Inclusion Scotland

Working towards a society where disabled people are equal citizens

Latest News - Browse Articles

Latest News

You can view the latest news in three ways, this page shows 5 full articles at a time. Alternatively you can browse through 10 abbreviated articles at a time with a link to view the full article you are interested in here. Finally you can search our archive here.

Disabled people 'face online barrier to services'


Moving public services online is creating a barrier for many disabled people in Wales, campaigners claim.


Disability Wales is concerned that an estimated 40% of disabled people do not have access to the internet, compared to just 12% of non-disabled people.


An 18-month project to boost 'digital inclusion' will be the focus of a seminar in Wrexham.


Rhian Davies, chief executive of Disability Wales, said disabled people needed targeted help to get online.


She said several factors were likely to stop disabled people getting access to digital services, they included:


Affordability, with many disabled people relying on benefits


Lack of skills, education, or training opportunities


Individual impairment, with many people needing assistive technology such as speech recognition software


Ms Davies said the 500 people helped through workshops in the Digital Lives project were just the 'tip of the iceberg' of half a million people in Wales with a disability.


She added: 'Being a supportive environment has been quite helpful - it's quite daunting for disabled people to go to a library by themselves to learn how to use the internet.'


Margaret Barnard, 70, from Coelbren, Powys, already knew how to use computers from her time as a teacher before she became disabled due to a lung condition.


'I can't walk very far, so the computer is just marvellous for shopping,' said Mrs Barnard.


She has helped other members of the Breathe Easy Neath Valley support group access the internet.


'I've gone to people's houses, shown them how to use email, do a search, write and print a letter,' said Mrs Barnard.


Communities Minister Lesley Griffiths, who has recorded a video message for the event at Glyndwr University on Wednesday, said: 'Arguably, disabled people have most to gain from digital technologies.


'It can help reduce isolation and enable independent living by giving disabled people the same choice and control over their lives as everyone else.


'Communities 2.0, our digital inclusion programme, has helped support almost 50,000 people so far.


'I want to encourage partners to continue to work together to help more disabled people get online.'


BBC News

Minister must resign over comments, says Inclusion Scotland


A disability charity has joined the chorus demanding that a senior government minister resigns over a comment he made suggesting people with disabilities should be paid less than the minimum wage.


Inclusion Scotland accused Lord Freud of “striking fear” into the hearts of disabled people.


The group said there would be few tears shed if he were to fall on his sword.


Labour has called on the Conservative peer to resign after he said some workers were 'not worth the full wage'.


Lord Freud's comments came during a fringe meeting at the Conservative conference last month when he was asked whether it was preferable for someone with a disability, who could not get a job, to be paid less than the minimum wage – and to have their income topped up with benefits – in order to give them the experience of work and boost their self esteem.


He said: 'There is a group, and I know exactly who you mean, where actually as you say they're not worth the full wage and actually I'm going to go and think about that particular issue, whether there is something we can do nationally, and without distorting the whole thing, which actually if someone wants to work for £2 an hour, and it's working can we actually…'


Prime Minister David Cameron distanced himself from the comments, saying they 'were not the views of anyone in government'.


Lord Freud said he was 'profoundly sorry' and supported the minimum wage.


However, his apology was not enough for Inclusion Scotland.


The group’s head of policy Bill Scott said: “This was no back-bencher with little influence talking. This was Lord Freud, the minister given control over welfare reforms affecting disabled people. What he said is going to strike fear into the hearts of all disabled people of working age – both those in work and those seeking employment – because what Lord Freud thinks today tends to become Government policy tomorrow.


“It is not enough for the Prime Minister to claim that these “were not the views of anyone in government”. Quite obviously Lord Freud does hold these views and is in Government. Therefore until Lord Freud leaves his post then the Prime Minister is guilty of misleading Parliament.


“We doubt that many disabled people or victims of the bedroom tax will be shedding any tears if he was to go.”


Third Force News

Experts unite to tackle city reliance on food handouts


As part of Challenge Poverty week, the Poverty Alliance and a host of other city organisations will come together at the Nourish conference to discuss the city's food insecurity.


Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, blamed low wages and sanctions for pushing more people below the breadline, while the Trussell Trust have predicted the increasing reliance is not likely to change soon.


Ewan Gurr, Scotland network manager for the Trussell Trust, said: 'Since April 2014, we have provided a three day supply of emergency food to 7692 men, women and children across our food banks in Glasgow.


'Between April and October last year the number was only 3102.


'Although we must take into consideration one of the food banks now operating was not at this point last year this still indicates a concerning upward trajectory which has no likelihood of changing in the coming weeks and months.'


Nourish, an organisation aimed at reshaping the way food works in Scotland, claims only 27% of residents in Glasgow have -access to a garden and in some areas there is nine-year waiting list for allotments.


To tackle the problem, Glasgow City Council is planning to create a sustainable food city by setting up a food policy council to help improve access to food for the poorest families.


The plans also aim to help reduce the environmental impacts of food -production, by supporting local methods of generating food.


Pete Ritchie, director of Nourish Scotland, said: 'We can start here and now by making sure we feed people well in Scotland without destroying the planet or harming people on the -other side of the world.'


Meanwhile, a city -food bank has seen a surge in -offers of help in the wake of the referendum.


The organisers of the city's North West Food bank, run by the Trussell Trust charity, say they have had more than 30 volunteer requests since the vote took place on September 18.


Co-ordinator Kyle McCormick, who runs the food bank alongside his partner Gill, said they had also received more food donations than usual in the past three weeks.


He put the rise in offers of help down to a renewed interest in campaigning following the political event that gripped the country and the rest of the world.


Kyle, who is backing the Evening Times Food for Thought campaign, said: 'Nothing has changed since the referendum -happened - people are still living in poverty and struggling to eat.


