The Green Party has written to work and pensions s

first_imgThe Green Party has written to work and pensions secretary Damian Green to demand an independent inquiry into benefit claimants whose deaths have been linked to the failings of his department.The letter has been signed by the Green Party’s co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, its disability spokeswoman, Mags Lewis, and Linda Burnip, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts.It has also been signed by Jill Gant, the mother of Mark Wood, a disabled man who starved to death in 2013 after he was found “fit for work” through the work capability assessment (WCA) system, and lost his out-of-work disability benefits.The party has compiled a dossier of this and 49 other deaths of benefit claimants where, it says in the letter, there is “good reason to believe their treatment at the hands of your department has been a factor in their deaths”.Those cases include many deaths that have been covered by Disability News Service (DNS), including those of David Clapson, Stephen Carré, David Barr, Ms DE, Stephanie Bottrill, Luke Alexander Loy, Alan McArdle, Sheila Holt, Moira Drury, and Karen Sherlock.The Green Party letter says the inquiry should examine “the methods used to assess claimants and their entitlements” and “determine whether these procedures are fair and proper or if they are, in fact, contributing to the deaths of some of the claimants”.The letter points out to Damian Green that, in many of the cases included in the dossier, coroners have “expressed grave concern about the methods employed by your department”.It adds: “The more time passes without an inquiry, the longer concerns will remain and questions will hang over the procedures used by your department to handle benefits.”Bartley (pictured) told DNS yesterday (Wednesday) that he supports attempts to bring a criminal prosecution against former work and pensions ministers Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling over their failure to address the safety of the WCA.They were warned by a coroner in 2010 to review the policy not to seek further medical evidence from the GPs and psychiatrists of claimants with mental health conditions, but they failed to respond to the report, and apparently failed to pass it on to the expert they commissioned to review the WCA.As a result of their failure to act, claimants with experience of mental distress continued to die, including Mark Wood.Bartley said: “I think there are very good grounds for it. If there was criminal negligence in the workplace that resulted in deaths, you wouldn’t think twice about it being right to prosecute.“I think it’s something we should be supporting. I would be very keen to talk to a lawyer who would be interested in taking this forward.”He said there was still much that was not known about what ministers knew, and when, about the WCA scandal, but he added: “I think the more evidence emerges, the more we realise quite how aware they were of it and the stronger the case becomes against them.”Bartley said: “We are supposed to be a civilised country and we are supposed to judge our country by the way it looks after those who are marginalised and disabled.“It’s absolutely damning that this should be happening in a country that is so rich.”He said the dossier was “putting down a marker that these rights that have been fought for are being eroded, and not just eroded, but being pushed back, and ground is being lost that has been won over many, many years.“We have to learn the lessons of history: that things can move backwards as well as forwards.”Bartley said that “too much ground” had been conceded by mainstream politicians to right-wing ideologies that play on the “mantra of deserving and undeserving [benefit claimants], and demonisation of disabled people and scapegoating of disabled people and that idea of [claimants] being guilty until proven innocent”.The inquiry call has been backed by DPAC, whose work on benefit-related deaths and other harm caused by the government’s social security reforms triggered an inquiry by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, which found “grave or systematic violations” of disabled people’s rights.Linda Burnip, co-founder of DPAC, said: “As the UK government has been found guilty by the UN of committing grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s human rights, we feel a public inquiry into deaths which have been linked to the discredited work capability assessment regime must urgently be initiated by the government and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).”A DWP spokeswoman said: “The department will respond to the letter once it has been received.“We constantly review our processes and procedures and have made significant improvements to the WCA since it was first introduced in 2008, particularly for people with mental health problems, following a number of… reviews, including five independent ones.“There will also shortly be a second independent review of personal independence payment since it was introduced in 2013.“And, as you know, we carry out peer reviews to help staff to continually improve how they deal with some of the most complex and challenging cases.”Picture by Pete Lopemanlast_img read more

