Category Archives: Uncategorized

March 27th Actions nationally to Save Manned Stations and Disabled Access

Campaign from Action for Rail

The 27 March marks the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report which led to the closure of almost half the rail lines in this country. It was a black day for the railways. We are now facing another major new threat to our railways.
The government, Network Rail and the train operating companies are looking to shed thousands of rail staff that help you with your journey and make your railway safe.
Implementing the recommendations in the McNulty Review, they want to:
* close over half the staffed ticket offices in the country
* remove all non-driver staff from trains
* reduce platform, station and signalling staff
* make big cuts to the number of workers who maintain and upgrade the tracks
We want to put a stop to these plans. We know that the extravagant costs of our fragmented and dysfunctional privatised rail industry need to be cut. But cutting staff that provide a service to passengers is not the way. Surveys show the same thing time and again: passengers want to see staff on their railways. They want help with their journey, with getting the best value ticket, with boarding trains and to feel safe and secure at stations and on trains, particularly at night.
So we’re asking you to email your MP and join us on our day of action on the 27th March, the anniversary of Beeching, to let the government and train operators know that passengers want staff on their trains, at their stations, in their ticket offices and on their tracks.
Ask your MP to tell the government that us passengers want staff on our railways
Find out where we will be out leafleting at stations in your area of the country on Wednesday 27th March


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What next on the bedroom tax?

Reposted with permission from Andrew Fisher first posted on the LRC website.

Saturday’s protests against the bedroom tax were pretty impressive. Nearly 60 demonstrations held across the UK – with sizeable marches in some cities (like Manchester and Liverpool). In Croydon about 60 people turned up to a lively demo – with support from the Leader of the Labour group on the council, the local trades council, local DPAC group and other activists.

The government is on the back foot on this issue – surprised by the public backlash. This has enabled the Labour frontbench – less than confidently at times – to oppose it too. The public campaigning pressure has helped.

While some concessions have already been won, these affect only a few thousand of the 660,000 households hit.

So what can we do in the next two weeks before the Bedroom Tax comes in on 1 April?

1) Keep badgering MPs – especially if you have a Tory or Lib Dem MP. Write them a letter, email and tweet them and encourage others too. They need to feel bombarded – write to the local press too.

2) Badger your local council and councillors. Thanks to this question asked by Labour MP Chi Onwurah, we know that it’s up to councils to decide whether there’s a spare room or not. Councils and housing associations can simply reclassify the property. And don’t let them tell you it can’t be done, Knowsley Housing Trust has done it. If not then get them to make the same commitment that Brighton & Hove Council has made.

3) Support the national demonstrations against the bedroom tax in London on 30 March in London, Glasgow. If these demos are big, it builds momentum – and it could help develop a national network

4) Support those facing the bedroom tax. In terms of direct action – the groups that came together on 16 March should stay in touch ane be prepared to block bailiffs, picket councillors and coalition MPs until this tax is withdrawn.

5) Break the system. Mass appeals will clog up the system, delay the bedroom tax and may make politicians realise that it’s more trouble than it’s worth. See this excellent site for how people affected can block, delay and generally irritate those imposing the bedroom tax.

5) Get other people angry about the bedroom tax. Share this image on Facebook and Twitter. Over 25,000 people have already shared it on Facebook alone. Tell your friends, and share this blog.

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Bonkers Budget Special @Tottenham Chances 15th March 8pm

Bonkers Budget Special

Bonkers Budget Special



A fundraiser for-

the Campaign Against Welfare Benefit Cuts-


399 Tottenham High Road N17


8pm- Midnight

Admission £5/ £2 –




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What the Closure of the Independent Living Fund means to disabled people -Mary’s story

In the count-down to the ILF court case on 13th March we will be publishing on a daily basis individual stories from disabled people affected by the closure of this essential source of independent living support.

This follows the powerful testimonies recorded by journalist Kate Belgrave and published by the Guardian:

Please circulate the links to the stories and use the tools in the campaigns pack to promote the Independent Living Fund campaign as widely as possible.

All details can be found here

Our first story is from Mary Laver

My love affair with the Independent Living Fund (ILF) started over 25 years ago, – I was just 40 and I am now 65, – when it came into my life, a life that I was existing not living.

Within 12 months of becoming crippled with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 40 I was unable to leave my bed and this remained the case for the next 2 years.

I found myself in a position where I could not bear weight on my legs or feet, and my arms very quickly bent making it impossible to get out of my bed and into my powered wheelchair.  My care from social services was very basic at 2 hours per day. All but 2 of my friends deserted me.  I watched the seasons change by the reflection in a picture I had on the wall opposite my bed, which by this time, was now in my lounge.

Life was very grim until my social worker told me about the ILF; my love affair was to begin.

