The Department for Work and Pensions is considerin

first_imgThe Department for Work and Pensions is considering forcing all sick and disabled people on out-of-work disability benefits to take part in “mandatory” activity, its new green paper has revealed.The suggestion of compulsory activity is revealed in a single line of the 92-page work, health and disability green paper, published this week.Such a change would mean that all people on out-of-work disability benefits – even those who are terminally-ill or have the very highest support needs – would have to stay in regular touch with their local jobcentre or risk having their benefits sanctioned.The measure would affect those in the support group of employment and support allowance (ESA) – and the equivalent group in the new universal credit – a group which is currently not expected to carry out any work-related activity at all.The green paper, Improving Lives, says ministers “could consider implementing a ‘keep-in-touch’ discussion with work coaches” for people in the support group, which “could provide an opportunity for work coaches to offer appropriate support tailored to the individual’s current circumstances” and “could be explored as a voluntary or mandatory requirement”.It comes only a month after the new work and pensions secretary, Damian Green, secured widespread praise for announcing an end to repeat assessments for those on ESA with “the most severe, lifetime conditions”.He said then that the government would “sweep away unnecessary stress and bureaucracy which weigh them down” and that “if someone has a disease which can only get worse, making them turn up for repeated appointments to claim what they need is pointless bureaucratic nonsense”.Now Green (pictured, announcing some details of the green paper to MPs) appears to have decided that the same group of people should be forced into repeated contact with a “work coach”, or lose some of their benefits.Asked about this inconsistency, a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokeswoman did not deny the possibility of mandatory activity for all those in the support group.She said: “We recognise that people in the support group have limited capability for work related activity – but that does not necessarily mean they should be left without any support at all.“We believe it is important to give claimants the opportunity to take up the offer of personalised and tailored support if it is appropriate for them, regardless of what group they are placed in following the WCA.”The green paper’s repeated emphasis that the government wants to “reinforce work as a health outcome” is also likely to alarm many disabled campaigners and healthcare professionals.It says the government will increase the number of job advisers in healthcare settings and ensure that “all health professionals are sufficiently trained and confident to have work-related conversations” with patients.It also warns that ministers “want to make the benefits of work an ingrained part of the training and professional approach of the health and social care workforce”.Asked whether DWP accepted that many disabled people and health professionals believe that it is dangerous and unethical to view employment as a health outcome, particularly for people in mental distress, a spokeswoman said that “evidence shows that being in the right work is good for health and that being out of work can have a detrimental effect on health”.She said that the government’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies mental health treatment programme was “voluntary at every stage and that includes the employment support offer within the programme”.There may also be concerns about new mandatory “health and work conversations” in which work coaches will use “specially designed techniques” to “help” some ESA claimants “identify their health and work goals, draw out their strengths, make realistic plans, and build resilience and motivation”.The green paper claims that these conversations were “co-designed with disabled people’s organisations and occupational health professionals and practitioners and the Behavioural Insights Team [the controversial ‘Nudge Unit’, which is part-owned by the Cabinet Office]”.There has so far been little or no analysis of the green paper in the mainstream media or from politicians, with most of the coverage and comment occurring before it was published and so based on extracts offered by DWP.Much of that media coverage repeated Green’s claim that the government would provide more “personalised” employment support for disabled people.But the green paper provides little evidence of real personalised support.Measures likely to be widely welcomed include plans to remove the 12-month time limit on permitted work for those in the ESA work-related activity group (WRAG), and the possibility of funding for some local peer support groups.The green paper suggests that those placed in the WRAG will be allocated employment support places in either the new Work and Health Programme or the specialist Work Choice programme, while DWP will expand peer support job clubs – whose effectiveness was backed in research earlier this year by Disability Rights UK and The Work Foundation – to 71 Jobcentre Plus areas with high numbers of ESA claimants.Ministers will also test a voluntary, supported work experience programme for young disabled people, and increase funding for Access to Work’s mental health support service.The DWP spokeswoman said the personalised support “includes a range