Deaf and disabled people are set to march on Downi

first_imgDeaf and disabled people are set to march on Downing Street on Saturday (26 September) to protest at government cuts to the Access to Work scheme.Activists from across the country will gather first outside the Houses of Parliament at noon, before marching to Downing Street at 1pm to hand in a petition protesting about the cuts.They say that changes introduced under the coalition and the current government have made it “increasing difficult” for Deaf and disabled people to access the scheme, and have left many others struggling to continue in their jobs after years of claiming the funding successfully.The petition, which by this evening (Thursday) had been signed by nearly 19,000 people, and has been put together by the Stop Changes To Access To Work campaign, warns that because Deaf and disabled people are having their AtW allowances capped or cut, they are no longer able to afford to use qualified interpreters or pay for the other support they need.The petition says: “This places jobs at risk and has already resulted in job losses and demotions.“People currently in work are potentially being forced out of work and onto benefits, which goes against everything the government is telling us they are trying to achieve.”Next month, a new cap on AtW support packages will be introduced by the government, and protesters say it will “actively discriminate” against Deaf and disabled people with high support needs in senior positions.The cap will limit annual AtW awards to one-and-a-half times the average salary, which at current levels would mean no-one could claim more than £40,800 per year through AtW, with new claimants facing the cap from October this year, and existing claimants from April 2018.This is likely to hit Deaf users of British Sign Language (BSL) hardest, with about four-fifths of the highest-value AtW awards paying for BSL services.Campaigners also say that “hostile advisors, delayed payments and continuous inefficiencies and errors” are causing so much anxiety that people are having to quit their jobs.A rally outside Downing Street on Saturday will hear from speakers including Jenny Sealey, artistic director of Graeae and co-director of the London 2012 Paralympics opening ceremony, one of the highest-profile AtW-users.She said: “Access to Work was and still should be a scheme that creates opportunities for Deaf and disabled people to have full and equal access within the work place.“AtW allowed me and many others to do the London 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony.“Had the cap come in then we would not have achieved what we did and the threat of the cap will severely thwart ambition and push us to the sidelines, creating an unequal playing field.”Dr Terry Riley, chief executive of the British Deaf Association (BDA), backed the march, and said: “We at the BDA want to show solidarity with those members of the Deaf community who are being negatively and unfairly affected by these changes.“From our community’s feedback, we can see that restricting support budgets, cutting hours and imposing unrealistic ceilings on interpreters’ fees are making it even more difficult for Deaf BSL-users in employment.“It’s concerning that the jobs of many Deaf BSL-users, whose support needs now cannot be met, could be at risk.“The BDA is currently researching the effects of the new cap policy on any new Deaf applicants and hope the government will be open to listening to our findings.”Colette Forrest, who was forced to quit her job as a company director because of AtW problems, said: “The quality of service dropped and my time became completely absorbed by Access to Work, dealing with their delays, lack of understanding and having to go over the same information again and again, leaving me unable to do my job.“It left me feeling disempowered and – as a businesswoman – I was no longer able to fulfil my role at work as a decision-maker. As a result, I felt I had no choice but to leave my job.”Geraldine O’Halloran, co-founder of the Stop Changes To Access to Work campaign, said: “Numbers using the Access to Work scheme are down from 2009; meanwhile, we know many Deaf and disabled people whose working lives have been made intolerable by the strain caused by the changes to Access to Work.”At its peak, in 2009-10, under the last Labour government, AtW was supporting more than 37,000 disabled people, but this plunged under the coalition to 30,780 in 2011-12, although it has increased again in the last couple of years.The latest figures show 36,760 disabled people were helped in 2013-14, still below the figure of 37,270 for 2009-10.While the number of existing claimants continuing to receive AtW funding rose by nearly 2,000 last year, the number of “new customers helped” dropped sharply, from 12,710 in 2013-14 to 12,050 in 2014-15.And research by disability organisations, reported in February by Disability News Service, found that nearly all of the disabled people whose AtW entitlement had been reviewed were having their support cut.Pictured: Jenny Sealey (second from right) with an interpreter and cast members at a rehearsal of Graeae’s production of Blood Wedding. 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The equality watchdog has asked the government for

