A leading disabled peoples organisation has calle

first_imgA leading disabled people’s organisation has called on the local authorities that part-own Manchester Airport to address the “embarrassment” of it being found to be the worst airport in the country at providing assistance for disabled passengers.The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced in its third annual review of the assistance provided at the UK’s airports that Manchester is now the only one assessed as “poor” for assistance.In last year’s review, the airport was one of four described as “poor”, but CAA says the other three have all improved over the last 12 months.Disabled passengers are entitled to free assistance when travelling by air under European Union regulations, and CAA is the regulatory body that monitors the quality of this assistance.Manchester Airport is part of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which is nearly two-thirds owned by Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities, with Labour-run Manchester City Council owning more than a third of MAG.CAA’s annual review of assistance services for 2017-18 said of Manchester Airport: “Information provided to us shows that disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility took significantly longer to move through the airport than other passengers, with an unacceptable number of disabled and reduced mobility passengers waiting more than 20 minutes for assistance with, in some cases, passengers left waiting for assistance for more than an hour.“This is not an acceptable situation for passengers that need to use the assistance at the airport.”Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) called on the 10 councils and the elected mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to pressure the airport to improve its services to disabled passengers.Brian Hilton, GMCDP’s digital campaigns officer, said: “Manchester Airport is a major gateway to both the region and the country and I would hope that the mayor is suitably embarrassed and stirred into action that at present we are officially the worst airport in the country for disabled access.“12 months have passed since the CAA first highlighted Manchester Airport’s failings in relation to disabled people and its failure to improve since then shows a total disregard for disabled people.”He said anecdotal evidence suggested that “whilst policies might be in place to assist disabled people, practices and procedures are still sadly lacking”.He said the coalition had called for action to improve the airport’s performance in its manifesto for last year’s mayoral election, which Burnham won.Hilton warned last year that many staff at Manchester Airport “treat disabled people little better than cattle, moving people without telling them what was happening or where they were going”.A spokeswoman for Manchester City Council refused to say what action the local authority would take to ensure the airport’s provision of assistance improved, or whether it was embarrassed about the airport’s performance.But she said in a statement: “It’s important to us that our local airport is accessible to everyone, and it’s clearly also important for the many thousands of international travellers who pass through the airport every day.“As major shareholder in MAG, we’re pleased the CAA report recognises a number of positive changes made by the airport over the last year to improve services for people with disabilities.“We’re confident that the airport’s £1 billion long term transformation programme – Manchester Airport Transformation Programme – will deliver the further changes needed to significantly improve services for all passengers.”A spokesman for Burnham said that it was important to note that MAG “does not fall under the purview of the mayor”.He said: “While he is in frequent contact with the management of the airport and makes his views and opinions heard he has no direct control over its running.”But Burnham said in a statement: “It is important that all public spaces, including transport hubs, across Greater Manchester are fully accessible.“The CAA’s report is clear in identifying areas where Manchester Airport should improve its accessibility.“I welcome the improvements already implemented and will be in regular dialogue with Manchester Airports Group to ensure further steps are taken.“Across the city-region there is much to be done to improve accessibility on public transport though progress is being made; every Metrolink tram and tram stop has step-free access and the new Bolton transport interchange has been designed with disability access at its heart.“But I will continue to challenge the transport operators to ensure that all facilities are fully accessible.” A note from the editor:For nine years, Disability News Service has survived largely through the support of a small number of disability organisations – most of them user-led – that have subscribed to its weekly supply of news stories. That support has been incredibly valuable but is no longer enough to keep DNS financially viable. For this reason, please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support its work and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please remember that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring, and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

