breaking news - govt drop removal of mobility allowance for care home residents

11/29/2011 09:49:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 2 Comments

After weeks of rumour & speculation the government finally announce their decision to back down on their cruel plan to remove mobility allowance from care home residents. A plan so distasteful that a cynic might be forgiven for thinking it was only included in the bill so it could later be removed and the government could claim to have been reasonable and listened to campaigners.

Of course this 'reasonableness' is unlikely to extend to the vastly more expensive cuts in the wrb; the removal of dla from 20% of claimants in an expensive and retrogressive plan to switch to a so called personal independence payment and the time limiting of contributory esa a clear tax on working families who have paid their national insurance contributions.

So; we celebrate this victory with one eye firmly on the detrimental cuts the government insist are staying silent about.


disability news roundup by john pring - week ending nov 25th

11/29/2011 09:30:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 0 Comments

  • The government appears to have left out any mention of the brutal cuts to disabled people’s benefits and services in a crucial report about how it is implementing the United Nations disability convention.
  • Disability organisations have welcomed the second annual review of the government’s much-criticised “fitness for work” test, but have warned that progress on improving the assessment has been too slow.
  • A disabled activist with one of the country’s leading self-advocacy organisations has spoken of her pride in taking her council to court over its decision to remove their funding.
  • At least three disabled people’s organisations plan to submit evidence to a major inquiry to draw its attention to how some newspapers are stirring up hostility towards disabled people.
  • The radical disabled people’s network DAN has warned the government to expect an imminent return to the kind of high-profile, non-violent, direct action protests last seen in the 1990s.
  • Disabled activists have linked the conviction of a man who called his disabled neighbour a “benefit scrounger” to hostile stories and comments that have come from the media and the government.
  • Organisers of a conference aimed at addressing disability poverty made it too difficult for disabled people experiencing poverty themselves to attend the event, it has been claimed.
  • A government minister and executives from the company that carries out “fitness for work” tests on disabled people have faced angry criticism from campaigners at a national conference on disability poverty.
  • A government-backed report is set to make it harder for disabled people to claim out-of-work disability benefits, while potentially delivering another lucrative assessment contract to the private sector. 
  • A legal loophole is depriving hundreds of thousands of older people who receive care in their own homes of protection under the Human Rights Act, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
  • Campaigners have criticised the government for launching a new housing strategy without including any measures aimed at easing the shortage of accessible housing for disabled people.
For links to the full stories, please visit Disability News Service


The Benefits Scandal - Soundings

11/25/2011 08:10:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 3 Comments

The benefits scandal by Kaliya Franklin and Sue Marsh

The government is withdrawing the support that enables disabled people to work, while simultaneously arguing that more of them should be working


50 years post Beveridge much work remains to tackle the giant of ignorance

11/22/2011 12:19:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 3 Comments

 In 'Adults In Need' Sue Marsh explains the consequences of the latest government claims about idle sick people not wanting to return to work after 4 weeks out of the workplace. This video was made to give people some understanding of the length of time it takes to diagnose and treat acute illness exacerbating chronic conditions.


The Hardest Hit Christmas Card Campaign

11/22/2011 11:34:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 3 Comments

Dear All

The Welfare Reform Bill is making its way through the final stages in
Parliament. The next month provides us with our last real opportunity as
a sector to influence the bill and we need to make our next action BIG
and LOUD. 

A giant Christmas card has been organised by the Hardest Hit campaign
group (DBC (Disability Benefits Consortium). The famous cartoonist and
illustrator, Gerald Scarfe, is illustrating the card. We have 2 weeks
(deadline 6 December) to gather 10,000 signatures before the card is
presented to the Government in early December. Please cascade this
action out to all volunteer campaigners, members forum representatives
and local societies. We are asking each contact we have to gather 10
signatures each to help us reach our target of 10,000 signatures by the
beginning of December.