Being introduced to the ILF was not easy, my social worker had to fill in a long and complicated form and then we just had to wait for the verdict, yes or no to me getting the ILF, which was a long time coming. Meanwhile I decided to sell my house and buy a bungalow, which I did from my bed, and by the time the ILF was confirmed, the sale had gone through and I was on the move to my new home and my new life with my ILF.

I will not bore you with all the life changes over the past 25 years thanks to the ILF, but I will jump straight to 15th June 2012 at 5.03 pm Newbridge Street, Newcastle and a crowed eagerly awaiting the Olympic Torch to approach because that was the date, time and place that I was to have the greatest honor of my whole life, I was to carry the Olympic Torch in recognition of my charity work.  The list is long and you can Google me to find out more, but highlights are I drove my power chair from Lands End to John O’Groats making it into the Guinness Book of Records, which I did for the Royal British Legion, I have spent for the past 22 years, two weeks each year selling poppies, I have been pushed in my manual chair to raise monies for various charities in 16 Great North Runs. The list goes on and none of this would have happened without ILF.

My life does not all revolve around good works. My ILF also enables me to go out for long walks with my two much loved Jack Russell’s, Jack and Molly. My ILF enables me to visit places of interest, to have the freedom to do what I want, when I want, with whom I want.  I also use the ILF time for my carer to take me to my hospital and doctor’s appointments.

In all to sum up I would say I lead a life full of challenges and wonderful experiences mixed up with the odd boring moments.

But if I am divorced from my ILF I will be living a life of hell in my beautiful bungalow. My beloved dogs will have to find a new home. My social life will disappear.

How do I know this?

I know because I have seen what my care package would look like without the ILF contribution. Per day, I would receive support for a carer to sleepover, then 1 hour support for lunch, and 1 hour for tea. Per week would be added 7 hours for social activities, 90 minutes for shopping, 45 minutes for housework and 20 minutes ironing, plus 2 support slots of 15 minutes each for showering.

With nothing but a Local Authority care package I  would have a future of nothing more than sitting in my wheelchair from quarter to eight in the morning until half past ten at night with only two breaks, at lunch time and at tea time.  Without support to go to the toilet between visits from a care assistant I would be wet, so when the care assistant did come for the hour lunch time and tea time would need to be taken to clean me. I would also get a sandwich, a hot drink and be toileted. At tea time instead of a sandwich I

would get a warmed up meal, which would have to be a microwave meal because no time would be allowed in my support package for cooking.

By the time the night staff came on at ten, I would be wet again and need to be washed and changed as well as been given a hot drink and put to bed at half past ten.

Being left wet for so many hours every day would lead to open pressure sores which would need to be treated by a nurse on a regular basis.

My day would be nothing more than me sitting in a wet pad, just being fed and watered, no Jack and Molly to keep me company, and above all no freedom to do anything I wish. My home will be my prison.

Oh except for my 7 hours of social care per week. Well with that I could use it to have one day out of the house per week or I could add 1 hour per day to my lunch or tea time call to make it less rushed.

Being very dramatic, there is a pond at the bottom of my garden and if I were to finally mentally snap, unable to take any more of this appalling care, it would only take a few minutes and all my problems, and that of the government, will be sorted… Or I could get someone to leave my gate open- I cannot do that myself- and a short metro ride would see me on a short pier where I could take a long walk…

The other alternative would be a care home.  Would the people who are taking my ILF away care to live in a care home? The pond seems more inviting.

So there you have it, my love affair with the ILF.  I will fight with every breath in my body to keep this affair going on.

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What the Closure of the Independent Living Fund means to disabled people – Justine’s story


Justine Jones

My name is Justine Jones; I am 26 years old and I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I used to be a confident art student at a top art school in London with great expectations of becoming a successful artist. I was looking forward to my life and all the possibilities and opportunities that lay ahead. Then my life changed when my disease took hold. For that year the disease rampaged through my body destroying my joints. My health deteriorated drastically. I lost all my mobility, I couldn’t walk or get out of bed because of pain or discomfort of my swollen joints, and I couldn’t even do the simplest of tasks anymore.

My family weren’t able to cope and I was given basic care from social services which consisted of 1 hour for the morning call to get me up, bath me, take me to the toilet, dress me and feed me. The lunch time call was 30 minutes; to make me lunch, help me to eat and take me to the toilet.

Even though I had this care in place my problems got worse; I lost so much weight combined with spending every day in bed put me at higher risk of developing bed sores. I spent all day everyday in my room, each day blurring into the next making me feel depressed, isolated and alone. I was just wasting away in my bed. This caused muscle wastage; I slowly lost all the muscles used to maintain balance and to walk making me more prone to falls. I didn’t recognise myself; I felt like I was cocooned in the shell of my body feeling helpless, this caused panic attacks.

