isn’t geared for people who actually want to get off benefits. They tell you to contact them if there are any changes in circumstances , how on earth can you do that if you can’t get through on the phone, they won’t accept your letters?

I don’t want a hand up any more, Thank you for the support during a very difficult time BUT we have come through that and no longer require any assistance.

Any ideas on how to get to a human to sort this are very welcome.

Now to try again and again in my stop paying me benefits Groundhog Day!

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ESA & PIP – Info via Benefits And Work : Systemic Failures!!!

IF YOU’RE ON ESA, DLA, JSA, PIP OR ANY OTHER BENEFITS THEN YOU WON’T GO FAR WRONG IF YOU Click This Link

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Benefits and Work
To:
Sent: Wednesday, 4 June 2014, 13:48
Subject: More PIP Medicals By Phone Plus Huge ESA
*******************************
Dear martin,
PIP is in a mess. We all know it and only the DWP try to deny it.
But the surest signs that panic is beginning to set in is the fact that Capita have now more than doubled the pay they are offering to assessors in their attempt to get on top of the backlog. Capita health professionals now have a ‘new incentive scheme’ which means they can earn up to £900 a day. Not bad for physiotherapists more accustomed to earning £40 an hour.
In addition, the DWP have rewritten their guidance to assessors in the hope of persuading them to carry out fewer face-to-face medicals and assess more people just on paper evidence, backed up by a telephone call to the claimant to get additional information where necessary. Currently 98% of PIP assessments are face-to-face, but the DWP is aiming for this figure to drop to around 75%. This means a big increase in the number of PIP claimants who will be getting a call out of the blue from an Atos or Capita health professional.
We’ll be updating our guide to claiming PIP with more information about how decisions will be made about who gets a face-to-face medical and also with suggestions about how to deal with a phone call from a PIP health professional, by the end of the week.
In some cases the changes will mean claimants with substantial impairments getting an award of PIP without having to attend a medical, which can only be a good thing.
But in other cases the guidance makes it clear that assessors can refuse to make any award of PIP based simply on the claim pack completed by the claimant, with telephone clarification of specific issues if required.
It makes it even more vital that PIP ‘How your disability affects you’ forms are completed in as much detail as possible and that you get medical evidence if you can.
Unfortunately, Citizens Advice have discovered that half of all GP surgeries are now charging for evidence for ESA appeals and there’s no reason to suppose that things are any different when it comes to PIP.
In this edition we also have news of more truth-bending by the DWP, unsubstantiated rumours of changes to the PIP criteria, a dramatic rise in ESA sanctions, plans to cut the income of new ESA and JSA claimants and the truth about what Professor Harrington thought about Atos and the DWP.
Plus we have news of new DWP ESA documents available in the members area.
Oh, and we reveal how many of our readers would recommend us to others.
*******************************
20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP FOR CLAIMANTS AND FOR PROFESSIONALS – ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY
If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community before midnight on Friday and you can get 20% off the cost of your annual subscription
Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay: 9742
Claimants and carers get an annual subscription for £15.96, down from £19.95. Professionals get an annual subscription for £77.60, down from £97.00.

WHAT’S NEW ON THE SITE
For some years now we’ve published a collection of around 20 documents which allegedly contain the information loaded onto LiMA about different conditions – LiMA being the software that Atos uses to carry out work capability assessments.
However, as a result of a recent freedom of information request we have now obtained another 26 documents allegedly used in LiMA, covering conditions such as epilepsy, hypertension, low back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke and lupus. These have all been published in the ESA members area of the site, in the ESA DWP guides section (you’ll need to be a logged in member to access this page). They can help to give you some idea of how Atos believe your condition should affect you.
From the same page you can also download a 15 page document relating to how the DWP works with claimants with drug or alcohol dependency. It covers both ESA and JSA claimants, particularly in relation to treatment programmes and to the work programme. If you work with this client group, it’s definitely worth downloading.