The action is timed for WRB reaching Report Stage in the House of Lords
and aims to increase political pressure on the Government by
demonstrating mass concern over how disabled people will be affected by
proposals within the Welfare Reform Bill, particularly the time-limit on
ESA and PIP proposals. 

We look forward to seeing the signatures flooding in and will stay in
touch to report on progress. Text of the action follows:

"Dear David Cameron and Nick Clegg,

While we don't expect gifts this Christmas, we do want our basic rights
protected and the support to enable us to live independently and with
Please make the New Year something disabled people can look forward to
*Not bringing in an arbitrary time-limit on Employment and Support
Allowance for those who've paid into the system and still need support.
*Making sure that those who rely on Disability Living Allowance continue
to receive the financial support they need through Personal Independence

This is the link to the online action: 

Please do ask each of your contacts to promote this action to ten of
their friends/ contacts each. Those signing the card can also leave a
short comment if they wish in the card. 


Disability News Round Up By John Pring - Week Beginning 21/11/2011

11/22/2011 08:34:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 0 Comments

  • New evidence suggests that an insurance giant that could make huge financial gains from government reform of incapacity benefit played a much larger part in influencing those reforms than it previously admitted.
  • A cabinet minister has been heavily criticised after again appearing to encourage national newspapers to run stories attacking disabled benefit claimants.
  • The government has finally admitted that large numbers of confidential medical questionnaires – submitted by disabled people as part of their benefit claims – are being opened by Royal Mail staff.
  • The government has agreed to reconsider a key aspect of its disability living allowance reforms, after disabled peers said the measure could cause serious financial hardship to people who have just become disabled.
  • A disabled peer has failed to persuade the government to postpone the re-assessment of existing disability living allowance claimants until it has piloted the new testing regime.
  • Government plans to reform disability living allowance and cut spending by 20 per cent will deny help to many disabled people least able to access alternative support, a disabled peer has told the House of Lords.
  • The government has agreed to reconsider plans to completely change the name of a key disability benefit, after it heard the new name would be confusing, misleading and could add to hostility towards disabled people.
  • The decision by the government to give the go-ahead for the first three special schools to be set up under its “free schools” programme has caused anger and dismay among campaigners for inclusive education.
  • The latest of a series of horrific murders of disabled people has shown the urgent need for research into what motivates the men and women who commit such hate crimes, campaigners believe.
  • A new report has highlighted the missed opportunities and failures of local agencies in the lead-up to the “truly abhorrent” hate crime murder of a young disabled woman.
  • A disabled people’s organisation has failed in its first attempt to challenge the government in the high court over its sweeping cuts to legal aid.
  • Two disabled men have won a high court case that challenged a local authority’s cuts to their support.

For links to the full stories, please visit Disability News Service


The scrounging immigrant drug addict also known as Pete.

11/18/2011 09:42:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 5 Comments

There is much talk of those most topical british scapegoats-scroungers, addicts, workshy feckless disableds and immigrants. In an exclusive story set to make the daily fail weep with prejudiced, crocodile teared joy I bring you a tale of addiction, loss, tragedy, grief...and possibly ingested insect poo.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin...

...Once upon a time in a land far, far from here* a family fretted about inflation and the loss of opportunity. There was no work for ordinary folk like them and the children cried with hunger. Winter was approaching with huge energy costs and the future seemed bleak.

So, a plan was hatched-the oldest son, a strapping young lad born when food was plentiful, would be sent ahead to the land of free benefits and all night boozing. There would be work there, money to send home to feed his starving younger siblings & hope of a future fit for them all. The family gathered their meagre possessions in an attempt to equip him for the journey and bid their prodigal son a teary but hopeful au revoir.

It was a long and exhausting journey. The nights were cold, the days short and the people along the way hostile to strangers. Finally, just as he thought he could continue no longer the oldest son saw distant lights and smelled the heady aroma of food.

