A disabled woman has told how her local council is threatening to spend several days watching her every move as she eats showers and uses the toilet, in order to check if planned cuts to her care package will meet her needs.The woman, Jane*, a survivor of serious sexual, physical and emotional abuse, and a former Independent Living Fund (ILF) recipient, spoke about the council’s “violation” at a parliamentary campaign meeting this week.The meeting was held to launch Inclusion London’s report on the impact of last year’s ILF closure, as part of the Rights Not Games week of action organised by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)**.The report, One Year On: Evaluating The Impact Of The Closure Of The Independent Living Fund, includes information from all 33 London local authorities, and concludes that there has been a “dramatic postcode lottery” in the support provided to former ILF recipients since the fund closed.In four local authority areas, more than half of former ILF recipients have had their care packages cut since it closed.In all, at least 185 former ILF recipients have so far seen their support cut, out of a total of about 1,300 across London.The report calls for a national, needs-led system of support, independent of local authorities, free at the point of delivery and paid for through taxation.Jane told the meeting, which was hosted by Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell, that as an ILF recipient she had received 84 hours of support a week (including 35 paid for by the council), but the local authority wanted to cut this by 46 hours a week.The 84 hours support – together with unpaid care provided by her personal assistants that means she is supported almost 24 hours a day – has enabled her to participate in her local community, chair three disability organisations, and even attend the Glastonbury festival to deliver a talk about disability rights.After the ILF closure, her council initially wanted to cut her care from 12 to three hours a day, but is now suggesting a package of 38 hours a week.It has already suggested that she could survive on microwave meals – which she says would both damage her health and be unaffordable – and use incontinence pads for up to 12 hours a day.But at the last meeting with council officials earlier this summer, she was told that once the cuts to her package were in place, they wanted to send a team of people to observe the impact on how she uses the toilet, showers, gets in and out of bed and her wheelchair, and feeds herself.She was in tears as she told this week’s parliamentary meeting: “That really breaks me. I can’t bear the thought of having a team of people invade my privacy, come to my toilet, my bedroom.“It was bad enough when they suggested I use nappies, incontinence pads; to feel so violated in the name of saving money… I want every single person to stand up and stop this.”She had earlier described in a post on DPAC’s website that such action would be an “incredible, humiliating, dehumanising invasion of my privacy and home” and a “stripping away of every last vestige of my dignity”.Jane said this made her feel like “a goldfish in a bowl, lacking privacy, freedom, spontaneity, rights, dignity; dreading when the plug is going to be pulled by people who think it’s okay to leave one without the funds and care and mobility support which keep me afloat”.She told Disability News Service after the meeting: “When they cut, these cuts will be hurting people who are already struggling. It is so inhuman.“They don’t consider the mental and psychological effects of what they are doing, let alone the physical.“It is torture that they are putting people through and it can be so far-reaching. They have no idea of what people are living with.”*Not her real name**DPAC has set up a legal fund to help former ILF recipients like Jane challenge cuts to their support packagesPicture: Protesters performing outside Downing Street after the Inclusion London meeting
Laws that prevent job-sharing MPs are discriminating against disabled people who can only work part-time because of their impairments, a parliamentary meeting has heard.The meeting marked the publication of Open House?, a pamphlet by the Fawcett Society, which makes the case for a change in the law to allow two people to share the job of an MP, which the charity believes would lead to more disabled people, parents with children, and carers entering parliament.Edited by Professors Rosie Campbell and Sarah Childs, the report includes chapters written by job-sharing experts, parliamentary candidates, and lawyers, and is endorsed by MPs Tom Brake (Liberal Democrats), Caroline Lucas (leader of the Green party), Dr Sarah Wollaston (Conservatives) and Dame Margaret Hodge (Labour).Clare Phipps (pictured), the disabled chair of the Green party’s national executive, who has co-authored one of the chapters, told the meeting that she was only able to work part-time because her impairment – she has a chronic sleep disorder – means she sleeps 12 hours a day.She said: “It is physically impossible, no matter what adjustments are made for me, to work in parliament as an MP on a full-time basis. That simply would not be possible.