News From the Welfare Front, from Boycott Workfare to Universal Credit.

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Boycott Workfare, the admirable campaign group against government schemes for unpaid work for the out-of-work, has resurfaced with a chapter in a book published by Pluto Press.

A new book chapter using testimonies compiled by Boycott Workfare exposes the violent impact of forced labour.

When we talk about what’s wrong with workfare, we often mention the horrifying material impact on people’s lives of the benefit sanctions that underwrite it. The political impact of unwaged work is also important – the way it attacks workplace rights and destroys our freedom. And workfare is psychologically violent and humiliating: it is coerced labour that’s supposed to build skills and motivation but obviously does nothing apart from offer free work to businesses and charities.

Now, in a freely available chapter of The Violence of Austerity, just published by Pluto Press, the accounts of 97 people who were on workfare schemes between 2011 and 2015 show how workfare is not only ruthlessly exploitative, but can also mean being forced into dangerous work in which health and safety laws are violated as a matter of routine. As the authors write:

If being employed in workfare schemes can be read as a forced and therefore violent process in itself, it should also be read as a process that contains the potential for a different type of violence: the violence that confronts workers when they are told to stand in the cold, to lift heavy loads that they physically cannot lift, or to endure other forms of physical and psychological degradation.

‘The violence of workfare’ documents 64 concrete allegations of breaches of health and safety legislation, at 43 workfare exploiters across the UK – in charities, social enterprises, maintenance companies and discount stores, as well as in environmental, agricultural and recycling projects. The first-hand accounts that the chapter is based on were all submitted to Boycott Workfare via the name and shame section of this website. These ‘employers’ benefited from 1,139 weeks of forced labour from the 97 people whose testimonies are included. That’s almost 22 years of coerced, unpaid labour.

These testimonies make clear how people have been forced to carry out hard labour or heavy lifting, despite existing medical conditions which make this work agony. The testimonies reveal how people have been denied access to protective equipment, and how people have been exposed to dust, chemicals and other hazards. In some cases, these accounts document how organisations have refused workfare conscripts access to food or water, and denied them even short breaks.

At the same time, the testimonies collected together in this chapter provide evidence of workfare exploiters threatening to ‘sack’ people who don’t work fast enough, or try to complain or try to gather evidence of the conditions they are being forced to operate in. People on workfare face being sanctioned if they are unwilling to work in unsafe conditions or if they take any kind of action to draw attention to these conditions.

And some workfare exploiters, it is made clear, are more than willing to exploit the fear that the sanctions regime generates to try and force people to accept dangerous working conditions. That same fear is used to ensure as much management control over workfare conscripts as possible. ‘The fear of sanction can intensify and generate yet more unreasonable demands from employers,’ the authors write. ‘Workfare, as a form of forced labour, effectively permits employers to breach health and safety laws with impunity’. Dangerous working conditions are an effect of unfree labour, compelled by the threat of sanctions.

But we can fight.

We are all entitled to the same basic health and safety protections in workplaces, and in the next few weeks, Boycott Workfare is aiming to bring out a ‘know your health and safety rights leaflet’ that can be used to provide information on these rights, and how to challenge dangerous conditions. And we must continue to name and shame exploiters, and expose the conditions in which they force people to work. Public pressure works, and now that workfare exploiters can no longer hide behind anonymity, we can consign workfare to history.

‘The violence of workfare’, by Jon Burnett and David Whyte, is available for free here. You can read more about the chapter, and the rest of the book, in this article from Disability News Service.

Background:

Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive social security.

We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact.

We expose the companies and organisations profiting from workfare and we take action against them. We encourage organisations to pledge to boycott workfare. We inform people of their rights at the jobcentre and we provide information to support claimants challenging workfare and sanctions.

Boycott Workfare is not a front for any political party, or affiliated with any political party. Anyone who shares our aims is welcome to get involved. Email us: info@boycottworkfare.org, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Unfortunately, Boycott Workfare do not currently have the capacity to take on casework. We recommend that claimants contact local organisations for one-to-one advice and support.

Meanwhile on the Universal Credit front….

Public Finance.

Council housing managers have urged the government to halt the rolling introduction of Universal Credit, which they said is causing “considerable hardship” to tenants.

The National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) and the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) also called on ministers to scrap the seven-day waiting period for new claims.

