Musings: Lifestyle Change vs. Political Change and Disability

Just replied to a comment on my blog from a disability campaigner now owning that his focus is on “lifestyle change rather than political change” (I’m one of more than a few people with criticism of the BioPsychoSocial mantras being rammed down our throats).

This is my response:

“Again – lifestyle change for disabled people not born into privilege will not happen without political change.”


I still don’t want to live this life – the real world 2 months #afterESA

Today marks the point of no return for many disabled and ill people. An estimated 40,000 – 100,000 of those in our community who have worked will lose our Contributory Employment Support Allowance (ESA)  thanks to the new one year time limit railroaded through Parliament as part of the recent welfare reforms.

I’m one of them. Continue reading

Pat’s Petition: Update for 16th April 2012 via

Let’s help Pat reach 100,000 signatures

Over 35,000 people have signed Pat’s Petition so far

 Have YOU?

Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services, which are falling disproportionately

on disabled people, their carers and families

Welfare reform – NHS – local authority budgets – legal aid – sure start – Independent Living Fund – Remploy – social grant fund

Please sign Pat’s Petition

 click here:


Share, Share, Share

  1. In e-mails, via social media, blogs
  2. Add to newsletters
  3. Ask family, friends, work colleagues, contacts
  4. If you are part of the Hardest Hit / Care and Support Alliances, send your members the details. This is a great way for those unable to attend protests to add their voices to the many others raised in anger. Request your staff to sign.

Please send a supporting statement to detailing the actions you’ve taken.

These will be added to Pat’s campaign blog


The Joint Committee on Human Rights also recently highlighted the risks regarding the rights of disabled people in their report, Implementation of the Right of Disabled People to Independent Living’. Also the Scottish Campaign for a fair Society, told the Human Rights Council of the UN that the United Kingdom Government is in breach of its human rights obligations to disabled people, their carers and families.

#ATOSuni update no. 5: Derby U. sleight of hand

The Masters of the Universe running French IT firm Atos Origin are quite an ambitious lot. Continue reading

Smoke and Mirrors: Remploy & Access to Work

REMPLOY bills itself as the UK’s leading provider of employment services for people with disabilities.  In the wake of government cuts to funding, the company is closing its contested Factories is re-establishing itself as yet another support mechanism for both Jobseekers and potential employers alike. They claim to have supported more than 20,000 people to find, and remain in, employment in 2010/11Note the emphasis on “finding” work and “remaining in” employment (which works well given the catastrophic failures of A4E doing similar work as a Provider of outsourced government unemployment support).

Many Disability Campaigners, myself included, and various segments of the media have accused the government of diverting funds that should go into keeping open Remploy factories. The culprit has been named and shamed as the Department of Pensions  “Access to Work” programme for disabled people returning to work (aka “welfare to work”).

Access to Work is yet another government programme under the auspices of the DWP’s JobCentre Plus. 

@ITVLauraK - Remploy

Tweet from ITV Reporter Laura Kuenssberg

source: @ITVLaura 


What few of us had yet to realise is that in December of 2011, Remploy was awarded the tender for a new UK-wide Access To Work programme to support those of us with mental health conditions back into work.


DWP confirm REMPLOY Tender

DWP confirm REMPLOY Tender - Dec'11: mental health support in Access to Work Programme

source: DWP



REMPLOY confirm DWP Access to Work Tender.

REMPLOY confirm DWP Access to Work Tender same day as DWP announcemen. 5th tDec'11

source: REMPLOY (pls click to review all details not included in screenshot)


I only discovered this in the last two weeks myself, after my public meltdown after being forced off ESA (a saga itself and the aftermath of which are worthy of their own posts). I am now an Access to Work “customer” forced to deal with a number of Third Party Service Providers of which REMPLOY is only one and the experience is not dissimilar to those under A4E and other external providers whilst receiving Employment Support Allowance and /or Jobseeker’s Allowance.  Whenever I mention the factories closing, #REMPLOY staff always claim to know nothing about it & mention the new #mhuk contract.

According to the DWP Access to Work is available to anyone who is:

  • in a paid job
  • unemployed and about to start a job
  • unemployed and about to start a Work Trial
  • self-employed

and your disability or health condition stops you from being able to do parts of your job.

Your disability or health condition may not have a big effect on what you do each day, but may have a long-term effect on how well you can do your job.

So that Employers don’t suffer too much inconvenience or  financial hardship the programme will cover the cost of suitable adaptations for their workplace.

