Month: July 2019

A graphic designer who was prevented from taking a

first_imgA graphic designer who was prevented from taking a disability discrimination case against his former employer because he could not afford the tribunal fees has welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling that the government’s decision to introduce the charges was unlawful.The fees were introduced in 2013, a year before Ross Minton (pictured) was made redundant from his job with a large UK company.Because he could not afford to pay the fees, in case he lost the case, he could not challenge his employer in a tribunal for alleged disability discrimination.He spoke out after the Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday (Wednesday) that the introduction of tribunal fees of up to £1,200 by the government in July 2013 was unlawful under UK and European Union law because it “effectively prevents access to justice”.The court also ruled that the fees introduced by the government discriminated against women.The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that it will scrap the fees and provide “full refunds” to those who have paid tribunal fees since 2013, although it has not ruled out reintroducing fees at a different level.The case against the lord chancellor was taken by the union Unison, which said the “landmark” court victory – following a four-year legal battle – meant that anyone treated illegally or unfairly at work would no longer have to pay to take their employer to court.In April, the Equality and Human Rights Commission pointed out that the number of employment tribunal claims for disability discrimination fell from 7,492 in 2012-13 to 3,449 in 2015-16, in the wake of the introduction of the tribunal fees, a drop of more than half (54 per cent).Ross Minton, from Shropshire, was one of those disabled people who would have taken their cases to tribunal if it had not been for the introduction of the fees in 2013.He has a very rare muscle condition and had asked his employer to provide him with a high-backed chair, on his doctor’s advice.But it took more than a year for the company to buy the £150 chair, and soon after it arrived he was made redundant.He was later told that the company removed the high-backed chair and sent it back for a refund just half an hour after he was escorted from the building in 2014.Shortly after he left, his employer recruited a replacement, who was given a similar job title and even sat at his desk.But the father-of-two decided he could not risk taking his former employer to a tribunal, because the fees were likely to be between £500 and £1,000, and could have reached as much as £1,200.He said: “£1,000 was a hell of a lot of money, especially when you haven’t got a job. Even £500 was a month’s rent.“Do you gamble £1,000 just to get justice? Eventually we decided that we had to let them get away with it. It was completely unfair.“It was obviously cheaper for them to get rid of me than to get me a chair. My employment status wasn’t even worth the value of a bog-standard, high-backed office chair.“I would have loved my day in court, just to tell my story, even if I had been proved wrong.”He was given just one month’s pay as a redundancy settlement, having worked at the company for nearly two years.last_img read more

A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA 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… The government should implement major changes to the scheme that provides funding for disabled people in England to make access improvements to their homes, according to an independent review.Among the suggested improvements, the review says the government should increase the upper limit on disabled facilities grants (DFGs) from £30,000, although only in line with inflation.It also suggests renaming the grant as part of a national awareness-raising campaign, with a new name that is “up to date and easily recognisable”; producing a fairer and more transparent funding formula; and introducing a national accreditation scheme for builders and tradespeople carrying out adaptations.In October’s budget, the chancellor announced another £55 million in funding for DFGs for 2018-19, following a previous decision to increase funding for DFGs from £220 million in 2015-16 to £505 million in 2019-20.But the review points out that, although the government has already more than doubled DFG funding in recent years, the contribution of local authorities has fallen, which has meant the number of homes adapted – at least until 2016-17 – “has not significantly increased”.The review, Disabled Facilities Grant and Other Adaptations, says the DFG is “often seen as simply providing level access showers, stair lifts and ramps”.Instead, the review suggests, there should be “a fresh approach that is all-encompassing and creates a home environment that enables disabled people to live a full life”.It adds: “Districts and counties, housing and social care, occupational therapists and grants officers will need to work together to establish person-centred services that meet a disabled person’s needs in a more preventative, holistic and timely way.”The review says the way the DFG system is delivered varies widely across different areas, and it makes recommendations for improvements, including the need to bring together occupational therapists and housing staff into single integrated teams, which is already happening in some areas and will “simplify and speed up customer journeys”.Among other recommendations, the review says that housing and health partnership boards should be set up in every part of England to have responsibility for meeting the housing needs of disabled and older people in their area and maximise the impact of DFGs.The review was commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health and Social Care and was carried out by the University of the West of England; Foundations, the national body for home improvement agencies; the Building Research Establishment; and Ferret Information Systems.The government said it was “carefully considering the findings”.last_img read more

