The minister for disabled people pulled out of a m

first_imgThe minister for disabled people pulled out of a meeting with MPs, peers and disabled campaigners, days after agreeing to be questioned about her government’s disability employment strategy.Sarah Newton had promised to attend this week’s meeting of the all-party parliamentary group for disability (APPGD) to discuss Improving Lives, her government’s new work, health and disability strategy, which aims to see one million more disabled people in work over the next 10 years.She had originally refused to answer questions at the meeting, and then said last week that she would answer questions if they were submitted in advance.But two days before the meeting was due to take place, Newton pulled out completely and decided to send two civil servants in her place.As well as being questioned about the strategy, Newton was likely to have been asked about the highly critical report produced last autumn by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (UNCRPD) on her government’s implementation of the UN disability convention.Disability News Service had submitted a question asking if Newton was concerned about figures from an NHS survey which suggest a possible link between the introduction of the discredited “fitness for work” test and a “shocking” rise in the proportion of claimants of out-of-work disability benefits who said they had attempted to take their own lives.Newton could also have been asked about cuts to personal independence payment, allegations of dishonesty among many of the healthcare professionals who carry out disability benefit assessments, and problems with the rollout of universal credit.Tabitha Jay, director of the government’s work and health unit and one of the two civil servants Newton sent in her place, told the meeting the minister had been forced to withdraw “due to parliamentary business and her very challenging diary”.But Philip Connolly, policy and development manager for Disability Rights UK, which runs the secretariat for the all-party group, told DNS before the meeting that the APPGD was a “constructive environment” for a minister to answer questions about government policy.He said: “One would hope that someone who has been in post for seven weeks would be very happy to speak to a plan for getting a million disabled people into work.“The minister said she was coming early last week. Then she had some anxieties over the agenda.“She appeared unwilling to answer questions, then she said she would answer questions if she could see them in advance, so we offered to do this, and then she was suddenly too busy.“When you’re the minister, you would expect to answer questions wherever you go.“You should not become the government’s chief spokesperson if you’re not happy to answer questions wherever you go.”  Sue Bott, DR UK’s deputy chief executive, had said earlier: “The APPG had an expectation that she would come and she had undertaken to answer questions, and then all of a sudden it appears that she has a conflict in her diary.”She said the minister’s decision to withdraw was “very disappointing”.Bott said: “There are many issues that disabled people and people concerned about disability want to raise, not least of them being the government’s response to the UNCRPD report.”It is just the latest in a series of embarrassments for Newton since she replaced Penny Mordaunt as minister for disabled people in November.Following her appointment, Newton was criticised by a disabled people’s organisation in her own constituency over her voting record on disability issues.She then failed to attend or organise any events – or even post a message of support on social media – on the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) last month.And last week, DNS reported how she misled MPs who were debating the Independent Living Fund about how her newly-appointed boss, Esther McVey, had been severely criticised by three court of appeal judges over her decision to close the fund.A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We would not comment on details of the minister’s diary arrangements.”last_img read more