“It is not clear to me why there is such a big barrier in place, which means I literally cannot be an MP.”She added: “There are a significant number of people who are disabled and who do need to work part-time and would need to job share to be in parliament.”Phipps and fellow Green party member Sarah Cope – who has caring responsibilities for her two disabled children – attempted unsuccessfully to stand as job share candidates at the 2015 election.They subsequently lost a high court bid to seek a judicial review of that decision, having argued that the current law was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Equality Act.But they were encouraged that the judge suggested that it was an issue that parliament needed to address.Phipps told the meeting that if parliament now failed to act, there was a much stronger chance that the next legal case would be successful.And she said that the obstacles raised by those opposed to allowing job-sharing MPs were “not insurmountable”, as they had been overcome across the private and public sector, including in senior positions in the Civil Service.Phipps told Disability News Service (DNS) after the meeting that it was “sad” that parliament, the institution responsible for drawing up equality legislation, was “not following its own rules”.She said: “It is incredibly discriminatory. I literally cannot do this without a job share.”Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, which campaigns for MPs to be allowed to job share, and who herself was prevented from standing for parliament on a job share basis in 2010, welcomed the report.She told DNS: “We’ve had a number of people who have tried to stand as job share candidates for MP and had their nominations rejected.“In response, we’ve had a paper petition, two online petitions, letters to the national press, a private member’s bill, a high court case and now a pamphlet. “Two parties, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats, now have job-sharing for MPs as party policy.“We therefore need to change the policy of Labour and the Conservatives and other parties, including the SNP.“I would encourage all readers to study the pamphlet, and send the link to the report firstly to their own MP and secondly to a member of the shadow cabinet or the cabinet, and ask them to change the law.“People need to visit their own MPs in their surgeries and say how important this change is.“Eventually we will get the law changed and the Commons will become more representative.”Emily Brothers, the first blind woman to stand for election to parliament, when she fought the Sutton and Cheam seat in 2015, has also written a chapter for the Fawcett Society pamphlet, in which she says the representation of disabled people in parliament is “woeful”.She says that only six MPs have self-identified as disabled people, whereas proportionate estimates by the Equality and Human Rights Commission suggest there should be 65 disabled MPs.She argues that job-sharing is one of a range of measures that would improve disabled people’s participation in political and public life.But Brothers told DNS after the meeting that introducing job-sharing would be “in many ways pointless” for disabled people if the government failed also to introduce measures to address the extra campaigning costs faced by many disabled candidates, following the closure of the Access to Elected Office Fund in 2015.She added: “It is an idea in the making and it will come in time but I don’t think it will come any time soon, unfortunately.”
SAINTS produced a professional performance to beat Castleford Tigers 44-12.They were potent in both defence and attack scoring eight tries whilst limiting the visitors to just two effort on their line.Tommy Makinson chipped in with 14 points whilst Mike Rush would certainly have been pleased with the returns of Gary Wheeler and Adam Swift.Saints looked comfortable in building up a 20-8 half time lead with Paul Wellens and Sia Soliola at the hub.The latter’s bullocking runs gave Saints field position time and time again whilst the captain scored one and laid another on a plate for Tommy Makinson.In the second half, Makinson raced the length of the field for his second before Gary Wheeler latched onto Lance Hohaia’s kick.Adam Swift tagged another before Jonny Lomax produced an arcing run to seal a great night’s work.Hoping to bounce back from recent defeats, Rush and Cunningham made three changes from the side that lost narrowly to Wakefield at the weekend.Sia Soliola