Disabled standup comic and actor Jack Carroll has

first_imgDisabled stand-up comic and actor Jack Carroll has blamed the government for creating a “hostile environment” that led to him being treated with “derision and suspicion” during a routine disability benefit assessment.Carroll,whose new film Eaten by Lions is released tomorrow (Friday), saidhe was shocked by the “semi-dehumanising” tone used by the assessor lastAugust.He declinedto say where the assessment took place becausehe believes his treatment was due to “learned behaviour” taught bythe government, but he told Disability News Service (DNS) that his personalindependence payment (PIP) assessment was a “strange and Orwellian experience”.He said: “Ifelt like I was being treated with derision and suspicion.”Carroll, whouses a walking-frame and had turned up five minutes late because he had troublefinding a parking space, was at first told that the assessment would not now goahead.“Imagine if someonewas a lot more disabled than I am,” he said. “I could not believe that. Thatreally just brought home the system as a whole.”He told DNSthat his experiences as a disabled person have been “generally positive”,and that he has found most people “decentand relatively compassionate”, adding later: “I try not to get too outragedabout things.”He is, he said,naturally “quite a gregarious, affable person”, but even he became “a bitangry” after the initial confrontation. Carroll saidhe found it shocking to be confronted with “a semi-dehumanising tone which Idon’t really come up against in my day-to-day life”.He added: “Atthe time I got annoyed with the person but… then I took a step back and Ithought that was just learned behaviour from a government policy that is tryingto marginalise and destroy, for a lot of people, any hope.”Heeventually received the level of benefits he feels he was entitled to, but he said:“The former system [disability living allowance] was an awful lot easier andmore human.”He said thePIP system must change.Thebehaviour he came across at his assessment, and the failure to “weigh up theemotional impact on the person” was, he said,“systemic rather than individuals being knowingly horrendous, soyou’ve got to change the system.“I’d broughta paper copy of my ID, which the assessor wasn’t for accepting, so that’s anotherhurdle, and then general questions about how far I could walk, how far I couldlift my leg up, things that I don’t think about, and hate really to put themicroscope on in that minute detail, at whatever level is some level of ahumiliating experience.“I don’tthink there is any care to make people feel human in that environment.”He said heblamed the government for the “inhumanity” of the system, because it “createdthe climate for it”, and he added: “I think the government creates a hostileenvironment for most people who aren’t Jacob Rees-Mogg. “If you wantto change that you have got to change the system. That’s what it will take.”He also believesthat the “constant hammering of Brexit” acts as a “mass hypnosis technique” todistract people from “the things that are really going on in the world”,such as the way disabled people aretreated, the PIP assessment system and the Windrush scandal.Fans of hisstand-up – he has become a regular on the comedy circuit in the years followinghis breakthrough as a 14-year-old in 2013, when he was runner-up on Britain’sGot Talent – can expect a routine based on the PIP assessment process to appearin his act soon, he said.Eaten ByLions is his first film, but it follows television appearances in shows such asthe Sky sitcom Trollied, CBBC’s The Ministry Of Curious Stuff and BBC1’s BigSchool, as well as stand-up slots on ITV1’s Sunday Night At The Palladium and BBC2’s Live At The Apollo.He said his role in the film – a “classic road movie” about two half-brothers, one white, Pete, and one Asian, Omar (pictured), who go to Blackpool in search of Omar’s dad –gave him greater freedom to improvise and “play around” than his work on Trollied, with its “tight scripts”.He enjoyedthe filming process, which took place two years ago, and said it felt like going“on a journey” with a “good group of people”.One of thethings he likes about the film, he said, is that although it deals with issuesof diversity, it doesn’t do so in a self-conscious way. He looks forward to afuture where disability is just an everyday fact of life on television.“In five or10 years it would be nice to see disabled characters on TV and presenters andthings just be existing and people referencing it in a less overt manner,” he said.Askedwhether his generally positive view of how disabled people are usually treatedcame as a result of his own experiences – he was discovered at the age of just12 by comedian Jason Manford and opened for him at three of his shows in 2010 –he said: “You can make that argument.”But he alsoputs it down to his family, and the attitude they “instilled” in him about hisimpairment. “Obviously acompassionate one, first and foremost, but also a belief that anything you putyour mind to, with the help of others, you can achieve. That has played a partin my outlook as well.”He alsobelieves that growing up as a disabled child helped his development as acomedian.He said: “Iprobably wouldn’t have developed the sense of humour or the ability withlanguage that I’ve developed if I didn’t have a disability, because as a kid Icouldn’t necessarily move around as quickly, I had to get good at talking andbeing able to communicate things to people.“I’d like tothink that played a part in the development of being able to do what I do for aliving.”Hisinterview with DNS came a few weeks after the latest controversy over “crippingup” – the issue of non-disabled actors playing disabled characters – this time followingBryan Cranston’s role as a wheelchair-user in The Upside.Carroll saidhe understood why the film’s producers chose Cranston instead of an unknowndisabled actor. “I knowthere are issues of representation and not everyone getting a foot in the door,but for any actor if you had a choice between Bryan Cranston and an actorwithout a profile they are always going to go for Bryan Cranston.”He said thesolution was to improve representation of disabled actors at the grassrootslevel and build from there.“It’s aboutgiving disabled actors a platform where they can compete with Bryan Cranston,”he said, “but that begins at a grassroots level.”Now 20 andno longer a teenage prodigy,he is writinga sitcom, as well as continuing with his stand-up and enjoying acting jobs whenthey come along. “I enjoy itall,” he said. “I would like to keep doing a little bit of everything. “I have got goals and things I would like to accomplish but the best stuff in my career has come from leaving a gap to let the thing happen and let whatever it is do its work.”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

