Monday, June 10, 2013

Labour Announce Independent Task Force - Takes Aim At Disability Poverty (Press Release)



Labour takes aim at disability poverty
Labour today launched a new taskforce led by Sir Bert Massie, to look at ways to break the link between disability and poverty.
Launched as Disability Living Allowance is abolished nationally, the taskforce will review ways of helping disabled people meet the extra costs that disability imposes and recommend changes to the social security system to maximise disabled peoples’ control over their own lives. The taskforce will focus on better use of existing resources.
The launch of the taskforce follows Ed Miliband’s speech on modernising social security in which he said a Labour government will reform the government’s failing programmes to help support more disabled people into work.
Recent figures revealed disabled people are twice as likely to live in low income households than non disabled people - yet the government's 'strivers tax' will push 50,000 more disabled people into poverty while the DWP's Work Programme is failing to get 98.7 per cent of disabled people into jobs.
The taskforce will be headed by Sir Bert Massie CBE. Sir Bert is disabled and was previously the CEO of The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (now Disability Rights UK) and Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission.  He is currently a Governor of Motability and of Liverpool John Moores University.

Anne McGuire said:
“The government’s so called welfare revolution isn’t helping disabled people, it’s pushing them into poverty. I am delighted that Bert Massie has agreed to chair the taskforce. The members of the group bring a wealth of experience, either as disabled people or those who have worked with disabled people. I am sure they will throw down some interesting challenges to us as we seek to improve the lives of disabled people.” 

Sir Bert Massie said:
“Even in an age of limited resources there are more humane and better ways of supporting disabled people than this government’s unprecedented assault which has left millions of disabled people facing greater poverty. I welcome the determination of the Labour Party to seek ways of enabling disabled citizens to play a full role in society and to provide the support to bring this about. The report of the taskforce will suggest ways forward.”

Notes to editors
1) Other members of the taskforce are:
 Dr Roger Berry - is a former Member of Parliament and is heavily involved in disability issues. Prior to becoming a Parliamentarian he taught economics at Bristol University.
Agnes Fletcher - advises organisations on equality law, policy and practice. She was a Director at the Disability Rights Commission for five years, has provided consultancy to the Equality and Human Rights Commission and other public bodies and has worked as an advisor to government. She is a disabled person.
Neil Crowther – is an independent expert specialising in human rights, equalities and disability rights.  He was previously Director of Human Rights at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Before joining the EHRC he was Head of Policy at the Disability Rights Commission.
Kaliya Frankin – is a disability activist with a deep interest in social security issues.  Disabled herself, she campaigned against changes to disability benefits introduced by the coalition government.
 Ian Greaves – is the principle author of the highly respected Disability Rights Handbook.
2) Ed Miliband announced this week that the Labour will reform tests for disability benefits so that they aren’t just about the benefits people get but about supporting people to work.
Labour introduced tests for ESA because those that can work should do so. We support tests for DLA & PIP to ensure the benefit goes to those that need it.
But the test needs to improve. When 42 per cent of people are winning their appeals, the Government are clearly not getting it right.
But we want to go further and deliver real savings by supporting disabled people into work and raising the employment rate for disabled people in the UK. We would do that by making the tests as much about what work people could do and the support that would be needed to make that happen, as they are about whether or not someone gets a given benefit.
3) On Monday 10 June new claims for Personal Independence Payment will start in all parts of Great Britain. There will be no new claims to DLA for people aged 16 to 64.

 

4 comments:

Chris Page said...

Congrats on the appointment, Kaliya!

britishroses said...

Congratulations Kaliya!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, it's good you are on the taskforce. Personally I think the Work Relared Activity Group has got to go if they (Labour) are serious about helping disabled people, no disabled person should be sanctioned for being disabled. Pain and fatigue are major obstacles to being able to hold down a job and I always thought that under emphasising those was one of the weaknesses inherent in the social model of disability. You almost need to have utopia to get all disabled people into work. I guess you're the right person to bring those complex issues up. Good luck.

p.s: what do Labour think of ESA endgame?

Anonymous said...

Would it be an encouragement to the disabled to have more serious funds available to gain access to training and further qualifications? I had polio as a child and my education was affected by treatment and other factors. These days so much of employment is limited to those with qualifications but I don't earn enough to pay for tuition and frankly the idea of debt scares me? I now have a Post Polio condition but I still need to work.