Ministers appear to have allowed a controversial d

first_imgMinisters appear to have allowed a controversial disability benefits assessment to be rolled out to hundreds of thousands of long-term claimants with mental health conditions, even though a coroner had warned it was a threat to their lives.Employment minister Chris Grayling (pictured) and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith decided in the summer of 2010 that Labour’s work capability assessment (WCA) could be rolled out to people who had been claiming long-term incapacity benefit (IB) the following spring.But an investigation by Disability News Service (DNS) suggests that Duncan Smith and Grayling – who is now leader of the House of Commons – should have been aware of a legal letter written by coroner Tom Osborne in the wake of the suicide of a disabled man, Stephen Carre, in January 2010.The letter – written under Rule 43 of the Coroner’s Rules, which were updated in 2013 – said Carre’s death was triggered by being found “fit for work”, and it called for a review of the policy not to seek medical evidence from a GP or psychiatrist if the claimant has a mental health condition.A coroner could only write a Rule 43 letter if he or she believed that the evidence they heard in an inquest “gives rise to a concern that circumstances creating a risk of other deaths will occur or will continue to exist in the future”.The WCA roll-out decision was key to the Conservatives’ pre-election pledge to “reduce welfare dependency”.In the run-up to the 2010 election, both the Conservative and Labour parties stressed the importance of reassessing the estimated 1.5 million people still claiming old-style IB.And in late May 2010, Duncan Smith announced that the government would press ahead with plans to put all those currently claiming old-style IB through the WCA in order to test their “readiness for work”.Grayling and Duncan Smith made the decision that they would go ahead with the roll-out of the WCA in the spring of 2011, even though Osborne had written directly to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), just before the 2010 election, with his warning about the assessment.In the years since then, activists have highlighted scores of cases of people whose deaths have been linked to the WCA process, including those of Nick Barker, Jacqueline Harris and Ms DE.Osborne, at the time the assistant deputy coroner for Bedfordshire and Luton, wrote on 30 March 2010 to Yvette Cooper, the Labour work and pensions secretary.He told her that the trigger for the decision of 41-year-old Stephen Carre, from Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, to take his own life had been DWP’s rejection of his appeal against being found “fit for work”.Neither the Atos assessor who assessed Carre, nor the DWP decision-maker who subsequently decided that he was fit for work and therefore ineligible for the new employment and support allowance, sought information from his GP, his community psychiatric nurse or his psychiatrist.Under the Coroner’s Rules, DWP had just 56 days to respond to the coroner – taking the deadline for a response to late May 2010 – which Osborne pointed out in his Rule 43 letter.But despite a legal obligation to respond, and explain what action they planned to take – or explain why they were not taking any action – ministers appear never to have replied to the letter.That summer, Grayling appointed Professor Malcolm Harrington to carry out an independent review of the “fairness and effectiveness” of the WCA, and later told him that he wanted to go ahead with plans to roll out the WCA, despite Harrington suggesting that the roll-out should be delayed by a year.Harrington has told DNS that he was never shown the coroner’s letter.Despite the coroner’s conclusion that being found fit for work was the trigger for Stephen Carre’s decision to take his own life, a DWP spokesman said: “Suicide is a tragic and complex issue and there are often many reasons why someone takes their life, so to link it to one event is misleading.”The spokesman said that a response was sent to the coroner on 4 May 2010, but has so far refused to confirm that this was merely an acknowledgement of the Rule 43 letter, or a holding response.DNS has seen a letter sent to Peter Carre on 6 October 2010 in which the coroner said he had “yet to receive a substantive response” to his Rule 43 report from DWP.The DWP spokesman pointed to the five independent reviews of the WCA, carried out by Harrington and Paul Litchfield, and to the “significant improvements” made to the assessment since 2010.He said these improvements include “improving the opportunities people have to present medical evidence”, and improvements to the process for people with mental health conditions, while the percentage of people with mental health conditions receiving the highest level of support “has more than tripled since 2010”.He said: “The WCA now has a much greater focus on what someone can do and on the impact of mental health conditions on someone’s capability to work.”The DWP spokesman said claimants were “encouraged to provide all evidence that will be relevant to their case at the outset of the claim, including medical evidence supplied by their GP or other medical professionals”, while WCA assessors are “expected to seek further evidence” if it would help them award ESA without the need for a face-to-face assessment.He said DWP decision-makers “assess all available evidence and seek more if required to reach their decision”.But he admitted that DWP was still in discussions with Maximus – which took over the WCA contract from Atos earlier this year – to “pilot new evidence-seeking processes for claimants with mental health conditions”, more than five years after Stephen Carre’s death.Asked whether Grayling and Duncan Smith were shown the letter, he said: “I don’t know. I can’t answer that question.”He said he did not know whether anyone in the press office had asked Duncan Smith about the coroner’s letter, since the questions were emailed to the press office last week by DNS.Asked why the two ministers went ahead with the rollout of the WCA to incapacity benefit claimants early in 2011, despite the concerns raised in the coroner’s report, the DWP spokesman said: “I can’t give chapter and verse on exactly what decisions were made five years ago.”Atos refused to respond to requests for a comment.last_img read more