returned from injury in the second row whilst Adam Swift and Gary Wheeler came in for Michael Shenton and Josh Jones.The opening five minutes saw both sides feel each other out before Castleford applied some sustained pressure on Saints’ line.It came to nothing and on Saints first foray into the Cas’ half Hohaia almost got through before a superb kick was taken in the air by Anthony Laffranchi.Makinson tagging on the two.Just after the 20th minute the lead was doubled. Two penalties marched Saints up the field and a sweeping move to the left saw Paul Wellens go over for his 21st of the season.Whilst the passing movement was swift and too much for the Tigers’ defence, it was Chris Flannery’s offload when he look tied up that made the four pointer.Makinson added the extras but that lead was cut by Paul Jackson who pulled one back when Jonny Lomax was penalised for a harsh obstruction.Saints weren’t hanging about through and within five minutes a massive run by Soliola had Wellens in a great position to fire over a cut out ball to Makinson.And with less than two minutes remaining, a great kick through from Lomax bamboozled the defence and Flannery pounced.That made it 20-6 at half time and that lead was stretched further ten minutes into the second half. Castleford pushed the ball wide but Orr’s pass was intercepted by Makinson who scorched around 95 yards in 12 seconds.Wheels converting.Lance Hohaia’s slide rule kick brought up Saints’ sixth try as Wheeler profited, and then Adam Swift took full advantage of Wellens’ break.Saints were rampant and their next score was all down to kick from Robes from inside his half and LMS racing down the field to force a drop out.From there Lomax went on the angle and had too much for the defence.Wheeler with his third kick of the night.Steve Snitch pulled one back as the game entered its final stages but Saints always looked in control.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Laffranchi, Wellens, Makinson (2), Flannery, Wheeler, Swift, LomaxGoals: Makinson (3 from 5), Wheeler (3 from 3)Tigers:Tries: Jackson, SnitchGoals: Orr (2 from 2)Penalties:Saints: 8Tigers: 7HT: 20-6FT: 44-12REF: George StokesATT: 12224Teams:Saints:1. Paul Wellens; 21. Tommy Makinson, 34. Adam Swift, 17. Gary Wheeler, 5. Francis Meli; 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Jonny Lomax; 8. Josh Perry, 9. James Roby, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 4. Sia Soliola, 13. Chris Flannery, 11. Tony Puletua.Subs: 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Mark Flanagan, 16. Paul Clough, 19. Andy Dixon.Tigers:1. Richard Owen; 2. Nick Youngquest, 13. Steve Snitch, 25. Jordan Thompson, 5. Josh Griffin; 30. Ben Johnston, 7. Danny Orr; 8. Jacob Emmitt, 16. Ryan Hudson, 10. Craig Huby, 20. Grant Millington, 14. Stuart Jones, 17. Lee Mitchell.Subs: 15. Adam Milner, 19. Paul Jackson, 21. Oliver Holmes, 22. Nathan Massey.
NATHAN Brown expressed his relief that half time came when it did after Saints beat Hull KR 38-18 on Friday.He said the scoreline could have been much much worse had the break come later in the momentum shift that had the Robins on top.But there was no ‘tea cup’ moment in the sheds.“It was a peaceful half time really,” he said. “We led 12-0 and dropped a try with the line open, and then went into a similar mode to the Hull game.“We kept dropping the ball and giving the opposition a lot of opportunity near our try-line. We came in 12-12 and I thought that was quite lucky considering how we had played.“We were desperate for half time; they kept on coming and had us in trouble. They had the ball and the field position. I said in the week they would have forwards back from suspension and injury and their halves are confident. Where they sit on the table is not where they will finish.“In the second half we knuckled down and they struggled to come with us.”Saints hit four tries in ten minutes to blast away Hull and go top of the table.“We had good field position, got some good kicks away and came up with some good plays. Big Alex Walmsley got his try and I thought the way we went about it was very good.“The wingers are playing terrific and with Jonny Lomax at the back they are our most consistent players.”Mose Masoe made his debut in the match too and Brown said he thought the big man did ok.“Mose he has to play, that’s the key. He needs to play, train, play, train and play and it will take him six to eight weeks to get his game to where it was back home.“He got introduced to Super League tonight and worked out it is tough and that will do him good. The Hull KR forwards definitely cued up on him and made it difficult. We certainly will see him improve.”Saints are next in action when they host Catalan Dragons next Friday. Tickets are now on sale for the game from the Ticket Office at Langtree by calling 01744 455052 or by logging on here.