Saturday 8 January 2011

Less than a week to go - One Month Before Heartbreak

I need to write a post with some more details of One Month Before Heartbreak, I really do.  Hopefully if I don't get that done tonight (I'm off out in about half an hour not sure for how long) I will get it up tomorrow.

But one really, really great thing you can do to help us promote One Month Before Heartbreak is to use this image that Lisa (@IconicImagery) made for us.  Put it on your blog.  Use it as your facebook profile pic or your avatar on twitter.  Or some other site that I either can't think of or don't know about (if you do think of another site, let me know. I'd hate to be missing a site I might love!)

It's a purple triangle point downwards with a big red heard in the middle and splatters around it, a bit like blood.  At the top is says 1 Month Before Heartbreak, at the bottom The Broken of Britain.  And I absolutely love it. Love it.

Friday 7 January 2011

The Broken of Britain Submission to the Consultation on DLA reform - Call for Evidence and Criticism

This is your chance to shape The Broken of Britain's submission to the Public Consultation on DLA reform. Being an user-led group, we are interested in everything you have to say, even if you have never been on our blog or forum before. Read what we've written, take bits out, put new bits in, tell us what you like and don't like, and tell us if you disagree with us - we just want to make sure that we're accurately putting your views across.

This is a link to our forum where there is a downloadable first draft of the submission.

We need criticism and testimonies. First, on criticism, read our submission and either tell us what you want to critique, change, or get rid of completely. Or you can do it yourself given time/spoons and email the amended document to:

On testimonies, we need:

• A paragraph long testimony from DLA claimants who are enabled to work because of DLA
• A paragraph from a claimant who is chronically ill and will not ‘get better’ about why re-testing every few years is a waste of their time
• A paragraph about why you think DLA is fit for purpose
• A paragraph explaining why three rates of Care component is easier to understand than two (i.e. if you have medium care needs, how do you choose?)
• Why renaming the benefit PIP will not change your life
• A paragraph about the barriers to life that you face because of disability or illness?
• A paragraph on ‘[things] about DLA that should stay the same’.
• A paragraph on the main extra costs you face due to disability or illness.
• A paragraph about what would happen to you if you went down from Middle to Lower rate of Care (losing up to £29.85 a week).
• A paragraph about the broad range of specific activities that you consider essential to your life.
• A paragraph on how DWP can appropriately take account of variable and fluctuating conditions when

Very importantly, we also need input from carers explaining how DLA affects them, including as a passport to CA. A paragraph should be 300 words at most, but use your own judgment. Choose what topics you want to write on – all the topics listed or just one, depending on time, energy and spoons – and get cracking!

To submit your input, e-mail me at:

Legal Aid Cuts

Legal Aid cuts – the quick version!
The Government is proposing to cut civil legal aid, which helps people deal with debt, housing, benefits, immigration, family law and many other issues. This will leave tens of thousands of vulnerable people without access to help and support to access their rights, and will result in destitution, debt and homelessness. The amount of money being cut equals a tiny percentage of the deficit, and is a true false economy as all the research shows that early advice saves the state money in the long-run. You can help us challenge these proposals by sending a letter to your MP asking them to oppose the proposals and by submitting a response to the consultation – a suggested response and sample MP letters are available here. For more details on the proposals please read the information below. Thank you for your help!

Legal Aid cuts – the longer version!
What will you do the next time you need help with benefits? Or when you are unfairly dismissed? Or when your landlord refuses to fix the leak in the roof that is making everything you own damp and mouldy?

If your answer was ‘Get some legal advice’ then get it while you can, as the government are going to take away Legal Aid funding for all of these kind of cases and many more – this is going to result in tens of thousands of people not being able to get advice in future. The government states that the rest of the voluntary sector will be able to pick up the pieces, but this simply isn’t true – thousands of voluntary sector agencies, like Citizens Advice Bureaux and Law Centres, are funded via legal aid and local authorities, so will be reducing services at a time when they are most needed. These changes will leave people living in disrepair, leave people without money to eat or heat their homes, and will leave people struggling with debts they cannot manage – all of which will cost the state more money in the long run than they will save by cutting the funding for advice to deal with the problems. Advice agency clients did not profit from the boom years, and certainly did not cause the bust – why are they now made to suffer to help the government balance the books?

Access to justice for all is essential in a democratic society; these proposed cuts are simply not fair as they hit the poorest the hardest.

How can people help to make a difference?

  • Join us for a demonstration outside the South-West offices of the Legal Services Commission: Queens Square, Bristol, 7/02/11 from 12noon.

Thanks for your help – future users of legal advice service will thank you too!