The number of disability hate crimes recorded by t

first_imgThe number of disability hate crimes recorded by the police rose by more than 50 per cent last year, according to new figures released by the Home Office.The rise in recorded disability hate crimes (53 per cent) was larger than for any other strand, with race hate crimes rising by more than a quarter (27 per cent), those motivated by sexual orientation also increasing by 27 per cent, and religion-based hate crime rising by 35 per cent.In all, the number of hate crime offences recorded by police in England and Wales rose by 29 per cent to more than 80,000 between 2015-16 and 2016-17.The increase in disability hate crimes was even bigger than the rise of more than 40 per cent last year, which again had been a larger rise than for any other hate crime strand.Despite the new Home Office figures, it is still not clear whether there has been an increase in actual disability hate crimes in recent years, if the increase is due to a rise in reporting of hate crimes, or if it is due to a combination of both factors.Since 2011-12, the number of disability hate crimes recorded by police has risen from 1,748 to 5,558.The Home Office report says that some of the rise in race and religious hate crime was due to a genuine increase in hate crime, particularly around the time of the EU referendum in June 2016 and the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester this year.But the report says that a second consecutive year of sharp rises in disability, sexual orientation and transgender hate crime (which rose by 45 per cent this year) is probably due to the police “improving their identification and recording of hate crime offences and more people coming forward to report these crimes rather than a genuine increase”.Nearly nine in 10 offences (89 per cent) flagged as hate crimes in 2016-17 were either public order offences or “violence against the person”.Meanwhile, figures released by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) show that the number of disability hate crime prosecutions rose from 941 in 2015-16 to 1,009 in 2016-17, an increase of more than seven per cent.The proportion of successful convictions also increased, from 75.1 per cent to 77.3 per cent, with the number rising from 707 to 800 in 2016-17.Despite these numbers, only 117 cases saw a recorded and announced increase in a sentence on the grounds of disability hate crime, although this was an increase from 84 in 2015-16.The report says that the number of sentence uplifts “remains considerably lower than that for other hate crime strands”.In the 10 years since 2007–08, this has risen from four sentence uplifts (2.8 per cent of successful prosecutions) to 117 (14.6 per cent).But it compares with more than half of all cases (52.2 per cent) involving hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity which saw sentences “uplifted”.Stephen Brookes (pictured), a coordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, wrote to solicitor general Robert Buckland in August to warn him that “alarm bells are ringing” over the “massive discrepancies and inconsistencies” in the way the criminal justice system dealt with disability hate crime (DHC) prosecutions.He said then that he and his colleagues felt “deep dismay” that six recent court cases involving violent attacks on disabled people – reported by Disability News Service (DNS) – had not been treated as disability hate crimes.In the letter, he wrote: “Once again we see that it seems to be difficult to prove an offence is a disability hate crime under current legislation especially if the case is not supported by absolute DHC based evidence. “Additionally we still find that cases in which CPS treated the offences as disability hate crime, the judiciary still frequently refuse to accept their responsibility and increase the sentence, proving that there are massive issues in the way both police and the judiciary [deal with] disability hate crimes.”He said that Buckland had agreed in his response that there were “considerable challenges in showing there is aggravation in relation to disability in serious offences”, and that more work needed to be done by the criminal justice system.Brookes said this week: “My concern has to be that we still are finding major barriers in the whole DHC charging process as proving disability hostility is still too vague in some respects.”Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions, said: “Crimes motivated by hate have a corrosive effect on society and it is pleasing to see the courts are using their powers to increase sentences in the majority of cases for the first time.“Sentence uplifts are important because they demonstrate that the CPS has built the case effectively, the hate crime element has been recognised and the perpetrator has received a more severe sentence as a result.”In all, across race, religion, homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and disability hate crimes, there were 14,480 convictions in 2016-17, with a success rate for the CPS of 83.4 per cent.last_img read more

