Campaigners have taken part in a vigil outside the

first_imgCampaigners have taken part in a vigil outside the Royal Courts of Justice, as the high court was hearing claims by a disabled woman that new benefit rules are “unfair and discriminatory”.Regulations that came into force in March mean that people who are unable to plan or undertake a journey due to overwhelming psychological distress now receive fewer qualifying points when assessed for personal independence payment (PIP).The new rules mean that many PIP claimants are entitled to a lower level of financial support for their mobility, and in many cases no mobility support at all.The legal challenge against work and pensions secretary David Gauke is being brought by RF, who believes that the changes to PIP will have a “significant negative impact” on her life and on the lives of many others who experience significant mental distress.Both the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the mental health charity Mind have submitted written evidence supporting RF’s case.Sara Lomri, RF’s solicitor and deputy legal director of the Public Law Project, said: “[RF] has told me that losing enhanced PIP mobility means she will not be able to get the support she needs to travel.“This will have a huge impact on her ability to participate in society and her independence.”The court’s ruling is expected before Christmas.Among those who took part in a vigil outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the first day of the two-day hearing was Rose*, who said the new regulations could easily affect her level of support.She currently receives the higher rate care component of disability living allowance and the lower rate mobility component, and she said she was “constantly living in dread of being called up for my [PIP] assessment”.She said: “My psychological distress does affect my mobility. I have severe dissociation which causes me to wander around without any knowledge of danger.“I think it’s time for justice for us because we have been discriminated against and there is such a lack of understanding of psychological distress.”She added: “It is criminal the way we are being treated. It is just not right. I had other plans for my life, not to live on benefits, but unfortunately I have to because of my mental health problems.“I am shocked about how we are made to feel bad for being unwell.”Paula Peters (pictured, front), a member of the national steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts, is still waiting to be assessed for PIP, as a long-term claimant of disability living allowance, and currently receives mobility support because of the psychological distress caused by travelling.She said the case was “fundamentally important” to her and the many thousands of others who also need the support to travel.Without that mobility support from DLA, or PIP, she would not have a Freedom Pass, which allows her free travel across the capital, so she can attend GP and hospital appointments, and take part in campaigning.Without the support from PIP, many people with mental distress would be excluded from society and imprisoned at home, she said.Peters said: “We get the mobility component of PIP for deep psychological distress because it is so vital for our mental wellbeing and being able to get to appointments, to interact with friends and family and just take part in everyday life.“That exclusion ramps up anxiety and causes people’s depression to worsen and in my case ramps up my agoraphobia.”Asked how much she trusted DWP on mental health issues, she said: “I don’t. I don’t trust DWP on anything.“They are targeting mental health claimants on PIP, on ESA, on universal credit, on the Work and Health Programme.“They are about ramping up the mental distress and causing a claimant’s mental health to deteriorate to the point where they want to give up and take their own life, and in many cases already have done, and we remember those who are not with us today.“I think DWP are trivialising mental health. What they can’t see, they don’t believe exists.”Denise McKenna (pictured, back right), co-founder of the Mental Health Resistance Network, who also took part in the vigil, said: “For a lot of people with severe mental health problems they cannot travel by public transport, they are having to use taxis for part of their journey, sometimes for all of their journey.