Labour Party Disabled Members Group Amendments

Disability Your Britain

These are the amendments submitted by the Labour Party Disabled Members Group to the Labour Party policy process

Work and Business:

Page 7 line 45 add at end:

“Disability harassment is a particular problem for disabled people at work, and we will legislate to outlaw bullying and harassment in the workplace, introduce a Dignity at Work Act, and reinstate the third party harassment aspects of the Equality Act 2010 to protect people who are harassed by members of the public while at work.”

“Labour will introduce:

  • A statutory right to disability leave to challenge abuse of sickness absence to get rid of disabled workers; extension of the employment provisions of the Equality Act 2010 to protect volunteers to assist disabled people gain experience;
  • restoration of the third party harassment and multiple identity provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and the power of tribunals to make recommendations in order to require employers to change their policies;
  • a review of the operation of the Equality Act 2010 with a view to strengthening it to prevent employer avoidance; a strengthened public sector equality duty and its extension to cover all employers;
  • enshrine the status and rights of workplace equalities representatives in law;
  • a further significant increase in funding for Access to Work and far greater publicity of its availability, to be combined with a programme of promotion to employers and broadening the criteria of what it can fund.

Programmes for disabled people are working to a one-size-fits-all approach to disability. A flexible approach is needed individually tailored to the needs of the disabled person.”

Page 11 delete lines 34-37, insert:

The majority of disabled people who are able to work want to do so. There are a number of disabled people whose impairments militate against them carrying out paid employment. This must be recognised. A new test is needed to replace the Work Capability Assessment. This should be based on the social model of disability. It needs to ensure that only suitably qualified persons carry out the assessments. It needs to be able to reflect fluctuating conditions, especially but not only mental health, and other “invisible” impairments. It must also respect evidence from GPs, consultants and other healthcare professionals. The replacement for the work capability assessment should be designed in collaboration with representatives of disabled people’s organisations, and disabled people.

Page 11 line 6 add at end:

Labour will ensure there is a non means tested benefit to meet the additional costs faced by disabled people, and place them on a level playing field with non-disabled people but pending the design of the new benefit Labour will immediately revert to the 50-metre distance test in respect of the higher rate mobility component of PIP. In designing the new benefit Labour will replace DLA/PIP with a Disability Costs Allowance and will consider introducing a third element to assist people to meet the general costs of disability.  Disabled people and organisations representing disabled people will have a role in the process of assessment for the benefit and in evaluating the assessment process. There should be a disabled person on each tribunal considering appeals where award of the benefit has been refused. Atos should not be given any right to carry out the assessment, and should be removed from the existing contract to carry out assessments for the personal independence payment without compensation. The assessment must be accessible, fair and transparent, carried out by NHS workers, must use evidence obtained from GPs, consultants and other healthcare professionals, use existing assessment data held for people’s entitlement to disability living allowance where held, entitle a recipient of DLA automatically to PIP and be carried out once to result in a lifetime award unless the impact of a condition worsens. There should be no cap on the budget for the benefit, so that all disabled people who meet the criteria receive the benefit. Savings from introducing a universal set of assessment criteria to standardise and eliminate continuous and often conflicting assessments and from carrying out once-in-a-lifetime assessments must be reinvested in personal independence payment or in a replacement for PIP.  Designing a replacement for DLA/PIP is one way of reducing the poverty faced by disabled people who have faced a disproportionate share of the cuts from the Tory Government.  We therefore welcome the report of the Disability and Poverty Taskforce produced in April 2014 and an incoming Labour Government will work with disabled people and their organisations to examine how its recommendations can be taken forward.”

Better Politics

Page 8 line 22 add at end

Add at the end: “as well as promoting positive attitudes on equality issues amongst people of all ages.  During the lifetime of a Labour Government elected in 2015 we will carry out a review of the effectiveness of the Equality Act 2010 and pass legislation to implement the results of the review and make any necessary improvements to the Equality Act 2010 before the 2020 General Election.”

Page 9 line 40 insert at end:

“We will ensure that Levenson’s Recommendations 11 and 38 are fully implemented to ensure that false or inaccurate portrayal of disabled people in the media is challengeable and prevented. We will also introduce a new criminal offence of incitement to disability hatred and implement the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Report ‘Out in the Open.”
“Many British people use British Sign Language as a first language and recognition is a key issue for inclusion and equality for deaf people. Achieving legal status for British Sign Language as a minority language in the UK is essential to achieving this, as is the right of deaf children to be educated in a bilingual and bicultural environment, ensuring access for deaf people to information and services via video relay services, promoting learning and high quality of British Sign language in all schools, and ensuring staff working with deaf people can communicate effectively in BSL. The Labour party will consult with the deaf community on a regular basis.”

“Disabled people are forced to undergo an array of tests and assessments to determine qualification for benefits, services and credits. Labour will introduce a universal set of criteria to standardise and eliminate continuous and often conflicting assessments. Such a scheme will include qualification for ESA, PIP, Access to Work, tax credits, council care and support packages, Blue Badges, Freedom Passes, Taxi cards etc. There should be a once-only test leading to a lifetime award unless the impact of a condition worsens.”

“Labour would fully apply rights to which disabled people are entitled under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which to date have been applied partially and which have been undermined by benefit cuts.  The first formal review of the UK’s compliance by the UN is due to be completed in spring 2015 and a Labour Government would take on board the recommendations of the review.”

Education and Children

(also supported by the Socialist Educational Association)

Page 11, line 3 after the sentence ending “Children and Families Bill.” insert:

“Under a Labour Government there would be a strong presumption in favor of inclusion in mainstream education for disabled children with special educational needs with the necessary support and safeguards. The previous Labour Government committed under Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to “continuing to develop an inclusive education system” and Labour will therefore repeal Section 39 of the Children and Families Act 2014 which allows children to be placed in a special academy or special free school without an education, health and care plan and a national minimum standard would be set for the “local offer” introduced by the Act.   To make this a reality disabled learners would receive the necessary individualised support by reinstating individual education plans removed by the latest revised draft of the SEN Code of Practice and maintaining well trained and qualified headteachers, teachers and teaching assistants. SENCOS would hold an appropriate SENCO qualification and be members of the school’s senior management team. Reasonable adjustments would be made to all mainstream course curricula, examinations (including the reinstatement of continuous assessment) and assessments to make them accessible for disabled learners.  There would also be a requirement for all new, upgraded and rebuilt education establishments to be fully accessible for disabled people and Labour would look to find ways of improving disabled access to existing school buildings. Disabled headteachers, teachers and teaching assistants are positive role models in schools and would be supported in qualifying for, entering and staying in the profession.  All education professionals and staff would receive disability equality training as part of initial training and continues professional development. Equality training would become a compulsory part of the national curriculum and cover all “protected characteristics” under the Equality Act 2010 and there would be compulsory reports on discriminatory bullying incidents also covering “all protected characteristics” to school governing bodies.”

Health and Care

Social Care: Page 8  line 18 In Section entitled – The future of social care.

After second paragraph add:-

“Labour believes that it is time to accept that social care should be placed on the same basis as health care; cover for all, contributed to by all and free at the point of need. The case for all care being free is the same as the original case for free health care.   Labour will work towards delivering on the aspiration of free care, building on the Care Bill provisions, which extend social free care to some.

Policies which take away the independence of the disabled and cause deteriorating health as a consequence are costly and cruel.  An incoming Labour Government will not implement the current Government’s proposals to end the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in June 2015 and will instead initiate a full review of disabled people’s independent living. As part of that review Labour will look to use National and local government purchasing power to drive down prices of disability related equipment and services, including insurance. Labour will also look at ways of reducing the cost of social care for disabled people and their local authorities without reducing the quality of services delivered.”

Living Standards and Sustainability

Transport (also supported by SERA) Page 6. Line 40:

Many disabled people are dependent on public transport to meet their mobility needs. The privatisation of most public transport, coupled with the local authority cuts, leading to reduced subsidies to public transport services, has worsened an already unacceptable situation for disabled people. Provision of services is now, frequently, both wholly inadequate and prohibitively expensive. Labour will move towards public ownership of the public transport system, its expansion, full integration and rational planning.

Labour was disappointed in the failure of the Government to accept the recommendations from the Transport Select Committee on making public transport accessible for disabled people.  Labour will work in partnership with disabled people’s organisations, including “the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee”, which Labour is proud to have saved from Government proposals to shut it down, to make public transport more accessible for disabled people.  Priorities will include making sure that pedestrian environment is accessible to disabled people, a phased introduction of a requirement for all buses to have audio and visual announcements and finding innovative ways of increasing the pace at which national rail stations are made accessible. It is shameful that the Government cut the Access for All Fund designed to improve disabled access to railway stations by 42% despite the fact that less than 20% of national rail stations have step free access.

All public transport should be free to disabled people and their accompanying carers without time of day restrictions. Until that is achieved train operating companies will be encouraged to offer Disabled Persons Railcard discounts to holders of disabled persons concessionary fare passes.

Labour will introduce a specific legal duty on all providers of public transport to provide a service that meets the needs of disabled people, not just through physical accessibility of the various modes of public transport but also by timetabling that ensures adequate mobility opportunities for disabled people.

Energy (also supported by SERA) Page 7, line 29: after the sentence ending with the words “to compare prices” insert:

“As disabled people spend more time at home a social and /or disability tariff is needed.  A Labour Government will give the same help to disabled people as they give to pensioners with the costs of fuel.”

Stronger Safer Communities:

Crime Page 11, line 22 after mental health problems insert

“those with neuro diverse impairments, dyslexia, autism, Asperger’s syndrome dyspraxia etc.”

Amendments Submitted by Other Organisations following Agreements Reached with Labour Party Disabled Members Group:

Stronger Safer Communities (Submitted by SERA):

 Page 5 line 15 after the sentence ending with the words “for the next generation” inset  ” All the new homes built by the Labour Government will be built to be as energy and water efficient as possible, with generating capacity were appropriate and built to lifetime homes standard with a proportion built to wheelchair accessible standard.”

Health and Care Submitted by Bournemouth East and West CLPS and Mid Norfolk CLP on behalf of Labour Party Disabled Members Group and the Socialist Health Association:

Page 10, line 38:  Insert the following “Britain’s mental health is at its worst since 1997 with increasing morbidity and a worsening suicide rate, because of recession and savage cuts to public services which disproportionately affect the most vulnerable. A clear focus on enhanced well- being and the promotion of mental health within schools, workplaces and general hospitals is needed to reduce the economic and social burden of mental ill health. Labour will instruct the Care Quality Commission to make sure that all providers of mental health and social care services comply with the Equalities Act meeting the access needs of disabled people and the cultural needs of the BAME community. In addition, Labour will demand that all relevant authorities play an active part in improving the integration between physical and mental

Health services and deploy community development resources with the clear objective of strengthening the community and voluntary sector to deliver on our aspiration for better mental health and spiritual well-being for all local populations.”