Sign up to LabourLists morning email for everythi

first_imgSign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.In a big step towards Labour backing a Brexit deal, Jeremy Corbyn has written to the Prime Minister to issue five demands. In his letter, the opposition leader says Labour will support Theresa May’s deal if changes are made to include customs union membership and single market alignment, plus agreements on EU rights, agencies and security arrangements. These come under the political declaration, i.e. the non-binding part of the divorce deal that sets out UK’s future relationship with the EU, so it has been specified that the commitments would have to be enshrined in law. Read the demands and letter in full here.While this development makes Labour’s detailed criticisms of the legally-binding text in the withdrawal agreement look a little odd in retrospect, ultimately it comes as no surprise to anyone who has been listening to Corbyn over the last few months. He has repeatedly made clear that he wants a deal to get through parliament. But this letter puts it in black-and-white: Labour will offer official support to a revised Brexit deal put forward by the Tory government.Corbyn’s demands have provoked furious reactions from Remainer Labour activists and MPs, who contend that the letter goes against conference policy by setting the bar too low. They argue “single market alignment” doesn’t amount to the “full participation” prescribed by the composite motion. And those critics have fresh ammunition too, as a leaked report from the (party-affiliated, Corbyn-backing) TSSA union says Labour could lose 45 seats if it supports Brexit. The briefing claims the party would only lose 11 seats by opposing Brexit, and could even gain a handful by being more outspoken against it. This is just one bit of research, however, so don’t expect it to seriously affect the leadership’s thinking.Although Barry Gardiner told Radio 4 this morning that “it’s not about tests now”, it has been denied that Keir Starmer’s six tests for any Brexit deal have been abandoned. Rather, these new stipulations are designed to be credible and relevant to the current situation. The differences between the two are interesting nonetheless. Corbyn’s list makes no mention of the backstop or of free movement, which I would suggest means a more relaxed approach towards both and therefore indicates that Keir Starmer was involved in shaping the new demands, as has been briefed.The case in favour of the five demands sees Theresa May’s chances of either replacing the backstop or securing a time-limit/unilateral withdrawal ability as non-existent. Corbyn’s letter quashes the notion that Labour wants to “frustrate” Brexit and applies further pressure on the government to implement a soft exit. This is the choice that the Prime Minister has faced since the start: leave with no deal and be responsible for chaos, or pivot to Labour’s plan. Both options seem unbelievable. Either way, the Tories split. That seems like a win-win, but Corbyn’s proposal – which looks a lot like the unhappy compromise of ‘Norway Plus’ – does leave many on the left, from Lexiteers to People’s Vote campaigners, wondering ‘what’s the point?’.Sienna @siennamarlaSign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Tags:Theresa May /Labour /Jeremy Corbyn /Keir Starmer /Brexit /last_img read more

St Helens U20s 24 v 36 Wigan U20sThree tries in th

first_imgSt Helens U20s 24 v 36 Wigan U20sThree tries in the final quarter cost the Reserves this match against the Old Enemy. Clinging to a two point lead the Saints couldn’t respond and fall further behind in the rankings writes Graham Henthorne Team Manager.The visitors with costly Aussie import Amos Roberts calling the shots should have put the first points on the board but knocked on giving the Saints with both Matty Ashe, elder brother of Nathan and Mark Percival making their debuts, the honours of scoring first.A good attacking set and grubber from Ben Karalius gave the Saints a repeat set and from the restart drives from Joe Greenwood, Ant Walker and Jordan Hand had the visitors scrambling. As it was it was an inside ball from the returning Gareth Frodsham to Karalius which gave the scrum half a run to the posts.The Saints doubled their lead in even time as Josh Jones went in. Tommy Johnson could have scored himself but instead brought the centre back on the inside to the posts for the try.The celebrations were short lived, however as Jones went from hero to villain dropping off the tackle which allowed the centre in down the right.Yet more poor tackles gave the visitors their second try and they went ahead on the half hour to a try from a dubiously forward pass.The Saints responded with a good defensive set forcing the knock on. From the scrum the play went first right then back left with Karalius wrapping around to provide the extra man and finding Joe Greenwood for the score.To hold out until the break was the hope but the scores were levelled on the stroke of half time as the visitors winger went in for his first.The worst possible start was to concede on the first set and that’s exactly what the Saints did. There was a hint of offside, however, as the right winger collected Roberts’ chip over the line.The Saints were not out of it and some aggressive defence in the middle produced a poor pass picked off by Josh Jones who managed to outstrip the defence to the line for the go ahead score.As time went by the first half missed chances and fatigue caught up with the Reserves and the game slipped away again.Until his departure through injury Gareth Frodsham showed glimpses of his old self, Ant Walker and Jordan Hand took the line on well and Matty Ashe made a solid debut in the red vee. But Joe Greenwood just edged Hand for the best on the day.Match Summary:St Helens:Tries: Josh Jones 2, Ben Karalius, Joe Greenwood.Goals: Tommy Johnson 4.Wigan:Tries: Mathew Russell, Blake Mahovic 4, Jack Murphy 2.Goals: Jack Murphy, Sam Powell 3.Half Time: 18-18Full Time: 24-36Teams:Saints:1. Tommy Johnson, 2. Simon Atherton, 3. Mark Percival, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Dan Brotherton, 6. Matty Ashe, 7. Ben Karalius, 8. Gareth Frodsham, 9. Aaron Lloyd, 10. Jordan Hand (pictured), 11. Danny Jones, 12. Joe Greenwood, 13. Anthony Walker.Subs: 14. Marcus Baines, 15. Jordan Case, 16. Joe Bate, 17. Josh Greaves.Wigan:1. Mathew Russell, 2. Ryan King, 3. Blake Mahovic, 4. Matt Crow, 5. Jack Murphy, 6. Amos Roberts, 7. Sam Powell, 23. Tom Spencer, 9. Logan Tomkins, 10. Dominic Crosby, 11. Jamie Acton, 12. Danny Bridge, 13. Kieron Harrison.Subs: 14. Liam Carberry, 15. James Greenwood, 16. Greg Burke, 17. Drew Johnson.last_img read more