95% WOULD RECOMMEND BENEFITS AND WORK TO OTHERS
Many thanks to the more than 6,000 people who completed our survey which went out instead of a newsletter at the end of last week. We really appreciate your feedback and we are working our way through all of your many thousands of comments.
We were delighted that when asked ‘Would you recommend our site to other claimants or professionals’, no fewer than 95.3% of you said ’Yes’ you would. Fewer than 1% said ‘No’, with the rest being undecided.
We were also very interested to learn that, when asked which benefits you are receiving or trying to get, 58% said ESA but 7% said you are still getting incapacity benefit. If those figures are representative of the country as a whole, then by our calculations over 10% of IB claimants have still not been transferred to ESA. Considering that migration was supposed to be completed by April of this year, that’s another impressive failure by IDS.

ESA NEWS
There’s been a dramatic rise in ESA sanctions – up by over 300% in a year. They rose from 1,102 in December 2012 to 4,789 in December 2013. The vast majority of ESA sanctions are for alleged failure to participate in work-related activities.
ESA sanctions are still dwarfed by JSA sanctions, but with more and more ESA claimants being forced onto the work programme – where staff appear to have little interest in claimants health issues – the number is likely to go on climbing.
Please make sure you read our tips for avoiding and fighting sanctions, which includes advice on suing the DWP and work programme providers.
Our sanctions advice has provoked some discussion on Rightsnet, where one welfare rights worker is attempting to take similar cases to an employment tribunal, for which legal help is more readily available.
Still on the subject of ESA, it’s not just claimants who have problems with Atos. Professor Malcolm Harrington, who carried out the first three independent reviews of the work capability assessment, told the work and pensions committee last month that he ‘did not trust Atos’, that the DWP team set up to implement his recommendations was ‘disbanded’ and that the system was ‘wrong at every stage’.
Harrington called for a “more humane and more individual-focused” assessment system.
It’s just a shame he didn’t say all of this whilst he was actually in the job and in a position to make a difference.
Trying to get evidence from a health professional not employed by Atos is becoming increasingly expensive, however. Citizens Advice have published the results of a survey that shows that half of GPs surgeries that provide evidence for ESA appeals charge for doing so. We’d be very interested to hear about your experiences of trying to get medical evidence in the comments section of this article.
Finally, ESA claimants will lose on average £50 and JSA claimants £40 if the government goes ahead with plans to increase the number of waiting days from 3 to 7 before individuals can make a claim.
The Social Security Advisory Committee has launched a consultation on the proposals as experts warn that they will push more people into the clutches of payday lenders.

PIP AND DLA NEWS
Last week, Benefits and Work heard from a number of people who were very distressed at a claim circulating on the internet that the PIP assessment criteria have been made much more severe and that some people who have had an award may have to repay it. The information allegedly came from a source within Atos.
If you haven’t already seen it, we published our response to this story, which we don’t believe was accurate and which has not since been substantiated in any way.
The DWP meanwhile, has yet again been caught out twisting the facts to justify the introduction of PIP. The official statistics watchdog has found that the DWP repeatedly made false claims about the numbers of people living on disability benefits.
In addition, ministers at the DWP repeatedly and misleadingly claimed that the majority of people on disability living allowance (DLA) were given benefits for life without any supporting medical evidence.

OTHER BENEFITS NEWS
The grandparents and carers of a very severely disabled boy of 14 who needs round-the-clock care have lost their bedroom tax appeal. They have to pay the bedroom tax because they have a ‘spare’ bedroom which is used by overnight carers twice a week, in order to give the Rutherfords a little respite.
The case was brought by CPAG and we understand that they intend to fight on.
Finally, universal credit, has had to be reorganised so fundamentally that the Major Projects Authority has judged that it is now an entirely new project. Given that the DWP have so far signed up fewer than 1% of the more than one million claimants that should have been on UC by April 2014, it’s surprising it counts as a major project at all.