Your employer’s responsibilities

Once your adviser has decided on the package of support they feel is appropriate, they will seek formal approval of their recommendations from Jobcentre Plus. You and your employer will then receive a letter informing you of the approved level of support and the grant available.

It is the responsibility of your employer – or you, if you are self-employed – to arrange the agreed support and buy the necessary equipment. Your employer can then claim repayment of the approved costs from Access to Work.


Access to Work details on Direct Gov

Access to Work details on DirectGov

source: DirectGov (pls click to review all details not included in screenshot)

For those in the Employers’ Forum on Disability who welcomed government implementation of the Sayce Review and complained that REMPLOY Factories were just another form of social and professional isolation for disabled people, it seems that this new Mental Health Support service within the already established Access to Work framework  is the panacea to those particular ills. This new REMPLOY contract with Access to Work was most likely the sweetener that made it very easy for the REMPLOY Board to propose closing of 36 of its 54 factories thereby putting 1,700 disabled people out of work – and into the power of JobCentre Plus. After all, the 18 months of “support” for ex-REMPLOY employees that Disability Minister Maria Miller and other politicians continue to over-sell is the same that made the likes of A4E’s Emma Harrison a millionairess with a Stately Home, in spite of fraud accusations and a service that didn’t deliver on it’s “Benefits Buster” promises.

The DWP have killed two birds with one Sayce Review stone – Liz Sayce had called for more funding  to be put into Access to Work and for REMPLOY to be modernised.  Forcing disabled people into mainstream employment, regardless of suitability albeit with “support”  for our own good, is quite a progressive neo-liberal move indeed.

Related information:


ATOS Meltdown Continued: Dark Night of the Soul (#DWPPressOffice #workfare #ESA #disabilityUK #ukmh #mhuk #a4e)




Sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand and mentor you through things.

This is one of those times.

Continue reading

Media: “Technical Difficulties” with Tim Abbott – 24 Feb 2012

Resonance FM
Image via Wikipedia (CC “Fair Use”)



Today marked my first foray into radio.

I was a guest on Tim Abbott’s “Technical Difficulties” radio show on Resonance FM.

You can listen to the Podcast at

Continue reading

STORIFY – “After ATOS Calls: Mental Health Meltdown”

Just published my first Twitter-based Storify “After #ATOS Calls: Mental Health Meltdown”.

I’ve decided to carry on doing these as long as the DisabilityUK Community is under threat. Please share your #ukmh #mhuk stories and opinions with me via Twitter for next ones. Use as many Tweets as you need.  Continue reading

My first-ever radio appearance – 24th Feb 2012

Tomorrow at 15:30 GMT I’ll be a guest on Tim Abbot’s “Technical Difficulties” Resonance FM radio show.

You can listen online HERE


The details are as follows: Technical Difficulties

When: Fri, 24 February, 15:30 – 16:00

Description: Insights into disability with Tim Abbott and crew.
On this week’s show, we are joined by Lisa J. Ellwood, Disability and Mental Health campaigner to cast light into the relationship between out-of-work benefits, employment and sanctions and the rise of ‘workfare’ in the UK. More from her can be found at and on Twitter @creativecrip . We can be always be found on Twitter @lightchronic and facebook.comlightchronicles
Related information:

Dear #UKgov – The #Workfare Tarot doesn’t lie …

Tarot has always been an interest of mine, to the chagrin of some of my fellow NDNZ who don’t have an affinity for anything “New Age”.

Being that as it may, it’s been a log time since made use of my account. Cheeky madame that I am, this is what the digital soothsayer shared with me when I asked specifically about my ability to move house and get off of needing Benefits:

The Card is JUDGEMENT (Celtic Cross, Lesson position):


The card in the Lesson position points to a possible sacrifice you might have to make for the sake of business success.

You have made progress, gleaning some understanding and wisdom from your efforts to succeed in business. The card in the Lesson position points to a remaining issue that holds educational value for you, or to some sacrifice you still need to make for the sake of fulfilling your goals. You may have to let go of something you like, for the sake of balance in your plan.

Stubbornness or selfishness in this regard could cost you.

It is crucial to acknowledge the value of your work experience for the sake of your financial success. No matter how difficult it may be, make sure to honor what you are currently learning as you do you reaffirm your commitment to developing your skills and growing in your ability to contribute.

Personal investment is called for in order to derive the full benefits from the business you conduct in the world. “


I find it hard to believe that I should sacrifice my creative and technical skills for a McJob that pays less than minimum wage. As I said in my previous post – Workfare is not  (and should not be) an option for me. Seems the Great Spirit agrees.


Related Information: