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Friday, 29 August 2014
Man with Down's syndrome faces being deported from Britain after 17 years - because his parents died
A man with Down’s syndrome who has lived in Britain for 17 years faces being deported – because his parents died.
Wadih Chourey, 44, moved from Lebanon with his family in 1997 after suffering abuse by gangs in Beirut.
He now lives with one of his two brothers Camil, 42, in East Twickenham.
MP Vince Cable said the move by the Home Office to have him kicked out was “disgraceful”.
He said: 'This is a man who cannot cook for himself, who cannot operate a washing machine or use a computer.
“His welfare is completely dependent on his brothers, who clearly provide a loving and caring home for him yet Home Office lawyers suggest there is nothing compelling or exceptional about the case and assume that Mr Chourey could seamlessly reintegrate into Lebanese life as if he never left.”
Colin Marsh, chairman of the local residents’ association, said: “Wadih and Camil are very much part of our community and Camil and his brother Joseph are both respected and admired for their love and care of their brother Wadih.
The Home Office said: “He has appealed so it would be inappropriate to comment .”
Atos tests failed 75% of disabled people amid "outrageous" delays to assessments
Three out of four disabled people have endured “unacceptable” delays for vital payments because of hated fit-to-work firm Atos.
Official figures show just 25% of Employment Support Allowance assessment claims are being processed within the Government’s 13-week target.
More than 30,000 people dealt with between February 2012 and June 2013 had to wait more than a year for their claim to be completed. A further 35,700 waited between nine and 12 months.
Richard Hawkes, of disability charity Scope, said: “These figures are damning, but all too predictable. It’s unacceptable that people are facing long delays.”
Disabled people must undergo Atos fit-to-work assessments before they can claim ESA. While they wait, they survive on reduced benefits.
Just 125,500 of the 490,800 ESA claims in the period were dealt with inside the 13-week target.
Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “It is outrageous sick and disabled people must wait months for the support they need.
“David Cameron has to take responsibility for the shambles.”
Atos has faced furious protests over its draconian work assessments. And it emerged in June the company has a backlog of more than 700,000 cases.
The Government has said Atos will be replaced with a new contractor early next year “to speed up assessments”.
The Department for Work and Pensions said benefit payments are backdated when the claims are processed.
Double leg amputee is denied blue badge
A Scottish pensioner who has had part of both legs amputated has been refused a blue badge for disabled parking by his council.
Tom Hannah, 73, from Rosyth had two separate amputations last year due to a circulation problem caused by an irregular heart beat. But he's been refused the disabled parking badge because he can walk over a distance of 20 yards - but only with crutches and help.
A Fife Council officer has admitted that while it appeared to be 'common sense' that Mr Hannah should qualify for a badge, they had to stick to the letter of the law based on information they had received on his application form.
Mr Hannah said: 'If I don't get a blue badge I won't be able to go anywhere - because I won't be able to park near the shops. I was so angry when I was told that I would not be eligible for one because I can walk a short distance with my crutches.
'I had a blue badge and now it's time for renewal, questions are being asked about how far I can walk.'
Anne Cowan, Fife Council's lead professional for accessible transport and concessions, said: 'Common sense would suggest he is eligible for a blue badge but the way his mobility was described did not meet the national scheme criteria.
'We explained this to Mr Hannah over the phone and are continuing to discuss the situation with him.'
Thursday, 28 August 2014
Retailers 'must improve accessibility for disabled people'
Retailers are missing out on income from spending by disabled people owing to a lack of accessibility at stores, the government has said.
The latest figure from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) suggests that UK households with a disabled person have a combined income of £212bn after housing costs.
Disabled people said that finding accessible shopping was hardest.
This was followed by difficulties when going to the cinema and theatre.
Eating out at pubs and restaurants was the third toughest experience for accessibility.
'We want businesses up and down our High Streets to realise they're excluding more than 12 million customers and their families if they fail to cater for disabled people,' said Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper.
'That's the equivalent to the populations of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Cardiff and Manchester combined.
'It's not just about fairness, it makes good business sense to be accessible.'
He called on businesses to clear clutter inside and outside their premises, print paperwork such as menus using bigger font sizes, improve staff training and provide specific parking spots for disabled customers.
The campaign comes as a commission on the extra costs faced by disabled people starts its work.
The chairman of the commission, Robin Hindle Fisher, told the BBC News website earlier this month that businesses needed to be smarter and consumers with disabilities needed to be savvier by shopping around.
The charity, Scope, claims that the living costs premium facing disabled people amounts to £550 a month. This, it claims, is not covered by the typical total of £360 a month available to people through the main benefits to which they are entitled.
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Now UN sparks fury after launching human rights investigation into Britain's disability benefit reforms
The United Nations sparked fury today after launching an unprecedented inquiry into Britain’s treatment of disabled people.
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities launched a formal probe into whether this country has committed ‘grave or systemic violations’ of the rights of disabled people.
Tory MPs tonight branded the investigation ‘politically motivated’ and said Britain’s record on help for disabled people was among the best in the world.
The focus on Britain for the latest inquiry raised eyebrows given the other countries represented on the committee. Its members include Uganda, Kenya, Thailand, and Tunisia.
The investigation is the latest in a series of interventions into British domestic policy by the United Nations, which have provoked fury among ministers.
Earlier this year a group of UN poverty ‘ambassadors’ attacked Government welfare reforms, and last year the UN’s controversial Brazilian housing ‘rapporteur’ Raquel Rolnik, a former Marxist dubbed the ‘Brazil Nut’, criticised cuts to housing benefit.
Tory MP Michael Ellis said: ‘This politically motivated loony left decision brings the UN organisation in to disrepute.'
At a time when there are grave international crises around the world and when in dozens of countries around the world there are no benefits available, this absurd decision is made to attack our country which rightly does more than almost any other to protect the rights of disadvantaged people from all walks of life.’
Fellow Conservative Philip Davies said: ‘These people at the UN are idiots, frankly. There’s no other way to describe them.
‘This country has led the way in the support and rights that we give to disabled people – such as through the Disability Discrimination Act which was passed by a Conservative government in 1995.
‘If the UN drew up a list of countries in the world showing how much they gave to disabled people they would find the UK was the highest in the world.
‘They are exposing the UN for the completely useless organisation that it is.’
The investigation is officially confidential, but a former member of the committee confirmed its existence in a video posted on the internet.
Professor Gabor Gombos told a conference in Galway, Ireland: ‘Where the issue has been raised and the government did not really make effective actions to fix the situation…it is a very high threshold thing, the violations should be grave and very systemic.’
The existence of the inquiry, which was reported by Disability News Service. The committee did not respond to requests by the Mail for comment, but Jorge Araya, the committee’s secretary, told DNS: ‘Inquiry proceedings…of the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, are confidential.’
Miss Rolnik sparked a furious reaction from Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith after she criticised the so-called ‘Bedroom Tax’.
She also signed a letter from a group of poverty ‘ambassadors’ criticising other welfare reforms designed to cut Britain’s huge benefits bill and encourage unemployed people back in to work.
Another UN inspector, South African feminist academic Rashida Manjoo, was crticised after she claimed Britain had a culture of sexism worse than any other country in the world.
The Department for Work and Pensions also refused to comment on the inquiry, but pointed out the UK spends around £50billion a year on disabled people.
A spokesman said: ‘All United Nations inquiry processes are confidential.
'This Government is committed to supporting disabled people and we continue to spend around £50bn a year on disabled people and their services.’
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