More soon about our brilliant, 1,000-strong, march on Saturday!
For now, here are some links (if you know of more, please tell us!):
Friday’s Disability News Service: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/marchers-to-warn-pm-that-access-to-work-cap-will-discriminate/
Photos on Demotix by Peter Marshall: http://www.demotix.com/news/8659800/deaf-and-disabled-march-retain-their-access-work#media-8659780
Photos on Demotix by Philip Robins: http://www.demotix.com/news/8656063/deaf-and-disabled-london-protest-access-work-funding-cuts#media-8655746
Finnish Deaf news! http://areena.yle.fi/1-3049395 (English translation below)
Yesterday, 26 September in London deaf people gathered to protest because the government planned cuts in working interpretation fundings. If the work interpretation is reduced, the deaf are afraid that the work interpretation shall be reduced, this will lead to the loss of existing jobs and have trouble finding work. The British Deaf community also collected more than 18 thousand names changes to oppose the changes.
Update about the AtW march, and how you can support us from home!
Are you ready to march for access to work on Saturday 26th September? Are you ready to tell the government to stop the changes?!
There are things you can do to support our campaign, whether you can make it to the march or not…
Don’t forget your placard!
We have some banners and placards to share with everyone, but if you want to bring your own, the more the merrier!
Your placard could say STOP CHANGES TO ACCESS TO WORK or STOP THE CUTS … or whatever you like!
Sign our petition!
If you haven’t signed our petition, please do! It’s here – https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-changes-to-access-to-work – and we’re trying to get 20,000 signatures by Saturday, so please ask everyone you know to sign it too!
Our official hashtag is #stopchanges2atw so please use that when you tweet about the march, or about access to work! (We’re on Twitter as @stopchanges2atw)
If you’re coming on the march, please be aware that there will be at least 3 film crews there:
• Our own crew, provided by the lovely Ted Evans, so that we can have a record of the day.
• See Hear! Yay!
• Unfortunately, a crew from a programme called “Britain on the Fiddle” is coming. We’ve told them they are not welcome – it’s about benefit fraud, and is nothing to do with AtW. We can’t stop them, though. So, if someone wants to interview you, please be aware that you should check where they’re from. We don’t support this programme, but it’s your choice!
Finally… Our amazing speakers (and MC)!
We’re thrilled that John Walker has agreed to be MC for the rally after the march! We’re equally thrilled with our line-up of fantastic speakers (in BSL and English, with STTR captions):
Jenny Sealey (Stop Changes to AtW), Jane Aitchinson ( Unite the Resistance), Jeff McWhinney (former MD of Significan’t), Sean McGovern (TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee Co-Chair/Unite the Union), Tracey Lazard (Inclusion London), Dawn Marshall (Director, Becoming Visible), Ray Johnson (People First), Jen Smith (NUBSLI), Jane Cordell (Director, Result CIC), Roger Lewis (DPAC).
It’s going to be brilliant! See you there!
Meet at 12 noon at Old Palace Yard, Westminster, London SW1P 3JY:
Click here to see Welfare Weekly’s Disabled To March On Downing Street Over ‘Access To Work’ Changes article (7th September 2015).
You may have seen our amazing flyer, created by the wonderful David Ziggy Greene who is Private Eye’s resident cartoonist. Please feel free to circulate this.
Our “March with us” page has a poster version for you to download and print and another smaller version for use on the web.
Shambolic Access to Work changes force yet another Deaf employee to lose their job.
Come march with us for Access to Work on Saturday 26th September 2015.
Meet us at Old Palace Yard, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA. We will march to 10 Downing Street at 1pm and have a rally at Richmond Terrace afterwards.
The Department of Work and Pension’s Access to Work scheme is supposed to make sure that Deaf and disabled people are able to work on an equal basis to non-disabled people.
But… they are cutting our access, so we are losing our jobs and finding it even harder to get new ones.
We want to work and to have careers, but the Government won’t let us.
Enough is enough. Join us on 26th September. Get our voice heard!
“You may have received a letter or email recently stating that you have under used your Access to Work support package/hours. But this is wrong.
AtW then say that because you have underused your package they will reduce the hours support you have.
This has happened to other people too.
So please check your usage very carefully. What AtW have told you may be wrong.
If you think AtW are wrong, you can ask for a breakdown of the figures and calculation they have used in working out that you have underspent.
If they do not send you these, you can request this again using a “Subject Access Request”.
Please contact StopChanges or DeafAtW if you experience any difficulty.
Please share this.
For those amongst you who are having your Access to Work packages cut and are continuing to struggle with the system, you’ll be pleased to note that Access to Work has been confirmed to be demand led by the minister.