THE Dacia World Club Challenge First Utility Supe

first_imgTHE Dacia World Club Challenge, First Utility Super League and Ladbrokes Challenge Cup trophies will be at Saints ahead of the hotly-anticipated Dacia World Club Series this weekend.The trophies at Langtree Park on Wednesday February 17 from 11am to 1pm.They will then head over to Dacia dealer Arnold Clark where they will be welcomed by St Helens and Great Britain legend Paul Sculthorpe between 2pm and 5pm.As well as having photos taken with the silverware, fans will have the chance to test their rugby skills with all the stars and three lucky people will win a once-in-a-lifetime experience – presenting the man of the match award at your game of choice.last_img

Local teen gets slam dunk trip to meet the Oklahoma City Thunder

first_imgBRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — We first told you about a Brunswick County student’s Make-a-Wish adventure Thursday.Shab’e Bryant got to spend a full weekend with his favorite NBA team.- Advertisement – “This made his dream come true,” Make-A-Wish recipient, Shab’e said.It was a Make-a-Wish trip two years in the making.“He was super stoked. Like he had no clue. None whatsoever. None,” Shab’e’s father, Wesley Bryant said.Related Article: Terminally ill preschooler proposes to employee at Duke Children’s HospitalShab’e, a West Brunswick High School senior, recently got his wish granted, but his dad kept it under wraps for months.“I mean I didn’t know it was going to happen at all because my dad told me it wasn’t going to happen to make it more than a surprise,” Shab’e said.Shab’e and two other Make-a-Wish recipients spent the whole weekend with their favorite NBA team: the Oklahoma City Thunder.“I can’t remember being that happy. Being that excited,” Shab’e said.Shab’e was born with a form of muscular dystrophy.“He’s a regular kid,” Bryant said. “He just can’t walk, you know. And I wanted him to get to experience some things that other kids experience.”From lunch, bowling, hanging out with the players, and getting to go to the game, shab’e said he had the time of his life.“I play with them on video games and stuff, and then I just see them in person and it’s just like wow you know,” Shab’e said.When he got the chance to meet his favorite player Russell Westbrook, it was a moment won’t ever forget.“I just stopped my chair,” Shab’e Bryant said. “And then he just walked over to me and that’s when I really got, my heart dropped.”Now Shab’e has something awesome to talk about with his classmates.“I feel like I have bragging rights. Bragging rights,” Shab’e said. “I just learned that I could do more things than I think I could do.”For Shab’e it was a weekend of many firsts including the first time he ever flew on an airplaneShab’e adds it was a once in a life time experience he will cherish forever.last_img read more

WPD Officer saves drowning woman in Cape Fear River

first_imgCape Fear River (Photo: Hannah Patrick/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A woman is alive and in the hospital after a Wilmington Police officer rescued her from nearly drowning in the Cape Fear River Thursday morning.Police say officers responded to the river around 6:15 a.m. where witnesses say they saw a woman in her 30s floating.- Advertisement – After seeing the woman struggle, WPD says Officer Ben Galluppi removed his gear and jumped into to help. Using a life-saving device, he was able to reach the woman and bring her to a nearby dock.The Wilmington Fire Department and EMS also responded to the scene and performed CPR. After several minutes of it, EMS transported her to New Hanover Regional Medical Center.Her condition is unknown at this time.last_img

Archbishop Scicluna blesses a commemorative stone at Caritas Maltas new therapeutic centre