Sign up to LabourLists morning email for everythi

first_imgSign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.MPs are back in their constituencies, taking a break from Brexit rows in the Commons during parliamentary recess. The news is slower than it has been over the last few months, no longer moving at a breakneck pace. And I’m also only briefly reappearing today – chiefly to let you know about a new book that is bound to interest LabourList readers.If you’re a fan of literature on the Labour Party, you’ll be familiar with the 1981 book The Battle for the Labour Party, which chronicled the party from 1973 to 1981. Now its author David Kogan has penned a follow-up, coming out this week. Protest and Power: the Battle for the Labour Party picks up pretty much where its precursor left off, offering a comprehensive overview of everything Labour between 1980 and now.For those already familiar with the main events of that time – from Michael Foot’s leadership, marking the beginning of the wilderness years for both the Labour Party and the Labour left, through to the unexpected success of Jeremy Corbyn – it’s the details that will keep you captivated. LabourList’s bread and butter: conference motions passed, party processes manipulated for faction gain and rule changes implemented with unintended consequences. Jon Lansman, Pete Willsman and other figures on the left, who appear so frequently on the web pages of our site today, are placed at the scene in the early 1980s. Those who have become key players amid the Corbynite revolution made crucial moves back then too, and used many of the same tactics.There are lessons in this book for everyone who wants to get their way in the party and shape its direction. Without shoving any particular interpretation of events down your throat, Kogan shows that factions keep making the same mistakes. In both 1980 and 2015, the ego-driven Labour right was blindsided, by a small group of Campaign for Labour Party Democracy activists then and later by new members, Corbyn-inspired and austerity-hardened. As for the Labour left, the split between the Bennite left and the soft left made way for the Kinnock era, which cleared the path for Blairism. And that prompts the question: will we see a similar divide play out in the same way? Could that timeline be taken as a warning about the differences between loyal Corbynites and the soft (Remain) left now?As editor of LabourList, I see it as my responsibility to keep a close eye on the parliamentary party and a firm grip on grassroots activities. Kogan appears to take a similar approach. It would be easy to focus only on Westminster battles; instead, he is careful to show that the behind-the-scenes plotting of ordinary activists underpins all the headline-grabbing stuff. This is a no-nonsense, straightforward account of what has happened within the party over the last four decades – and it’s truly thorough. You’ll get to the bottom of each page and think, ‘I need to remember every word of this’. Or at least I did.For a taster, read Kogan’s piece for LabourList on his time travelling through party history. For a 25% discount on the book, order from and quote LABOURLIST25 at the checkout. We will get £1 for every copy bought using this code – so you’ll be donating to LabourList as well as buying a must-read.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Tags:Labour /David Kogan /The Battle for the Labour Party /last_img read more

