The announcement of billions of pounds of cuts to

first_imgThe announcement of billions of pounds of cuts to the government’s new disability benefit is a discriminatory attack on people with mental health problems, will push many of them further into poverty and isolation, and will put lives at risk, say disabled activists.Protests about the cuts to personal independence payment (PIP) have already been announced, with one due to take place outside parliament on Tuesday (7 March), the day before the spring budget.Disability News Service is also aware of discussions among at least two groups about possible legal action over the cuts.Work and pensions secretary Damian Green (pictured) said he had made the decision to amend regulations to tighten eligibility for PIP because of two tribunal decisions that ruled against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).One ruling found that PIP claimants who need support to take medication and monitor a health condition could be scored in the eligibility assessment in the same way as those needing support to manage treatment therapies such as dialysis.Green’s plans to reverse this ruling are likely to see almost 1,500 PIP claimants either lose all of their PIP daily living payment or see it cut.The second ruling found that PIP claimants who need to be accompanied on journeys because of the risk of experiencing overwhelming mental distress could be scored in their assessment in the same way as those who cannot navigate a journey because of a visual or cognitive impairment.Green’s decision to reverse this second tribunal decision will see an estimated 164,000 claimants either lose all of their eligibility for the PIP mobility component or see it reduced.The new regulations are likely to be voted on in parliament later this month, after an objection – known as tabling a prayer motion – was raised by the Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Bakewell.Ministers stressed that the decision to tighten the criteria will not result in any claimants seeing a reduction in the amount of PIP that has already been awarded by DWP, although it will affect future new claims and reassessments and those still to be transferred across to PIP from disability living allowance.The government’s decision to reverse both of the tribunal rulings will mean £3.7 billion is cut from spending on PIP and related benefits over the next five years, and £910 million a year by 2021-22.Ministers claimed that the “urgency” of addressing these tribunal rulings meant that they had decided not to consult their own benefits advisors, the social security advisory committee (SSAC), although SSAC will now reportedly discuss the changes next week.But it is not the first time that DWP ministers have targeted people in mental distress for cuts to their disability benefits since the 2015 election.In September, DNS reported how the department had secretly made major changes to guidance given to “fitness for work” benefits assessors that made it harder for claimants with experience of severe mental distress to be placed in the employment and support allowance (ESA) support group, and potentially put thousands of lives at risk.There was anger among disabled campaigners after the latest DWP announcement, at what has been seen as a further cut to spending on disability benefits, despite DWP’s insistence that it was merely a “clarification of the criteria”.Denise McKenna, co-founder of the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN), said the daily living change would discriminate against people trying to manage their mental health conditions at home so they can stay out of hospital.And she said the change to the mobility criteria was “quite disgraceful” and showed the government “does not understand the disabling and debilitating nature of mental distress”.She said it would increase the isolation of people with mental health conditions, with many of those in London already having their free travel Freedom Passes withdrawn by local authorities.She said: “It will push people much further into poverty. It will aggravate the already existing problem of isolation for people with mental health problems.”She said this could lead to people taking their own lives, because isolation was often a factor in such deaths.McKenna said: “It may cause some people to disengage from services because they may not be able to go backwards and forwards to where they need to go.“With the closure of mental health services, people have to travel further to access them.”Many people with mental health problems who have been placed on community treatment orders have to visit their community mental health team regularly for injections of anti-psychotic drugs, she said.This group of people is growing because of the closure of acute mental health wards, and unaccompanied public transport will not be an option for many of them, she said.McKenna added: “It shows total contempt for people with mental health problems.“It is going to affect people with the most severe mental health problems and it seems this government is in complete denial that there are mental health problems that debilitate people.”Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) said DWP’s “underhand” decision to impose the cuts had again shown its “contempt” for the judiciary.A DPAC spokesperson said: “It has become increasingly obvious that disability benefit entitlement is no longer based on need, but on how much the government is prepared to pay.“Disability tests, whether for ESA or PIP, are fine-tuned to give the results the government expect in terms of expenditure, which determines the number of people entitled to disability benefits.