The equality watchdog is to commission a major pie

first_imgThe equality watchdog is to commission a major piece of research into whether the government’s welfare reforms have harmed the human rights of disabled people and other minority groups.The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) says it wants to examine the impact of changes to the welfare system on independent living and poverty.Its decision appears to mirror the decision of the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities to carry out an unprecedented inquiry into “systematic and grave violations” of disabled people’s human rights by the UK government, which is examining the impact of a series of welfare reforms and social care cuts carried out since 2010.The EHRC announcement was included in the watchdog’s new business plan for 2016-17, which was published on Monday (4 April) without any publicity.The business plan says: “Everyone has a right to an adequate standard of living, including a minimum entitlement to food, clothing and housing.”It adds: “It is not clear whether the government’s reforms to tax, welfare and public spending have taken into account the cumulative impact of these changes on the standard of living of disabled people and other groups who may have been disproportionately affected.”EHRC says it will focus its work in this area in 2016-17 on commissioning an assessment to “determine how changes to the welfare system have affected equality of opportunity and the human rights of people who share certain protected characteristics”.It adds: “This will enable us to identify whether the system effectively supports all groups into work and where improvements are needed to address unintended consequences.”Five months ago, Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned last month as work and pensions secretary, dismissed an EHRC offer to help MPs and peers understand the true impact on disabled people and other groups of his welfare reform and work bill, which has since been passed by parliament.Letters between EHRC and Duncan Smith were published on the commission’s website, following a freedom of information request, and showed that he snubbed an offer from the watchdog to “work more closely” on the equality impact assessments the Department for Work and Pensions published alongside the bill.In a briefing on its website published last year, EHRC said it was concerned that parts of the bill “could exacerbate, rather than reduce, existing inequalities”.And it suggested then that measures such as reducing the benefit cap, freezing many benefit rates, and the cut of nearly £30-a-week from April 2017 for new claimants placed in the work-related activity group of employment and support allowance could breach the government’s international human rights obligations, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.Other areas EHRC plans to focus on this year for the first time include the launch of a new inquiry examining the provision and choice of housing for disabled people and its impact on independent living.It also plans to review progress made by public bodies on implementing the recommendations of its 2011 disability hate crime inquiry, Hidden In Plain Sight, which concluded that they were guilty of a “systematic, institutional failure” to recognise disability-related harassment.Other work will include a major new project that aims to address the discrimination faced by some groups – including disabled people – in accessing health and social care, and it will develop a strategy for tackling gender, disability and race pay gaps.EHRC will also begin another major new piece of work, aimed at addressing the discrimination faced in schools by disadvantaged groups – including disabled pupils – who face lower educational attainment, identity-based bullying and harassment, and higher rates of exclusion.Lord [Chris] Holmes (pictured), EHRC’s disability commissioner, said: “Our new business plan for 2016-17 puts a strengthened focus on improving disabled people’s lives so that they can participate fully in society.“In the coming year, we will be starting a number of projects that will focus on removing barriers disabled people face in their day to day life.“These include delivering improvements in relation to equality of access to health services; availability of appropriate services and dignity in care; and improving access to education and lower attainment among children with special educational needs and additional support needs. “We will also be commissioning research to assess the impact of changes to the welfare system such as the changes to funding for independent living which have implications for disabled people’s standard of living.“Our business plan and forthcoming strategic plan address many of the issues highlighted in the recently published House of Lords report on [the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people].“In addition to this, we will be publishing an analysis of the main read more

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July 31, 2019 | by

Disabled peoples organisations DPOs and disabil

first_imgDisabled people’s organisations (DPOs) and disability charities should come together and “show a united front” by joining a proposed boycott of engagement with the UK government, according to the head of a user-led organisation.Iggy Patel, chair of Lincolnshire Independent Living (LIL), spoke out following the conclusions of the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD), which warned last month that independent living in the UK was “going backwards” and that government cuts to disabled people’s support had caused a “human catastrophe”.Last week, Disability News Service (DNS) reported that a delegation of DPOs that attended the UN public examination in Geneva that led to these comments were considering boycotting engagement with the UK government until it could be trusted not to misrepresent the views of disabled people and their organisations.Patel has backed such a boycott, and has now written to his members to suggest that LIL follows the lead set by the Geneva DPO delegation and boycotts all engagement with both national and local government.LIL has taken part – with no funding – in more than 30 consultations locally and for the UK government since April this year.But he told DNS: “This whole farce of talking and consulting has gone on long enough.”In a blog published this week, Patel says: “We can’t keep talking if no one’s listening. Worse still pretending that everything is OK and that this country is still a leader in disability rights when it is far from such.“Over the term of this government’s lead I have seen nothing but cuts. Cuts are one thing but these cuts are costing lives.”He told DNS of an example in which Lincolnshire County Council came to LIL with a piece of paper which described how it was going to carry out co-production with disabled people.Patel said: “How can that be co-production? That is a really blatant example of what we get on a regular basis.”He said the disabled activists who went to Geneva “did a great job”, and that disabled people and DPOs now needed to take action to build on their work.He said disabled people in Lincolnshire were facing all the issues that were raised in last month’s CRPD report, including cuts to their benefits and “stealth” cuts to their social care packages.He said: “We can’t just back off. There has to be some sort of effect, something that comes out of this.“I think everybody should stand together and make our voices heard.“We need to keep the pressure on. There is a lot of good work that has been done by people who went [to Geneva].“It would be such a shame to say, ‘Oh well, so what.’“We have to be seen to be doing something to follow it up. I think that’s important.”last_img