first_imgThe equality watchdog has asked the government for significant new powers, including the ability to inspect buildings that are flouting access laws.The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it needed stronger powers to hold “powerful and well-resourced” governments and large organisations to account.But it also said that it should be made independent of government, and accountable instead to parliament.The calls came in a blog by the commission’s chair, David Isaac (pictured), which was written to mark 10 years since the watchdog was founded.Following his comments, the government told Disability News Service that it had already begun working with EHRC to plan a “tailored review” of the commission, which will look at whether its powers “remain appropriate” and will also consider the issue of its independence.The review is expected to begin in April next year and finish the following month, although it might not be published until 2019.Isaac said in his blog that the commission had “cause to be anxious” that a post-Brexit Britain would see a reduction in equality and human rights protections.There have also been strong recent criticisms of the government’s record on disability rights from the United Nations.It was only in August that a vice-chair of the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities told a UK government delegation in Geneva: “I want to see you coming back as world leader [on disability rights], which at the moment I am afraid you’re not.”And the chair of the committee, Theresia Degener, said in an interview that, compared to other countries with “less economic power” and less advanced equality and discrimination legislation, the UK’s austerity policy was “less human rights oriented”.Degener said that the UK’s record on disability rights was “going backwards in a pace and to an amount that it worries us a lot”, and that the evidence in front of her committee – which had been assessing the UK’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – had been “overwhelming”.In his blog, Isaac said the commission needed the power to “enter and inspect premises where disability access requirements are being ignored” and to carry out “mystery shopping” exercises, which could ensure businesses are providing accessible products and services.And he said the commission should be able to hand out enforcement notices or impose civil sanctions on organisations that breached certain parts of the Equality Act.Isaac also said the commission should be able to demand information from organisations that it suspected were acting unlawfully, without having to launch a formal investigation.He said that restoring EHRC’s power to arrange conciliation services (voluntary discussions aimed at resolving disputes), or even allowing it to arrange arbitration (where an impartial person makes a decision on a dispute, outside the court system) and make binding rulings in some cases, could reduce the burden on the legal system and help cut legal costs.Isaac also called on the prime minister to make the commission directly accountable to parliament, rather than to the government – it is currently sponsored by the Government Equalities Office, within the Department for Education.He said: “In 1997 the Labour government gave full independence to the Bank of England.“In 2011 the coalition government created the independent Office of Budget Responsibility.“Both of these organisations were made independent to give them autonomy and greater credibility to make decisions.“By making us accountable to parliament rather than ministers, the prime minister would remove government’s control of our budget, their involvement in the appointment of our board, and any perceived threat of political interference.”EHRC now plans to run a series of public events over the next year to hear the public’s views on these ideas and to try to secure their support.Kamran Mallick, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said: “I fully support EHRC having greater powers to enforce the Equality Act.“To proactively enforce the law will have real impact. Laws are no good if they not enforced, and those they aim to protect are not informed of their rights.”A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “A forthcoming tailored review of the Equality and Human Rights Commission that will run from 2018 to 2019 will provide an opportunity to consider the broader issue of EHRC independence as well as reviewing the powers available to the commission more broadly and whether they remain appropriate.”last_img read more

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Assistant coach Jamahl Lolesi takes us through wha

first_imgAssistant coach Jamahl Lolesi takes us through what the lads have been doing in training.Memberships for the 2018 Betfred Super League campaign are on sale now – and you have until November 30 to secure the best possible price.And as well as guaranteeing your ‘spec’ for the new season you’ll receive a whole host of other benefits AND be entered into our Ultimate Fan draw.Be #saintsandproud – click here to find out more.last_img

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Updated MPs vote in favour of Brexit delay and other updates

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Current ITS building to be retained yet excavated – Cassola

first_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Professor Arnold Cassola has stated that according to the new submitted plans by the DB group, the site boundary of the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS), that the current building will be retained, even though it will be excavated.Cassola questioned the architects that “came up with this brainwave?”, as he stated that a building cannot be retained and excavated simultaneously.This same plan of action was proposed for the Cold War Outpost, added Cassola. He stated that the DB group said that this Outpost will be retained, but in reality the new plans submitted show that the underlying rock will be excavated.Read: Court cites ‘conflict of interest’ and revokes DB Group permit“The irresponsibility on the part of the DB Group is simply astounding”Cassola also mentioned the future situation of the roads in the vicinity of the proposed project. He believes that not only will the excavation of the site involve the removal of the road, but will also make access to the area, including the Corinthia and Radisson hotels and the beach, more difficult.He described “The irresponsibility on the part of the DB Group” as being “simply astounding”; as he believes that this will mean more traffic congestion, more waiting time for residents to get in/out of Pembroke and more car emissions that will further deteriorate the quality of air in the area.Read: db Group to re-activate development permitWhatsApp SharePrintlast_img read more

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