We will be asking for further clarification of this and why support is being cut if money is available.
Please do follow the minister on Twitter and join the debate: @MinisterDisPpl
Campaigner and member of Stop Changes, Penny Beschizza has today sent a damning open letter highlighting the shocking disregard for Deaf and disabled people who have experienced two years of difficulty as a result of the Access to Work scheme by the new Minister for Disabled people, Justin Tomlinson.
Speaking in London the minister revealed that AtW was underspent, this despite having made cuts to working Deaf and disabled people’s budgets.
Stop Changes contacted Kate Green MP, the shadow minister for disabled people and asked her to comment. She said:
Access to Work helps disabled people get, keep or progress at work. And it’s good value for the taxpayer: according to the independent report by Liz Sayce, every £1 spent on A2W yields £1.48 to the exchequer. Sayce also described it as the “government’s best kept secret”, and the news that it’s underspent shows minsters still aren’t doing enough to promote it. At the same time, Deaf and disabled people have had awards refused or reviewed without good reason, and face a cap on their awards in the future. It’s a disgraceful track record from a government that isn’t doing nearly enough to help disabled people into employment.
This is the full blog piece featured in today’s Limping Chicken:
Deaf campaigners express shock and disgust as Disability Minister boasts £3 million of Access to Work budget was UNSPENT (Posted on June 25, 2015)
Deaf campaigners against cuts to Access to Work, which offers support for Deaf and disabled people at work, have expressed their shock and disgust at the news that £3 million of the budget for 2014/15 was left unspent.
As this site has repeatedly reported, during the last 2 years, Deaf people in work have suffered from having communication support suddenly withdrawn, long delays for decisions, and poor attitudes from DWP staff who administer the scheme.
These problems have led to many Deaf people questioning their future careers. Some have lost their jobs, while others have taken sick leave due to stress as a result of the problems they’re facing getting support.
So it came as a shock to find out, via an article on Recruiter website that the Disability Minister has been boasting that 3% of the Access to Work budget was left unspent:
A government minister has urged employers to take advantage of government funding to increase the numbers of disabled people in work.
Speaking at an event in London this morning to promote Disability Confident, a campaign to remove barriers to employment for disabled people, minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson revealed that £3m of last year’s £100m Access to Work budget was unspent.
“There is money available,” said Tomlinson, as he reiterated the government’s commitment to getting 1m more disabled people into work, thereby halving the ‘disability employment gap’.
The news that “money is available” will come as a surprise to Deaf people who’ve had their support taken away. If money was there, why weren’t they given the support they needed?
In an open letter, Penny Beschizza, a Deaf campaigner said:
The fact that £3 million of Access to Work money being underspent during 2014 beggars belief; look at the way deaf and Disabled workers suffered through unheeded cuts and unprofessional behaviour by DWP/AtW staff, loss of prestige, loss of work, and so on.
There are case studies, but these are only the tip of an iceberg of demoralised Deaf & Disabled workers who experienced unjustified treatment in their support from AtW.
I have met Deaf teachers, Deaf Instructors, BSL and Deaf Education (deaf) professionals who had real AtW challenges and experienced breakdown of support through un-Deaf-friendly communications from Access to Work.
Significantly, they are not keen to become case studies, because of fears that such disclosures would imperil their careers.
Please do headline the issue with other unions and allies.
The Government has gone too far, wasted taxpayers’ money on unconsulted changes to AtW.
BUT worse of all, the way the Government allowed Access to Work to be sabotaged has robbed UK citizens.
FACT: many charities funded by donations have had to use funds to fight the DWP on our behalf in the past two years.
UK citizens have been ‘taxed TWICE’ – their giving towards organisations and charities concerning Deaf & Disabled people and young people have been swallowed up by the voluntary sector’s incredible work on our behalf.
Therefore, ministers and civil servants did not carry out their jobs transparently and efficiently – abusing our taxes in the process.
The last twelve months’ ‘remedy’ to resolve the carnage of Deaf and Disabled people’s support in the workplace cannot excuse the Government its action in the previous year’s ‘genocide’ of sustainable employment.
Thank you for supporting us Deaf & Disabled workers.
Share this great, proactive group: https://stopchanges2atw.com/
What an amazing show of solidarity at the weekend. Deaf, disabled people and interpreters protesting with anti-austerity groups, local campaigns and our Trade Unions. Stop Changes were proud to be marching alongside our friends at DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and NUBSLI (Natiojal Union of BSL Interpreters).
Here are some of our favourite pictures.
Following on from the success of Saturday’s march, we hope you will all be joining us on the 26th September.