FACEBOOK AND TWITTER NEWS
Both our social media accounts have reached major milestones since the last newsletter.
We’ve now passed the 10,000 mark for Facebook ‘likes’ and our Facebook page is really taking on a character of its own, with a community of individuals supporting each other and discussing issues reported on the main site and elsewhere. Many thanks, as always, to Studio Pookini for running the page for us as volunteers.
Meanwhile we have now got over 6,000 followers on twitter, which continues to be an excellent source of breaking news for us. Many thanks to Sangeeta, the only socially savvy member of the office team, for being the only one who knows how to tweet.

MORE NEWS ON THE SITE
The real cost-of-living-crisis: Five million British children ‘sentenced to life of poverty thanks to welfare reforms’

The DWP must explain how it will adjust Atos WCAs for mental health claimants
MPs meet their match at St James’ Park

Ministers urged to publish more accurate figures on benefit fraud that show it is 0.7% of claims

20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP FOR CLAIMANTS AND FOR PROFESSIONALS – ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY
If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community before midnight on Friday and you can get 20% off the cost of your annual subscription
Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay: 9742
Claimants and carers get an annual subscription for £15.96, down from £19.95. Professionals get an annual subscription for £77.60, down from £97.00.

GOOD NEWS FROM THE FORUM
As always,we’re very grateful to everyone who posts their good news in the forum.
PIP success
“I’ve had a decision letter and it’s great news. Standard rate for daily care and enhanced rate for mobility. Both ongoing and to be reviewed in 2025…I’m happy with the outcome and the Capita assessment…I hope this result gives some encouragement to those still going through the process.”
ESA Support Group
“…well decision letter finally came today – DWP did go with ATOS recommendation for the support group – thanks so much for everyone’s support here and all the info provided! Couldn’t have managed without it.”
PIP award
“Thank you so very much for all the help and advice I received from your guides. I applied for PIP. My assessment was in March . I finally had a result on Tuesday this week. More surprisingly all the back dated money was in my account yesterday. Enhanced care and standard mobility. Thanks so much”

DLA awarded on renewal
“…a massive thank you to this website for all the help and support given to help complete these complex and often misleading forms…I filled the form out and gathered all my necessary supporting documents and sent it off… within a few weeks I had a letter to say I had the same DLA award but for an indefinite period.”

PIP success
“Just to let you all know that today I’ve received a letter saying I have been awarded enhanced daily living and mobility! I cannot thank enough Benefits and Work because you all have been such a great support for me. I am so lucky to found you and cannot imagine what would I do without your great information and guidance. Thank you so much! I wish everyone who is applying PIP good luck! Its a very hard and stressful process but Benefits and Work moderators are absolutely brilliant!”

Support Group success
“Have just been told via the phone, that I’ve been placed in the support group for three years. Cannot thank benefits and work enough for all their support and invaluable guides, you all do a sterling job, and I would like to thank you so much. Hope this gives encouragement to others who are playing ‘the waiting game’ that there can be light at the end of the tunnel.”

ESA support group
“Good news! As a result of being put into the ESA Support Group, my local Council informed me that Housing Benefit would now pay all my rent and Council Tax Support would pay all my Council Tax”

Support Group without medical
“Having used your site I was placed in support group without medical, although it took 42 weeks to get a response!”

DLA renewal award
“My DLA was due to expire in July 2014 – I was invited to renew. Imagine my absolute surprise to receive a new award of Higher rate care & Higher rate mobility for 5 years!! No medical or other enquiries. Thank you so much Benefits and Work, I’m sure the success was due to following your guide to the letter.”

IB to ESA support group
“After receiving a form to change from IB to ESA…I have at last received a letter putting me in the support group of ESA without a medical. Without help from Benefits and Work I do not think this would have happened…I couldn’t be happier, it is such a weight off my mind.”