They said that almost four years on from the initial introduction of Universal Credit “our research shows that delays in the assessment process, poor communications between DWP and landlords, and the seven-day wait period continue to cause significant problems to both landlords and their tenants”.

Rent arrears among Universal Credit claimants remained “stubbornly high” at 73% – equivalent to £6.68m – and 40% of households had accumulated arrears as a consequence of claiming.

Meanwhile, households faced mounting debts, as the average arrears for Universal Credit claimants had increased from £611.73 in March 2016 to £772.21 a year later.

NFA managing director Eamon McGoldrick said: “We are strongly urging government/DWP to halt the roll out of UC and ‘pause for thought’ until the system works properly for both claimants and landlords.”

The NFA and ARCH said their members generally supported the principles of Universal Credit and had launched initiatives to support tenants into work.

But they warned: “It is clear that support provided to tenants by landlords alone is not sufficient to resolve the problems being experienced and is not scalable as the roll out accelerates across the country and many more families and children become a part of the Universal Credit system.”

ARCH chief executive John Bibby said: “If the level of intensive support needed to vulnerable tenants is to be sustained during the planned rollout additional resources are essential.”

He also called for provision of a transition fund to enable landlords to support vulnerable tenants.

The DWP defines Universal Credit as support for people on low incomes or out of work, intended to ensure they are better off in work than on benefits.

It replaces: income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance; income-related employment and support allowance; income support; working tax credit; child tax credit; housing benefit.

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ANOTHER DWP ATROCITY: Gran found “fit” for work two weeks after a stroke!

‘I can’t breathe and can barely walk’ Shock as gran who is in pain 24 hours a day ruled fit for work only weeks after suffering a stroke

Pauline Pike has battled cancer, uses a nebuliser to help her breathe and has just suffered her second stroke – but hardhearted benefits bosses have ordered her to find a job.

A shocked gran who battled cancer and suffers chronic breathing problems has been told she’s fit for work – just weeks after having a stroke.

Pauline Pike has a history of health problems stretching back more than 30 years including cancer, diverticulitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and asthma.

She has also had a kidney removed and suffered her second stroke six weeks ago.

Yet hardhearted benefits bosses have just told her they’re taking away her benefitpayments and ordered her to find a job.

Pauline Pike has been ruled fit to work despite suffering from a catalogue of health problems (Image: Daily Record)

Pauline, 59, who has to use a nebuliser to help her breathe, said: “I just got a call this week and I could not believe what I was hearing.

“I had been to a medical assessment a few weeks back and they found me to be fit for work.

“When I was forced to go for the medical, that was the first time I had been out the house in ages.

“I went along and I felt as if the woman was putting words into my mouth.

“She was asking if I could walk around the shops if I was with my husband and whether I could use my arms.

“I felt harassed and as if she had made her mind up before I was even finished.

“I was shocked to be told I was fit to work and flabbergasted when they then rang me and told me my benefits would stop next month and I would need to get a job.

“Who is going to take me on? I can’t breathe and can barely walk about the place. It’s not right to
put me through all this especially when I am trying to recover from my second stroke six weeks ago.”

After the test in Kirkcaldy , the Department of Work and Pensions told Pauline that her income support and severe disability allowance will end on August 17.

Pauline suffered her first stroke at the age of 36. She said: “I am still suffering. I am in pain 24 hours a day.

They don’t care. I am just a number to them. I’ve been on morphine for at least five years and yet I am expected to just go out and get a job.

“I have never heard anything so ridiculous. I have asthma and have to use a nebuliser several times a day just to breathe.

“I have COPD which restricts my airways and I had cancer, which led to my kidney being removed.

“I don’t care what they do to me, I am just not going to play along.

“There’s no way I can work – I can barely walk. There always has to be someone with me, either my husband or my daughter.

“When I first went in, the doctor was okay but she was asking me to do things like moving my arms and I could hardly do even half of it.

“I have high blood pressure and this is making it go through the roof. I can’t believe they are putting me and my family through all this.

“It is an utter scandal – the way the Government are treating people is a disgrace.”

Last month, campaigners called on the UK Government to end humiliating benefit assessments after a disabled woman was forced to crawl up stairs to attend one.

Maria Quinn, who is partially sighted and walks with the aid of a wheeled frame, said she felt “panicked” after finding there was no other access.

