first_imgThe occupational health expert chosen by the government to review its much-criticised “fitness for work” test appears to have suggested that the assessment should be scrapped and replaced with a radically different process.Dr Paul Litchfield, who led the fourth and fifth reviews of the work capability assessment (WCA), said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had been “forced into rushing the design of the WCA”, before it was introduced by the New Labour government in 2008.Litchfield, BT’s chief medical officer, was giving evidence to the Commons work and pensions committee for its inquiry into the assessment processes for personal independence payment and employment and support allowance (ESA).He was speaking just days after new figures, published by Disability News Service, showed that the proportion of people claiming out-of-work disability benefits who had attempted suicide at some point in their lives doubled between 2007 – the year before the WCA was introduced – and 2014.Litchfield (pictured, giving evidence), who was not asked about the figures by the committee, said there had been attempts to improve the WCA, but he warned: “There have been efforts to adjust it and improve it over time, but when it starts from a position which is designed as imperfect, you’re lucky if it gets more perfect, it is just as likely to get more imperfect as you adapt it.”Litchfield told the committee: “The philosophical basis of what we do as a society does need to be revisited.”He claimed that “the thinking that went into creating the current assessment” dated back at least to the early 1980s in the United States, and the WCA was simply an “evolution” of the previous assessment, the personal capability assessment.He said the WCA was designed “very quickly to meet the legislative timescales… so it wasn’t a radical redesign of a system, it was an adaptation of what was there already”.Litchfield said that the nature of work had “changed dramatically over that period” and it was now necessary to “think about as a society… how we want to distribute benefits to those who can’t work for whatever reason, and whether we want something which is specifically based on their health condition and their disability.“If we do want that we need to think about how we would design that in the context of the modern workplace and the shifting demographics and the shifting disease profile that we are seeing in the population, so I think there does need to be that fundamental thinking that goes on but that inevitably is a 10, 15-year process and you can’t rush it.”Despite those comments, disabled campaigners who have been calling for years for the WCA to be scrapped and replaced – because of its links to relapses, anxiety and distress among those with long-term health conditions, and the loss of many lives – are likely to be bemused by other remarks made by Litchfield to the committee.He suggested that much of the reason for the failure of the WCA was that it was based on a “medical model” understanding of disability, which he said was now “largely discredited”.He said that many experts were now more in favour of a “biopsychosocial model” approach.But campaigners and researchers have previously pointed out that the biopsychosocial (BPS) model crucially underpins ESA and the WCA and also played a significant role in the tightening of eligibility criteria for ESA and other disability benefits by the coalition and Tory governments.Research published last year by Professor Tom Shakespeare and Professor Nicholas Watson, and fellow academic Ola Abu Alghaib, argued that the BPS model was riddled with inconsistencies, misleading statements and “unevidenced” claims.The BPS model was developed by Dr Gordon Waddell, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, who was DWP’s chief medical officer from 1995 to 2005.Key to the BPS model, the three authors said last year, is the idea that “it is the negative attitudes of many ESA recipients that prevent them from working, rather than their impairment or health condition”, essentially branding many benefit claimants “scroungers”.This allows supporters of BPS – including a string of New Labour and Tory government ministers – to draw a distinction “between ‘real’ incapacity benefit claimants, with long-term and incurable health conditions, and ‘fake’ benefit claimants, with short-term illness”, with the model responsible for a “barely concealed” element of “victim-blaming”, they said.last_img read more

