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Disability campaigners criticise welfare changes

Disability Rights UK have criticised the Government's plans Credit: PA

Disability rights campaigners have poured doubt on the Government's plans to change the welfare payments system.

Proposed changes to the eligibility criteria for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - to be implemented in January - are "not needed", according to Disability Rights UK.

In a statement on its website, the charity said the changes earmarked would make it harder for many disabled people to qualify for PIP in future.

The organisation described the current PIP assessment as failing to consider the extra costs for housebound people who will have higher heating bills, or those with incontinence who will have bigger water bills due to washing their clothes more often.

We would like to see an assessment which accurately reflect these additional costs.

However, the current system represents a significant improvement over all of the suggested options in the consultation.

PIP needs change, but PIP does not need this change.

– Disability Rights UK

Meanwhile, the MS Society said the changes could be "devastating" for multiple sclerosis suffers and would "fail some of the most vulnerable people in society".


Scope: Two-thirds of disabled adults 'treated differently'

The disabled charity Scope has exclusively revealed to ITV News that two-thirds of disabled adults say they are still treated differently, 20 years after the Disability Discrimination Act.

It also reveals:

of disabled people say the UK is a good place to be a disabled person
have experienced discrimination in shops, a third (31%) in cinemas and theatre
of the public admit that they feel uncomfortable talking to disabled people
feel they have missed out on a job “every time” or “a lot of the time” because of their disability
Nearly a quarter of a million disabled people said they had been treated unfairly by an employer
The amount disabled people spend an average on disability related costs
1 in 10
disabled people pay an extra £1000 a month in additional living costs
  • Source: Scope


Charity: Tourist sites 'not taking accessibility seriously'

A disability charity which has found that only one third of top UK tourist sites are wheelchair accessible said tourist attractions are not taking the issue seriously.

A disability charity has found that only one third of top UK tourist sites are wheelchair accessible. Credit: PA Wire

Vitalise's chief executive Chris Simmonds said: "The results of our survey show too many of Britain's tourist attractions are not taking accessibility seriously. That has got to improve."

These venues need to work just as hard on how they communicate essential accessibility information to people with disabilities. Our own research shows two thirds of disabled people decide against visiting attractions because of a lack of clear information about how accessible it is.

– Chris Simmonds, Vitalise

Vitalise, which provides short breaks for disabled people and their carers, asked 100 tourist destinations to provide information about their accessibility. Two thirds of those who replied admitted they were not fully accessible.

'Two thirds of UK tourist sites not wheelchair accessible'

Just one third of the UK's top tourist attractions are fully wheelchair accessible, a disability charity has found.

Just one third of the UK's top tourist attractions are fully wheelchair accessible. Credit: PA Wire

Vitalise, which provides short breaks for disabled people and their carers, asked the top 100 tourist destinations as rated by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions to provide information about their accessibility, receiving just 52 replies.

Of those, 33 were admitted they were not fully accessible to wheelchair users, while 13 had no disabled car parking spaces and the same number did not advertise the information on their websites.

Councils using new powers to seize blue badges

The Local Government Association has said that Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Plymouth Council and Hull City Council recently secured their first prosecutions against fraudsters. Manchester City Council has a 100% conviction rate with more than 500 prosecutions in the past five years.

It is shocking how low some people are stooping in order to con a few hours of free parking, including using a dead relative's blue badge or leaving a disabled parent trapped in their home.

Councils are determined to do everything in their power to protect the quality of life for our disabled and vulnerable residents.

– Peter Box, chairman of the LGA's economy and transport board

Councils are also using new powers to seize and confiscate badges suspected of being used illegally and some have set up specific enforcement teams to tackle blue badge fraud.

Blue badge fraud prosecutions 'double' in three years

The number of prosecutions for Blue badge fraud have doubled in three years, with professional people such as lawyers and architects among the offenders.

Unscrupulous fraudsters have been caught using a dead relative's pass or leaving a disabled parent stuck at home in order to park for free to go shopping or travel to work, said the Local Government Association (LGA) .

Blue badge fraud has doubled. Credit: PA

There were 686 successful council prosecutions in 2013 - up from 330 in 2010 as councils cracked down on offenders.

More than two million disabled people use blue badges for free parking in pay-and-display bays and parking for up to three hours on yellow lines through the nationwide scheme. In London, badge-holders are exempt from the congestion charge.

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