A trade union has backed disabled activists who ar

first_imgA trade union has backed disabled activists who are removing thousands of copies of a newspaper every week from their public distribution points over its publication of government advertising features that are air-brushing concerns about universal credit (UC).The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) voted unanimously at its annual conference on Tuesday (11 June) to support the campaign against the Metro free newspaper, which is being led by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).Members of Sheffield DPAC have been leading the Metro campaign, which has seen photographs and videos posted on social media showing activists removing scores of copies of the Metro so they can be recycled.In one post this week (pictured), Sheffield DPAC said thousands of Metro copies had been taken out of circulation by hundreds of activists across Britain, adding: “We will not leave these lies on the shelves. Universal credit is ruining people’s lives.”The Metro advertorials are part of a nationwide Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) campaign that it claims will “myth-bust the common inaccuracies” reported on universal credit.But Ian Hodson, BFAWU’s president, told Disability News Service (DNS): “We don’t agree with it. Tax-payers’ money being used for adverts about something that’s untrue.“It’s a lie and we know it’s a lie. What they are trying to do is propaganda and it’s unfair.“We agree with dumping them, burning them, whatever, just taking them out of the public domain and getting a public apology actually for the waste of taxpayers’ money.”He added: “If they want to do that, what they should do is have two versions: the government version and then a version given by people who are impacted by it, for some balance, and they should fund that as well.”He said so many benefit claimants were taking their own lives, having their benefits cut, struggling financially and losing their homes, and yet the government “mislead and lie to people over the reality of it”.He said DWP’s Metro advertising campaign was about “stopping people from being able to speak out and telling what the reality of being under this regime is”.DNS confirmed last month that DWP had breached Civil Service guidelines when it decided to launch the nine-week series of “unethical and misleading” Metro advertising features without including a government logo.This week, employment minister Alok Sharma said in a written parliamentary answer that the Metro campaign would run for another six weeks, and DWP would announce how much it had cost after it ended.Only last week, DPAC released new research which detailed media reports on universal credit published between January and May this year, which it said was “a damning record of UC systemic and catastrophic failures”.It said then that UC had reached a point where it was “unable to adapt to claimants’ complex circumstances, and is forcing people with the least resources into further poverty, homelessness, and hunger”. DPAC said it was calling for UC to be scrapped because it had become a social security system “which not only does not offer security, but actively undermined people’s ability to cope with the hazards of life”.Neil Couling, director general of the universal credit programme, told MPs on the work and pensions select committee yesterday (Wednesday) that he could not introduce vital improvements to UC immediately because the system would not be able to cope.The maximum rate at which deductions can be made from UC payments to repay an advance will be reduced from 40 per cent to 30 per cent of the standard allowance, but only from October.And the period over which UC advance payments can be recovered by DWP will be extended from 12 to 16 months, but only from October 2021.Labour’s Ruth George told Couling and Will Quince, the junior minister for family support, housing and child maintenance: “If these are things that need doing, surely they need doing now for the 840,000 households that are suffering deductions at this moment now and the further 1.5 million that are likely to be suffering them by this time next year.”Couling and Quince had been called to answer questions about evidence taken by the committee on the link between UC and an increase in “survival sex”, or sex in exchange for money to help meet claimants’ most basic needs.Couling said the number of people receiving UC was now growing by 130,000 a month so the only way he could introduce changes would be by scheduling them “carefully”.Quince added: “There’s not another week goes by that I don’t ask [Couling] for another change to UC and you see his head goes into his hands as I ask for another request.”He added: “The system can only accommodate so many changes at one time.”But George said: “Do you not understand that the actual claimants are the people whose heads are in their hands because they don’t see a way out of the situation?“I’m sorry, but that answer is not good enough.”Couling replied: “Our absolute priority has to be the maintenance of the system.“There are currently now two million people on it and they depend on payments every month from that and I’m not prepared to take steps that will jeopardise that despite the fact that I would like to introduce these changes quicker than we can.” A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

