A minister partly responsible for the UK being found guilty of “grave or systematic violations” of the UN disability convention has been branded “highly offensive” after announcing that her government would try to become a “world leader” on disability.Priti Patel (pictured) was employment minister for more than a year while the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) was investigating her government for breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), as a result of its social security reforms.When the UN committee published its report last month, concluding that the UK government had breached disabled people’s human rights across three key parts of the convention, her government dismissed its work, with work and pensions secretary Damian Green describing it as “patronising and offensive”.But Patel has now pledged commitment to the convention in a bid to be seen as a global leader on disability.On Saturday, Patel – now the international development secretary – used the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) to publish plans to “lead a step-change in the world’s efforts to end extreme poverty by pushing disability up the global development agenda”.A new paper published by her department says the UK government will “drive action to improve the lives of people with disabilities”.It says: “By upholding our commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we will ensure people with disabilities are systematically and consistently included in, and benefit from, international aid and humanitarian assistance.”The new paper adds: “We will continue to invest in social protection systems in order to increase their coverage, quality and sustainability.“For too long, decision makers have overlooked people with disabilities – we will work to change this.“We will strengthen our work on disability and establish [the Department for International Development] as the global leader in this neglected and under-prioritised area.”Only last month, CRPD was concluding that the UK government’s social security reforms had “disproportionately affected persons with disabilities and hindered various aspects of their right to live independently and be included in the community”.Linda Burnip, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), the grassroots network of disabled people that persuaded the UN to carry out its inquiry, said: “The thought of the Department for International Development led by Priti Patel fighting to improve the rights of disabled people around the world is laughable, given her previous track record as minister for employment.“The thought that someone who was part of a government condemned by the UN for the grave or systematic violation of disabled people’s human rights in the UK having the remotest interest in improving the life chances of any disabled person is highly offensive.”Patel visited the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) as part of her efforts to use IDPD to promote her department’s new paper.Disability News Service asked LCD whether it had any concerns about the UK government being found guilty by CRPD of “grave or systematic violations” of the UNCRPD, and then claiming it wants to be a global leader on disability, but the charity had not commented by noon today (8 December).Meanwhile, Remploy, the formerly government-owned disability employment business, now mostly owned by the scandal-hit US company Maximus, marked IDPD by holding a social media question and answer session… and then blocking disabled activists who tried to take part.Remploy – which the Department for Work and Pensions has given Disability Confident Leader status as part of its newly-relaunched disability employment scheme – advertised the session with four of its disabled “ambassadors” on Twitter with the hashtag #AskUsAnything.But when disabled campaigners took the four ambassadors at their word and started asking questions about Maximus’s links to the government’s welfare reforms – including carrying out work capability assessments (WCAs) – and the deaths of benefit claimants, they were blocked by Remploy.One campaigner, @dinogoldie, was blocked after asking a series of questions including: “Is not a #disability employment service owned by a #disability denial factory a conflict of interest? #wca.”@dinogoldie later added: “I asked @RemployPP some legitimate questions so they blocked me. Not very #DisabilityConfident.”DPAC itself was blocked after asking: “How does it feel to work for a company owned by Maximus who make money from persecuting disabled people? #WCA #AskUsAnything.”Another disabled campaigner, @otivar55, was blocked after asking: “Why did those poor people die during sanctions?”Other than those put by anti-cuts activists, there appear to have been few questions asked of Remploy’s “ambassadors”.A Remploy spokeswoman said that a “small number of people” were blocked on Twitter.She said: “The Twitter Q&A on Friday was led by a group of Remploy disability ambassadors who were keen to share their lived experience on [IDPD], and support employers to create equality in employment opportunities.“The Remploy disability ambassadors had a really productive, well-engaged discussion and we look forward to continuing to support disabled people to find sustainable employment. “A small number of Twitter users were blocked from our account only because the questions they asked took the focus away from sharing experiences and helping employers create a more inclusive environment. “We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”Meanwhile, Shaping Our Lives, the national network of service-users, marked IDPD by launching a new “charter for change” it has developed alongside the British Association of Social Workers.The charter – produced following 18 months of discussions – aims to ensure all disabled adults and social workers work together to tackle barriers to independent living and to improve wellbeing.Among its pledges, the charter says that both disabled people and social workers will “act like people, and not just follow mechanistic processes”, and that they will “have conversations rather than being bound by forms and procedures”.And it says: “We will continue to work to overcome power imbalances between disabled adults and social workers leading to equal relationships and co-producing solutions.”There is also reference to the crisis in social care funding, with the charter pledging that both disabled people and social workers will “be aware of the impact of policies across central and local government, and health and other services on disabled adults’ lives”.Ann Nutt, a service-user and co-chair of Shaping Our Lives, said the charter “brings clarity and focuses on the development of a partnership strategy between disabled people and social workers”.Joanna Matthews, chair of the user-led charity Unlimited Oxfordshire, said: “Some of our members have already faced cuts in their budgets or struggled to get a timely assessment.“It really matters to have a good relationship with your social worker, so that in these times of cuts and hardship we can all work together to make a little go a long way.”Another user-led organisation to mark IDPD was the Norfolk-based disabled people’s organisation Equal Lives, which linked with DPAC to hold a protest outside an inaccessible building in Norwich that is used by the government contractor Atos as an assessment centre for disabled people claiming personal independence payments.
IN great spirits from the previous evening’s victory the players were rewarded with an early morning recovery session in the outdoor swimming pool, writes Neil Kilshaw.It was a nice 7.30am start and thus our preparations for Penrith on Saturday began!Whilst the players were refreshed from a full night’s sleep the same couldn’t be said of the staff.Tommy’s sleep talking has intensified from nonsense words through to violently kicking at walls, and last night he dragged his half back partner Dek Hardman into an argument over who should answer the door.Needless to say neither of them remembered anything!The party then spent the day wakeboarding and straightaway the daft questions began:Chris Worrall: “Will it be sunny in the lake?”Connor Smith: “What’s the difference between the medium and large board?”Liam Cooper: “What does the V mean by the rump steak? Is it a vegetarian meal?”As for the wakeboarding… Danny Abram and Danny Richardson were the masters and negotiated the jumps and platforms.Ricky Bailey also managed one jump, but I’m sure it was a fluke…Bobby and my good self tried to get ‘some air’ but with painful consequences due to head first crash landings!Admirable mention also goes to physio Dave Weldon. God loves a trier and poor old Dave certainly tried (unsuccessfully) … for six hours.Tomorrow the squad will be up and out for training at 8am as all our focus shifts to the mighty challenge of Penrith.For the latest on the Academy Tour, click here.
SAINTS take on Leeds Rhinos in the Fifth Round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup this Saturday with another tight and titanic game expected.Both sides have dished up some classics over recent seasons with last minute wins the order of the day.Saints edged the first meeting this season with a late Tommy Makinson try securing a 14-10 victory.“Every time we play Leeds it is a close game,” Nathan Brown said. “Since I have been at Saints we have won a couple and they’ve done the same. Every game has been a good game of footy and this one will be no different.“The respect from club to club is high. Our away support has been brilliant and they will travel in numbers again. It is a big tie at a great place, on a great field and I have no doubt the winner would fancy themselves to push through and have a genuine chance of going to Wembley.”Saints will welcome back a number of players on Saturday with Jonny Lomax, Luke Walsh, James Roby and Alex Walmsley all expected to return.Anthony Laffranchi, Willie Manu and Gary Wheeler aren’t available though and Kyle Amor is rated as 50:50.“We played two games of very different significance last weekend,” Brown continued. “We played a very good Wigan team and there wasn’t a great deal in game. It was three tries apiece in the first half and it was a good half to watch.“They were a little bit better than us and that showed in the second half. They scored a nice try from a kick and a nice shift try too then it was pretty even after that. We weren’t far away but we weren’t good enough to beat a side of Wigan’s quality.“On Monday we had 12 or 13 blokes out of the top 25 not playing and it was always going to be a tough game. It was one I would have liked us to do better in but there were a lot of positives. The young kids did well. The likes of Luke Thompson, Joe Greenwood and Andre Savelio really put their hands up and others contributed too.“That is great for the squad moving forward and hopefully we will see the benefit down the line. A fresh Roby, Lomax and Walsh is a good thing for us and the time off will do them well.”He continued: “Leeds are a good side who I predicted would be one of the teams to beat at the beginning of the season. They are in good form too.“Over the weekend they bumped into a Bradford side who aren’t where they would like to be. Salford have a new coach and a talented squad so what Leeds did to them showed the quality they have.”Tickets for the match remain on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.
THE Saints Superstore is the ideal place to find that perfect gift for the Saints fan in your life.Opening Hours:DateSaints SuperstoreTicket OfficeSaturday Jan 2CLOSEDCLOSEDSunday Jan 3CLOSEDCLOSEDMonday Jan 49am-5pm9am-5pmYou can order your gifts online at the Saints Superstore.
SAINTS Superstore’s opening hours for the festive season are:DateSaints SuperstoreTicket OfficeSunday January 1CLOSEDCLOSEDMonday January 2CLOSEDCLOSEDTuesday January 39am – 5pm9am – 5pmPlease note opening hours are subject to change – keep an eye on this page and @saints1890 on Twitter for any alterations.
The 28-year-old Grand Final winner has put pen to paper on a three-year contract and will link up with his new teammates in the off-season.“My family and I are really excited to be moving to England,” Lachlan said. “It is a great opportunity to play for such a proud and successful club and I’m really looking forward to settling in and kicking off the 2019 season.”Coote comes to the Totally Wicked Stadium with bags of experience and a winning mentality that has been proven in the NRL.The Scottish international has played 166 times in the NRL after making his debut for Penrith in 2008.He went on to make 83 appearances for the Panthers before he signed for Cowboys in 2014.It was there that his skills and big game experience came to the fore.He played a massive part in North Queensland’s run to the 2015 Grand Final and was integral in back-stopping them to a heart-stopping 17-16 Golden Point win over Brisbane Broncos.The following year the Cowboys became World Champions and Coote scored in the 38-4 win over Leeds at Headingley.“I’m really excited to have such a quality player coming to our club,” Saints Head Coach Justin Holbrook said. “He is an exciting player with a good kicking game and vision.“He will suit our club perfectly.”Coote played City Origin in 2012 and lined up for the Prime Minister’s XIII in their end-of-season match against Papua New Guinea.He has also featured three times for Scotland.Saints Chairman Eamonn McManus added: “Lachlan is a proven top class full back or half back with a great all round game. He’s performed for years at the highest level and will also provide experience and leadership within an already strong Saints squad next season and beyond.“We are all looking forward to welcoming him to the Club.”