“The legality of changing the law in such a way needs to be addressed as it is a key pillar of our constitution that parliament makes the law and the courts interpret it.”DPAC is holding a protest on Tuesday afternoon (7 March), outside parliament.Another protest is being held shortly after noon tomorrow (Friday) by Norfolk-based Equal Lives and DPAC Norfolk, outside the Wymondham constituency surgery of local MP George Freeman, who chairs the prime minister’s policy board.Freeman said in a BBC interview at the weekend that the DWP move had been in response to “bizarre decisions by tribunals that now mean benefits are being given to people who are taking pills at home, who suffer from anxiety” and that the government wanted to ensure that money was given to “the really disabled people who need it”.He later apologised if his comments had “inadvertently caused any offence”.Mark Harrison, chief executive of Equal Lives, said Freeman’s comments were “crass and ignorant and belong in the last century”.He said the PIP cuts will “result in more disabled people becoming prisoners in their own homes”.He added: “I suggest George reads the UN inquiry judgement on the grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights by his government and then implements the recommendations.“I really don’t understand why disabled people are being singled out in this way for more cuts to our independence and living standards.“What happened to this government’s commitment only made last year that cuts to PIP would not go ahead and there would be no more welfare cuts?”Professor Peter Beresford, co-chair of Shaping Our Lives, said: “The government’s rationale of returning PIP to its ‘original meaning’ is its latest justification for its abiding determination to cut back support for disabled people.“It wants to take more than £3 billion out of the support budget and from disabled people’s pockets because it is committed to a residual welfare state.“No matter that rapidly changing demographics in the UK and beyond mean that there are more disabled people as a proportion of the population and in absolute numbers, this government with its belief in ‘nudge’ non-intervention and the ‘small state’ only sees one road for public spending on support and that is to reduce it.“We must have a strategic understanding of and response to this backward-looking ideological strategy which is both appallingly damaging to our society and to disabled people who want to contribute to it.”Disabled researcher Stef Benstead, from the Spartacus Network, said the government’s attitude was “disappointing and worrying” and “suggests an ignorance of illness and disability that is not acceptable”.She said: “PIP was brought in allegedly to transfer money from physically ill people to mentally ill people.“To then say that PIP is failing because it is giving more money to mentally ill people – the very thing it was designed to do – is an inconsistency that suggests that the government’s true focus, whatever it pleads to the contrary, is cuts not care.”Liz Sayce, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, called for the government’s decision to be “urgently reconsidered”.She said: “It is not what impairment you have that matters, but the impact of that impairment.“And we are not here talking about a little anxiety – but about ‘overwhelming’ psychological distress, for instance people who literally cannot leave the house because of severe agoraphobia or schizophrenia.“Disabled people have a right, under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to participate in the community on an equal basis with others.“We need policies that consistently, across government, support disabled people to participate socially and economically.“Restricting the very investments that support people to live independent lives, to manage their own health conditions, to go out and contribute to their communities, is a false economy. And it restricts disabled people’s rights to equal participation.”A DWP spokeswoman said ministers were amending just one of the assessment criteria for the PIP mobility component and “someone who has a very high level of needs associated with psychological distress can still be awarded the highest rate of payments based on the overall assessment”.And she insisted that it was “not a change to the policy”.She said: “Recent legal judgments have interpreted the assessment criteria for PIP in ways that are different to what was originally intended.“We’re making amendments to clarify the criteria, to restore the original aim of the policy and ensure support goes to those with the highest costs associated with their disability.”She added: “At the core of PIP’s design is the principle that non-physical conditions should be given the same recognition as physical ones.“That is why we developed the assessment criteria in collaboration with disabled people and independent specialists in health, social care and disability.“The changes are working – there is a higher proportion of people with mental health conditions receiving the higher rates of both PIP components than the DLA equivalents.“More than two-thirds of PIP claimants with mental health conditions get the higher daily living award, worth £82.30 per week, compared to 22 per cent under DLA.“There is also a higher proportion of PIP claimants with mental health conditions claiming the mobility component – 27 per cent compared to nine per cent on DLA.“Supporting people with mental health problems is a priority. We are investing more in mental health than ever before – spending more than £11 billion this year.”But opposition groups have also been highly critical of the DWP announcement.Labour said its actions “undermine the judicial process” and accused the government of failing to honour the prime minister’s promise to increase suppport for people with mental health problems, while party leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was a “shameful” and “nasty” decision.Baroness [Celia] Thomas, the disabled peer who speaks for the Liberal Democrats on disability, said: “It is astonishing the complete disregard the Conservative government have shown for those struggling in life.“The tribunal knows what it is talking about, its rulings should not just be disregarded because they get in the way of the government’s plans for sweeping cuts across the board. “PIP payments are meant to help give people the freedom they need to get on in life. “It is shameful that this government feels that it can treat those with life-changing illnesses in this way.”Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green party, said the move was “ruthless and underhand” and “designed simply to cut disability benefits, regardless of the impact on people’s lives”, while Freeman’s defence of the cuts “was appalling and revealed a lack of understanding and nothing less than discrimination against people who face serious health conditions”.last_img read more

