Saturday, 22 October 2011

Maria Miller not fulfilling role as Minister for Disabled People.

What should a Minister for Disabled People do?

- Work for disabled people's equality in society.

- Educate government ministers about disabled people's needs and rights.

- Understand the needs of disabled people.

- Speak out against the misrepresentation of disabled people in the media.

- Listen to disabled people.

- Be accountable to disabled people.

What does our current Minister for Disabled People do?

The Minister for Disabled People heads the Office for for Disability Issues, which describes their role "The Office for Disability Issues (ODI) leads the government’s vision of achieving equality for disabled people".

Maria Miller is also responsible for " specific responsibilities within the Department for Work and Pensions which include Disability Living Allowance reform, reviewing the Independent Living Fund and specialist disability employment programmes."

As far as I've seen, our minister does the following:

- Allows newspapers to run inaccurate stories about "benefit scroungers" unchecked.

- Allows her colleagues to go on national radio and talk about Disability Living Allowance as though it were an out of work benefit, further reinforcing public misunderstanding of benefits.

- Is in charge of massive reform of Disability Living Allowance without adequately consulting with disabled people. The DWP consultation for the DLA reforms took place between the 6th of December to the 18th of February. That is 8 weeks for people to read and digest a 45 page document, and construct a response. Considering many disabled people may need support to access and understand this document, I don't think 8 weeks is a reasonable amount of time for such an important consultation.

- Responds to disabled people's letters about their concerns with form-letters that don't answer questions raised.

- Continues to allow a private company (ATOS) to be paid by the government to carry out assessments for benefit eligibility that have been shown to be inaccurate and unfair. ATOS assessors have found people to be "fit for work", who have died days after their assessments, and around 40% of people found "fit for work" have that decision overturned on appeal.

I believe Maria Miller is falling short of her duties in her role as Minister for Disabled People, and as such should be removed from her role in the cabinet. I would like to post an e-petition asking for her to be removed from her role, but we only have 1000 characters to do this. I need help wording the e-petition - please could you post in the comments so we can get a well worded petition together?

Edit 25/10/11

The Shadow Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire is critical of the smearing of people claiming sickness + disability benefits:

EDIT 12/01/2012

The Responsible Reform report proves without doubt that the Minister for Disabled People DOES NOT listen to disabled people, and DOES NOT work with disabled people's organisations.


davisrospeaks said...

Good points. BUT we need united action to rid of the WHOLE Government which is having a devastating effect on the 99% (even if some haven't felt it yet). UNITY Is still Strength and we need an effective alliance that will build a new future

Anonymous said...

She held a "Live Web Chat" - a question and answer session about the proposed Disability Allowance Reforms - great we thought!!

BUT there were over 300 comments and she only (inadequately) answered 6 of 250 questions and left many relevant points unanswered - in my opinion, this was a classic case of her paying lip service.

Anonymous said...

The Government plans to axe mobility help for 78,000 disabled people, including children in residential schools.

Maria Miller failed to turn up to a very important independent inquiry into mobility support for disabled people living in care homes.

The Inquiry is being chaired by Lord Low and facilitated by Mencap and Leonard Cheshire, and it was launched due to a lack of transparency in the Government’s own review.

The Minister for Disabled people did not attend or even offer an explanation as to why she didn't turn up.

ArbeitsSchu said...

Unless of course her role as Minister for Disabled People is to make sure that her wards stay quiet, well-behaved, grovelling and grateful for whatever bone they get tossed, and that their combined voice is translated unto parliament as a whispered tale filtered through the minds of which case she's doing a tip top job.

Anonymous said...

waste of space she was in PR before but does nothing to avert the criticism about her role

Bill Kruse said...

If she was in PR before I'd suggest that's why she's got the job. It's her brief to put the best possible spin on what's actually happening to keep it from the public. Seen in that light her appointment and her behaviour make sense.