Disability Rights UK Newsletter

Here’s the latest (19/05/2023) newsletter from Disability Rights UK. As ever, it’s an excellent read full of good strories:

DR UK oppose Illegal Migration Bill

Disability Rights UK has joined 175 civil society organisations calling on the Government to withdraw the Illegal Migration Bill. A petition to withdraw the Illegal Migration Bill can be found on Liberty’s website.
For the full joint statement on the illegal migration bill, read the story on our website.

New Dis Life column: ‘Voter ID is a major barrier for some Disabled people’

Read the words of our Communications Manager, Anna Morell, in the Daily Mirror highlighting the inaccessibility of voter ID at the polling stations. The article can be found on the Daily Mirror’s website here.

Disabled-led commission in Lewisham demands local power

After a three-year inquiry into the barriers Disabled people face, Lewisham Disabled People’s Commission (LDPC) has called for changes so that Disabled people are at the centre of local decision-making.

Read more about LDPC’s inquiry demands on our website.

Renters Reform Bill finally published

After years of campaigning by organisations like Acorn and London Renters Union, the Government is set to introduce landmark reforms to “deliver [a] fairer Private Rented Sector for tenants and landlords”. Read more about the Bill and our response on our website here.

1 in 14 people are now on long-term sick – a record high

Over two and a half million people are unemployed due to being long-term sick or Disabled, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics. Take a look into our response to these numbers on our website here.

Government policies on rail travel set to seriously disadvantage Disabled people

Disability Rights UK wrote to Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport, raising our deep concerns about the major impact of government cuts on Disabled rail passengers. For more information and to see Mark Harper’s response, read the story on our website.

The EHRC Outlines Nine Principles for Social Care Equality

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a new report on equality and human rights in social care, setting out nine principles for social care equality. For a breakdown of the report’s highlights, visit our website page here.

Support for Disabled councillors and candidates

The Local Government Association (LGA) is offering support to Disabled councillors and candidates, in an effort to increase representation of Disabled people in local politics. Disability Rights UK is proud to have partnered with the LGA in this effort, offering a bespoke leadership programme for Disabled councillors. Learn more about the LGA’s support of Disabled councillors here. 

Calls grow for changes to the Energy bill on Prepayment meters

Campaigners are fighting to ban the forced transfer of homes onto prepayment meters. The Government’s current bill makes no provision for such a ban. Read more about the Bill and the campaigning effort against prepayment meters here.

Get Involved

Workshop: How the Housing Crisis Affects Disabled People

This workshop is happening on the 25th May, led by Disability Rights UK, the New Economics Foundation and Inclusion London, about how the housing crisis affects Disabled people and how we can collectively resist together. Learn more about the event and register at the link here.

Share your Local Election Experience

The Electoral Commission is collecting evidence on the impact that voter ID had on voters. If you are an individual with personal feedback, please fill out the voter survey. If you are a service provider, and want to give feedback on behalf of those you support – please complete the charity survey. The deadline for both surveys is the 16th June. If you need downloadable copies of the survey or have other questions, please email access@electoralcommission.org.uk

My Vote My Voice is also undertaking a survey to understand more about the voting experience of those with learning disabilities, autistic people and people who have an acquired brain injury. Complete the My Vote My Voice survey on their website.

Entry is now open for the Annual Metro Athletics Open

The athletics event is the perfect opportunity for blind and part-sighted people to experience what it’s like to take part in a professionally organised athletics event.

Run in accordance with UK Athletics and International Blind Sports Association’s rules by a team of qualified officials, the event is a great day out for families and many new friendships are forged. Learn more about the event on the website page here.

Preventable Harm Project

Mo Stewart Fellow, Centre for Welfare Reform Research Lead explains:

“The Preventable Harm Project was created on behalf of the chronically ill and disabled community to alert them to various social policies being adopted by successive administrations which were destined to cause preventable harm to those in greatest need.