With her solicitor carrying her mobility aid and her sister holding her breathing equipment, Maria, 32, managed to enter the disability benefits centre on Glasgow’s Cadogan Street by “crawling up the two split-level stairs”.

She said she was refused the portable ramp which can cover the entrance stairs as it was intended for wheelchairs only – and if she had returned to her flat to collect her chair, she would have been late and missed the appointment.

Disability charity Scope said her case highlighted the difficulties disabled people face in trying to attend assessments, and called for an overhaul of the system.

A DWP spokesman said: “The decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken after an independent assessment, including all available evidence provided from the claimant’s GP or medical specialist.

“Anyone who disagrees with the outcome of their assessment can appeal.” source

Why don’t the DWP say: anyone that wants to claim any benefits have to go through the appeal courts first?

Benefits Freeze leads to Evictions.

It’s terrible that social housing will be gone if something isn’t done to rectify it, perhaps the homeless will rise up like they did back in the 1930s?

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Cathy Come Home by Ken Loach
More Important than Pay Gap for Women at BBC?

No doubt this is important, so important that you can barely turn the radio or the telly on without hearing about it.45 BBC women urge action now from Tony Hall on salaries as Claire Balding reveals Women’s Hour pays 40 per cent less than other shows.But I can’t help feeling, call me a workerist, a miserabilist, and all the rest, that this is a lot more important.

100 tenants a day lose homes as rising rents and benefit freeze hit

Charities demand action to tackle toll of soaring housing costs, welfare cuts and ‘no fault’ evictions.

A record number of renters are being evicted from their homes, with more than 100 tenants a day losing the roof over their head, according to a shocking analysis of the nation’s housing crisis. The spiralling costs of renting a property and a long-running freeze to housing benefit are being blamed for the rising number of evictions among Britain’s growing army of tenants.

More than 40,000 tenants in England were evicted in 2015, according to a study by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). It is an increase of a third since 2003 and the highest level recorded. The research appears to confirm fears that a mixture of rising costs and falling state support would lead to a rise in people being forced out of their homes. It will raise concerns that even those in work are struggling to pay their rent.

High numbers of “no-fault” evictions by private landlords is driving the increase. More than 80% of the extra evictions had occurred under a Section 21 notice, which gives a tenant two months to leave. The landlord does not have to give a reason and there does not need to be any wrongdoing on the part of the tenant.

The study found that changes in welfare benefits have combined to make rents unaffordable to claimants in many areas. Housing benefit was no longer covering the cost of renting in some cases, with average shortfalls ranging from £22 to £70 a month outside of London, and between £124 and £1,036 in inner LondonHousing benefit has not risen in line with private rents since 2010, and a current freeze means the rates paid will not increase until 2020.

The number of tenants evicted from their properties reached a record high, according to a new report highlighting the misery and insecurity faced by renters struggling on low incomes.
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1960’s image of slums: homeless was rife at this time encouraging Ken Loach to make the film Cathy come Home

The report shows:

  • the rented sector has grown in the past 12 years by nearly a half, and the number of tenants being evicted from their homes has grown by a third: 10,000 more tenants lost their homes in 2015 than in 2003
  • the number of tenants evicted by private landlords exceeded the number evicted by social landlords for the first time in 2014
  • the increase in repossessions in recent years has been almost entirely due to the increasing use of ‘no fault’ evictions, using Section 21 (S21) of the Housing Act 1988
  • the use of S21 is highly concentrated geographically – four out of every five repossessions using S21 are in London, the East and the South East, and nearly two-thirds are in London alone.

JRF is calling for the Government to end the freeze on support for housing costs, and uprate Housing Benefit in line with local rents.

According to recent research carried out by CCHPR for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the growing gap between rents and support for housing costs is a key factor behind the rise in private rented sector evictions.

The research included in depth interviews with tenants on low incomes and identified the high levels of stress and disruption caused by insecure housing.

‘With the £50 a month [housing benefit shortfall] coming out of the JSA – that’s almost a week’s money in itself – and then you’ve got the other bills…I just couldn’t make it work. I had to choose… do I pay the rent… electricity… buy some food?’