first_imgDisabled activists are hoping their latest protest in the heart of Westminster will empower other disabled people to follow their lead and fight the government’s social security cuts and reforms.The action by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), which involved scores of disabled protesters, focused on calls for the government to scrap its new universal credit working-age benefit system, which is being rolled out across the country.DPAC believes universal credit has “too many flaws to be simply paused and fixed” – the solution proposed by the Labour party – and is “rotten to the core”, with foodbank use and rates of claimants being sanctioned “soaring” in areas where it has been introduced.The action saw one group of activists occupy parliament’s central lobby and attempt to interrupt prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons.After their path to the Commons chamber was blocked by five police officers, they repeatedly chanted “stop and scrap universal credit” and “benefits not bombs” as prime minister’s questions was taking place.They later joined a larger group of activists opposite the Houses of Parliament, before marching to a traffic crossing in front of the House of Commons, where they blocked the road for more than half an hour.One protester was dressed as a crime scene investigator (pictured), beside a banner which said: “#StopandScrap. Universal Credit is a Crime.”The outline of a “murder victim” placed on the road had earlier been laid on the floor of parliament’s central lobby.Andy Greene, a member of DPAC’s national steering group, said at the start of the protest that he hoped other disabled people and the public would pay attention to the action.He said: “This is about continuing to show that disabled people will not be passive recipients of these changes.“We will continue to resist them at every opportunity and represent the interests of people who cannot be here but would want to say something if they were.”But he added: “It is not enough to hear, you also have to respond, whether that is speaking to your local councillor, writing a letter to the media, calling up talk shows, taking direct action or joining a local group; whatever it is, we want people to respond.”Greene said councils were not being given the resources to cope with the results of austerity, while the voluntary sector “has had its teeth pulled in terms of capturing what is going on and being able to respond to that.“We are seeing that it is only through activism that we have been able to see any consistent, empowering response, which is why we are here today.”He said the introduction of universal credit had the potential to be the most harmful of all the government’s social security cuts and reforms, putting not only people’s income at risk but also “the roof over their head”.Disabled people are “right at the centre of that”, he said.He added: “We spoke five years ago about people’s worlds shrinking. We are now talking about people’s worlds collapsing.”At the end of the protest, Greene said he believed that years of high-profile protests by DPAC – which was formed in 2010 – had encouraged many other disabled people to take part in local and national demonstrations.He said: “That’s how I judge our success. People see themselves reflected in these demos. There is no myth, no secret. We turn up and we take part. That’s it.”Labour MP Laura Pidcock* supported the protesters as they blocked traffic outside the House of Commons, and said the action was “absolutely necessary”.She said: “Sometimes when people won’t listen, what else are people supposed to do?“I am very supportive of any demonstration when people feel a government will not listen.”She said the rollout of universal credit had begun in her North West Durham constituency in December and there had already been threats of eviction.Although she did not say she wanted to scrap universal credit, she said her party needed to “have a conversation” about how it was working.She said that people who were experiencing universal credit themselves knew the government’s claims that it would be a simpler system and would provide a faster route into work were “not true”.She said: “There has to be an overall assessment of, ‘is this the best that Britain has to offer in terms of social security?’”Marion Nisbet, of Glasgow DPAC, had travelled by train from Scotland to take part in the protest in London.She said she has been “part of the fightback” since she was asked in a work capability assessment (WCA) in 2011 why she had not killed herself, when discussing her suicidal feelings with an assessor working for the government’s contractor Atos.She said: “I walked out thinking that that was what I was going to do. I felt totally humiliated and worthless.”She said the WCA process – which is part of the universal credit system – was “nothing to do with empowering people back into employability” but was “state-sanctioned cruelty”.She said: “As an unemployed disabled worker, there is nowhere I would rather be than at my work, but we have an Equality Act that is not worth the paper it is printed on when it comes to the employability of disabled people.”She added: “I am sick and tired of watching sick and disabled people paying for the fact that the bankers ran away with the money.“This has been an ideological, financial attack on disabled people, labelling them scroungers and skivers so everybody is convinced we are all at it and [that attack] needs to happen.”Another disabled campaigner, Kay Nosae, said she had attended the demonstration because she wanted “to be doing something, to feel I have some power”, and to try to affect some of the many people walking past the protest in Westminster.She said: “It is also partly all the history of disability protest. I want to feel I am carrying on the tradition of trying to do something, not just being passive and letting other people fight for us.”Another reason she attended was because of her concerns about the removal of disability premiums in the move to universal credit.She said: “The government said that no disabled person would lose out but obviously they have.”She said she had spent days in bed before the protest and would probably spend days in bed recovering afterwards.She added: “I cannot plan for my future because I don’t know how the benefits system is going to change.”Gabriel Pepper, who took part in the lobby action, said universal credit was “a juggernaut”.He said he believed the government did not care about the impact of universal credit, and was intent on rolling it out and its harsh conditionality while closing scores of jobcentres.He said: “That combination is toxic. What do they think will happen?”Other protests as part of DPAC’s day of action against universal credit took place across the country, including actions in Manchester, York, Sheffield, Norwich and Brighton, with others planned in Truro, Birmingham, Leicester, Edinburgh and Cardigan, Wales.Among DPAC’s many concerns with universal credit are the “harsh” conditions imposed on claimants, without reasonable adjustments for disabled people; mandatory health and work conversations for disabled people; an online application process that is inaccessible to many disabled people; and the scrapping of severe and enhanced disability premiums, which are currently added to some means-tested disability benefits to help with the costs of disability.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been insisting since 2012 that “transitional protection” would ensure that no-one moving onto universal credit would see their benefits cut in cash terms.But campaigners have remained sceptical, while also pointing out that the transitional protections will not apply if there are changes in the disabled person’s personal circumstances – for example if they move to a new home, or their relationship status changes – and will not apply to new claimants.Despite repeated requests from Disability News Service to clarify exactly how disabled people will be affected by the removal of the premiums under UC, DWP has so far been unable to do so.in less than two weeks, the high court is due to hear a judicial review of the financial impact of the introduction of universal credit on a terminally-ill man who has lost £178 per month in disability premiums after he moved back to London to receive treatment and had to claim UC for the first time.*Pidcock said she had accompanied members of DPAC to a “very frustrating” meeting on Tuesday with Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, about concerns about disability benefit assessments.She said Newton had been “very, very dismissive” and although the minister was considering some recommendations made by this year’s report by the Commons work and pensions committee into the assessment processes, had refused to remove the PIP assessment contracts from Atos and Capita.She said: “I know they have a certain vision of the welfare state but I thought if I could meet with them on a human level and explain how difficult it is for people… but it didn’t make a difference.”last_img read more

