Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Report backs on KUWG involvements in housing protests, meetings and events

Report by CJ

6.30PM-8.30PM Monday 21st Nov 2016 Unite Housing Workers and Social Housing Residents meeting. Only 6 people including CJ and Tim B. Discussed problems with social housing providers for workers and tenants, so in both our interests to get together. Another meeting pencilled in for 30th Jan 2017. Nice coffees and luxury biscuits.

Noon-1.15pm Weds 23rd Nov 2016 Outside parliament. Axe the Act protest. @75 people with banners and placards, and we heard speeches from different activists, including some Labour councillors. CJ with kuwg banner, and Helen2 taking photos and videos.

5pm-8.30pm Fri 25th Nov 2016 Save the Granville Centre night. Kuwgs-Pam, Mira (Glory hunters), Farhan, Willae, Diana, with late arrival by CJ & Surprise. Zadie Smith spoke on how public services helped her. Brent Council want to knock down building that has been part of the community for over 100 years! Free suppers made by the Community Kitchen (6pm Fridays) and some young poets and R&B singers showed their talents-amazin!

Finally new Genesis Housing Residents had its first meeting 
6.30-8.30pm Tues 29th Nov 2016, Kingsgate, and @60 in attendance including Tim B, Diana, Mark S, CJ and AJ from Kingsgate. Lots of rotten experiences in dealing with Genesis expressed by people, and understanding that the proposed Housing Act will make things even worser and worserer!

As kuwg has experience of protesting against Genesis a protest agreed Weds 14th December 2016 1pm-2pm 64 Pratt Street, Camden. @20 agreed to attend, i have email addresses of 8...a bit rushed.

Monday, 5 December 2016

University and College Union opposes Higher Education & Research Bill: "Lobby a lord today"

From Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary

View online version

[image: UCU logo] <http://www.ucu.org.uk>
[image: Twitter logo] <http://twitter.com/ucu> [image: Facebook logo]

Dear colleague,

Tomorrow [6 December] the Higher Education and Research Bill goes back to the House of Lords for its second reading.

We have been working round the clock to brief peers about the bill.

  - How it will open the floodgates for "for profit" education
  - How it will weaken university autonomy
  - How it opens the way for fee increases linked to the TEF

Now will you help us by 'lobbying a Lord'?

To make things easy, we have created a list of peers who have a
relationship with a UK university.  It may be that they attended, taught or
held high office at an institution.

Please use our online tool to write to any peers who are associated with
your university - tell them where you work! If you can't find anyone
associated with your institution, write to another peer.

This bill claims to be about improving quality but contains nothing to
improve the status and conditions of the university staff and will damage
the UK's hard won academic reputation.

Please lobby a Lord now by clicking here.

Thank you again.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Thurs 8 December public meeting to help resist Guinness Evictions

From Architects for Social Housing:
Please support Beti’s campaign by naming, shaming and challenging the Guinness Partnership on social and in print media as the social cleansers and home wreckers that they are; by attending the next public meeting of the Northwold Estate campaign, which is being held from 7-9pm on Thursday, 8 December, in the Community Hall (131 Upper Clapton Rd, Hackney, London E5 9SA), where you will be able to hear Beti speak; and by giving her your active, professional (if applicable) and even financial support as she takes on the Guinness Partnership for her right to a home.

For further information on the Guinness Partnership evictions, go to https://architectsforsocialhousing.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/resist-guinness-evictions-campaign-for-beti/

British Sign Language Interpreters ripped off by NHS contractor

From NUBSLI via Linda Burnip of Disabled People Against Cuts

NUBSLI is the National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters. 

LanguageLine has won NHS contracts in Sheffield, London and the Midlands by putting in bids at below market rates. They are now imposing cuts of a third to interpreters fees and reducing booking times by 1 hour. 

It is impossible to provide a high quality and safe service if you are constantly clock watching. Deaf people, often need information to be repeated after they leave an appointment to make sure everything has been understood or will need support in accessing the pharmacy. Appointments aren't always over when you leave the consulting room. That extra level of care and support from
Interpreters will go if they are being pushed to get to the next appointment. 

The way in which home carers are being pressured to take more bookings for less money is the way interpreting will be headed if we don't put a stop to these cuts. This isn't about money for interpreters. This is about deaf people's access to Heath care. 

Dude Swheatie adds: In seeking guidance for a friend who was thinking of training as a British Sign Language Interpreter, I was advised a few years ago that the training is highly specialised, as Sign Language Interpreters register not just hand actions but also the facial gestures involved in conveying the message. Thus it takes about 5 years intensive training to train a British Sign Language Interpreter.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

MoJ consultation on panel composition in tribunals deadline 24 Nov 2016

As noted previously in our KUWG Diary for last week, today is the deadline for a Ministry of Justice consultation on the future of tribunals.
CONSULTATION DEADLINE: Thu 24 Nov Transforming Our Justice System: Panel Composition in Tribunals by Ministry of (in)Justice, who plan to digitalise benefit appeals so claimants won’t be seen in person by the judge or expert panel members (i.e. doctors present at tribunals). This will lessen our chances to win appeals. Nip it in the bud! https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/12/online-benefits-appeals-tribunals-disabled?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other Consultation itself: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/panel-composition-in-tribunals/
Here follows how Dude Swheatie completed the online consultation.

7. Do you agree that the SPT [Senior President of Tribunals] should be able to determine panel composition based on the changing needs of people using the tribunal system?

Answer: No

Reasons stated
I won my ESA (Support) status through tribunal as part of a very long process that included decades of attempted career building after five years' seamless but unfulfilling salaried employment in which I received disablist bullying on a regular basis. Therefore my standpoint regarding what is appropriate and who should decide what is appropriate differs considerably from think tank Reform UK and its associates who are pushing for 'transformations' to both the welfare state and justice system in the UK that render economically vulnerable people all the more vulnerable.

Tribunal panels for disability benefit entitlements generally favour the claimant/apellant over the Department for Work & Pensions, and this factor embarasses both Government and privatisation-of-welfare-state corporations that are playing with others' lives. Tribunal results so far have countered the policy-based evidence-gathering of the privatisers of the welfare state. (Since this consultation was launched and very shortly before it's deadline, a further DWP 'welfare reform' consultation has been launched.)

My tribunal panel consisted of a judge and doctor and an advocate spoke for me while I was shaking with nerves. My disability charity-based advocate had been far more perceptive than the mental health charity-based Vocational Support Advisor (VSA) who had led me through the intial ESA50 form filling that had concluded with 0 eligibility points. At our first meeting identified my much slower than average speech delivery and though patterns and got me to rewrite my ESA50 with a focus on those than the secondary physical symptoms experienced when under stress.

Tribunal advocate's analysis was later expounded and substantiated by Camden Learning Disability Services (CLDS)-based tests, and insights of more than one mind had helped bring me to apply for ESA and get CLDS analysis. Those meetings had included
  • late 2008 jobcentre 'progress review' meeting with jobcentre worker and VSA. Jobcentre worker had intervened in crisis brought on by missing first 2005 signing-on appointment while I was awaiting result of pre-Christmas job interview
  • consultation with GP, her receptionist and my VSA. GP's receptionist vouched for council learning disability services' support that had helped her severely learning disabled son overcome 0 eligibility points rating from unproperly qualified disability assessors.

8. In order to assist the SPT to make sure that appropriate expertise is provided following the proposed reform, which factors do you think should be considered to determine whether multiple specialists are needed to hear individual cases?

Please state your reasons and specify the jurisdictions and/or types of case to which these factors refer.

I concur with the charity Zacchaeus 2000 (Z2K) when they write in response to this question
"... the appropriate expertise in all disability cases is the current tribunal composition. We recommend that the Ministry of Justice mandate the SPT to continue to include a healthcare professional and disability expert on panels for disability benefit appeals."
Crucially,  organisations such as Z2K and Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group are left to help economically people 'pick up the pieces' after injustices have been done to them. Such organisations have theoretical sensitivity and human understanding that is severely lacking in those that regard the current inputs to tribunal panel composition as unnecessary costs to the public purse and counter to the privatisation of the welfare state that favours the American model of private health insurance. Perhaps drugs with the scale of failures exposed by current workings of disability benefit test regimes would have been barred from sale by now? "Those who give the order [do the initial dodgy assessments] seldom see the mess it makes."
I also note that all 'key decision makers' should realise that 'welfare reform' agendas have so far been conducted to the exclusion of reference to disabled people who were actively jobseeking long before the drive to eliminate the Incapacity Benefit safety net.

(My answers to the section about Impact and Equalities Impact Assessments are not included here.)

Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Fuel Poverty Action actions for Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th Nov 2016

Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) brings the risk of greenhouse gas emiting Canadian tar sands furthering global warming.

The below is a response from Fuel Poverty Action to being forwarded their receiving a reminder that CETA brings the risk of highly pollutant Candadian tar sands coming to the European Union, when I copied them into the link forward of http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/twitter-action-called-for-in-blocking-dodgy-international-trade-deal.html

Thanks Alan, I've forwarded this to our people who do twitter. 

For tomorrow and Thursday, please see below -- KUWG may want to take part in these? 

Cold Homes Kill – pensioner and Housing Act protestors and climate activists converge on Westminster 23 and 24 November

Weds 23 November As well as the Autumn Statement, this day will see the announcement of how many people died last winter because they could not afford to heat their homes – a scandal that is repeated year after year.  

FPA will be joining the National Pensioners Convention to mark last year’s winter deaths with black balloons at 12.0 in College Green, and will then join and speak at the launch of Axe the Housing Act’s own Autumn Statement in Old Palace Yard from noon. 

The government yesterday dropped one important clause from the Housing Act: “Pay to Stay”.  It must now drop the forced sale of Housing Association stock, which will push even more people into cold damp homes where they have no recourse against exploitative private landlords, and must bring back security of tenure in both private and social housing.  No fault and retaliatory evictions mean many tenants are afraid to raise issues of heating, hot water, draughts, bad insulation, and energy-guzzling equipment.

Thursday 24 November these points will be pressed home with an early morning “Duvet Die–In” 8.30 at the offices of EDF, 80 Victoria St, where campaigners against fuel poverty will join people whose primary focus has been the climate.  For 8.15 meeting place, things to bring etc see facebook event.

The government has hinted at moves to regulate rampant exploitation by suppliers of gas and electricity providers.  We shall see.  With thousands dying early every year, we are also waiting to see what the Chancellor does
·        to meet the legally binding fuel poverty target on insulating homes,
·        to end the illegal discrimination against users of prepayment meters – often the customers on the lowest incomes - and against all customers who cannot pay by direct debit,
·        to restore cuts to disability and other benefits and to wages.