Welcome to our latest LabourList survey Share you

first_imgWelcome to our latest LabourList survey.Share your thoughts about the local elections results, the upcoming European elections and the shadow cabinet.Answer the five questions below or click here to open the survey in a new window.This survey will close at 1pm on Monday 13th May, and we’ll be releasing the results soon after that. Tags:Weekly Survey /Local elections 2019 /European elections 2019 /last_img

Without Permission at 16th St past present and a cat on her


SAINTS have a double reason to celebrate after sec

first_imgSAINTS have a double reason to celebrate after securing two of the hottest properties in the game.Ahead of the new First Utility Super League XIX season, Adam Swift and Alex Walmsley have committed themselves to the club.Adam, 19, has extended his contract through to the end of season 2017 as has prop forward Alex.Adam said: “I’m over the moon to sign a new contract at Saints. It’s a club I have always wanted to play for and I have enjoyed my time here so far.“I know I have been given the number 5 shirt, but that isn’t a guarantee of a spot especially with the quality of the players we have here. I know I have to continue to work hard and keep learning.”Alex, 23, added: “I’m delighted the club has rewarded me with a new contract and I would like to thank both Eamonn McManus and Mike Rush for showing faith in me. I am happy to commit my future to the club.“We have recruited well in the off-season and I can’t wait to get started. There will be a lot of competition for places and that strength in depth is not only good for the club this season but in the future too – something I am excited to be part of.“I had a good season last year and now I am looking forward to getting stuck in and showing the fans the improvements I have made in pre-season.”Swift joined Saints from Blackbrook and made his debut against Widnes in 2012 – scoring a hat-trick.He combined training at the club with a HNC mechanical engineering apprenticeship and became a full time professional the following year.2013 was his breakout season adding 13 tries in 11 matches on the wing – including two when Saints beat Wigan in a dramatic clash in July.Alex’ rise to Super League rugby has been nothing short of remarkable.The no nonsense mountain of a prop came to the club from Batley Bulldogs and was one of the real finds of the season.He made his debut at home against Hull FC and went on to make 26 appearances for the club.Considering in consecutive seasons he played for GB Students, Dewsbury Celtic and Batley, his transition to Super League was unheralded.Saints CEO Mike Rush said: “We are delighted to secure the signatures of these two players. Both are on the rise in the British game and we have no doubt they will continue to get better and improve.”Head Coach Nathan Brown added: “Adam is a good young kid who took his chance last season. He is quick and eager to learn and I’m sure if he continues to develop will have a very good future in the game.“Alex surprised everyone with how well he coped with the rigours of Super League but he thoroughly deserved the accolades that came his way. He adds a lot of size to our pack and like Adam will continue to develop and have a bright future.”last_img read more