“It is very important that people should not become isolated. Isolation is a key precipitate of suicide and relapse. There could be fatal consequences.”She said people with mental health problems were “being targeted by the government from all directions”, through cuts to out-of-work benefits and PIP, and the withdrawal of mental health services and the focus on employment in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services.She said: “People with mental health problems are being targeted to get back into the workplace and [the PIP changes are] an additional barrier to getting to work.“It is part of a huge assault on people with mental health problems. One of the things they are doing is denying the existence of mental distress. They are negating it.”She added: “I wanted to be here today, because having been involved in a judicial review I know what an emotional roller-coaster [it can be].“I think it’s important for people taking the judicial review to know how much it means to other people and to get support from as many people as possible.“We recognise it is in all of our interests.”Claire Glasman (pictured, left), from the campaigning organisation WinVisible – which supports disabled women, including those who are traumatised, such as rape and sexual abuse survivors, and refugee survivors of genocide – said the government was “discriminating against people with mental distress”.She said that disabled women needed PIP mobility support “to be able to get out of the house and to do things in the community, see friends and get involved in groups”.Glasman said: “It just shows they don’t care, they don’t care if people have all the benefits that they need to be able to live our lives and get out of the house.“Theresa May makes all these announcements about mental health being a priority but we know the NHS is being cut, and women’s services are struggling through lack of funding.”Lisa Longstaff, a spokeswoman for Women Against Rape, another campaigner at the vigil, said she was there because so many of the women her organisation worked with – including traumatised women who had been raped – had had their benefits cut unfairly.She said: “I am here because this case is an example of many of the other cuts we have been fighting together.”RF argues that the new PIP regulations violate article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits unjustifiable discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of disability.She argues that people with overwhelming psychological distress are treated less favourably than those with other conditions, when assessed on their need for mobility support.DWP has told RF’s lawyers that the new rules can be justified.RF also argues that DWP should have carried out a consultation on the new regulations before they were introduced, whereas DWP has said that it had always been its intention to exclude psychological distress from certain questions in the PIP eligibility test, and so there was no need to carry out a fresh consultation in 2017.But RF’s lawyers say that if those organisations involved in the original PIP consultation had been told this, they would have challenged it at the time by campaigning and lobbying politicians.A DWP spokeswoman said the department could not comment on an ongoing legal case.But she pointed to a statement made earlier this year by the minister for disabled people, explaining the reasons for the new regulations, and a departmental statement issued on the same day in February.In the statement, DWP said that “people who cannot carry out a journey because of a visual or cognitive impairment are likely to need more support than someone who experiences psychological distress when they undertake a journey, for example as a result of social phobia or anxiety”.The department added: “Recent legal judgments have interpreted the assessment criteria for PIP in ways that are different to what was originally intended.“The government is now making amendments to clarify the criteria, to restore the original aim of the policy and ensure support goes to those most in need.”*Not her real namelast_img read more