Join the Benefits and Work community now and discover what a difference we can make.
And do remember: you’re welcome to republish part or all of this newsletter, provided you credit Benefits and Work
Good luck,
Steve Donnison, Sangeeta Enright and Karen Sharpe
The Office Team
Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No. 5962666
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The Don’t Care System coming to a town near you

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/elderhealth/10882025/Fine-print-of-care-rules-could-screen-out-frail-elderly-and-disabled-charities-warn.html

I have started the blog with a link because I have been notified of the contents within which will affect the lives of many people with disabilities, older people with degenerative illnesses & basically anyone who needs a little bit of help to live independently.

What is it that the Government don’t like about the ill, the frail, the elderly, people with disabilities because over the past 4 years they have systematically changed things to ensure that the most vulnerable in our supposed caring society are penalised for all societies ill.

I’m appalled at the way these new regulations can be interpreted and that is the real problem. Each person in charge of the Adult Services & Community Support all over the country can interpret things to suit their ever decreasing budgets. Councillors award the budget to the departments & then they “dole” it out to those who most likely shout loudest!

Who will shout for those who are to scared to shout? Who will care for those our society doesn’t wishes to leave alone? Who will help those who cannot help themselves?

I am deeply saddened by this but I promise no matter what I will speak out, I will shout for the help, I will care about those Society does not. Who will stand with me & do the same for the people of their communities?

I hope there will be legions who will hear my call to arms & defend those who are most vulnerable!

Respond below & pledge your allegiance to help in your neighbourhood. If enough of us do a little bit each then it will change many lives for the better!

Thanks for reading.

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Twitter Spats

Further to a rather public twitter spat today. I thought for clarity that I should publish the e-mails sent between John Pring of the Disability News Service & myself. I do have an e-mail sent by a senior member of the party also but will not publish that as they haven’t been party to the events of today.

I was asked, as you can see from below, by John Pring to commit to a 10 point disabled persons manifesto to be adopted but UKIP and promoted by the party in the EU. Please note that he states the 10 point plan is one put together from two Disabled Persons Groups from Europe. Not anywhere was I officially told that one or both of the groups are funded by EU money.

I stated and I still do that 3 of the 10 (numbers 7, 9, & 10) items i could on a cursory glance agree with. These where the only 3 of the 10 that could be utilised in the UK without being members of the EU. Obviously as a member of UKIP I am hardly likely to state that I support all 10 it just isn’t feasible in any reality that I would.

Was I set up to fail? Was I set up to reject them all so I could be cast as an unfeeling person who doesn’t want to make life better for the disabled people and their families in the UK.

Well make your own minds up, no doubt the there will be a mix of opinions but that’s ok.

For the record I am not paid, I work 99% of the time from my bed. I always reply to people who come to me via our national website and my personal website. I try to help anyone who asks me and there have been some lovely comments made about me and the help I have given people all over the UK. I use my own resources, my own stamps, everything. I pay for the website from my own meagre funds and ask for nothing from anyone. I do what I do because people need someone to turn to, I won’t change that and people who don’t like me or don’t think I’m acting the way they think I should. My response is at least I am trying when you try to give your time and assistance for free come back and tell me you have done it the way others expect you to, I bet you wont have and I bet you will have your own set of detractors !!!!

Can’t please all of the people all of the time!

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On 11 Apr 2014, at 15:11, “John Pring” wrote:
Hi Star

Hope all is well with you.

I’m putting a news story together for later this month on the disability policies of the main parties, before next month’s European elections. I have a list of 10 policies, which I have selected from the manifestos put out by two of the leading European disabled people’s organisations (see below).

Can you tell me which of them your party agrees with, and which it doesn’t?

My deadline isn’t for a couple of weeks so there’s no rush.