The waste management expert will help the club mee

first_imgThe waste management expert will help the club meet its recycling targets at the Totally Wicked Stadium, whilst engaging in a number of community and education based projects as the club looks to create a better environment.Up to 95 per cent of the waste that is produced at the stadium can be recycled so this exciting new contract also supports Saints’ Official Kit Partner O’Neills’ vision of developing a recycled yarn suitable to be used in the manufacture of St Helens replica shirts in the future.“We are delighted to partner with Biffa who demonstrated a complete understanding of the challenges we face to best manage our waste,” Saints Stadium Manager John Murphy explained. “To be able to achieve a recycling target of up to 95 per cent will make a huge difference to us.“With their guidance, we want our fans and staff to work with us to correctly use the new bins we will place around the Stadium over the coming weeks to start the recycling process.“Biffa have several excellent ideas to help us, including being one of the first providers to have the ability to recycle coffee and tea paper cups and to introduce reverse vending machines.“We fully intend to introduce these ideas across the length of the contract and the added incentive for supporters is that for every item they recycle they are supporting the ambitions of both the Club and O’Neills to develop suitable recycled yarns for use in St Helens merchandise in the years ahead.”As part of the agreement and to continue our aim of being fully integrated in the community, Saints staff and players will also spend time in the local area helping to clear waste from local waterways.They will also be encouraging supporters to join us, whilst the club’s Community Development Foundation will be working alongside Biffa to deliver their Wasteaters education programme to local primary schools encouraging children to learn how to recycle from an early age.Nick Rushton, Regional Manager at Biffa, said: “We are really proud to be St.Helens R.F.C.’s official recycling partner, and the whole Biffa team are fully behind supporting them in delivering their recycling targets.“As part of our offer across the North West we offer a range of zero to landfill solutions and St. Helens already benefit from a 100% diversion from landfill which includes Food, Glass and mixed recycling recovery.“Our aim moving forward with our partnership is to further develop recycling solutions so as to recycle and reuse as much of the waste produced by the club and their supporters as possible including challenging items such as coffee cups which we now offer a solution to.“We are confident and totally committed to supporting St Helens with achieving their ambitious and commendable recycling targets.”Biffa’s livery will appear on the rear of the players’ shorts for the remainder of the 2018 season whilst for 2019 and 2020 it will also be included on all replica versions which will be available to buy from saintssuperstore.comBiffa will also have a strong presence around the stadium through perimeter advertising and supply of their bins throughout the concourses to help with the club’s drive to recycle.“We would like to thank Biffa for their partnership with the Club over the next two-and-a-half years,” added Dave Hutchinson, General Manager at Saints. “We were very impressed with their vision to improve our waste management through recycling. We are fully aware of our responsibilities as we generate so much waste at the Stadium, particularly on Matchday, so they will help us manage that far more effectively than before.“They will also help us to advise our supporters on how best to recycle within the Stadium and in their own homes, and with Saints in the Community delivering their programme to local schoolchildren, we want everyone to think twice on how they should recycle their waste.”Research has shown that the degradation of approximately 25 x 500ml plastic bottles could potentially result in enough recycled yarn to produce a Saints replica shirt.This is something that O’Neills are actively testing at the current time in the hope of utilising such yarn for future Saints merchandise.“We have had requests from other Clubs but Saints are the first to commit to assisting us in the development of recycled yarns suitable for production of their replica kits in future seasons,” Neil Williams, Sales Manager at O’Neills, said. “By partnering with Biffa to allow supporters to directly influence this process and impact on their own Clubs’ kit this represents a huge step forward for all parties involved.“We are really looking forward to working with the Club to develop this product.”Picture shows: Neil Williams – Sales Manager at O’Neills, John Murphy – Stadium Manager at St.Helens R.F.C., Nick Rushton – Regional General Manager, North West, at Biffa, Justin Holbrook – Saints Head Coach, Peter Hale – Regional Sales Manager at Biffa.last_img read more

Annual Black History Month art contest kicks off


NHRMC sees drop in overdose patients in the Emergency Room