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July 31, 2019 | by

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… A court has ruled that a disabled woman faced unlawful disability discrimination after her landlord refused to allow her to make vital adaptations to her flat.Lawyers believe that the ruling by Cardiff County Court could provide important legal clarity for other disabled homeowners – and those who rent their homes – who want to make adaptations to their own properties but are prevented from doing so by their landlords.In a case supported and funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the court heard that Stacey Poyner-Smailes, who has a mobility impairment, had needed to make changes to her flat in Clewer Court (pictured), Newport, including moving her kitchen and altering her bedroom.But Poyner-Smailes and her husband, who owned the leasehold for the flat, were prevented from making the adaptations because the lease they had signed prevented such alterations.The landlord, Clewer Court Residents Ltd – which represents fellow leaseholders – refused them permission to ignore that part of the lease agreement.As a result, they were forced to leave the flat.Now a county court judge has ruled that the company discriminated against Poyner-Smailes because the alterations she wanted to make were reasonable adjustments under the act.The court also found that she had been harassed by the company at a meeting held to discuss the proposed alterations, another form of disability discrimination under the Equality Act.A further hearing in April will decide on the “remedy and compensation”, an EHRC spokesperson said.EHRC said it had funded the case to clarify the law and ensure that Poyner-Smailes, and other disabled people with landlords, were able to make reasonable alterations to allow them to live independently in their own homes.Although it will not set a binding precedent, because it is a county court judgment, the commission believes that it will still have “persuasive value” for other similar legal actions.Last year, an EHRC inquiry concluded that disabled people faced a “hidden crisis” and had been left “demoralised and frustrated” by a chronic shortage of accessible housing, leaving them trapped in unsuitable homes.Poyner-Smailes said: “All that we have sought throughout this matter is for me to be able to live independently and use my home as anyone else would.“We are relieved that today’s judgment will finally allow me to do this and will protect other disabled people from going through what we have.”Rebecca Hilsenrath, EHRC’s chief executive, said: “Your home should be a place of safety and security, not a source of anxiety and restriction.“We are pleased the court has clarified that landlords must change lease agreements to allow alterations that are reasonable and necessary.“This issue affects many disabled tenants and we hope that today’s ruling will go a long way to ensure that disabled people can enjoy their right to independent living.”Sarah Conroy, a partner with legal firm Weightmans, which represented Poyner-Smailes in court, said the judgment provided “crucial clarification on the law, and we hope that it encourages a wider shift for disabled leaseholders allowing them to enjoy independent living in their own home”.The firm of solicitors representing Clewer Court Residents Ltd was approached for a comment but had not responded by noon today (Thursday).Picture of Clewer Court by Googlelast_img

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July 31, 2019 | by

San Francisco has missed chartermandated deadline to complete annual financial report —