'But we really have not-iced how much people want to get involved now.'


Evening Times

Scotland's poverty shame laid bare as map reveals number of children living below breadline


The scandal of children living in poverty in Scotland is today laid bare by a map pinpointing the country’s most deprived areas.


More than 229,000 youngsters are now living in hardship as their parents struggle to cope with the soaring costs of living.


Academics discovered that one in five children lives below the breadline and more than one in three of them lives in Glasgow.


The figures compiled for the Campaign to End Child Poverty were branded “a disgrace” by action groups and politicians.


Families with children living on less than £204 a week after housing costs are classed as being in poverty.


The figures, compiled by Loughborough University, are based on official benefit and HMRC tax credit data and have been adjusted to reflect unemployment rates and the risks of child poverty for families both in and out of work.


The Campaign to End Child Poverty are made up of more than 150 organisations who are urging the UK Government to do more to tackle the issue.


The action group say the amount of children in poverty rose by three per cent last year.


They estimate another 100,000 children in Scotland could be plunged into poverty by 2020 if the UK Government do not rethink tax and benefit policies.


Spokesman Neil Mathers said: “These figures reveal just how widely and deeply child poverty reaches into our communities.


“It’s important we look behind these figures at what is driving this level of poverty in our country.


“Politicians of all parties, at Westminster and Holyrood, need to act to tackle the causes of poverty.


“We can and must do better for our children.”


The SNP’s Jamie Hepburn said the figures would only get worse without significant policy changes.


The MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth said: “That one in five children live in poverty in a wealthy country like Scotland is quite simply a disgrace.


“We’re one of the richest countries on Earth and yet thousands of children grow up in poverty.


“This is an unacceptable and unsustainable state of affairs that is only worsening as Westminster’s austerity agenda continues to hit.”


Daily Record

Welfare minister apologises for disability pay comments


Welfare minister Lord Freud has apologised for 'foolish and offensive' remarks in which he suggested disabled people could be paid less than the minimum wage.


Labour has called on the Conservative peer to resign after he said some workers were 'not worth the full wage'.


David Cameron distanced himself from the comments, saying they 'were not the views of anyone in government'.


Lord Freud said he was 'profoundly sorry' and supported the minimum wage.


The row dominated the first Prime Minister's Questions after the conference recess, with Ed Miliband saying the comments demonstrated the Conservatives' 'worst instincts'.


In response, the prime minister said he 'did not need lectures from anybody about looking after disabled people' and urged the Labour leader not 'to cast aspersions'.


Lord Freud's comments came during a fringe meeting at the Conservative conference last month when he was asked whether it was preferable for someone with a disability, who could not get a job, to be paid less than the minimum wage - and to have their income topped up with benefits - in order to give them the experience of work and boost their self esteem.


In response to the question, from Conservative councillor David Scott, he reportedly said there 'was no system for going below the minimum wage'.


But he added: 'Now, there is a small… there is a group, and I know exactly who you mean, where actually as you say they're not worth the full wage and actually I'm going to go and think about that particular issue, whether there is something we can do nationally, and without distorting the whole thing, which actually if someone wants to work for £2 an hour, and it's working can we actually…'Labour circulated a transcript of remarks and a partial recording, just before PM's questions began.


Raising the issue in Parliament, Mr Miliband said: 'These are not the words of someone who ought to be in charge of policy relating to the welfare of disabled people.


'Surely someone holding those views can't possibly stay in his government?'


But Mr Cameron said these were not the views of the government.


'We pay the minimum wage, we are reforming disability benefits, we want to help disabled people in our country and we want to help more of them into work. And instead of casting aspersions, why does he not get back to talking about the economy.'


In a statement Lord Freud, a former banker who has been a minister in the Department for Work and Pensions since 2010, offered a 'full and unreserved apology'.


'I was foolish to accept the premise of the question,' he said.


'To be clear, all disabled people should be paid at least the minimum wage, without exception, and I accept that it is offensive to suggest anything else.'


Lord Freud said he 'cared passionately' about disabled people and was proud 'to have played a full part in a government that is fully committed to helping disabled people overcome the many barriers they face in finding employment'.


No 10 said Lord Freud had done the 'right thing' in apologising while disability affairs minister Mark Harper said his colleague had 'made a mistake in the language he used' but backed him to 'carry on with his work'.


But Labour said the apology was 'not the end of the matter' while the Liberal Democrats said the remarks were 'completely unacceptable'.


The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson said it was important to understand the context of the conversation and that Lord Freud was not arguing for a new policy of routinely paying people less than the minimum wage.


He said one interpretation of Lord Freud's comments was that he was 'thinking aloud' but suggestions that the minimum wage could be undercut would seem 'heartless' and come back to 'haunt him'.


A former adviser to the last Labour government, Lord Freud has been closely involved in the coalition's implementation of major benefits changes, such as the replacement of the disability living allowance with the personal independence payment and the rollout of Universal Credit, a consolidated single payment designed to encourage work.


Among disability campaigners to criticise Lord Freud, Mencap, which supports those with learning disabilities, said he 'seems to be saying that the work that disabled people do has less value than the rest of the population'.


Susan Scott-Parker, chief executive of the Business Disability Forum, said the comments revealed a 'deep-rooted, negative view'.


She added: 'His mistake was in not realising that the question should not have been answered in the first place.'


But Mr Scott, a councillor in Kent, defended Lord Freud's response, saying there were examples where the minimum wage 'precludes a small number of physically or mentally disabled from working'.


The minister, he suggested, did not intend to 'undermine' the minimum wage but to endorse a system for getting certain people into work which would 'help their own well-being'.


BBC News

                     Records 1 to 5 of 3473          Next         Last