Disability Rights UK E-Newsletter 20th January 2020

Our free newsletter keeps you up to date with the work we do, the work of our members and news from the sector.

If you’re a member organisation and wish to submit an article for consideration, email members@disabilityrightsuk.org.


Upcoming Training Courses



DR UK is running a number of training courses in the next few months. They are:

Benefits Overview Course - 21st January 2020

Disability Confidence Training - 11th February 2020

Disability and Carer’s Benefits Course - 26th February 2020

Into Apprenticeships and Training: Why employing disabled young people will benefit employers - 27th February 2020

Preparing for a Court Tribunal Course - 23rd April 2020

Click on the links to find out more, including how to register. If you have any questions, please contact training@disabilityrightsuk.org.


News Roundup



Botched ESA switch sees 5,000 die before receiving benefits

A government error saw 5,000 chronically ill and disabled people die before they could receive benefits they were entitled to. The error occurred when they were switched over from incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance to employment and support allowance (ESA).

The DWP failed to follow its own guidance in properly checking claimants’ full entitlements before switching, A review is now being undertaken of 600,000 cases with 122,000 people being paid on average £5,000 to which they are entitled.

DRUK’s Evan Odell said: “That 5,000 disabled people were denied the proper support to live independently before they died is scandalous, as is the 112,000 people who had had to wait years for these errors to be corrected.

“To make matters worse, the problems with the employment and support allowance system that have led to hundreds of millions of pounds of arrears payments are still present. Seventy-five per cent of ESA applicants who appeal DWP decisions to the social security tribunal win; this case is merely one more piece of evidence showing how ESA is not fit for purpose.” More here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/january/5000-died-without-benefit-entitlements-botched-esa-switch


Don’t push the Red Button service, BBC urged

A consortium of Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) including The National Federation of the Blind UK (NFBUK) and Disability Rights UK is calling on the BBC to keep its Red Button Teletext service which is set to be withdrawn at the end of January 2020.

The Red Button service has largely been replaced in popular use by internet services, but for visually impaired, D/deaf, disabled, older people and other hard to reach social groups, many of whom do not have internet access, it is a vital service.

The consortium is concerned that withdrawal of the service will leave many people who are already vulnerable further isolated and marginalised from society. It has fears that the BBC may not be meeting its obligations set out in the Royal Charter for public broadcast if the Red Button Teletext service is withdrawn. More here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/january/dpo-consortium-calls-bbc-not-push-red-button-service


Half of disabled travellers feel they can’t fly, finds Which? survey

A lack of adaptations by travel-related businesses has led to half of all disabled people feeling they cannot fly according to a survey of disabled people by Which? Travel and the Research Institute of Disabled Consumers (RIDC).

A quarter were dissatisfied with the assistance available, rising to nearly a third for Heathrow services.

A lack of staff to provide legally necessary assistance has resulted in passengers’ safety being put in peril. Airports do not provide self-propelled wheelchairs, and disabled people who don’t use wheelchairs also feel discriminated against, feeling that staff only class wheelchair users as disabled.

Travel blogger Martin Sibley points out the business case for better travel for disabled people. “If we’ve got 1.3 billion people with disabilities in the world, that equates to $8 trillion of spending power. In 2020, I believe it’s the right thing that everybody should be included in transport.”

Travel writer Emily Rose Yates told The Daily Telegraph: “It’s tough to keep going when the stuffing has been knocked out of you and you just can’t bear the thought of encountering another damaged wheelchair disembarking the plane with you, or explaining once again to the hotel manager that accessibility does not mean a lift with five steps up to it.”

The RIDC has created a web resource to help people ask for the help they need when travelling: https://www.ridc.org.uk/news/special-assistance-airports.