of new interventions and initiatives, [and] is designed to provide more tailored support which work coaches will offer” to disabled claimants.There was widespread media coverage of Green’s pledge to reform the work capability assessment (WCA), the controversial eligibility test for ESA which has been implicated in hundreds – and possibly thousands – of deaths of disabled people, and in causing significant harm and distress to tens of thousands of others.But the green paper suggests little reform of the assessment process itself, although ministers say they would introduce a separate process for deciding what kind of employment support an ESA claimant should be signposted to.It does suggest that the WCA process should be able to draw on information “from the NHS, the adult social care system or through other benefit applications” if this is “appropriate and relevant”.And it suggests that there could be “a more appropriate process” for the “small proportion” of ESA claimants with the highest support needs, which could include “a simpler assessment process”.Asked about the WCA reform plans, a DWP spokeswoman said there had been five independent reviews of the WCA, which had made more than 100 recommendations, “the vast majority of which we have accepted”, while DWP was now “consulting on a new approach to deciding entitlement to financial employment support”.Questions are likely to be asked about the green paper’s pledge to introduce an extra 300 disability employment advisers (DEAs) to jobcentres, increasing the total number to 500.The green paper fails to point out that, as recently as January 2014, there were 900 DEAs spread across the country’s 719 jobcentres, before hundreds were removed by ministers.As recently as March, the previous – short-lived – work and pensions secretary, Stephen Crabb, promised to recruit an extra 500 DEAs.Asked to confirm these figures, a DWP spokeswoman would only repeat that there will be an extra 300 DEAs.In addition, DWP will recruit about 200 “community partners”, who will have “personal and professional experience of disability”, with many of them apparently to be seconded from disabled people’s organisations.These community partners will work with Jobcentre Plus staff to “provide valuable first-hand insight into the issues individuals with a health condition or disability face in securing and sustaining employment”, and will draw on their local knowledge.Questions may also be asked about the green paper’s refusal to provide any end date for the repeated ministerial pledge to halve the disability employment gap.Asked if there was any target date, the DWP spokeswoman declined to provide one, but said the government was “committed to halving the disability employment gap” and had “helped nearly 500,000 more disabled people into employment over the past three years”.There will be widespread concern at the statement in the green paper that ministers believe there should be a greater role for income protection insurance policies, which employers can take out privately to help address the risks and impact of ill-health among their employees.Many disabled activists have grown increasingly concerned at the influence of at least one provider of such policies, which has been blamed for undermining the system of out-of-work disability benefits.In September, a book by disabled researcher Mo Stewart detailed the influence of the US insurance giant Unum over successive UK governments, and how it had undermined the social security system in order to boost the market for its own income protection policies.And there is likely to be frustration that, yet again, there is a strong focus on encouraging employers to be more “disability confident” – with a suggestion of offering them “financial or other incentives” to employ disabled people – but no mention of any measures to force them to implement their Equality Act duties on employing disabled people.A DWP spokeswoman told DNS: “Businesses are required to fulfil their legal obligations under the Equality Act.“As part of the consultation, we ask what the expectation should be on employers to recruit and retain disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.”Meanwhile, there is confusion about whether ministers plan to scrap Work Choice, the specialist employment programme for disabled people, as was announced in last November’s spending review.The green paper suggests instead that places on Work Choice will still be offered to ESA claimants from 2017.The DWP spokeswoman said that the “Work Programme and Work Choice have been successful in supporting participants into work, but the current economic context demands a new approach” through a new Work and Health Programme, but by 11am today (Thursday) she had failed to clarify whether Work Choice will eventually be scrapped.Help for those who are furthest from the job market will still be available through the Specialist Employability Support programme, according to the green paper, with the possibility of more places on the scheme for ESA WRAG claimants.The green paper also promises to “open up apprenticeships” to young people with learning difficulties, by making “adjustments” to English and maths requirements, while it will work with social enterprises and disabled entrepreneurs to set up apprenticeships “specifically for young disabled people”.A consultation on the green paper will run until 17 February 2017, and among the ways to comment are via an online survey and by emailing workandhealth@dwp.gsi.gov.uklast_img read more