first_imgSan Francisco has missed, by several months, the Charter-mandated deadline to produce its annual Comprehensive Annual Financial Report — and, even in a best-case scenario, won’t release it for several weeks more. This is significant because, while San Francisco’s astronomical budgets receive international press, it’s the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) that reveals just how closely we’re sticking to that budget and just how financially healthy our city is. The financial report, due Nov. 28, won’t be ready for at least several more weeks — and unions cry foul Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter A budget is an aspirational document. The comprehensive report is concrete. City Controller Ben Rosenfield on Tuesday confirmed that this year’s report is months late, and it’ll take lots more work before it’s finished. “We hope to publish it in the next several weeks,” he wrote. “We’re producing it out of a new financial system for the first time in nearly 40 years, so it’s challenging this first time.” This is cold comfort to the city’s public sector unions, who use the annual report as a baseline to start their negotiations. Without it, they say they’re flying blind. “We can’t strategize unless we have the numbers,” says Gus Vallejo, the president of the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers Local 21 and a city IT worker. “Usually we have it by the end of the prior year.” San Francisco’s city charter, in fact, mandates the controller to produce an annual report within 150 days of the close of the fiscal year on June 30. That would be Nov. 28. Glancing at the last 20 reports, this deadline is met about half the time: Delivery dates range from Oct. 30 to Jan. 30. But, barring unforeseen lunacy, the annual report won’t be released this year until well into March.Using numbers gleaned from the city, the IFPTE Local 21 claims San Francisco has undershot its revenue projections by billions over the years. This is why the certainty of a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is desired. Of note, the city this week revised its projections since only December to add $79.8 million in revenue.And that’s doubly significant because there are, at the moment, no fewer than 29 outstanding union contracts to negotiate. Not only are the unions getting a late start on receiving the city’s baseline numbers, the Charter also mandates they finalize contract negotiations by May 15 — or else the unionized workers are locked out of receiving a raise. “It’s just outrageous. This is already a very expedited bargaining session,” says John Stead-Mendez, the executive director of the Service Employees International Union Local 1021. “The CAFR is a core piece of information that drives the discussion.” In San Francisco, Stead-Mendez continues, facts matter: A great deal of union bargaining sessions end up in the hands of a third-party arbiter. “In most instances, things end when an arbitrator takes a look at several enumerated factors, one of them being ‘ability to pay,’” Stead-Mendez says. And the annual report is, by and large, the determinant of that ability. Without this information on hand to formulate his arguments, and with a hard-and-fast May 15 deadline looming, Stead-Mendez says city workers are being squeezed from both ends. “We will argue we were not given the time we needed,” he says. “We will argue to the arbitrator not to hold this against us, and they ought to hold it against the city.”San Francisco’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports are due on Nov. 28. That deadline is met roughly half the time. But, even when the report is delivered late, it has never been this late: As of Feb. 19, Controller Ben Rosenfield says breaking in a new software system leaves him hoping it’ll be ready within several weeks. Email Addresslast_img

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July 31, 2019 | by

CALLING all Saints fans in London If you cant ge

first_imgCALLING all Saints fans in London! If you can’t get to the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Thursday, the next best thing is to watch the game at Riley’s Sports Bar in Haymarket, central London.The London Rugby League Foundation are hosting the latest Super League Thursday which will feature the Champions away trip to Warrington Wolves.As an added bonus, legendary Australian referee, Bill Harrigan, who is in town working with Try Tag Rugby, will take part in a Q&A at half-time.London Broncos will also be bringing players down for the night and as always the Foundation will be giving away tickets to major Rugby League events and other great prizes, so come down and enjoy a great night out among Rugby League fans!No booking is required!last_img

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July 31, 2019 | by

SAINTS can confirm that Matty Smith has had a succ

first_imgSAINTS can confirm that Matty Smith has had a successful operation on a broken leg.The scrum half will now work with our physio and medical staff as he begins his rehab.He will be assesed again in around four weeks when the Club will then have a clearer picture of the time frame for his return.We all wish him the best in his recovery.last_img

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July 31, 2019 | by

Whilst Justin Holbrooks squad prepare for a big c

first_imgWhilst Justin Holbrook’s squad prepare for a big campaign ahead, the squad had impressions of their teeth taken to ensure a perfect fit for their gumshields.Kiln Lane Owner Hanna Miraftab said: “It’s great to rekindle our relationship with Saints and make sure the players are ready for what lies ahead.“As a local St Helens practice and with Saints also being a big part of the local community here, it’s a great relationship to have for both of us!”Hanna took over the practice earlier this year and establishing a new partnership with Saints was high on the agenda.They also provide emergency assistance for Saints players who have had dental injury during games.“We offer emergency services for dental injuries which so frequently occur in rugby,” she added. “We find that there is often a lot of trauma involved with this sort of injury, so we have well trained dentists who can deal with this too.”Gary Wilton, Sales Manager at Saints, added: “We are delighted to have this association with Kiln Lane Dental, who have been established in the town for so many years and who are now under Hanna’s leadership.“This is an important area for our players and the team are providing us with great service to ensure we deliver excellent duty of care to the first-team squad.“Having spoken with Hanna, I know she is keen to extend this service to all amateur teams and schools in the area.“We recommend parents contact them via email to info@kilnlanedental.co.uk to understand how their children can benefit from their own gum-shields as our elite players do and help them enjoy playing rugby knowing their teeth are protected.”last_img