Summoning the last of his courage, the starving young man slipped across the unguarded threshold and collapsed, temporarily overcome by the warmth and new, strange sensation he couldn't place fluttering in his stomach. At first he thought it must be hunger but that had become a constant burning accompaniment before he'd even left home. No, this was something different, something he'd could barely remember from those heady childhood hours of plenty - hope.

Stunned by the sight of such plenty the young man's senses reeled. Only thoughts of his family still starving at home and the youngest children disabled by malnutrition spurred him on. Somehow he dragged his exhausted body closer to the tempting smell of sugar laden calories.

Eventually he made it within touching distance of the food and was astonished to find this a land of such plenty the food was unguarded. Overwhelmed by the need to feed he threw caution to the wind and dived headlong in to gorge himself on the sticky, sweet nectar. He felt sure it was so plentiful and so nutritious he would soon be restored and able to work to support his family. That is, as soon as he was full and able to have just a little nap as the food was making him so very, very sleepy....

Pictured, a bottle of oramorph solution with the oral syringe adaptor removed from the neck in the foreground of the photo. With pincers up (they were down when the adaptor was in the bottle) in a 'died happy' posture there is a very obviously dead earwig/unidentifiable pincery insect.

And there he was found, face first in a bottle of morphine. Without even an ID card to trace and inform his starving family back home that help would not be coming. Adding to the faux moral outrage was the knowledge that he had occupied the oramorph bottle for quite some time, probably accounting for the slightly unusual, crunchy texture occuring when placing the syringe into the syringey receiving bottle top thingummy that was dismissed at the time as poor people's spines crunching under the weight of austerity measures.

As to whether the oramorph or the ingested insect poo is responsible for this tale you'll have to decide for yourselves. There was a moral in there somewhere...I think...but like the earwig** I'm feeling awfully sleepy now...

*my money's on the back yard, there's all manner of illegal immigrants living in the plant pots and an entire family of snails have colonised the gnome.
** I strongly suspect this is NOT an actual earwig but an imposter insect impersonating an earwig that I don't know the proper name of. So, we'll call him Pete.


Charley Says 'Why We Need A Welfare State' - Charley's March Of Time 1948

11/17/2011 03:10:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 2 Comments


Disability News Round Up By John Pring - Week Beginning 14/11/2011

11/15/2011 10:14:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 2 Comments

·         A disabled woman and her husband who have been found dead in their house had spoken publicly of their struggle to obtain the benefits they needed to survive.

·         MPs have accused the government of “pandering to the Daily Mail” over the issue of incapacity benefit reform, after it published a misleading press release about the results of its “fitness for work” tests.

·         A disabled peer has accused her own government of behaving like a dishonest insurance company over its treatment of hundreds of thousands of people currently claiming out-of-work disability benefits.

·         An investigation by young disabled campaigners has raised new fears of a shortage of accessible hotel rooms when thousands of disabled visitors descend on London for the 2012 Paralympics.

·         A disabled film-maker’s award-winning video installation about the killing of hundreds of thousands of disabled people in Nazi Germany has had to end its run in Gloucester Cathedral, after a vital piece of equipment was stolen.

·         Reform of incapacity benefits is set to “impoverish vast numbers of households” and “cause untold distress in countless more”, a new research report has warned.

·         Police, prosecutors and magistrates have won praise for using hate crime legislation to increase the sentence imposed on a hairdresser who shaved an offensive word into the hair of a man with learning difficulties.