Community Meeting on New SF Mission Housing Turns Ugly

first_img Tags: Affordable Housing • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% “If you can’t build housing in San Francisco at that spot, then you can’t build it anywhere,” he said.The community meeting tested that statement.In one of many tense moments, Noemi Sohn, an organizer with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, was interrupted in an exchange that led a woman to tell a man to “go back to the Castro” because he did “not belong in the Mission.”“I am tired of these meetings,” Sohn began, saying community meetings never had good resolutions. “I’m sorry, [but] poor and working class people are no longer —”“Basically we’re telling you San Francisco is not for sale, the Mission District is not for sale. Let’s do the right thing,” interrupted Rafael Picazo, a Mission resident who easily drowned out Sohn’s attempts to finish her thought.“The right thing would be to let that lady finish talking,” said a man in the back. “That’s the right thing.”“You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about,” countered Picazo.“Yeah I do,” the man shot back. “It’s very rude of you, she was trying to speak, let her finish.”“I don’t care what you say, I ain’t even tripping,” said Picazo before a woman named Esther addressed the man in the back.“That doesn’t matter to us, gay man back there,” Esther said. “Go back to the Castro where you belong. You don’t belong in the Mission.”The crowd immediately hissed and shouted down the comment, and Picazo distanced himself from Esther by saying “it had nothing to do with that.”The development from the back, bordering Osage Alley.But the exchange revealed the irascibility of a crowd that bounced between pertinent comments and high-volume dissent centered on a wide-range of topics: too much parking, too little parking, the height of the building, the loss of a laundromat, a lack of community outreach, and the project’s effects on the school next door.“Their privacy is going to be at risk when you have balconies overlooking the school,” said Zoila Manzan, a parent with a child at the school next door. She also pointed to the sound and pollution dangers that construction might bring, and said the project would be a major disruption. “I should feel safe where my child is at.”Tillman agreed, and said he was also concerned about having parking for the building go through Osage Alley where children might be at risk, but that the city would not permit him to have an entrance on Mission Street.But beneath the various back-and-forths lay the meat of the issue: The crowd wanted the project to be fully affordable and feared the contribution such housing would make to displacing existing residents.“We are opposing this project as is,” said Erick Arguello, a member of the merchants’ association Calle 24. “It’s not meeting any of the needs of this neighborhood. We need this to be 100 percent affordable housing.”Though it was unclear if opposition would vanish even if the project were fully affordable, leading Tillman to ask: “Do all these objections still apply if it’s 100 percent affordable?” People seemed split on the issue.Marie Sorenson from Calle 24 and Lou Dematteis, a photographer and activist who lives nearby, said they would still be against a six-story affordable housing building because its height would not fit the character of the neighborhood. Sorenson said high-rises create wind tunnels and was adamant that the Mission is a “two to three story community,” while Dematteis said housing is often used as an investment and doubted that denser buildings would necessarily ease housing pressures.Arguello too decried the Manhattanization of San Francisco and the height of the building, among other complaints, but did say it would be a step forward to have the project become fully affordable.“The best thing to do is to sell the property to the city,” he said.Something the property owner said he is willing to do, under one condition: The city must buy the land from him, entitlements and all, for $250,000 a unit — the same price it recently paid to transform a 72-unit market-rate building at 490 South Van Ness Ave. into affordable housing.“I agree it would be an absolutely good place for [affordable housing],” said Tillman, the property owner. “Where do I sign? If not, can you please let me build [my building], so that I can build some housing in the Mission?”But for the project to be fully affordable, the city would need to become involved to raise the funds necessary to buy the land and develop the property.Tillman is meeting with Supervisor David Campos on Thursday and said he is open to selling, but not for “less than it’s worth.”Dairo Romero, for one, is unconvinced. A community planning manager at the Mission Economic Development Agency and nearby resident, Romero said he did not want developers to think they should be able to get $250,000 per unit as with 490 South Van Ness Ave., a sale that was controversial because developers originally purchased the site for $2.5 million but sold it to the city for $18.5 million.“We shouldn’t be giving this profit to these people,” said Romero, speaking in his capacity as a resident. “We don’t want property owners to start to think that they can ask for a lot.”Tillman said he would not sell it for less because he’s already sunk a chunk of his money into beginning the entitlement process.Whether the project goes fully affordable or not, the meeting, just the first in a long application process, revealed the heated opposition — some on-point, some not — developers face to the idea of another mostly market-rate development in the Mission District.“There’s a lot of anger, a lot of pain,” said Arguello about comments during the meeting. “When we look at it, what are the benefits [this project] is getting for us?” 0%center_img En Español.In a testy community meeting Wednesday night that saw homophobic remarks shouted across the room and frequent interruptions of speakers, a new 55-unit market-rate building planned for Mission and 25th Streets drew ire from a crowd that voiced a central theme: Build 100 percent affordable housing on the site.The meeting concerned a planned development at 2918 Mission St., a site next to the Childhood Development Center and currently occupied by a laundromat and parking lot. Robert Tillman has owned the laundromat there since 1998 and bought the land in 2006 after an eviction attempt by the previous landlord.The six-story complex would include seven below-market-rate units in accordance with city law — and may be bumped up to 68 units overall if Tillman uses a state density bonus law that rewards him for including those below-market-rate units. During the meeting he expressed an openness to selling the building to the city to build affordable housing, but at what he called a fair price.Because the laundry business took a hit in the last decade, Tillman sought to build housing on a spot that would only displace his own business, a no-brainer in his eyes.last_img read more