first_imgEmail Address Tags: crime • SFPD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter 0%center_img Video of the incident, shared with Mission Local, reveals about 10 officers — some armed with semi-automatic rifles — taking people out of the building, handcuffing them and making them sit on the sidewalk.“We were shocked by the number of people came out of that building,” said Dennes Hernandez, who owns and lives in the building two doors down from the alleged gambling den. He said the building’s residents — he guessed four total — would often dump their trash in other people’s bins. He said he suspected something had been going on there, but did not know exactly what. Hernandez, however, was not happy with how police treated the surrounding businesses, namely the grocery store on the ground floor of his building. It was there that police lined up the suspects in handcuffs and questioned them for nearly five hours, he said, which deterred business and created a negative perception of the store, Rincon Latino. He said the cops were not receptive to those concerns, even though he had cooperated with them.“We were doing everything to make sure it was a successful operation,” he said. “But what can we do to make sure the people who are responsible for this (the police) are held accountable?” Gambling dens in the Mission and the Excelsior have proliferated in recent years and have often eluded local law enforcement. As Mission Local reported, police raided a den in the Excelsior last October, which resulted in four arrests. In March, City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued the alleged owners of the den, asking for a court order to close the den for a year, in addition to penalties of $25,000 per defendant. “This gambling den is like a weed,” Herrera said after he filed the lawsuit. Illegal gambling dens are, indeed, difficult to bust. It took two raids to take down the Jhec of all Trades gambling den — despite the fact that police discovered cash and large amounts of suspected meth inside the building during the initial raid. A den at 2949 Mission St. — once a soda and candy shop called the Fizzary — was regularly a site of prostitution, back-alley fights and shootings. And it, too, was difficult to shut down.This site near Geneva is no exception. According to Rueca, the mere possession of the machines is no serious crime. And police aren’t always this lucky: Usually, to get into a suspected den, police need to constantly surveil a suspected spot before establishing probable cause to enter. Rueca said that often, officers will find narcotics, illegal structures, and unpermitted alcohol sales at gambling dens. But police did not find any of those things this time — hence the lack of arrests. “Rarely do we find it’s just gambling,” he said.   This time, however, it appears it was just gambling. A swarm of police officers stumbled onto an alleged illegal gambling den in the Excelsior on Sunday morning while responding to a call of a “fight involving a gun,” according to police. Police found no fights nor guns when they arrived at 5088 Mission St., near Geneva, at about 7:15 a.m., but they did discover four gambling machines, according to police spokesman Officer Robert Rueca. The accidental raid resulted in 19 people being handcuffed and questioned, and one man being cited for possession and operation of the machines. None of them were booked. last_img read more

