Must-read? Depends on what you consider important, I guess, but should you possess but an ounce of conscience, a soupçon of scruples, or a smidgen of social responsibility, then read on…and find details of a major, open, non-partisan protest event to which everyone is most welcome, to voice their concerns at how the most vulnerable (across the board) in society are being terribly badly hit by Governmental policies. Mark the date, October 22nd in you diary, please, and do come along : individuals, be they users, carers, or simply concerned are welcome, as are all and any groups.(n.b. It’s bad form to seek to use this non-partisan event for promotional/business purposes though, so please don’t)
Now the various mail-outs that come from the user and carer networks have banged on about these issues for, well, years now, but just in case you need reminding of the almighty predicament faced by mental health service users, other vulnerable people, benefits recipients and the poor and dispossessed at large as an unholy conjunction of welfare ‘reform’, contorted assessment procedures, NHS shake-ups, budget cuts and chaos, social care cutbacks, housing benefit restrictions and the laying waste to the voluntary and community sector all coincide, then here are some recent news stories relating to all of this, particularly benefits and the (in)famous Work Capability Assessment administered by atos:
A carer point of view
The terminally ill being told their benefits may cease
The Disability Benefits Consortium’s stance is attached (the file entitled dbcharrington.pdf)
"No turning back" on the system, though it may be ‘tweaked’, says its architect, Prof Harrington.(Quite a scathing piece, with even more pointed comments).
Politicians have kept rather quite on it all: the LibDems have made only very vague noises about amending the system they’ve been party to introducing, while Labour in the form of Ed Miliband have also been remiss (also being at least partly complicit), and have framed the issue in most unhelpful terms. The Conservatives have kept silent, as if refusing to even acknowldge that anything could possibly be wrong.
And that’s just on the benefits front, without getting into the cuts to social care, NHS turmoil and so on and so forth.
Blood boiling? It should be and good, so here’s the low-down.
What is happening on the 22nd of October?
Disabled people in the North East, along with their families and friends, are taking to the streets in Newcastle to protest against Government cuts to disability benefits and services. Join us and help to make sure all our voices are heard.
The march will leave Bigg Market at 10.30, walking to The Monument where a rally will start at 11.30. We plan to have a range of speakers who will keep us informed and entertained. Confirmed so far is MP for Wansbeck Ian Lavery, Clare Williams from the Northern Public Services Alliance and Kevin Rowan the TUC Regional Secretary who will share their views on the proposed changes. We will also be joined by a number of local people who can speak from their own experiences about what the proposed cuts to benefits and services will mean to them as disabled people trying to live independent and fulfilling lives.
A map of Newcastle City Centre showing Bigg Market and the Monument can be found at: http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/wwwfileroot/legacy/regen/phep/Newcastle_Parking_Map_Updated_July2010.pdf.
This also shows the nearest rail and bus stations, city centre parking and accessible toilets.
As new speakers and contributors are confirmed we will be adding them to this page, so do keep an eye out for any changes. Please also help us spread the word about Hardest Hit. By bringing together disabled people from across the North East we will be able to make our stand against the cuts to DLA and unfair changes to Employment Support Allowance. Listening to the stories of disabled people and hearing of the support of key local figures from politicians to civil society leaders will show that people across the city and wider region are on our side. Speakers will help us make our argument, whilst those coming along will have the chance to show how strongly they feel, either as disabled people themselves, their friends and family, or just as people who believe that the disabled are being hit the hardest by the government cuts.
Please come along, and bring as many friends and family as you can. Help us to send a clear message to the Government: stop these cuts.
To register your interest in the rally please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The NTWSU&C network and NEt, the region-wide user and carer and network are aligned with the event (helping it as we can), and so we do encourage anyone and everyone to not only come along, but also to spread the word.
LAUNCHPAD Team Leader,
NTWSU&C n/wk co-chair (with Mish Loraine)
(for network business: ntwsuc)
Offices 210 and 211,
Holy Jesus Hospital,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
Tel 0191 2330382 (personal mobile 07736074213)