Disabled activists have fought back against what t

first_imgDisabled activists have fought back against what they say are attempts by the government and big business to “hijack” the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities through their support for a purple-themed campaign that focuses on disability employment.The #PurpleLightUp campaign, which was launched last year, aims to celebrate the economic contribution of disabled employees.It is led by PurpleSpace, a disabled-led organisation which describes itself as a “professional development hub for disabled employee networks” and is headed by Kate Nash, a former chief executive of RADAR, one of the three disability organisations that merged to become Disability Rights UK.Among those supporting the #PurpleLightUp campaign on Monday’s international day were the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Treasury, controversial government contractor Atos – which produced purple lovehearts and cupcakes to mark the day – and accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers.It was also supported by banking giants Lloyds Bank and HSBC, both closely associated with the global recession that led to government austerity policies that have caused misery for hundreds of thousands of disabled people in the UK since 2010.But disabled activists are furious at how they believe the campaign has “hijacked” the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), which focuses on the rights of disabled people.The theme of this year’s UN international day was supposed to be empowering disabled people and ensuring “inclusiveness and equality” on development issues.Now disabled activists have begun a fightback, calling for the UN day to be marked in the future with what they say are the true colours of the disabled people’s movement: turquoise and yellow.Cllr Pam Thomas, a disabled Labour councillor on Liverpool City Council and a former member of the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network (DAN), persuaded her council to light up its civic buildings on Monday in turquoise and yellow (pictured, Liverpool Town Hall).She said these colours had been used by disabled people’s campaigns for equality since the 1990s, with accounts from the period suggesting that turquoise represented “unity” and yellow stood for “freedom”.Among the more recent UK disability rights battles that have used turquoise and yellow was the campaign to save the Independent Living Fund.Thomas said #PurpleLightUp was “not about disabled people’s rights, but about economic activity”, and she pointed to its close connection with DWP and its discredited Disability Confident employment scheme.She said: “What is really annoying me is that Purple Light Up has taken our international day for their own agenda.“Disabled people are experiencing the extreme hardships of ideologically-imposed austerity, as shown in several different reports, our own organisations have had funding cut and hardly any remain.“Meanwhile, large multi-million pound disability charities and commercial organisations are prepared to promote and perpetuate the DWP’s agenda, which is one of the main deliverers of austerity on disabled people.”She said she was “so disappointed” that disabled people would support the involvement of these organisations in #PurpleLightUp, “knowing what Atos and all the other government departments have done to disabled people.“How could they side with them and not the disabled people’s civil rights movement?”Disabled activists have pointed out that DWP has been repeatedly shamed by the UN for its grievous breaches of international rights treaties, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.Thomas said: “Disabled people involved with Purple Light Up need to consider their own ethical position of promoting the DWP agenda and their own business, whilst shutting down disabled people who are campaigning for civil rights and against austerity and oppression, on our international day of all days.”She said she would now push the Labour party and trade unions to adopt yellow and turquoise as the colours of the disabled people’s civil rights movement.Nash defended her organisation’s #PurpleLightUp campaign.She said the idea came from disabled employees wanting to move away from discussions of “deficit”, “welfare reform” and “getting people into work” and towards sharing “stories of success” and disabled people’s contribution “to economies and civil society”. She said: “#PurpleLightUp is therefore designed to celebrate the economic contribution of disabled employees – and the response from disabled people, employers and the public, across the world, where it was featured in 17,000 tweets, suggest that others want to do that too.”Nash* said 3 December was chosen “as a mark of deep respect to the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities”.She added: “PurpleSpace applauds the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international human rights treaty of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.“We hope the #PurpleLightUp will provide further opportunities to notice our rights and dignity, not diminish them. The responses so far seem to confirm that.”Nash said: “Our members are from many different types of organisations – we support employee networks and resources groups irrespective of the nature of the business of the organisation, and wherever they are on the journey of change. “It is not for us to measure the integrity of every contributor, nor judge their record on disability rights.”But the disabled actor and activist Liz Carr was another to express her anger at the hijacking of the international day.She said on Twitter: “Happy international day of disabled people to all the fantastic crips who make this world a better place just by existing.“Despite all the purple # bollocks on here, this is not a day for the likes of DWP & ATOS to light up their buildings purple. This is our day.”Fran Springfield, co-chair of Disability Labour, said: “It is absolutely a hijack which is why the idea of using the turquoise and yellow is absolutely brilliant because it takes it away from their level of commercialism which is what it’s about. Their bottom line is money.“This is something that goes back a long way and it is absolutely about rights and freedoms, which are slowly being eroded away.”She said the #PurpleLightUp campaign was “window-dressing. It has nothing to do with our rights.“If DWP are going to be lighting themselves up purple they are absolutely no beacon at all of good treatment of disabled people. They terrify us, they terrorise our lives.”Liverpool City Council also helped celebrate the UN day with the international disability arts festival DaDaFest, which ends on Saturday and has been taking place across the city region since 1 November.*Kate Nash said that any readers who would like to share their views about the #PurpleLightUp campaign can email her organisation at [email protected] A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