Tagged with
Comment

Two SF Shootings Leave Four Injured Over the Weekend Updated

first_img 0% Two people were injured in a shooting at about 11:23 p.m. on Monday night at Mission and 24th streets. One 35-year-old man was shot in the foot, a 54-year-old man was shot in the chest, and both were transported to San Francisco General Hospital for treatment. Police say both injuries were non-life-threatening. Another shooting, also injuring two, occurred at the same intersection on August 10.A bystander told a Mission Local contributor that she heard about 12 shots in succession and noted that two cars were hit by bullets and being impounded as evidence. Several bus shelters were hit as well, shattering their rear panels, and leaving them empty but for some caution tape on Tuesday morning.A resident of Capp Street said police were searching yards along Capp between 23rd and 24th streets. At one home, police asked the residents to control their furiously barking dog so that they might search the backyard.Alexa Treviño, who works at Artillery Gallery, said she was out for a night ride on her bike on Mission street when the shooting occurred. She saw paramedics retrieve one victim in a stretcher from taqueria El Farolito,  located at the intersection where the shooting took place, who she speculated may have run there for safety. Tags: crimes • shootings Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img “The gang violence in the Mission is real — I think a lot of people are angry about being pushed out,” said Treviño.  “As I rode by, I was thinking ‘please don’t let them be Raza,’ but of course they were (Latino). People are angry and fighting each other.”Police have not yet identified a motive for the shooting or given a description of the suspects, and no arrests have been made.Roughly three hours earlier, two men were injured during a separate shooting that targeted a residence on the 1400 block of Treat Street at approximately 8:53 pm. Police described the three suspects as males between the ages of 17 to 25, armed with two semi-automatic handguns and a shotgun.The men shot up the house and in the process injured two people who were reportedly standing nearby but were not together. The first victim was shot near his car while retrieving something from his trunk. The 26-year-old man said he heard multiple gunshots before realizing that he had been shot in the foot — shortly afterwards, the suspects fled in an unknown direction.The second victim, 36, later arrived at to San Francisco General Hospital with a gunshot wound to his thigh. Both victims’ injuries are not life-threatening.Police describe two of the suspects as wearing black jeans, a green hoodie, and a grey hoodie.  The third suspect was wearing black jeans and a baseball cap. No arrests have been made so far.We will update the story as more information becomes available.  last_img read more



Tagged with
Comment

Developments in Development Still Too Damn High

first_imgSan Francisco is bracing for the next economic crash, it seems – at least that’s according to Bloomberg, which reports that the city is working on a plan that should set it up to withstand another 2008-style bust. Mayor Ed Lee warns us that we shouldn’t take the vibrancy of the economy for granted (has he noticed all the folks who are struggling with this particular version of “vibrancy”?) and is joining several other cities around the country in figuring out which hatches to batten down when the storm hits. Reports Bloomberg:“San Francisco’s report, to be released in about eight months, will offer step-by-step actions aimed at protecting jobs and industries and spell out how to best spend tax dollars and federal stimulus funds on public works projects to prop up the local economy.”But we’re not there just yet. And in these times of not-yet-bust, everything is still horribly expensive, as evidenced by this Trulia post about “where rents are still too damn high.” There’s an interactive map, too, where you can see how neighborhoods stack up in terms of the percentage of 1-bedrooms that are listed for more than $2,000 a month. Of course that percentage tops out in the Mission, where it’s at 98. 0% Trulia’s post focuses on one-bedrooms, but for those of us who share studios, the Mission is equally sad: A cursory Craigslist browse has me thinking that $2,000 a month is also the benchmark for pretty much the lowest price of a studio, and a number of SRO-style shared-bathroom listings and rooms in shared homes also pop up for well over the $1,000 mark. Good luck finding any type of place to sleep for under $1,200 at all. Unless you want to fork over $600 a month for this “converted office” room which…good lord. Paging Apartment Sadness over at SFist.Also on the “too damn expensive” list: Building parking spaces. Curbed took a look at various estimates, which range from $23,000 to a credulity-straining $85,000 per space. In the Mission, the density of really dang old buildings is pretty high compared to the rest of the city – at least that’s according to one in a series of heat maps from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, via Curbed. Other variables that made the Mission light up: Average percent of property value change, “character score” of buildings, and locally owned businesses.Speaking of businesses, there has been a bit of turnover:Sixteenth and Valencia’s shutterd sushi restaurant has been replaced by new sushi restaurant, this time called V-Sixteen. The proprietor is an established restauranteur with two other joints in San Francisco and one in San Mateo. Similarly, kitty-corner, Bangkok Bistro has also opened – that’s in the space previously occupied by Thai House II. A few blocks down, you can now eat at Tawla, a new Mediterranean restaurant run by a former Google employee with dreams of opening an eatery – which also, by the way, is trying the no-tipping model. More on that here.SocketSite also reports that the Oil Changers across from Zeitgeist is not long for this world – at least if nobody requests a Discretionary Review on the 28-unit condo building with ground floor retail planned at that location.Finally, after much anticipation, Brava Theater Center is re-starting its ambitious renovation plan to reopen and alter the ‘storefronts’ along its 24th-street face to create a few more community spaces and a black box theater. Check out the specifics of the plan in this video – which also explains why the theater is hoping to raise some funds from the community to complete their vision. center_img Tags: development • Developments in Development • parking • real estate Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more