The planned removal of the WCA will prevent more people accessing the social security needed for financial survival as more restrictions are adopted.”

You can find more information on the Preventable Harm Project website.

Apply to be our Treasurer

We seek a highly motivated and experienced individual to join our board as Treasurer on a three-year term.

The Treasurer will play a key role in ensuring our organisation’s financial stability and growth. The Treasurer will lead the trustees in overseeing the charity’s strategic financial management.

Apply to be DR UK Treasurer.

Take Part in the Airline Accessibility Consultation 

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has launched a consultation asking for views how to improve passenger accessibility on airlines.

It will be ranking the performance of airlines based on their service for disabled and less mobile passengers, from booking flight tickets and assistance at the airport, through to their onboard experience and complaints handling.

The consultation is running until 21 July 2023It can be found on our right our rights on flights page.

Government invites views on tackling major conditions in England

The Government are seeking your views and ideas on how to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage the 6 major groups of health conditions that most affect the population in England. These are: cancers, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, dementia, mental ill health and musculoskeletal disorders,

The views and ideas gathered will inform the priorities and actions in the major conditions strategy. Visit this website page to take part in the open consultation.

My Info My Way Campaign by RNIB

Did you know? If you are blind or partially sighted, you have a legal right to health and social care information in a format that you can read and understand. But 77 per cent of people with accessible information needs have reported rarely – or never – receiving this information in alternative formats.

RNIB has launched the #MyInfoMyWay campaign, calling for NHS and social care services to make accessible information a reality, and we want to empower blind and partially sighted people to speak up for this vital right.

We’ve created a new guide for blind and partially sighted people, explaining how to request accessible information from NHS and social care services, and what to do if you don’t receive it.

Find out in this link about the campaign, and how to request your information in your required format.

Scrap VAT on Audiobooks

Former Minister for Disabled People and MP for Hemel Hempstead, Sir Mike Penning, has secured a backbench debate in Parliament on VAT on audiobooks.

Whilst the Government recognises the importance of reading and education with zero-rate VAT on printed books and e-books, it does not extend this measure to audiobooks. For many people with sight loss, visual impairment, dyslexia or disabilities that make holding a book physically impossible, audiobooks offer a lifeline to the world of education, training and literature. Sir Mike is calling for the zero-rate VAT status to be extended to audiobooks.

The more MPs who attend and speak in this debate, the better. The debate will take place at 3pm on Thursday 15 June in Westminster Hall. Please contact your MP and ask them to support this debate. You can find out how to contact your MP on the Find Your MP website here.

Benefit Essentials with Disability Rights UK and CPAG

Our benefits training courses are ideal for advice workers, support workers, advocates, volunteer advisers and anyone else supporting clients with welfare benefits issues.

Each course is run on Zoom in two parts over consecutive mornings, 10.00 am – 1.00 pm. They are practical and interactive, delivered through a combination of trainer presentation, exercises, case studies and group discussion.

Cost £138 (10% discount for DR UK organisational members)

  • The structure of the benefits system and the difference between contributory, non-contributory and means-tested benefits
  • Who is eligible to claim each of the benefits
  • Disability benefits for disabled people and those with health conditions that affect their everyday lives
  • Getting work-related benefits for people who are unable to work due to a health condition or disability
  • The impact of claiming or being migrated onto Universal Credit for people already in receipt of certain benefits
  • The best way to ensure people are claiming everything they’re entitled to.

13th and 14th July 2023 – more info and registration details

9th and 10th October 2023 – more info and registration details

Through our partnership with CPAG, all courses include access to a host of other fantastic services and features, including a free 1-month trial of AskCPAG and a 10% discount on the Disability Rights Handbook (print and online).

DR UK organisational members can get 10% off the course price, as well as continuing telephone and email support through our own expert level welfare benefits advice line – a vital point of reference to help you to deal with complex cases and stay on top of the nuances of any new legislation as it is introduced.