Below is a list of Labour MPs who have announced t

first_imgBelow is a list of Labour MPs who have announced that they will not be seeking reselection as a Labour candidate ahead of the next general election. Two of the five Labour MPs who voted in favour of Theresa May’s Brexit deal are stepping down, and four of the total seven MPs not wanting to stand again are pro-Brexit.Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse. Tweeted on Tuesday 25th June. He was first elected as MP for Poplar and Canning Town in 1997. Campaigned for Remain in 2016. Voted for May’s deal in March, although he represents a majority Remain seat.Ronnie Campbell, MP for Blyth Valley. Reported by the Chronicle on Wednesday 26th June. First elected in 1987. A supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, having nominated him in 2015. Pro-Brexit; campaigned for Leave in 2016. Abstained on the third meaningful vote and voted for no deal in March.Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley. Tweeted on Wednesday 3rd July. Campaigned for Remain in 2016. Represents a majority Leave seat. Voted for May’s deal three times.Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall. Tweeted on Monday 8th July. She was first elected in 1989. Pro-Brexit; campaigned for Leave in 2016. Represents a majority Remain seat. Voted against May’s deal every time and supports no deal.Stephen Twigg, MP for Liverpool West Derby. Tweeted on Monday 8th July. He was MP for Enfield Southgate from 1997 to 2005, then was elected in Liverpool in 2005. He wants to “take on something new”.Stephen Pound, MP for Ealing North. Tweeted by Ealing Labour on Monday 8th July. First elected in 1997. Currently a frontbencher (shadow minister for Northern Ireland).Geoffrey Robinson, MP for Coventry North West. Tweeted on Monday 8th July. First elected in 1976. Standing down “sadly due to ill health”.Gloria de Piero, MP for Ashfield. Told local members and tweeted on 19th July. First elected in 2010. Reported as standing down due to “intolerance”, but clarified: “I’m not leaving because of ‘intolerance’. I’m just not sure I can sustain the energy + commitment of the last 9 yrs for what could be another 8 + my members and constituents deserve.” Full speech here. Tags:Stephen Twigg /Kate Hoey /Jim Fitzpatrick /Gloria De Piero /Geoffrey Robinson /Ronnie Campbell /Kevin Barron /Stephen Pound /last_img read more

Mission Neighbors Vow to Save Beloved UCSF Clinic

first_img Tags: health care • UCSF Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% This story originally appeared on KQED.orgFacing a budget in the red and a loss of patients, UC San Francisco officials plan to close a beloved family planning clinic for low-income teens and young adults in the city’s Mission district.The New Generation Health Center, which has provided free reproductive health care for two decades to patients as young as 13, is scheduled to close its doors for good on July 31.Health providers say the decision could imperil at-risk Latino and African American youth who already like and trust New Generation’s confidential and prompt services. Concerned residents and others say they want to find funds, or pressure UCSF, to keep the clinic open. Over the last five years, the clinic’s finances have been decimated by decreases in grant revenue and a potentially irreversible loss in patients, says Dr. Rebecca Jackson, a UCSF professor of obstetrics and gynecology and supervisor at New Generation.“This was an awful, awful, heart-wrenching decision to have to make,” says Jackson. “New Gen is a very special place. They really take their mission seriously, which is empowering young people to make decisions in a world and in an age where it’s hard to have a choice.”Jackson and her staff have been working for weeks to transition New Generation’s 2,200 patients to nearby clinics with similar services, such as Mission Neighborhood Health Center and 3rd Street Youth Center & Clinic.Residents Vow to Fight for ClinicThe news of the closure did not sit well with several Mission residents, students, health providers and youth advocates at a forum with UCSF officials last week.A funeral-like mood pervaded a packed auditorium to discuss the clinic’s closure. Jackson and Dr. Sue Carlisle, a UCSF Medical School vice dean, spoke about the financial reasons for the closure and efforts to ensure all patients are matched with “best fit” clinics in the area.Still, speaker after speaker called on a new effort to save New Generation, not shutter it.“What we have to do as a community is not take this and stand together and fight back. We need to hold UCSF accountable,” said Ronnishia Johnson, who grew up in the nearby Bayview neighborhood. “From my perspective this is nothing but them turning their backs on the community.”Nataly Ortiz, who become a mom as a teen, says it’s hard for local Latina and undocumented teens to get same or next-day appointments for reproductive health in clinics other than New Generation.“Sometimes it’s a very emotional case of being scared of being pregnant at a very young age,” said Ortiz, who refers patients to New Generation through her work at a neighborhood nonprofit.“They need a clinic like this. So for you to take it away, it’s just saying our community doesn’t matter, the people that benefit from this clinic don’t matter. But I’m here to tell you, we do matter!” Ortiz said to UCSF officials.Affordable Care Act ‘Hurting’ Family Planning ClinicsIronically, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is partly to blame for New Generation’s troubles, says Jackson.Under the ACA, more people have become eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for people who are low-income. Many New Generation clients are choosing to get their reproductive services addressed with their new doctor or medical clinic that handles all their health needs. Other family planning and specialty clinics are also feeling this squeeze.“For a lot of people, it’s more convenient to get that [reproductive] care at the same time they are getting the rest of their health care,” Jackson says.Still, she added, “a small subset” of patients want to keep reproductive health care separate.One of those patients is Rocio Navarro, a student at Abraham Lincoln High School.Read the full story on KQED center_img 0%last_img read more