Best wishes,

John

1 To adopt and pass into law a strong European Accessibility Act (proposed EU legislation on the accessibility of goods and services in the EU internal market)
2 To adopt and pass into law the proposed EU directive on the accessibility of public websites (which will make those websites accessible to disabled people)
3 The adoption of the proposed general non-discrimination directive (EU law designed to protect disabled people (and other groups) from discrimination in all areas of life)
4 The ratification by the EU and all member states of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
5 The introduction of a legal right to live independently
6 The introduction of a dedicated directorate for disability within the European Commission
7 To stop EU funds being invested in segregated institutions for disabled people
8 To ensure inclusive education for all disabled children and young people
9 To provide more funding for local and national organisations led by disabled people
10 To reverse austerity cuts in services and benefits for disabled people

Here are the two original manifestos, if you want to see where these came from:

European Disability Forum:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/47lnldkxbyg7pi2/EDF%20Manifesto%20on%20the%20EU%20elections%202014.doc

European Network on Independent Living:
http://www.enil.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ENIL-Manifesto.pdf

John Pring
Editor: Disability News Service
Author: Longcare Survivors: The Biography of a Care Scandal
Tel: 020 8446 5900, 07776 206595
Email: john@disabilitynewsservice.com
Website: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com
Twitter: @johnpringdns

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From: Star Etheridge [mailto:staretheridge08@hotmail.co.uk]
Sent: 11 April 2014 15:55
To: John Pring
Subject: Re: European elections

Dear John

On a cursory glance I think 7, 9 & 10 are ones that I personally agree with.

Many of the others are already available in British Law. As for laws of other countries I cannot confirm the status.

As you know MEP’s do not make the law, they have very little influence on any of the directives/laws that are put through to be voted on.

The Council Of Ministers, we do not vote for them & have very little if any influence on the legislation that is put forward for the MEP’s to vote on.

The laws are usually put through on bloc as a raft of legislation & even if there is one item in the bloc that any MEP agreed with they will have to assent to say 9 others they do not agree with.

I have put the questions to our policy director as this is above my jurisdiction as a Spokesmen.

I would also like there to be a complete repeal of “The Removal Of a The Spare Room Subsidy” legislation but if not a full repeal then at least to have Disabled exempt from housing benefit reduction.

Best wishes

Kindest regards

Mrs Star Etheridge
UKIP Disability Spokesman

http://www.staretheridge.co.uk

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On 25 Apr 2014, at 12:07, “John Pring” wrote:
Hi Star

Just chasing you on responses to the European elections questions (see below). Next week will be ok, but the final deadline is next Friday (2 May).

Hope that is OK and all is well with you.

Best wishes,

John

John Pring
Editor: Disability News Service
Author: Longcare Survivors: The Biography of a Care Scandal
Tel: 020 8446 5900, 07776 206595
Email: john@disabilitynewsservice.com
Website: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com
Twitter: @johnpringdns

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From: Star Etheridge [mailto:staretheridge08@hotmail.co.uk]
Sent: 28 April 2014 12:56
To: John Pring
Subject: Re: European elections

Hi John

I have not had any communication from our Policy Director. So I can only say that policies 7, 9 & 10 are those which I personally support as UKIP Spokesman but I cannot say that I have the Policy Director nor our NEC’s support.

So I can only say that I personally support 7, 9 and 10 which I think are very good common sense clauses.

Best wishes

Kindest regards

Mrs Star Etheridge
UKIP Disability Spokesman

http://www.staretheridge.co.uk

Please leave any comments at http://www.staretheridge.co.uk/comments-and-guestbook/

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On 28 Apr 2014, at 14:31, “John Pring” wrote:
Hi Star

I’m afraid this will not look very impressive after your interview last year, which pledged a ‘radical change’ on disability. Also, I am not looking for your personal views, but the party’s official lines. I think the policy director’s refusal to reply to your email will suggest to readers that your party does not see disabled people as a priority.

You’ve still got until first thing next Monday to turn this around, though.

Best wishes,

John

John Pring
Editor: Disability News Service
Author: Longcare Survivors: The Biography of a Care Scandal
Tel: 020 8446 5900, 07776 206595
Email: john@disabilitynewsservice.com
Website: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com
Twitter: @johnpringdns

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