A message from Disability Rights UK’s CEO
New Year Message
As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, millions of Disabled people are struggling to keep homes warm, run essential health and mobility equipment and keep food on the table. With the wider Disabled people’s movement, we will press for a fairer benefits system, seek improved targeted financial support to meet energy costs and campaign for the banning of forced switchover to pre-payment meters.
Other priorities for Disability Rights UK in the coming year include: promoting inclusive climate change solutions, speaking out for better care and support for independent living, tackling discrimination in education and employment, ensuring support for Disabled rail travellers is retained, campaigning for disability hate crime to be a criminal offence and advocating for accessible housing.
Later this year, the Government will be consulting Disabled people on a Disability Action Plan and we will work to ensure that the voices and experiences of Disabled people are truly heard.
Disability Rights UK is developing a new strategy for the next five years and in the Get Involved section below, details are provided on how you can share your thoughts with us.
Recognising all the challenges you are facing, I wish you a Happy New Year.
Disabled people cut off from energy supply
Citizens Advice estimate that 3.2 million people ran out of credit on their pre-payment energy meter last year, the equivalent of one person every ten seconds. The advisory service says that they saw more people last year unable to top up their meter than in all of the previous ten years combined. It’s calling on energy companies to stop forcibly switching people to pre-payment meters.
Read the full energy story on our website.
‘Massive income gap’ between Disabled and non-Disabled people – Resolution Foundation
A new report by the Resolution Foundation has found a massive income gap between Disabled people and non-disabled people, resulting in many more Disabled people not being able to afford basic necessities such as food and heating.
Read the full income gap story on our website.
UC hardship payment waiver
Following a recent judicial review, Universal Credit claimants can apply for hardship payments to be waived or refunded. The review was brought by Public Law Project last year on behalf of a client. In response the DWP confirmed it had discretion to waive hardship payment debt, and changed its guidance.
Read more on UC waivers online.
Labour will guarantee Disabled People moving into work a return to benefits with the need for reassessment
A Labour government would overhaul routes into work for Disabled people, including a guarantee that those who move into work will not have to face benefit re-assessments.
Read more on routes into work on our website.
New DWP scheme may enable claimants to get refund of already paid back Universal Credit hardship payments
Under a new DWP scheme clients may be able to get a refund of already paid back Universal Credit hardship payments. The deadline to apply is 19 June 2023.
Read the full hardship payments story on our website.
Access to work wait times leading to lost jobs
The Mirror reports that Access to Work wait times have “skyrocketed”, after Labour’s welfare chief uncovered new figures on the Department for Work and Pensions policy.
Read the full Access to Work story on our website.
DFE figures show teachers are leaving the profession
New Department for Education figures show that a third of England’s teachers who qualified in the last decade have left the profession.
Read the full teachers story on our website.
Prime Minister proposes maths till 18
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, set out plans in his New Year speech to make maths a compulsory subject for all students until the age of 18. No plans have been revealed on how this would work for those not studying A-Levels, and there has been no acknowledgement of the barriers posed by inaccessible assessments.
Read the full maths story on our website.
Smart tech rail ticket machines not fit for Disabled people
Disability Rights UK is concerned that some new changes which are coming to train stations that could catch-out Disabled passengers.
Read the full rail ticketing story on our website.
DR UK backs rail staff cuts campaigners
Disability Rights UK is backing campaigners who are warning Transport Secretary Mark Harper that “discriminatory” plans to remove guards from trains, cut staff and close ticket offices will stop many Disabled passengers from travelling by rail and will endanger lives.
Read the full rail staffing story on our website.
Anna Morell’s Daily Mirror Dis Life columns
Our Media and Communications Manager Anna Morell writes a weekly disability column for the Daily Mirror online. Read her recent columns on the social model of disability, the NHS over Christmas, poverty over Christmas, a shaggy dog story of misguided help and the NHS in the New Year.