Changes in welfare benefits have not kept up with rising rents, causing misery for tenants as they cope with inevitable financial pressures. Furthermore, the rising number of ‘no fault’ (Section 21) evictions gives rise to insecurity as tenants on low incomes face a complete lack of options when they lose their home.

The full report ‘Poverty, evictions and forced moves’ can be downloaded here.

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Furious DPAC protesters in wheelchairs block House of Commons entrance over benefit cuts

The MPs entrance to the chamber was blocked after the last PMQs before the summer break, as protesters chanted “no justice, no peace”

Furious protesters in wheelchairs blocked the MPs’ entrance to the House of Commons chamber today over cuts to benefits.

Campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts chanted “no justice, no peace” and “Tories out” as MPs tried to leave the final PMQs before the summer break.

Police formed a line at the entrance to the Members’ Lobby as some of the demonstrators demanded to talk to MPs.

The group said they wanted to stop cuts to social care and demanded the reintroduction of the independent living fund.

“This is a message to Theresa May – while we have no justice, you will have no peace,” they chanted.

“No more deaths from benefit cuts,” they added.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn greeted some of the group and was met with a chorus of “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn”.

Claire Glasman, 56, from London, who is part of women’s disability group WinVisible, said: “People are suffering as a result of cuts to social care. People are dying as a result of neglect.”

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JUST HOW MONSTROUS CAN THE TORIES GET? #rapeclause

Tory government rejects petition to scrap the ‘rape clause’ for women on tax credits

More than 25,000 people had signed the bid to halt changes to tax credits which make women provide evidence to show they have had a child by rape

The Tory government has rejected a petition to scrap a policy dubbed the “rape clause”.

More than 25,000 people had signed the bid to halt changes to tax credits which make women provide evidence they had a child by rape – forcing them to revisit their ordeal.

But the petition was rejected by the government in a lengthy statement today by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Despite running to nearly 500 words, the statement did not include a key word – “rape”.

Instead it stuck to using the term “non-consensual conception” and talked of claimants “not being able to make the same choices” about having children.

The rule was introduced as part of a new regime that means claimants can only be paid tax credits for their first two children.

The petition was on the government’s website

There are exceptions for twins, disabled children or children born of rape. But that means raped mums must prove their ordeal by providing “evidence” in an 8-page government form.

That prompted anger, with the SNP leading protests against the policy and raising it in Parliament.

The petition called for the entire policy to be scrapped because the rape exemption “cannot be delivered in a way that does not breach women’s rights and undermine women’s equality and safety”.

In its statement on the petition, the DWP said the policy overall “encourages” families to make the same financial decisions as those not claiming benefits.

It added: “Some claimants are not able to make the same choices about the number of children in their family as others.

“For that reason, there are a series of exceptions to the restriction.”

It said the implementation of the clause had already been consulted on with 50 organisations – and includes victims whose abuser has never been convicted in the courts.

For those claimants, the government will accept third-party evidence from a counsellor or case worker.

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Women who have had a child by rape are exempted – but forced to revisit their ordeal(Image: REX/Shutterstock)

“The intention is to strike the right balance between ensuring claimants in these circumstances get the support they need in a not overly intrusive manner whilst at the same time providing the right assurance that the additional support is going to those for whom it is intended,” the DWP said.

But Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said: “A good Government also has a duty and responsibility to care for the vulnerable and treat its citizens with respect and dignity.

“Theresa May’s government has trashed that duty with the rape clause which shame’s women and condemns their children to poverty.

“The Prime Minister seems committed to bringing the nasty party back.”

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ANOTHER DWP ATROCITY: Double amputee in constant agony faces losing disability car

Stephen Dickson fears he will lose his job and independence as he faces having his specially-adapted car taken away after his £58-a-month mobility allowance was halted

A double amputee says he is set to lose his “lifeline” of a car because he can occasionally walk unaided for 20 metres with a prosthetic limb.

Stephen Dickson, 38, fears he will lose his job and independence as he faces having his having his specially-adapted car taken away.

His situation is set to change after he passed a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) test by walking 20 metres (65ft).

But he claims he can’t always walk that far because of excruciating pain caused by his prosthetic leg.

The stepdad-of-two received Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from the age of 11 but had to re-apply for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) last month after changes to the system.

