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Disabled peers have demanded that the government r

first_imgDisabled peers have demanded that the government rips up its “frustrating”, “clichéd” and “tepid” response to a major House of Lords report on the Equality Act’s impact on disabled people.The Equality Act 2010 and disability committee reported in March on how equality legislation affects disabled people, following a nine-month inquiry.The committee concluded that the government was failing to protect disabled people from discrimination, and that laws designed to address disability discrimination were “not working in practice”, while spending cuts were having “a hugely adverse effect on disabled people”.An analysis by Disability News Service of the government’s response to the report, which was published in July, suggested that it accepted in full only about eight of the committee’s 55 recommendations.In a Lords debate on the report this week, disabled peers lined up to criticise the government’s response.Baroness [Jane] Campbell (pictured, left, during the debate), who sat on the committee, said that its report recommends “workable, low-cost, legislative and practical changes that would greatly enhance equality for disabled people in this country”.But she described “disabled people’s frustration at the failure of the government to embrace the recommendations more fully”, and called on it to “go back to the drawing board”.She criticised the government’s use of “the exhausted cliché that regulation will not change hearts and minds” when “all the evidence shows that without legislation we cannot win ‘hearts and minds’”.And she said that Sir Bert Massie, the former chair of the Disability Rights Commission, had told her that the government’s “tepid” response to the report “clearly demonstrates a deep lack of understanding and concern about Britain’s disabled people”.Baroness [Sal] Brinton (pictured, right), president of the Liberal Democrats, who also sat on the committee, said the government had showed in responding to the report’s recommendations that it “will not even regulate, let alone legislate”.She said: “I join colleagues on the select committee in hoping that the previous government’s report back to us will be discarded.“I have high hopes, because the evidence in the select committee report is so strong and will not go away.“I call for the new government [under Theresa May, rather than David Cameron] to prove that they truly believe in inclusion by going back and rewriting their response.”Her fellow disabled Liberal Democrat peer, Baroness [Celia] Thomas, whose idea it was to hold the inquiry, called on the government to “implement our recommendations without delay. There is no excuse for not doing so”.The disabled crossbench peer Lord [Colin] Low, who did not sit on the committee, praised the “excellent” report.He said that the government’s “drive to reduce regulation and red tape has resulted in rules and provisions that were helpful to disabled people being weakened or abolished”.He said: “The report makes an important point when it says that these things should properly be seen as protections for disabled people rather than burdens on business, and that their removal under the [government’s] Red Tape Challenge should be reversed.”Another disabled peer, the Liberal Democrat Lord Addington, said there was a need for “aggressive action” to enforce equality.He said: “We here have to start pointing out to the rest of society that it will benefit by taking this appropriate action.“If we make people with disabilities more economically active and more socially included, we will save ourselves hassle and trouble.”The Conservative Home Office minister, Baroness Williams, said the report was “timely and comprehensive and highlights the continuing challenges and obstacles which disabled people face on a daily basis”.She said it “rightly focused on a number of important issues, such as how adequately we imbed disabled people’s needs into the first steps to plan services and also when we construct premises”.She added: “The report also fairly examined whether both public and private sectors have been sufficiently proactive in meeting the needs of citizens with a disability and whether there is still a tendency simply to react to problems once they have arisen or to be forced into action when pressed.“We further acknowledge the importance of two-way communication between government and disabled people and their representatives, something that the report says we can improve on, in turn improving access to justice and how services are delivered.”last_img read more

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A disabled campaigner was forced to wet himself on

first_imgA disabled campaigner was forced to wet himself on a train because the accessible toilet was out of order, just four months after a minister promised to ensure such incidents would never happen again.Wheelchair-user Chris Stapleton (pictured) boarded the Virgin Trains service last Tuesday (16 May), but even though he had booked the space more than six weeks earlier he was placed in a carriage with a broken toilet.The aisles were too narrow for him to reach another of the accessible toilets on the service from London Euston to Birmingham, so he was forced to wet himself.Virgin Trains has now launched an “urgent investigation” into the incident, and has admitted – despite its previous claims – that the toilet was broken from the start of the journey.It has also accepted that staff on the train should have been aware that a disabled person was travelling on a service with a broken toilet and taken action, such as arranging for him to use another toilet on the train during a station stop, or allowing him to use a toilet at one of the stations along the route.Stapleton said Virgin Trains was guilty of “sheer crass negligence”, and that the incident showed how politicians had “ignored” and even “tried to scale down” disabled people’s access to rail travel, for example through the government’s decision to cut funding for the Access for All rail station improvement programme.In January, rail minister Paul Maynard said the Department for Transport was “committed to ensuring no passenger has to go through this again”, after Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike told how she had been forced to wet herself on a CrossCountry service because the accessible toilet was out-of-order.Stapleton, a member of the user-led accessible transport charity Transport for All, said his incident showed that Maynard’s “‘no repeat’ pledge has proved empty”. Wafula Strike said Stapleton’s experience was “terrible” and that “train companies continue to get away with failing to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled passengers.“It’s a pity rail companies have failed to recognise the potential value in disabled travellers by failing to implement the basic policies they hold on paper.“I request rail bosses to start engaging with the disabled passengers.”Faryal Velmi, director of Transport for All, said Stapleton’s experience was “appalling”.She said: “This is the second time we have had a story like this making the headlines, and sadly the incidents that are reported are just tip of the iceberg.“In February, the rail minister [Paul Maynard] promised Anne Wafula Strike action on the issue, but Chris’s story shows that they were just empty words.“As part of our Rail Access Now campaign, we demanded that train operating companies face strict financial penalties for running services without accessible facilities.“They must also ensure that they clearly announce any broken facilities and that staff are available to offer assistance to disabled passengers.“At this point, apologies simply aren’t good enough – how many more disabled passengers will have to go through a horrible experience like Chris’s before action is taken?”Maynard, who is himself disabled, did not respond to a request from Disability News Service to comment.A Virgin Trains spokesman said: “Chris Stapleton’s experience was completely unacceptable and we have apologised to him for this.“Thousands of disabled customers regularly travel with Virgin Trains and we have systems in place to ensure that they are properly looked after.“Clearly those systems broke down during Chris’ journey and we are conducting an urgent investigation to understand what went wrong and ensure that any lessons are learned.“We are determined to get this right for all our disabled customers to ensure they can travel with us with complete confidence.”last_img read more

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SAINTS have announced their squad for Sundays fri

first_imgSAINTS have announced their squad for Sunday’s friendly with Castleford Tigers.Keiron Cunningham has whittled his squad down to 21 players with three of the club’s new signings expected to feature.The squad is: 1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Joe Greenwood, 12. Jon Wilkin, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Adam Walker, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Tommy Lee, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 20. Morgan Knowles, 22. Matty Fleming, 23. Jack Ashworth, 24. Danny Richardson, 28. Regan Grace, 30. Jonah Cunningham.Daryl Powell has named a 19 man squad: 1. Zak Hardaker, 2. Greg Minikin, 3. Jake Webster, 4. Michael Shenton, 5. Greg Eden, 6. Rangi Chase, 7. Luke Gale, 8. Andy Lynch, 9. Paul McShane, 10. Grant Millington, 12. Mike McMeeken, 13. Adam Milner, 14. Nathan Massey, 15. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 16. Ben Roberts, 17. Junior Moors, 18. Matt Cook, 19. Gadwin Springer, 21. Joel Monaghan.The game kicks off at 3pm at the Totally Wicked Stadium and the referee is James Child.Ticket details can be found here.last_img read more

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