For links to the full stories, please visit Disability News Service


Disability News Round Up By John Pring - Week Beginning 07/11/2011

11/08/2011 06:26:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 1 Comments

  • A report into one of the most controversial of the government’s planned welfare reforms has been given a cool reception by leading disabled people’s organisations.
  • Outraged campaigners have attacked the BBC for screening an “offensive” documentary about the benefits system.
  • The life of Helen Keller, disability hate crime and the history of the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network are among the subjects that will be discussed and debated during the second UK Disability History Month.
  • A disabled activist is threatening to take legal action against the House of Commons after he and other wheelchair-users were refused entry to a debate on accessible transport.
  • A sudden government move to cut the length of time benefit claimants have to fill in a lengthy medical questionnaire will make it harder for them to obtain the support they need, say campaigners.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions has rewritten rules that were making it harder for disabled people to use a key employment support scheme to find and keep work.
  • A disabled businessman was pulled off a tube carriage in his wheelchair and told the underground network was “not accessible to wheelchair-users”, just minutes after being helped onto the carriage by station staff.
  • Disabled activists have welcomed a campaigning breakthrough after the government agreed to correct a major disparity in the sentencing of disability hate crime murders.
  • A police force has been criticised by an independent watchdog for ignoring two phone calls expressing serious concerns about the health of a disabled man, who was later found dead.
  • Campaigners have called for politicians to show their support for inclusive education, to mark the 30th anniversary of a key piece of legislation.
  • Scores of disabled activists have come together to plan the next stage of the fight against the government’s cuts to disability benefits and services.
  • A new book exposes how society’s obsession with the idea of “normality” and “perfection” has led to discrimination, hostility, and the isolation and segregation of disabled people.
For links to the full stories, please visit Disability News Service


Tackling disability poverty: the role of skills, independent living, employment and welfare reform

11/04/2011 09:22:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 1 Comments

Tackling disability poverty: the role of skills, independent living, employment and welfare reform

In this major disability poverty conference, the Minister for Disabled People, DWP, Atos and others will answer your welfare, employment, skills and independent living questions.
Date: Tuesday 22 November 2011, 09:30 to 17:00 
Venue: Taylor Wessing, 5 New Street Square, London EC4A 3TW
Members: £40 
Non-members: £70 
Unwaged individuals: £10
  • Liz Sayce, Chief Executive, Radar and author of the Sayce Review
  • Maria Miller MP, Minister for Disabled People
  • Neil Crowther, former Director of Disability at the Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • Chris Benson, the Equality Act and you (tbc)
  • Kaliya Franklin: what it means to me; a disabled person’s perspective
Work, Skills and Welfare Panel
  • DWP Work Programme lead
  • DWP Head of Communications
  • DWP Personal Independence Payment (PIP) lead
  • BIS Skills and Disabled People lead (tbc)
  1. Is the WCA improving? (Atos and DWP)
  2. PIP assessment (Scope, DWP and Disability Alliance)
  3. Employment and skills opportunities (Liz Sayce, Andrea Lewis)
  4. Work: how to get there; localism, social care and commissioning (NCIL)
Note: Final agenda subject to change. Conference will be filmed. Please inform us in advance if you do not want to be recorded.

More information


Disability News Round Up By John Pring - Week Beginning 31/10/2011

11/01/2011 10:18:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 2 Comments

  • Disabled activists have ridiculed a union’s claims that its members have been unfairly criticised for the way they test disabled people’s “fitness for work”.
  • Government figures have revealed alarming new evidence of a slump in the number of disabled people granted funds to make their workplaces more accessible.
  • Two disabled people have lost their high court challenge over a council’s decision to slash spending on social care services.
  • The number of disability benefits claimants found “fit for work” by the government has fallen sharply over the last two years, according to new figures.
  • Researchers are seeking volunteers to take part in a project that will trace how the educational experiences of disabled people have changed over the last 100 years.
  • A disabled peer has challenged a minister over whether she is taking account of the views of disabled people in developing new policies.
  • Trials of the assessment for the benefit that will replace disability living allowance (DLA) show the test is worryingly similar to the government’s discredited “fitness for work” assessment, say campaigners.
  • Thousands of disabled people and other campaigners have taken part in a series of anti-cuts protests in more than a dozen towns and cities across the UK.

For links to the full stories, please visit Disability News Service