Stephen holds the personal independence payment letter reviewing his mobility (Image: Dan Rowlands/Mercury Press)

The double congenital amputee, who was born without his right arm and leg, was told he no longer qualified for the mobility aspect of the payment – despite regularly being bed-bound because of pains so severe he could soon require surgery.

Stephen, from Monton, Greater Manchester, said: “I think the decision is really short sighted of the DWP.

“Yes I can walk 20 metres with my prosthetic leg, which meets their requirements, but I can’t walk that far regularly – it causes a lot of strain on my body.

“My prosthetic leg is there to help me walk but they make me develop sores on my groin and the bottom of my legs and I can get ingrown hair follicles which are really painful.

Stephen, 38, says the DWP’s decision is “really short sighted” (Image: Dan Rowlands/Mercury Press)

“A few days a year I am left bed bound because my limbs hurt that much and I need to rest up so that I don’t do too much damage to my body.”

Although the changes will see Stephen’s standard living payments remain the same – which he said he is ‘more than grateful’ for – his biggest concern is the removal of the mobility allowance.

The £58 monthly benefit was paid directly from the DWP to the Motability Scheme where he hired a Skoda Superb with a left accelerator adaption.

Customer service adviser Stephen said: “I presumed because I always had it I would receive similar payments under PIP, so when I was told I wouldn’t be receiving the same payments I was shocked.”

Stephen is planning to lodge an appeal but when he hands over his car keys on Tuesday, he will have no form of private transport to get to and from work.

Stephen, a double congenital amputee, was born without his right arm and leg (Image: Dan Rowlands/Mercury Press)

Stephen said: “I don’t mind using public transport but the bus stop is quite a walk from my house and if there are no empty seats it will cause a strain on my limbs if I have to stand.

“When I have my prosthetic leg attached and my trousers on it becomes an invisible disability, so no one would even know I was disabled and needed to sit down.

“It would be fine doing it for a few days but after a few weeks the sores around my groin and knees would inevitably get worse resulting in me having to call in sick at work.”

Stephen said his wife Gaynor, 55, who doesn’t drive, is worried that by losing his car it will make simple everyday tasks such as the food shop even more difficult.

Stephen said: “I’ve not lived off the state and claimed any other benefits and this is because I was receiving my mobility payments which helped me to get a car and to drive to work every day.

Stephen and his wife Gaynor, 55, say everyday tasks will be difficult without a car(Image: Mercury Press and Media Ltd)

“I feel sorry for the DWP really they’ve been forced into this by a decision made by the government. It’s very sad that the change has made such a huge difference.

“I think most people just expected the introduction of PIP to be a name change, not a change of what money we will receive.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.

“Most people leaving the Motability scheme are eligible for a one-off payment of up to £2,000 to help meet their needs.”

What is a PIP assessment?

Personal Independence Payment assessments are carried out by qualified health professionals who combine their clinical knowledge with an understanding of the fact that not everyone with the same disability is impacted in the same way.

The PIP assessment criteria was designed in consultation with healthcare professionals and disability organisations.

Under PIP 26 per cent of claimants are now receiving the highest rate of support, compared to 15 per cent under Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Disabled people moving from DLA to PIP who are no longer entitled to a Motability car, scooter or powered wheelchair will now be able to retain the vehicle for up to eight weeks after their DLA payments end – more than double the current allowance.

There will also be a further option for people to retain their car for up to six months, for example if they are awaiting the results of an appeal.

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Government’s UN response ‘exposes failings on disability convention’

The government has ignored key evidence that demonstrates widespread breaches of the UN disability convention, according to disabled people’s grassroots groups and organisations that are working together to expose its failings.

They spoke out after the government submitted its response to concerns raised earlier this year by a UN committee, which described where it had questions about whether the UK may have failed in its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The UK government’s 168-paragraph response to the “list of issues” produced by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) is the latest step in a process that will see it examined in public in Geneva next month on how it has implemented the convention.

But disabled activists and campaigners who have been working to highlight the UK’s breaches of the convention said this week that the government’s defence of its position was “poor quality” and lacking in evidence.

Ellen Clifford, a spokeswoman for the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA) – a national anti-cuts network of user-led organisations – said the government had claimed in its response that its policies were having a positive impact on disabled people, without providing any evidence for those claims.

She said the government had claimed that the Care Act 2014 was “helping to overturn traditional approaches to disability in health and social care by placing greater power in the hands of service users, including disabled people”, when there was substantial evidence to show that the act was not being implemented.