Carnaval Weekend Starts Off Hot

first_img Tags: Carnival Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Photo by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. Chavez 0%center_img Photo by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. ChavezPhoto by Lola M. Chavezlast_img

CHRIS Flannery is aiming to be back for this Frida

first_imgCHRIS Flannery is aiming to be back for this Friday’s trip to Salford after missing out on Millennium Magic.The 31-year-old forward enjoyed a clean pre-season but rolled his ankle in the week leading up to the clash with Wigan.He had a fitness test on Saturday morning, but Saints’ Coach Royce Simmons thought it was best to leave him out.“We have been talking for a few weeks about the Wigan game and all our build up was about that match,” he said. “But I went over on my ankle during thr week and the best decision was to let it rest for another week.“It was fine yesterday (Tuesday) and so I should be ready for Friday.”Flannery recently signed a one-year contract extension at Saints and is looking forward to the club’s transition to the new stadium and their prospects on the field too.The pack, in particular, has been transformed, with Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook coming in with Josh Perry and Simmons altering the back-rowers’ roles a little.“Yeah, it looks like I will swap with Jon Wilkin and Sia in the second row this season,” the former Sydney Rooster said. “I know Sia came in as a centre but I think he was always going to end up in the forwards. I think he will stay on the right side with me and Wilko on the left. Jon has that left foot kicking game too so you don’t want to lose that.“I’ll be probably doing 80 minutes with Sia being spelled. He is a big man to stop and adds a bit more grunt to the pack.“I know a lot of people are tipping us to be around the top four and not as high as previously… and that’s perhaps a good thing as we can get on with the job. But if you look at who we have to come into the side, then I think things will go well. They key is to keep everyone fit as there is real competition for places.“Royce isn’t looking to pack the bench with forwards as by the end of the season he wants his back rowers to be doing the full 80. But when you have Andy Dixon and Marry Ashurst knocking at the door you need to make sure you play well and pull your weight.”last_img read more

SAINTS will welcome back a number of players for t

first_imgSAINTS will welcome back a number of players for their trip to Catalan this Saturday.Nathan Brown says Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Willie Manu and Alex Walmsley should all be on the plane to Perpignan this week – and there maybe one or two others.Anthony Walker also came through a dual registration run with Rochdale too – and there’s good news on Richie Beaumont.“They are all important players for us and having them back is a real bonus for our squad,” Brown said. “The week off has helped as if we would have played last week they wouldn’t have played.“A weekend off does have its advantages but we all know where we would rather be.“There’s good news on Richie Beaumont too. Things have been up and down for him but it has been a lot more positive lately. If the next part of his rehab goes well he will start team training with St Helens shortly for the first time in his short career.“We’ll probably be missing Lance Hohaia though. His wife is due to give birth so he can’t be travelling and is a doubtful start – for a good reason obviously.”Table-topping Saints face a Catalan side that has only lost one game at home all season.“It’s a great trip and we got a great win there last year. The club seems to do well there and the playing group enjoy it. We will prepare the best can and if we play well we feel confident we can do well.“Catalan play good footy and challenge you.“At the start of the year they had a number of good players injured and were missing Ian Henderson and Scott Dureau. Eloi Pelissier has come in and done really well. He is an exciting young player. Leon Pryce has stepped his game up too – he is playing his best footy for a long time.“Louis Anderson and Lopini Paea have come back and with those experienced players back they have won their share of games.“And their home form is good too. It will be a good game.”last_img read more