first_img <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa arcisqof-17-5 SharePrint 1 of 17 Luke Zerafacenter_img Luke Zerafa Archbishop Charles Scicluna blessed the commemorative stone at the new therapeutic center for adolescents, ‘Tal-Ibwar’ at Ta’ Kandja, on Friday. The therapeutic center will be operated by Caritas Malta.During a press conference on Friday morning, Archbishop Scicluna thanked Caritas Malta for its invaluable work in the Maltese society as well as the State for the trust shown in the organisation’s work as it entrusted Caritas Malta with the project.Mgr Scicluna stated that aiding youths with troubled past is an investment. The Archbishop concluded by promising that whoever passed through the services provided by the new therapeutic center will become a better person. Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Luke Zerafa Curia – Caritas Malta Director Anthony Gatt thanked President Emeritus George Abela who will be in charge of the project. Explaining the project, Gatt said that the center will include sport facilities, animal-assisted therapy, as well as an area dedicated to agriculture.Minister for Social Solidarity Michael Falzon stated that the Government will be investing €3.3 million and the center will host a maximum of twenty people at a time.Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that apart from the infrastructural works currently going on at the center, those who will be employed at the center will receive training specifically to be able to work with children.  Muscat explained that to this end, there was a visit to Ireland to learn more about best work practices. The Prime Minister said such projects illustrate that the Church and the State have different functions but can also work together.WhatsApplast_img read more

Controlled explosions demolish remains of collapsed Italy bridge

first_img SharePrint Controlled explosions demolish two of the pylons of the Morandi bridge almost one year since a section of the viaduct collapsed killing 43 people, in Genoa, Italy June 28, 2019. REUTERS/Massimo PincaControlled explosions demolish two of the pylons of the Morandi bridge almost one year since a section of the viaduct collapsed killing 43 people, in Genoa, Italy June 28, 2019. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca Six seconds of controlled explosions wiped out the remains of a collapsed bridge in the northern Italian city of Genoa on Friday, paving the way for a new structure to replace the ageing viaduct that gave way last year, killing 43 people.Explosives tore down two towers of the Morandi bridge as cannons shot water over the 20,000 cubic metres of steel and concrete to prevent huge clouds of dust engulfing the city.The bridge collapsed on August 14 in heavy rain, sending dozens of vehicles plunging 50 metres to the ground below.The collapse has made access to Genoa’s busy port more difficult and has also meant a lengthy detour for drivers wanting to head onwards to southern France.The government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League wants its rapid reconstruction, hoping to signal a departure from the corruption and inefficiency that have often plagued Italian infrastructure projects.5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio and League chief Matteo Salvini, both deputy prime ministers, attended the demolition, after Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelli laid the first stone of the new viaduct earlier this week.“Today not only the old bridge comes down, but the new one starts coming up,” Salvini said.The reconstruction was assigned to Italian firms Salini Impregilo and Fincantieri . Designed by the renowned Genoa-born architect Renzo Piano, the new viaduct is planned to be inaugurated by the middle of next year.It remains unclear whether the government will keep its promise to revoke the concession of toll road operator Autostrade per l’Italia, a unit of infrastructure group Atlantia which was in charge of the bridge’s maintenance.Rome has accused the operator of serious failings in its upkeep of the bridge. Autostrade has denied wrongdoing, saying regular, state-supervised inspections had indicated the ageing viaduct was safe.The revocation procedure started a few days after the bridge collapsed, but the coalition parties are now divided.WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Cyber Insurance What you need to know

first_imgAdvertisement A New York City-based staffing agency Clarity early this year bought cyber insurance for the first time. For thise of you asking about it, this post is meant to throw more light on the subject.Cyber insurance is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, business interruption, and network damage.Clarity with a staff of 30 was looking to protect the information it takes from the clients it places, like their Social Security numbers and dates of birth. The initial coverage it bought covered any legal costs and the costs of lost business that would come with a breach, and it added coverage for credit monitoring if its client data are hacked. – Advertisement – It may help reduce the number of successful cyber attacks by promoting the adoption of preventative measures; encouraging the implementation of best practices by basing premiums on an insured’s level of self-protection; and limiting the level of losses that companies face following an attack.Many companies nevertheless forego available policies, citing their perceived high cost, a lack of awareness about what they cover, and uncertainty that they’ll suffer a cyber attack as the basis for their decisions.Just about every business today needs cyber insurance. More and more businesses are transacting online and the reality is it’s only going to increase as we move forward.Introduced more than a decade ago, cyber insurance’s growth has been spurred not only by an increase in cybercrime, but also by new regulations.Most states now require companies to notify customers if there is a data breach. Cybercrime is also a growing concern in the boardrooms of publicly traded companies.Cyber insurance policies will depend on a company’s size and the industry in which it operates, how much data it has and what a company already does to secure it.For Clarity, the risk of not having cyber insurance outweighed the cost. “It’s never one of those things you want to find out if it’s worth having or not,” Wade said. “But it certainly helps us to rest easy at night and focus on our business, knowing that we have it.”Credit: and DHSlast_img read more