There is no mention in the government’s response of the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) own evaluation of the closure of the Independent Living Fund, in which it had found that some former recipients had experienced a loss of support, a greater reliance on unpaid care and a negative impact on their physical and mental health after it closed.

Only last week, Disability News Service reported how leading figures in the disability movement had described how the concept of disabled people using personal assistants had been severely damaged by years of austerity and government policies that have “degraded” the support mechanisms designed to enable independent living.

Clifford pointed also to the second paragraph of the response, where the government claimed that it “embraces the social model of disability”.

She said there was substantial evidence to show the government was instead influenced by the discredited biopsychosocial model of disability in its welfare reforms, by the psychiatric model in mental health services, and by the medical model in the use of assessment and treatment units for people with learning difficulties, all of which had caused harm to disabled people and led to breaches of the convention.

Clifford said the government’s response overall was “just a list of policies” and “doesn’t deal with any of the substantive issues” raised by the UN in its list of issues.

She said: “It just doesn’t present a picture of the experiences of Deaf and disabled people in the UK in 2017.”

Dr Rosalind Tyler-Greig, human rights policy and engagement officer for Inclusion Scotland, said the government’s response “once again demonstrates its refusal to engage with many of the most important issues affecting the lives of disabled people”.

She pointed to “telling” omissions, including the government stating that it spent nearly £17 billion on personal independence payment (PIP) and disability living allowance (DLA) in 2015-16, compared to £11 billion in 2006-07, but ignoring new figures – reported last week by Disability News Service – that showed more than half of those previously eligible for the higher mobility rate of DLA had lost that eligibility after being reassessed for PIP.

And where the government states that legal aid “continues to provide access to justice for people in the most serious cases”, Tyler-Greig said that many disabled people with housing, employment or social security concerns “now find themselves priced out of justice” because of the UK government’s legal aid reforms.

She added: “The government claims to have embraced the social model of disability.

“However, this statement is merely a case of lip service and there is little evidence to support it.”

In Scotland, she said, there had been progress in dealing with the impact of austerity, with the Scottish government promising “a different and non-discriminatory approach to social security”.

But she said the delivery of social care “remains a significant concern in Scotland, and there is little in the state response to address this.

“Inclusion Scotland is working with a range of partners to ensure that this UN process provides the appropriate levers to drive progress for disabled people in Scotland as well as in the UK.”

There is also anger about the government’s continued failure – repeated in its response to the list of issues – to address the recommendations made by the UN committee following a separate inquiry into breaches of the convention.

That inquiry – taken under article six of the convention’s optional protocol – found last year that the UK government was guilty of “grave” and “systematic” breaches of three specific articles of the human rights treaty.

Most of those breaches – under articles 19 (independent living), article 27 (work and employment) and article 28 (adequate standard of living and social protection) of the convention – were caused by policies introduced by Conservative DWP ministers between 2010 and 2015.

The government said last November that the inquiry report presented an “inaccurate” picture of life for disabled people in the UK, and dismissed all 11 of its recommendations.

And in this month’s response to the list of issues, it says only that it “maintains the position of its response” to the article six inquiry and planned to “further showcase [its]commitment to progressing the rights and lived experience of disabled people” through the examination of its overall record on implementing the convention.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), which played a key part in persuading the UN to carry out the article six investigation, is to meet with the UN committee next month in Geneva to discuss progress in following up the results of the inquiry, which is a separate but parallel process to the routine examination.

DPAC has already told the committee that it believes “rights are regressing even further” since the publication of the inquiry report, including through further cuts to social care, concerns about DWP’s new health and work conversation, and the “utter disaster of universal credit”.

Linda Burnip, a DPAC co-founder, said: “The message is very much that this isn’t over yet, and I will be speaking about the UN inquiry in the European parliament in September to MEPs and hammering home how shamefully the Tories have behaved.”

ROFA and other organisations that visited Geneva in March to give evidence to the committee about the UK’s breaches of the convention – including Inclusion Scotland, Disability Wales and Disability Rights UK – are now working on a joint response to the government’s response, and have until the end of this month to submit it to the committee.

Picture by Natasha Hirst: Representatives of ROFA and DPOs including Disability Wales and Inclusion Scotland in Geneva in March

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