Scholar Democrats Support SF Sanctuary City Status

first_img Tags: immigration Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Amidst backlash against immigrants that has broken out since the killing of Kathryn Steinle allegedly by an undocumented immigrant facing possible deportation, members of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee voted last night to renew the committee’s support for San Francisco’s policy of being a sanctuary city to immigrants.Though the term is only loosely defined, sanctuary cities generally adopt policies to be uncooperative in federal immigration enforcement operations, or to discourage local law enforcement from inquiring after a person’s immigration status.“I think we have an opportunity to unite as a party,” said Joshua Arce, the committee member who put forward the resolution. “We’ve all come together to express our condolences [to Steinle’s family], but at the same time we’re witnessing a series of attacks on immigrants.”Supervisor David Campos, also a member of the committee, proposed an amendment that went a step further, strongly urging the city not to cooperate with the new federal Priority Enforcement Program, a renaming of the federal Secure Communities program that was also strongly opposed by San Francisco politicians. The program collects information police booking information on suspects to see if they are on a priority list for deportation. 0%center_img To the dismay of civil rights advocates, the information is shared before it is clear whether a suspect has committed a crime.“There is a fear that if we go back on sanctuary city in San Francisco that that will have ramifications in other cities” Campos said. “We have to provide a context for what it means to be a sanctuary city today.”Immigration scholar Susanne Jonas, who has studied migration from Guatemala and Central America for decades, has also opposed policies like the Priority Enforcement Program and mass deportations. She noted that fewer than 30 percent of those deported from local municipalities were in fact felons.Jonas joined Mission Local for a radio interview to talk about sanctuary cities, immigration policy at the local and national level, and how gentrification affects immigrant communities in the Mission. Listen to the interview below, or online at Jonas will also give a talk at Modern Times Bookstore at 7 p.m. tonight.last_img read more

Former La Taqueria workers describe conditions that led to 500K settlement

first_imgEmail Address One former employee, who identified herself as Claudia, said conditions at La Taqueria were oppressive. An immigrant from Honduras, Claudia fought to bring her children from Central America. When one of her kids needed surgery, Claudia said she had to get two co-workers to cover her shift and lost pay. Palyn Mitchell, a staff attorney with the Asian Law Caucus, said La Taqueria — which received international acclaim after it was named the No. 1 burrito joint in the country by the website FiveThirtyEight — hadn’t done enough to notify employees of their rights. Some employees were afraid to speak up because they feared reprisals.“A lot of these workers have said to me, ‘if it were just me, I wouldn’t care. But it’s my family, too.’ And they don’t want to jeopardize their job,” Mitchell said.Under city law, a for-profit business with more than 20 employees has to put money towards its workers’ health care and contribute to a medical plan or the city’s health-care fund. Employees can also request paid sick leave of up to 72 hours in San Francisco. At the press conference, Mission District Supervisor Hillary Ronen said she planned to give the five women commendations at the Board of Supervisors for their accomplishments. “It’s not easy to learn about your rights and then take action,” she said. “When employers are skirting the laws, they make life even more difficult for the people of San Francisco.” The ringleaders of a kitchen uprising in San Francisco’s famed La Taqueria restaurant that resulted in a hefty settlement for a litany of workplace wrongdoings will be taking their payouts to go. The five former employees alleged, among other claims, that they had been forced to work 10-hour days without overtime pay and were denied sick leave. Their accusations led to an investigation of the restaurant by the city’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement and the state Bureau of Field Enforcement, which found that La Taqueria had violated state and city laws pertaining to overtime pay, and that it failed to provide healthcare for its employees. There were also paid sick leave violations and inaccuracies in the employees’ paychecks.But even before the claims were settled, four of the organizers at La Taqueria were fired and another quit. The employees, all women, held a press conference today at the city offices of Young Workers United detailing the roughly $500,000 settlement La Taqueria was forced to disseminate to 30 current and former workers.Photo by Eugeniya Kirovskaya Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletterlast_img read more

SAINTS Rugby Speed Camp will take place July 29 –

first_imgSAINTS Rugby Speed Camp will take place July 29 – August 2 from 9am – 1pm.The camp is for 8-15 year olds and will include: Five days of innovative speed and agility training (including lots of game time to practice your new speed and agility techniques in match situations).Speed and agility testing at the start and end of the camp to track your improvements over the five days. The average speed improvement for the camp, over 40 yards, is 0.27 seconds (this is the equivalent of being one-and-a-half yards quicker).A chance to win several Saints prizes and meet the players plus much, much more!The camp will take place at St.Helens R.F.C.’s training facility at Cowley International College.Visit to find out more and reserve your place.There are only a limited amount of places on the camp so sign up now to avoid disappointment.last_img read more

A SUPERB last gasp try from Joe Greenwood handed S

first_imgA SUPERB last gasp try from Joe Greenwood handed Saints a dramatic 22-16 victory over Wigan at Langtree Park.Nathan Brown’s side produced a performance of real vigour and passion to strengthen their playoff ambitions.It was a game with everything including a wondrous drop goal from the visitors and a breathtaking run from Tommy Makinson to set up the final score.For 75 minutes it was in the balance until the young winger recovered a kick from Matty Smith and flew down the left to set up great field position.It then came inside and Greenwood went over to wild scenes on the terraces.Saints led 12-8 at half time thanks to a strong start and a double from Adam Swift.Wigan hit back through Pat Richards and Josh Charnley but crucially two missed goals put the home side four to the good.Charnley’s early second half score put Wigan ahead before Tommy Makinson levelled it up with a penalty.But a remarkable drop goal from Richards gave the Warriors a one-point lead.Saints missed two penalty attempts before Jordan Turner tagged one – seconds after Blake Green was sinbinned.Matty Smith landed a drop goal with five minutes to go but Saints had one deadly play to finish with – and boy was it clinical.Saints welcomed Anthony Laffranchi back into the line-up with Adam Swift also getting a late call up for Luke Thompson.Josh Jones moved into the second row and Francis Meli started at centre.Wigan were missing Sam Tomkins and Shaun O’Loughlin – Ryan Hampshire and Greg Burke named instead.Both sides played out their sets before a shortish looking kick from Saints put them under pressure.But Wigan knocked on and gave the advantage straight back to the home side.That was the tale of the tape for the opening 10 minutes until Saints improvised on the last and gained a repeat set – thanks to Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook’s break and run.And from that advantage Francis Meli – after a Wigan knock on – fed Adam Swift and he scorched in.Gareth O’Brien converting from a tricky angle.On the 15 minute mark Saints increased their lead – a fantastic break from Jonny Lomax finished off by Adam Swift who was in close attendance.O’Brien 100 per cent with the boot.Saints were clearly on top and it showed when they survived a set of six right on their line after Wigan piled on the pressure.Tony Puletua was pulled for a forward pass to Jonny Lomax on 24 minutes – a decision that seemed harsh – and the Warriors took full advantage.After a penalty – another tough call – the ball was fed left and Richards crossed.Tommy Makinson took a great high ball on 35 minutes as Wigan threatened but a Saints error with three minutes to go handed the Warriors the advantage.And a high ball to the corner was collected by Josh Charnley.In the second half, Wilkin kicked high to Jordan Turner but the centre just couldn’t drag it in.Joe Greenwood had one chalked off for a knock on 45 minutes – a great tackle by Ryan Hampshire – and within seconds Charnley had raced away to level it up.Richards tagging on the extras.Wigan had their tails up and Saints did well to defend their lines.On 55 minutes Scott Taylor hit O’Brien late and high – and was placed on report.Makinson tagged on the penalty but Pat Richards hit a drop goal from an impossible angle – and from around 50 yards out – to put Wigan one point to the good.On 64 minutes Tommy Makinson’s penalty attempt drifted wide as did another two minutes later.But after Blake Green was sinbinned for persistent foul play Jordan Turner made the conversion count.The game had become ‘meaty’ with Wigan’s foul play being punished – and Saints looked more than keen to take the advantage.But Matty Smith hit a drop goal with five minutes to go.Saints weren’t to be outdone though and scored a try that was truly breathtaking.Smith cleared his line but Tommy Makinson returned it with interest. It then came inside and Joe Greenwood showed amazing strength to get over.Turner with the two-pointer.Saints recovered the kick off and the final minute was counted down to jubilant scenes in Langtree Park.Finally, we are home.Match Summary:Saints: Tries: Swift (2), GreenwoodGoals: O’Brien (2 from 2), Makinson (1 from 3), Turner (2 from 2)Wigan: Tries: Richards, Charnley (2)Goals: Richards (1 from 3)Drop: Richards, SmithPenalties: Saints: 12Wigan: 7HT: 12-8FT: 22-16REF: James ChildATT: 14204Teams:Saints:7. Jonny Lomax; 21. Tom Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Francis Meli, 26. Adam Swift; 12. Jon Wilkin, 37. Gareth O’Brien; 11. Tony Puletua, 36. Stuart Howarth, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 13. Willie Manu, 19. Josh Jones, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.Subs: 1. Paul Wellens, 16. Paul Clough, 24. Joe Greenwood, 25. Alex Walmsley.Wigan:32. Ryan Hampshire; 2. Josh Charnley, 3. Darrell Goulding, 22. Anthony Gelling, 5. Pat Richards; 6. Blake Green, 7. Matty Smith; 10. Lee Mossop, 9. Michael McIlorum, 20. Gil Dudson, 16. Chris Tuson, 12. Liam Farrell, 29. Greg Burke.Subs: 15. Ben Flower, 21.Scott Taylor, 23. Logan Tomkins, 26. Dominic Crosby.last_img read more