Whiteville approves Brunch Bill starts Sunday

first_img00:00 00:00 html5: Video file not found spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — The Whiteville City Council approved the Brunch Bill Tuesday evening.“It will be an ordinance change for the city and I think city council will be supporting that,” Darren Currie, Whiteville city manager, said.- Advertisement – The Chef and the Frog restaurant requested the council talk about the law that allows alcohol sales starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays.The council voted 6-1 in favor of the bill.“I think for the people in the restaurant business that do serve alcohol and are open before twelve on Sunday morning, I think it gives them a competitive edge cause other towns around us have adopted it and it keep people in town that want to drink. I mean, the few that do want to drink on Sunday morning,” Terry Mann, Whiteville Mayor, said.Related Article: Two men injured in Whiteville shooting, police looking for suspectWhiteville has joined several towns in our area that have already approved the earlier sales.“I was waiting for somebody to request and I felt like it would have more meaning if it was requested by a business owner. So, we had the request in and we put it on the agenda,” Mann said.“Other cities, they obviously had a lot more restaurants and things and so they wanted to go ahead and jump on the band wagon and get it done,” Currie said.Councilman Harold Troy was the only member to go against the brunch bill but he had no comment on the matter.last_img read more

Neighbors set up lemonade stand for Harvey victims

first_img One event organizer, Marilyn Rush, said she was looking for some way to help those in need, and thought a lemonade stand would be a fun way for her kids to get involved.“My sister lives in Houston and is out of her home now and my friend who’s helping me has the same situation, so we’re trying to do what little we can to send some money to those who need help,” Rush said.Earlier Wednesday afternoon, the group had already raised $300 to help those impacted by the storm.Related Article: Wilmington-based Full Belly Project meets Dr. Jane GoodallThey plan on donating the proceeds to JJ Watt’s Houston Flood Relief Fund. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A group of neighborhood friends and kids came together in Wilmington to set up a lemonade and cookie stand to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.The lemonade stand started around 3 p.m. on Wednesday on Country Club Road in Wilmington.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Heres how to get a free pie Friday at newlyopened Blaze Pizza

first_img00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — There’s a new place to grab a slice of pizza in the Cape Fear!Blaze Pizza opened its doors on Military Cutoff Road in New Hanover County Thursday.- Advertisement – Blaze Pizza calls itself a “fast-casual modern-day pizza joint.”With an interactive open kitchen, customers are able to customize one of the menu’s signature pizzas or create their own for $8.You can try it for free Friday! From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Blaze will be giving out free pizzas to customers. All you have to do is give them a follow on social media.last_img read more

Mother reacts to potential Belville Elementary redistricting

first_imgProposed elementary school redistricting plan in Brunswick County.(Source: Brunswick County Schools) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Students in one Brunswick County neighborhood may be going to a new school next year if a proposed redistricting plan is approved. Now one parent is reacting to the proposal.The redistricting is for Town Creek Elementary School, and will relieve overcrowding at Belville Elementary.- Advertisement – A Brunswick County Schools spokesman says the proposal would affect about 150 students in Mallory Creek Plantation and area south of the community, but not in nearby Westport.Morgan Mattox, parent of a first grader at Belville Elementary, says part of the reason she moved to Mallory Creek was so her kids could go to Belville.“A 90-minute commute for my son weekly, would turn into a 10-hour commute weekly to Town Creek Elementary. That’s a huge chunk of time that’s taken away from his academic career, his family time, his extracurriculars,” Mattox said.Related Article: North Carolina gets F grade for keeping lead out of drinking water at schoolRising fifth graders and their younger siblings would have the option to stay at Belville elementary if they have their own transportation.last_img read more

Woman arrested after alleged robbery attempt with an airsoft gun

first_imgMelissa Meyers (BCSO) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — An alleged attack and kidnapping at a Leland store has left one woman behind bars charged with assault, robbery and attempted kidnapping.The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office says 39-year-old Melissa Meyers attacked another woman at the Kicking Mule just before 7:00 p.m. Saturday night. Officials say she stole $320 dollars from the beverage store.- Advertisement – The Sheriff’s Office says she used a baton and airsoft gun during the alleged armed robbery. Witnesses informed us that Meyers was fought off at the store and held until law enforcement arrived.She faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and second degree kidnapping. She also faces damage to property charges and her total bond is set at $180,500.last_img read more