Should the Census ask questions regarding citizenship Sound off

first_imgLast year, the Trump Administration issued an order to add a new question to the 2020 Census. Under the Commerce Department’s order, the Census would ask people living in a household if are are U.S. citizens — a move that induced a predictable uproar and spurred litigation. The order was struck down by a federal judge in early January but the decision is expected to be appealed.The citizenship question has been on the census in prior decades — but, largely, not since the ‘50s.We here at Mission Local are wondering: What do YOU think? Should the Census have a question regarding your legal status? Why or why not? Sound off in the link below, send a recording, and at the end we’ll compile a video.Click here for the link. Email Address Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletterlast_img read more

WE hear from Gareth OBrien in the latest edition

first_imgWE hear from Gareth O’Brien in the latest edition of the In Touch podcast.He speaks about his loan deal at the Saints and how he is continuing his development as a half back.Elsewhere, James Roby reflects on the win over Bradford and then joins Sia Soliola in talking about their International Origin experience.To listen click here or search for St Helens RFC on iTunes.Remember if you want a question answering on the Podcast drop us a line @saints1890 on Twitter or email podcast@saintsrlfc.comThe podcast is in association with Citytalk 105.9.last_img read more

STHELENS have erected a giant mural of James Roby

first_imgST.HELENS have erected a giant mural of James Roby in the concourse at Langtree Park.The honour has todate been reserved for the Club’s most famous past players, and mainly Hall of Famers.The only current player exception had been Paul Wellens, due to him being voted in ‘The Greatest 17′.Saints Chairman Eamonn McManus stated: “We believe James Roby already to be one of our all-time best players – he won Man of Steel at the age of 21 and has won every honour in the game with his hometown club.“It is a well-deserved exception to the rule that we honour a current player with a mural and there is no better time to do it than on the eve of his testimonial game.”The mural has been sponsored by Vinyline, whose Chairman Ken Hughes is pictured below with James Roby.The famous ‘Saints Murals’ are the brainchild of Ken and he has designed and produced them all on behalf of the Saints.They are a unique and dramatic way to transport the long and proud history of the Club to St.Helens’ new home at Langtree Park.last_img read more

The Red V Café Bar will be open this Saturday to h

first_imgThe Red V Café Bar will be open this Saturday to help you kick start your Grand Final celebrations.You can buy four Fosters or Bulmers bottles for just £10 and there will be a range of snacks available too.It’s a great way to soak in the pre-game atmosphere before the club’s coaches set off for Old Trafford at 3.30pm.We will be open from 1.30pm.Tickets for the Grand Final remain on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park or by calling 01744 455 052.We will be predominately based in the Stretford End (West Stand) of Old Trafford and tickets are priced at £60, £50, £40, £20.You can also purchase through the RFL’s Ticketing website and on 0844 856 1113.last_img read more

Pender County killer eligible for parole nearly 25 years after crime

first_imgTerry Dion James (Photo: NCDPS) PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A man convicted of murder in a drive-by shooting nearly a quarter century ago is up for parole.Records show Terry Dion James was convicted of first-degree murder and other crimes for opening fire with a semi-automatic gun outside a Pender County club in March 1993.- Advertisement – Hartense James, who had left the club after getting a warning from another patron who James had told not to go back in because he and his friends were going “to shoot the place up” was shot as he tried to get in his car and start it. James died at the hospital from the gunshot wound.A judge sentenced him to life in prison.James, who is now 43, is eligible for the state’s Mutual Agreement Parole Program (MAPP), because he committed his crimes before a change in North Carolina’s sentencing laws did away with parole in October 1994.last_img read more