Tagged with
Comment

Shooting on 26th and Guerrero sends two to the hospital

first_imgSubscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletterEmail Address A drive-by shooting outside of a church at 26th and Guerrero sent two victims to the hospital around midnight Sunday. The victims, two men ages 21 and 43, are in non-life-threatening condition.No arrests have been made. Police believe the suspects are two men in their 20s. Witnesses described hearing around six to eight gunshots shortly after midnight, as well as the screeching of tires and some screaming. Some 10 police cars responded shortly after, a neighbor said. Tags: police • shooting Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0% At around 12:30 a.m. the scene was crawling with about 15 police officers, some inspecting evidence — two black shoes and other clothing strewn among evidence markers — near First Samoan Congregational, where a witness said a funeral had been wrapping up late. Both victims were transported to San Francisco General Hospital, an officer on scene said. Police would not comment on whether the shooting was gang-related, citing an ongoing investigation. This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.The First Samoan Congregational Church on Monday morning. Photo by Abraham Rodriguez.last_img read more



Tagged with
Comment

HOW would you like to join Australia England New

first_imgHOW would you like to join Australia, England, New Zealand and Wales Rugby League stars at a special Gillette Four Nations fans forum?The RFL, in-conjunction with BBC Radio Manchester, is hosting an event at Leigh Sports Village at 7pm on Thursday October 27.BBC Radio Manchester’s Jack Dearden and Trevor Hunt will host the show with guests from all four camps competing in the Gillette Four Nations as we build up to the opening weekend of the tournament when Australia take on New Zealand at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday October 28 and England versus Wales at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday October 29.If you would like FREE tickets to be in the audience, you need to do the following:Email fansforum@rfl.uk.com with your NAME, ADDRESS (including postcode), TELEPHONE NUMBER, plus the number of tickets you would like (up to a maximum of four).Closing date: Monday October 24 2011Please note that tickets are allocated on a first come, first served so not all applications will be successful.last_img read more



Tagged with
Comment

SAINTS continued their preseason preparations wit

first_imgSAINTS continued their pre-season preparations with a trip to a very wet and windy Rivington Pike at the weekend.Members of the first team and Academy all took part in the session.Pre-season training this year has stepped up a couple of notches as Saints aim to hit the ground running in 2016.Strength and Conditioner Matt Daniels has delved into his box of tricks with a trip to the Cassius Camp in the Lake District and four days with 42 Commando in Plymouth.Saturday’s early morning session was the toughest yet, with walking banned… although we did allow them a nice bath afterwards.You can enjoy a video of the session here.last_img



Tagged with
Comment

Academy Reserves Match SAINTS TV

first_imgThe Saints were out of the blocks much quicker than the Giants and were and went 10 points to the good inside the opening six minutes.A Daniel Moss kick on the last was spilled by the Giants fullback. From the resulting scrum drives from Shay Martyn and Jack Green set up the position for Moss to go left and dummy his way over in the corner.From the kick off, Reece Sumner showed his undoubted potential. Captain Joe Woods drove the ball in well and from the play the ball Taylor Pemberton spotted a gap down the left touchline. He fed Sumner 80 metres out who beat the defence on the outside before also skinning the covering full back in the same way.A good covering tackle from Ellis Keppel saved the Saints blushes as the Giants dropped the ball over the line. From the resulting seven tackle set the Saints drove deep into Giants territory before getting a penalty on the last for interference. Green was held short before Moss’ weaving run saw him put Kallem Rodgers over in the corner.The point-a-minute Saints were over again on quarter time with Moss scoring his brace. Ben O’Donnell, Keppel and Woods put the Saints on the front foot before the recently introduced Cole Appleby blazed a hole in the defensive line. He took it to the fullback, but sensibly saw that although he could probably have scored Moss would certainly score from his pass once the fullback had been committed.Moss again was at the heart of Saints fifth try as his delicate chip on the last was allowed to bounce by the Giants. It reared back towards the Saints only to be knocked on by the retreating defenders, Martyn reacted quickest flicking a pass out for Rodgers to go in for his second.O’Donnell was held up and Rodgers missed a try before Sam Haynes scored his first and the Saints sixth. Another barnstorming Appleby break down the middle was stopped, but from the play the ball Moss and Keppell went right feeding Haynes who stepped off his right going in with three people on his back. Martyn took over the kicking duties landing a great conversion from the touchline.The resumption of the second half seemed to bring more of the same with Martyn going in for his brace on the Saints first set of the half. An Ellis Archer high ball was dropped by the Giants and after Keppell and Appleby had been stopped short Martyn wen in at the corner.But despite Woods, Appleby and O’Donnell again being held up over the line and Green having a try ruled out for two in the tackle the Giants responded.On the hour the Giants took advantage of some missed tackles on the line to open their account. 10 minutes later they were in again, before the Saints finished well as Appleby showed his power in defence pulverising his opposite number into a knock on in the Giants red zone.From the scrum the ball was moved right to Haynes, now in the centre, and he dummied his way over with the last play of the game.St Helens Scholarship U16’s: Alfie Whittle; Sam Haynes, Ellis Keppel, Shay Martyn, Kallem Rodgers; Daniel Moss, Ryan Wood; Joe Woods (C), Taylor Pemberton, Jack Green, Ben O’Donnell, Reece Sumner, Rio Corkill.Interchanges: Tom Lyon, Cole Appleby, Matthew Parkes, Kian Naylor, Ellis Archer.Tries: Daniel Moss (4 & 19), Reece Sumner (6), Kallem Rodgers (15, 25), Shay Martyn  (42), Sam Haynes (36 & 77) .Goals: Taylor Pemberton 2 from 5, Shay Martyn 1 from 3.Huddersfield Giants Scholarship U16’s: George Collins; Joseph Robinson, Ethane Wainwright, Luca Powell, Drew Wright; Stan Kilburn, Arian Woods; Jacob Beer, Kieran Rush, Joshua Wood, Ethan Lyne, Thomas Grierson, Tre Webster.Interchanges: Ben Dean, Joseph Howe, Matthew Willett, Jadan Dayes, Jacob Foster, Solomon Tutin, Joshua Rhodes, Benjamin Killan.Tries: Joseph Howe (61), Arian Woods (72).Goals: Arian Woods 1 from 1, Kieran Rush 1 from 1.Half Time: 30-0Full Time: 38-12last_img read more