More here: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/01/almost-half-of-disabled-people-feel-they-cant-travel-by-air/


Large increase in disability employment discrimination cases

An analysis of cases being brought to employment tribunals published by the Financial Times has shown a “surge” in cases of disability discrimination. DRUK’s Evan Odell said:

“The increase in disability discrimination cases being brought to tribunal after the removal of tribunal fees was entirely predictable. But many barriers to justice remain for disabled people. Cuts to legal aid and the lack of support for law centres means many disabled people struggle to access free and impartial legal advice about their employment rights, or face financial barriers to bringing a claim even without the fees. Many employers large and small also remain unaware of their legal duties towards disabled employees and the benefits of having disabled people on staff, as well as programmes like Access to Work that can pay for the cost of many reasonable adjustments.” Read the full story here:



Disabled persons’ employment up by 350,000

Employment data released earlier this month shows that an estimated 4.2 million disabled are in work, an increase of 354,000 from the previous year. This represents 53.2% of disabled people, up from 51.2% a year previously. However the number of disabled people who are economically inactive also increased slightly. There remains a large ‘disability employment gap’. The employment rate of disabled people is 28.6% lower than non-disabled people. The full report can be read at: https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7540#fullreport


Disability Rights Handbook – Special Offer



DR UK is pleased to announce we are selling all remaining copies of our 2019/20 Handbook at the special reduced price of £17.00 (list price £35.00).

Keeping up with the benefit rules is crucial! Universal Credit has now been rolled out across the UK.

The 2019/20 edition includes: · Benefits for people living with health conditions, injury or disability and for carers, children and young people · How the system works, how to claim and how to challenge a decision · Support for people in education or work, not in work, looking for work or in retirement · Getting and paying for care and support services

Visit the Disability Rights UK shop to buy your copy now – while stocks last.

Proceeds will help us research future versions and continue to produce our free public factsheets.


Get Involved!


‘Fire it up’ – apprenticeships week

National Apprenticeships Week runs from 3-9 February. DRUK is encouraging parents, teachers, apprentices and employers to take part in a number of ways. Details here:



Disability and Skills Unit apprenticeships conference

DRUK’s Disability and Skills Unit’s will be hosting a free apprenticeships conference on 27 February at Resource for London, Holloway, in London. The all-day event will provide information and advice for employers, careers and enterprise advisers, disabled people, family carers and those supporting disabled young people into work, training and education.

Book your places here by 12 February: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=129 and email reception@resourceforlondon.org if you need (limited, first come, first served) Blue Badge parking.


EU care workers survey

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) is asking EU nationals to complete its EU care workers survey. The survey is aimed at EU nationals and non-EU/non-UK family members of EU nationals working in the care industry.

It looks at how Brexit and the Government’s arrangements for EU nationals are affecting people in the care industry and will inform its wider campaign for all EU nationals and their families to secure the right to stay in the UK after Brexit.

Increase your written content’s accessibility

The Big Hack is hosting two workshops at Scope Headquarters in Plexal, Stratford, London, where you can learn about inclusive design and how to create accessible content with one of Scope’s writing and accessibility specialists.

These workshops are open to anyone who works in content creation, marketing or copywriting. No previous knowledge of accessibility is needed to attend and will teach people to:

- Apply best practice accessibility standards to your content – Write accessible copy – Structure your content for screen readers (and real people) – Use accessible colours, fonts and links – Create accessible PDFs, images, graphs and videos – Research and test your content with disabled people.

Places can be booked here:

Friday 28th February 10:00 to 13:00 (Eventbrite) Friday 27th March 10:00 to 13:00 (Eventbrite)


Accessible football futures

Plexal in East London is hosting an event on 28 January around shaping the future of football so that it can be more accessible. Details here: http://www.getyourselfactive.org/stories/join-this-event-and-help-to-shape-the-future-of-accessible-football/


Managing Disability in the Workplace event

DRUK is delighted to be partnering with Dods Diversity and Inclusion for its Managing Disability in the Workplace event in London on 10 March 2020. Visit the Dods Diversity website for details and to register.


DWP seeks help to improve gov.uk accessibility

www.gov.uk is the UK’s public sector information website, providing a single point of access to HM Government services. The websites of all government departments and many other agencies and public bodies have been merged into the gov.uk website.

The DWP wants to improve the gov.uk website. It is focussing on helping customers with a disability who need it to adjust the way it communicates. You can submit feedback via this survey link: https://getinvolved.dwp.gov.uk/06-service-excellence-group/8abc00c5/ until 9 February.



Disability Rights UK

Plexal 14 East Bay Lane Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stratford, LondonE20 3BS United Kingdom

0330 995 0400


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