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July 31, 2019 | by

Ticket

first_imgThe Club have sold a record 5,550 tickets for the match.With this in mind, Saints fans travelling over to the Derby need to be aware of the allocated seating arrangements in place for the fixture.All tickets sold to Saints fans (in the North, East and West Stands) have been ‘allocated’, meaning each ticket has a specific seat attributed to it. The reason for this it is to allow more tickets to be sold in the North Stand at the DW Stadium, which, if designated as an un-allocated stand would have had its capacity reduced for Ground Safety reasons.This has therefore allowed a significant number of Saints fans to gain access to the North Stand that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to watch the match in this stand, adding to what will already be an incredible atmosphere!We urge and expect all Saints fans to adhere to the allocated seating arrangements and the Ground Regulations of the venue as a whole, for their own safety, comfort and enjoyment of the match.We would also recommend that any fans who have issues with seating on the day, to speak to a member of the DW Ground Safety team who are fully prepared along with Wigan Warriors for the seating arrangements.last_img

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July 31, 2019 | by

Family friends welcome home Cutter Diligence from mission

first_img Veterans like Lane Adrian wanted to show up to welcome the crew home and said he thinks it’s important to show these servicemen and woman support.“This is extremely exciting to see this ship come in after being out at sea for what almost three months and seeing their family members and everybody who turned out to greet them. That’s a good sign. That’s a good feeling,” Adrian said.According to a news release, the crew interdicted four high speed suspected smuggling vessels, detained 13 suspected drug traffickers and seized approximately 2,850 kilograms of cocaine, worth an estimated $90 million.Related Article: With Village Plaza demolished, what will replace it?The Diligence crew also crossed into the southern hemisphere, a historic first for many crew members. The equator crossing is a major milestone for mariners and is celebrated with a formal ceremony.During their patrol, the crew also spotted and rescued three sea turtles entangled in debris and nets. The crew freed the turtles and released them back into the wild unharmed.“I am extremely pleased with the professionalism, dedication, and success of Diligence’s crew,” said Cmdr. Rob Mohr, the cutter’s commanding officer. “The crew remarkably adapted to the dynamic operational tempo and superbly responded to reports of suspect vessels at all hours of the day and night. Their tremendous efforts prevented nearly three tons of cocaine from entering the U.S. I am overwhelmed with pride to serve alongside this phenomenal crew.”Coast Guard Cutter Diligence is a 53-year-old, 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter homeported in Wilmington whose crew executes maritime law enforcement, homeland security, search and rescue, and environmental protection missions in support of Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returned to Wilmington from a successful 65-day counter-drug patrol in the Eastern Pacific today.Family, friends, and loved ones welcomed home the men and women from their journey. Many shared hugs and kisses as they walked off the boat.- Advertisement – last_img

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July 30, 2019 | by

Independence Day fireworks shows parades scheduled around region

first_img Wednesday, July 4FireworksCalabash Waterfront, 9:15 p.m.Southport Waterfront, 9 p.m.White Lake, 9 p.m. at Goldston’s BeachWilmington Riverfront, 9:05 p.m.Click here for traffic and parking information for the fireworks in Southport and WilmingtonParadesBald Head Island Golf Cart Parade, 10 a.m.Ocean Isle Beach, 10 a.m. Decorated floats, golf carts, bicycles and walkers will be judged and prizes awarded. Line up in Museum parking lot at 9:15am. The parade will exit the museum parking lot and continue down East Second Street to Lee Street.Southport, 11 a.m. Parade begins at the Corner of Atlantic & Moore Streets. Travels Moore to Howe Street. Turns right onto Howe Street. Follows Howe Street North to Fodale Avenue. Turns right onto Fodale Avenue and ends just past Ocean Trail Heathcare & Rehabilitation Center.Sunset Beach, 9 a.m. Children and adults are encouraged to bring their decorated bicycles, wagons, strollers or sneakers to ride or march across the Old Bridge (109 Shoreline Drive West) in step to rousing patriotic music.Click here for information about fireworks displays in the Myrtle Beach area An American Legion color guard marches in the NC 4th of July Festival Parade in Southport on July 4, 2016. (Photo: Kevin Wuzzardo/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Looking for some fireworks to mark Independence Day? You don’t have to wait until the 4th of July. There are several shows around the Cape Fear starting tonight.Tuesday, July 3FireworksCarolina Beach Boardwalk, 9 p.m.Ocean Isle Beach Pier, 9 p.m.Surf City, Sundown at Soundside ParkTabor City, 9:30 p.m. at South Columbus High School. Gates open at 6 p.m. Entertainment begins at 7 p.m.- Advertisement – last_img

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July 30, 2019 | by