LUKE Douglas says he sought the advice of Grand Fi

first_imgLUKE Douglas says he sought the advice of Grand Final winning coach Nathan Brown before signing for the Saints.The International prop forward joined the club from Gold Coast Titans – and covered all bases before making the switch.Speaking to Titans TV he said: “It all happened really quickly over the last two weeks. I’ve had a lot of advice from different people including Anthony Laffranchi and Nathan Brown and I ended up making the decision to come over.“St Helens are a great club and I’m looking forward to the adventure and the next chapter of my career.“Saints are rich in history and a proud club and I’m looking forward to meeting the supporters. They are successful on and off the field and are run well.“They were the form team over the last few weeks; hopefully I can get over there and add my bit … and go one or two steps further.”Douglas holds the record the most consecutive appearances in the NRL competition’s 108-year history after playing 215 successive games from 2006 to 2014.He continued: “I won awards at the Titans and Sharks and have never been dropped. I have missed four games in an 11 year career and none through injury.“Everywhere I’ve been I’ve wanted to make a difference both on and off the field.”Douglas will also part of the Scotland side that takes part in this autumn’s Four Nations.last_img read more

First Team Match SAINTS TV

first_imgTwo early tries from Kevin Naiqama and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook put Saints in control in the opening minutes before Brad Dwyer pulled a try back for the visitors. Saints went in twice more through Lachlan Coote and a spectacular try from Tommy Makinson capped off an impressive first half. Leeds started the second half the better going over through Luke Briscoe which reduced the deficit to 24-10, but Saints dug in and scored two late tries through LMS’ second and young James Bentley with Coote kicking all six goals in a 36-10 victory.And despite the win, Holbrook admitted it wasn’t the best Saints’ performance, but was pleased with the victory, paying credit to Makinson’s spectacular finish on the half-time hooter.“We didn’t play our best tonight. I’m not taking anything away from Leeds, but we didn’t play as well as we have, but I guess the good sign is we came away with a good win and that’s the main thing.“We made a lot of uncharacteristic errors and made it hard for ourselves, but we finished the game well which is good. Last week, just before full time and just before half time we made a few errors, but at least tonight we finished both halves well and I think that’s important because we did lots in between which wasn’t great, but against the dangerous attacking side that Leeds are with some many dangerous players I’m really happy to get the win we did.“I think just prior to Tommy’s [Makinson] try we saw how dangerous Leeds were and in that 10 minute period before the last few minutes before half time they looked really dangerous and we got through that tough period which is important to do especially against Leeds and for Tommy to finish that try – he’s the best ever at finishing. It is so good to watch and that was important but then we knew what Leeds could be capable of in the second half.”Holbrook also shed light on why Morgan Knowles and Jo Paulo missed the win whilst there was an update on Mark Percival and it is not good news for Zeb Taia who has a dislocated shoulder.“I was just giving them all a chance to freshen it up a bit. Morgan Knowles has been our hardest working player all year and it’s just time to freshen up a bit both him and Paulo.“It’s different this year, as I’ve said a few times last year we had that international week and everyone had a week off there and this year we don’t have that so we need to find ways of making that up. Last year we could work towards that [international break] and this year we don’t have that luxury so we’re relying on a lot more of the squad this ear and its working well.“Zeb’s not good. His shoulder popped out on the field so it’s a dislocation and obviously we’ll have to get scans next week. I think we managed to get it back in, we wont know how much damage is done until next week.”Holbrook talked up the form of Aaron Smith who stepped in admirably for the injured James Roby.“We knew at the start of this year we could call upon Aaron Smith whenever needed, and he’s done it a number of times now and done a great job. We obviously would like to have our captain on the field, James Roby, but, if not we’ve got all the confidence that Az can step in and do the job he has been for us.”last_img read more