Led by Gareth Foster and Brad Billsborough those

first_imgLed by Gareth Foster and Brad Billsborough, those who participated got the chance to get involved in a number of activities such as light chair exercises and rugby passing plus a range of fun skill games.last_img

Justin Holbrook and his squad enjoyed a twocourse

first_imgJustin Holbrook and his squad enjoyed a two-course Christmasy dinner with several supporters whilst our MC Pete Emmett conducted proceedings in his own inimitable style.We hope everybody enjoyed themselves as much as we did!last_img

Humpday Health Healthy food options and meal plans in schools

first_img00:00 00:00 html5: Video file not found spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — “We really encourage them to make those healthy, balanced choices through the nutrition education in our dining hall,” said Ana Forte, the regional wellness manager for Flik Independent School Dining.A big part of any student’s day is their time in the cafeteria.- Advertisement – Not just because they get to interact with their friends; they’re also fueling their bodies to learn, but they need the right kind of fuel.“Your brain is a muscle, and what you feed your brain affects how that muscle is going to work. So if you’re feeding it high sugary foods, then the brain is going to end up taking all that energy at once, but burning it very quickly,” said Forte.Four years ago, Cape Fear Academy partnered with Flik Independent School Dining to assist in creating a healthy meal plan for their students.Related Article: Communities in Schools holding Back to School Supply DriveA dietitian works with Cape Fear’s in-house chef to craft a menu that is nutritionally balanced, addresses various health concerns, and meets the diverse needs of the students.“If a child has a well-balanced meal with a protein, a carbohydrate, fruits, and vegetables, they’re balanced, which means they’re coming into the classroom invigorated with energy and ready to learn,” said Becky Van Heukelom, a teacher at Cape Fear Academy.Half the battle is providing the healthy food options. The other side of the coin is explaining to the kids why their nutrition matters.“The nutrition education is especially important for the younger children, because if we can teach them at a younger age to make half of their plate fruits and vegetables, to eat the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates, they’re gonna take that with them through college, through the rest of their career,” said Forte.Kickstarting a healthy lifestyle now could make all the difference when your child grows up.last_img read more

Relatively quiet summer yields sweet muscadine grape season

first_imgDUBLIN, NC (WWAY) — Good news in our local wine industry!Mother Nature brought just the right conditions this summer for area wineries to have a profitable season.- Advertisement – Ron Taylor at Lu Mil Vineyard and Winery in Dublin said a late freeze last year made way for a poor season for muscadine grapes.With plenty of rain this summer, this season was much more favorable.Taylor said they starting picking the day after labor day but with a threat of a tropical system they got in the field quickly.Related Article: List of North Carolina farms to check out this holiday season“Because the wines are so heavy a little bit of wind would have blown a lot of fruit off and could have severely damage the vineyard as far as that goes, but we were blessed,” Taylor said. “We had a good crop and a big crop. There were a lot of grapes that were in the field.”Taylor say if they are making juice or jams, they will be crushed immediately then bottled. For the grapes that will turn into wine it takes about six months.last_img read more

Thousands visit Billy Graham Library to pay respects

first_imgCHARLOTTE, NC (WWAY) — People gathered at The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte to pay their respects to Reverend Graham who died Wednesday at the age of 99.WWAY’s Andrew James has been there all day.- Advertisement – People say they were thankful for the life the minister led and came to share with thanks and respect.Outside of the library grounds, a memorial has been put up for the late evangelical minister. Flowers and other small tokens are being left as a sign of thanks to Rev. Graham. People visiting Charlotte from all across the country say they had to come here today after they heard the news of his passing.One grandmother made sure to bring her grandson to the library to say goodbye.Related Article: Papers of Billy Graham to be transferred to library“We wanted to come pay our respects to the great Billy Graham,” Mary Wallace said. “We went through the library for about the fifth time to just see him and say goodbye, but it’s not goodbye it’s see you later because we’ll be there with him before you know it.”Billy Graham Evangelical Association for information on funeral arrangements for the Reverend will be holding a press conference at 7:30 p.m.Watch the latest tonight on WWAY News at 11.last_img read more