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A YOUTHFUL Saints slipped to their fourth defeat i

first_imgA YOUTHFUL Saints slipped to their fourth defeat in a row as they lost 21-14 to London Broncos at the Twickenham Stoop.Missing ten first team players and losing Adam Swift in the first half they fought back from an eight point deficit to almost pull it off at the death.They led 10-6 at half time as Anthony Laffranchi and Adam Swift broke the tough Broncos defence.‘Boof’ took a short pass to put them ahead before Swift got his eighth in the Red V following great work from Nathan Ashe and Alex Walmsley.London got back in it with a great Chris Bailey score before a disjointed Saints galvanised and held out until half time.In the second half, Broncos hit Saints twice in 10 minutes only for Paul Wellens to round off a fine length of the field move involving Josh Jones and Mark Percival.But the boot of Michael Witt proved the difference as he added a penalty and drop goal late on to seal the win.Saints handed a debut to Luke Thompson on his 18th birthday and brought in Nathan Ashe to partner Lance Hohaia in the halves.Anthony Laffranchi was named in the second row with Sia Soliola.But they were still missing Francis Meli, Jon Wilkin and Ade Gardner through suspension, whilst James Roby, Jonny Lomax, Josh Perry, Willie Manu, Mark Flanagan, Anthony Walker and Gary Wheeler were unavailable through injury.Both sides started with strong sets until a knock on gave London good attacking position.The ball went to ground though and moments later both sides exchanged knock ons.The Broncos were laying the foundations and when Will Lovell made a great run, Tommy Lee and Craig Gower almost unlocked the defence.Tommy Makinson took a high ball and then a bullocking run from Tony Puletua had Nathan Ashe on his shoulder.On 17 minutes, Anthony Laffranchi plunged over, goaled by Mark Percival.And three minutes later Ashe broke through, Alex Walmsley took it up and fired a great ball out for Josh Jones to feed Adam Swift for his third of the season.Unfortunately, he was taken off on a stretcher as James Mendeika went in late and was placed on report.Chris Bailey replied to get London back into it before Saints’ Stuart Howarth went close.And the home side did well to dislodge the ball from Soliola as he came steaming in for a try late on.In the second half, Michael Robertson took advantage of poor discipline to forge ahead before Saints just about quelled a kick to the corner.Tommy Lee then took full advantage when Sarginson intercepted Lance Hohaia’s pass.Saints kept knocking at the door and got back into it when Josh Jones linked with Mark Percival to go the full length of the field and put Paul Wellens in.The visitors then had chances to make the comeback complete but lacked the final pass.And Witt duly hit a penalty and a drop goal to kill off their hopes.Match Summary:Broncos:Tries: Bailey, Robertson, LeeGoals: Witt (4 from 4)Drop: WittSaints:Tries: Laffranchi, Swift, WellensGoals: Percival (1 from 2), Makinson (0 from 1)Penalties:Broncos: 7Saints: 4HT: 10-6FT: 14-21REF: Tim RobyATT: Teams:Broncos:5. Michael Robertson; 3. Jamie O’Callaghan, 29. James Mendeika, 19. Dan Sarginson, 21. Kieran Dixon; 6. Michael Witt, 7. Craig Gower; 8. Antonio Kaufusi, 23. Tommy Lee, 18. Olsi Krasniqi, 22. Will Lovell, 12. Chris Bailey, 20. Matt Cook.Subs: 1. Luke Dorn, 10. Mark Bryant, 26. Ben Fisher, 27. Erjon Dollapi.Saints:21. Tom Makinson; 26. Adam Swift, 3. Jordan Turner, 19. Josh Jones, 30. Mark Percival; 23. Nathan Ashe, 6. Lance Hohaia; 11. Tony Puletua, 36. Stuart Howarth, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 4. Sia Soliola, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 1. Paul Wellens.Subs: 16. Paul Clough, 25. Alex Walmsley, 33. Luke Thompson, 35. Lewis Charnock.last_img read more

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KYLE Amor and Travis Burns have both been banned f

first_imgKYLE Amor and Travis Burns have both been banned following incidents in the 21-14 win over Castleford on Friday.Travis was banned for one match as a result of a careless tackle on Justin Carney in the 23rd minute.Amor received a two-match ban for a ‘Grade C’ dangerous contact to the head, neck or spinal column of Jordan Tansey in the 60th minute.last_img

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NEIL Tucker has very kindly offered to raise funds

first_imgNEIL Tucker has very kindly offered to raise funds for the Steve Prescott Foundation (SPF) and Macmillan Cancer Support at a Coffee morning to be held on September 23 in the Red V Cafe bar from 10am to 1pm.Neil is 37-years-old and five years ago was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.After five lots of treatment he was put in remission.He says: “The thing that kept me going was my odd conversation with Stevie. He always asked how I was and what stage of chemotherapy I was up to. He was the most considerate man I know. Then six months ago my cancer comeback, which thankfully now is in remission.“I’m sure Stevie was looking over me saying ‘Fight it, I did, you can.’ I’ve just done my first brave thing, the shave for MacMillan which involved shaving my hair, eyebrows and my beard clean off which raised £85. Stevie is my idol and will always be “Neil is organising the sale of homemade cakes and biscuits and hot and cold beverages. There will also be a tombola, prize raffles and lucky dips for the young children. The proceeds from the coffee morning will be shared between the two charities.The SPF wants to thank Neil for his kind and generous gesture to raise funds for his chosen charities and wishes Neil good luck with his coffee morning and hope it is a huge success. Please support Neil on September 23.last_img read more

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