Tagged with
Comment

White Oak man arrested for stealing guns and tools

first_img Rigsbee was charged with two counts of Larceny of Firearm, one count of Felonious Breaking and Entering, one count of Felonious Larceny, one count of Felonious Possession of Stolen Goods and Felony Probation Violation. He was placed under a $150,000 secured bond.McVicker said three guns, a chain hoist and air hose were stolen. Investigators have recovered the tools and two of the weapons.Rigsbee was out on bond after being charged with another breaking and entering that happened July 28. WHITE OAK, NC (WWAY) — Bladen County Sheriff deputies arrested a man in connection to multiple breaking and entering cases in both Bladen and Sampson counties this weekend.Sheriff McVicker said 23-year-old Johnathan Colby Rigsbee, of White Oak, was taken into custody Saturday. Rigsbee was charged with breaking and entering a home in the 900 block of Ruskin Road back on October 2.- Advertisement – last_img read more



Tagged with
Comment

Comic book lovers come out in droves for Free Comic Book Day

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Whether you’re a fan of Marvel or DC, there was a comic book for everyone at Fanboy Comics in Wilmington as they gave away hundreds of comics for Free Comic Book Day.The shop had a wide variety of titles people could pick up free of charge, like Star Wars, The Avengers, and more.- Advertisement – Fanboy Comics owner Thomas Gilbert says that Free Comic Book Day is his shop’s busiest of the year.He hopes that Saturday’s event can spark a lifelong interest in comics, whether you’re a kid or an adult.“We get a lot of new readers who have never read a comic before,” Gilbert said. “We get older readers who got out of the hobby and have been reenergized by the movies and got back interested in it again.”Related Article: 5 things for businesses to know about disaster recoveryFive million comic books were expected to be given away worldwide. It was the 17th time that Free Comic Book Day was held on the first Saturday in May.last_img read more



Tagged with
Comment

Multiple homes shot in Columbus County woman injured

first_imgCOLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after three homes in three different areas of the county were shot into overnight.The first shooting happened in Chadbourn.- Advertisement – The Sheriff’s Office says the call came in at 12:39 a.m. on Wednesday. A man and woman were inside the home on Godwin Trail when someone shot at it multiple times. No one got hurt.Less than 15 minutes later, someone fired shots into a home on Billy McDuffie Lane in Clarendon.Two adults and two 1-year-olds were inside that home at the time. The adults were awake at the time, but no one got hurt. The house was damaged.Related Article: Victim of shooting at UNC Charlotte takes stepsThe final shooting sent one woman to the hospital. This one happened just before 4:30 a.m. in the 900 block of Miller Road in Tabor City. Five adults and were children were all asleep at the time.A 22-year-old woman in the home was shot. No one else got hurt, but the home did have some damage.No word yet on the woman’s condition or whether these shootings are related.last_img read more



Tagged with
Comment