All of this put a strain on my home and social life. Before I had ILF my parents who both work full time had to help me with the most basic of tasks (getting undressed, eating dinner, assistance getting to bathroom during the night) making me feel like a burden to my own family. My social life hit a stand still as I was unable to go out and meet friends as I was to unwell to really leave the house.

I felt like a prisoner stuck in a body that wouldn’t work, my life was restricted to my bedroom unable to eat, walk, use the toilet, even breathing and sleeping was agonizing.

Once I got ILF, I used the extra hours of support to go to Hydrotherapy and physiotherapy to build up my muscle strength. I slowly got my balance back lowering my risk of falls and gradually improved my walking meaning I wasn’t as reliant on my wheelchair and no longer at risk of bed sores as well as no longer had panic attacks about falling.

I also used the extra support to get out of the house and see friends, go shopping and go to the cinema, which improved my relationships with my friends and family. I was part of the world again. I also used the extra support to help me give back to my family by making them a meal every now and then and no longer relied on my family for so much which meant I didn’t feel like a burden anymore, this improved my home life a great deal.

As my confidence grew I used my extra support to help me attend a local committee for disabled people where I volunteered. This gave me purpose in life, opportunity to meet new people, make friends and the experience I needed to get the job I have today.

I wouldn’t have been able to do all of this without the extra hours of support that I received from ILF. The basic care given by the local authority is to maintain your primary needs to survive (washing, dressing and eating).

But life is so much more than that.

With ILF I have quality of life and support to be a pro-active, positive person who is part of the community. I have a paid job, a social life, I am driving and I have just moved into a flat with my fiancé. I would not change being disabled and I think my condition has brought more to my life than it has taken away but it has only been possible for me to feel this way because I have the support I need. In Bromley that support to live rather than to just exist is not there through Direct Payments and not without the ILF.

The ILF gives disabled people options by giving us extra support that isn’t solely for basic care needs. Without the ILF we are stripped of everything; our quality of life, our health, our independence, our dignity, our pride, our relationships, our purpose and our hope for a future.

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What the Closure of the Independent Living Fund means to disabled people – Kathy’s story

Without a Personal Assistant my quality of life would be greatly diminished.  I suffer from clinical depression, and become very lethargic and inclined to withdraw into myself and miss meals, if alone for long periods and unable to get out.  My deaf blindness makes me feel very isolated and I am unable to deal with paperwork mail and form filling without assistance.

Having a PA helps me to access local services such as Doctor’s, Dentists and hospital appointments, also to the bank and library. It enables me to take exercise like swimming; or shopping for food,  and clothes as one needs to be told what is there in order to make  choices.  I need someone to guide me to a place:  to get drinks and find toilets: to interpret what is being said in noisy environments or if people have accents.

I need assistance to make phone calls because of dexterity problems as well as not being able to hear.

I want to participate in meetings, and also be enabled to socialize with friends or other groups

I have little useful sight which is blurred, so it is not safe to go out alone to avoid hazards which I don’t see, both inside and out and to prevent falling, because my balance is poor, so I use an assisted wheelchair and sometimes a walking stick with support from my PA.

My PA also assists with meal,  personal care and domestic chores, with choosing clothes which match and saying if they are stained.

It is important to me to gain knowledge which involves reading study material and visiting places of interest; the theatre or cinema.  I feel it is important to stimulate my brain, as my short-term memory sometimes lets me down and I can’t remember where things are and occasionally need reminding of things I need to do.

This overview is by no means exhaustive, but shows the importance of PA’s in all aspects of my life.  I have suffered from mental illness and dread slipping into that downward spiral of self neglect and deeper depression.

Please allow me to keep my PA’s and lead a more balanced and fulfilled life than would be possible without their support.  In order to have this I need financial assistance, which has been possible through the ILF. Those who administer the service have an understanding of the needs of participants whereas other agencies may not.

Also with the government cut backs, there is no guarantee that necessary funding will be available from Local Authorities.

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Letter from Iain Duncan Smith:ATOS/DWP are doing a great job

We are reposting this here because we have had many requests since the DPAC website is down for time being.

We’ve been passed a letter from Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) to an individual’s local MP.  That individual has asked us to publish the letter because surprise, surprise IDS  is defending Atos and says they are doing a great job- we know that the reality is very different. We know the misery and distress that Atos is causing and we know that 72 deaths a week are being attribued to WCA process from the DWPs own figures’.

Letter From Ed Milliband Mp

Letter From Ed Milliband Mp

Letter From Iain Duncan Smith Page 1

Letter From Iain Duncan Smith Page 1

Letter From Iain Duncan  Smith Page 2

Letter From Iain Duncan Smith Page 2


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