first_imgBLACKBROOK will take on York City Knights at Langtree Park this Sunday in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.It’s a Round Three clash that will be a massive match for one of the town’s greatest amateur clubs.So if you aren’t heading over to Hull KR to watch the Saints and need your Rugby League fix then get behind the ‘Rook’The side will feature a number of former Saints Academy players taking to the Langtree Park turf and will be a great occasion for the players and the club.Thatto Heath are also in the Third Round away at Featherstone.Everyone at Saints would like to wish both clubs all the best for the weekend – and who knows, we could be taking on either in the Fourth Round!Blackbrook v York City Knights kicks off at 3pm on Sunday April 7 and prices on the turnstiles are £10 for adults which includes up to three kids free.Concessions are £6 (over 65s and students with I.D).Blackbrook’s Mark Lee and Andy Bailey will be on BBC Radio Merseyside’s Try Time from 6pm-7pm this Thursday.last_img read more

first_imgThe club has already sold more than half its ticket allocation for the match.It will be our fourth trip to Castleford this season – after winning the most recent game between the two sides 26-12 at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle.The game will kick off at 7:45pm on Thursday September 28 with your Saints just 80 minutes away from a return to Old Trafford.Ticket DetailsTickets are now on General Sale.They are priced at £20 for adults and £12 concessions (16s and under, over 60s and full time students).Members can reserve their coach ticket for £12 with non-Members priced at £13.They leave the stadium at 4:30pm.You can buy your tickets at the Ticket Office, online at www.saintssuperstore.com and via 01744 455 052.Spectators who want seated tickets are advised to contact the Ticket Office at Castleford on 01977 552 674.Please note there are no junior swaps for this game.last_img read more

first_img Authorities identified the other victim as 23-year-old Colin Cernik. It’s not known if they knew each other, but media outlets reported the two men both were assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville BURGAW, N.C. (AP) — The N.C. Highway Patrol has identified two Camp Lejeune Marines who were killed when their motorcycles collided last weekend in Pender County.Troopers told local media outlets that 23-year-old Brent Phelps was on a motorcycle they say was speeding and crossed the center line on a Pender County road and hit another motorcyclist head-on.- Advertisement – last_img read more

first_img If you know any information, you are asked to call WPD at 910-343-3600 or use Text A Tip. Man wanted in Wilmington jewelry theft (Photo: WPD) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Do you recognize this man? He is wanted in connection with the theft of more than $20,000 in jewelry.Police say it happened on March 7 at 6:20 p.m. at the Comfort Inn on South College Road.- Advertisement – last_img

first_imgThe portion of River Road has been closed in November. (Photo: WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Work to replace a bridge on New Hanover County’s River Road was supposed to wrap up this weekend but the reopening has been pushed back by about two weeks.NCDOT says the road was supposed to open Saturday, but now estimate it will open May 31.- Advertisement – DOT says they had to push back the date because weather delayed construction.The road closed in November.DOT says the new bridge over lord’s creek will have updated drainage structures to prevent ponding on the roadway, as well as washouts.last_img read more

first_img EMS transported the driver to NHRMC. Duke Energy responded just after 8:00 P.M. with crews.@WilmingtonPD telling me power could be out in the next few hours in the area of Sunset Park. @WWAY @opgridlock @kyliejoneswway pic.twitter.com/GCdgXFi6uC— Andrew James (@AndrewJamesWWAY) August 13, 2018Power is expected to be out for a few hours. Vehicle crashes into pole along Carolina Beach Road before Burnett Blvd. intersection WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – The southbound lane of Carolina Beach Rd was closed following a single vehicle crash Sunday evening.Wilmington police say a driver struck a power pole around 7:40 P.M., causing it to snap in half.- Advertisement – last_img read more

first_imgGet full election results here. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Democrat Harper Peterson has unseated Republican Michael Lee by fewer than 40 votes, based on unofficial results.Incumbent Michael Lee was looking to win a third full term in the 9th District Senate seat, but his battle with former Wilmington mayor Peterson was at times ugly.- Advertisement – The biggest issue in the campaign was GenX and water quality.It was a tight race, but Peterson edged out Lee by only 38 votes. Libertarian Ethan Bickley took 3 percent of the votes.Sen. Michael Lee released this statement Wednesday:Related Article: NCGOP leader praises media for work on Bladen County election story“Heidi and I would like to thank so many people for the outpouring of support and hard work on my behalf in this important race for our community and the place we call home.  A campaign like this requires the diligence and fortitude of many and we have been lucky to have you by our side. Thank you and please know we truly appreciate your support. We will know the outcome of this race in the coming weeks when all votes are tallied and certified in the canvass process.”center_img The vote totals are unofficial until they are canvassed later this month.last_img read more