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Four legal experts have told peers of their seriou

first_imgFour legal experts have told peers of their serious concerns about the government’s commitment to enforcing disabled people’s rights through the Equality Act.Senior representatives of the Bar Council, the Law Society, the Discrimination Law Association (DLA) and the Law Centres Network were giving evidence to the Equality Act 2010 and disability committee, set up by the House of Lords to examine the act’s impact on disabled people.Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, of the Law Society, said there was a “lack of leadership” in the government and elsewhere and a “lack of commitment” to making the Equality Act work.She said the Law Society wanted the committee to consider how to restore the “transformative” and “radical” approach – based on the social model of disability – brought in through the Disability Discrimination Act in 1995.She said the Law Society wanted to see the government incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into domestic law, which would be “a helpful indicator of that commitment and would make a practical difference to enforcement of the Equality Act” and give it “teeth”.The committee heard that claims made to employment tribunals had fallen by 70 per cent since the coalition introduced fees in 2013, while claims of disability discrimination to these tribunals had fallen from 7,492 in 2012-13 to 3,090 in 2014-15.Members of the panel agreed that employers were now more likely to think they could get away with discriminating against employees, while disabled employees were less likely to take cases against employers because of the cost of a tribunal.Barbara Cohen, giving evidence on behalf of the DLA, told members of the committee, including disabled peers Baroness [Jane] Campbell, Baroness [Sal] Brinton and Baroness [Celia] Thomas: “Employers do not have the same imperative to ensure they are operating a discrimination-free workplace.”Rachel Crasnow QC, giving evidence on behalf of the Bar Council, said the introduction of fees and the subsequent drop in claims had had a “significant chilling effect” on access to justice for poorer members of society.She said: “We are very concerned at the impact that has had on all individuals who wish to make claims and in particular the most vulnerable litigants, often those with disabilities.”She said that employers tended now to have a “far more bullish approach” to reaching an agreement with an employee taking a discrimination case during the conciliation process.She said: “There are far fewer claims being brought and that has a huge impact on industrial relations as a whole and on how workplace policies are updated and renewed.”Douglas Johnson, of the Law Centres Network, said the Equality Act was generally “fine”, but the key problems were with its enforcement.He said law centres had lost out through cuts to legal aid, but also through cuts to grants previously made by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).Those grants had only been introduced by EHRC because there were “so few cases being brought in goods and services that it was quite clear that the Disability Discrimination Act was simply not being enforced in those areas”.He said: “There is practically no funding now for advice on discrimination law and people are all at sea on this.”He added: “There are precious few law firms around the country that will go anywhere near a discrimination case.“It is simply not cost-effective for most firms of solicitors to take that risk.”Crasnow said: “We think an enormous number of disabled people have no idea that the obstacles that they come across on a daily basis, whether it is to do with accessibility or charges, or a whole range of matters in their local communities, are simply unlawful.“And the question of how to educate both the providers of goods and services and the individuals themselves is a really key concern for us.”The panel were also critical of EHRC for repeatedly failing to use its statutory powers to enforce the Equality Act.Cohen said DLA was “particularly disappointed that the EHRC has been so reluctant to use its statutory enforcement powers” against organisations that have been discriminating against disabled people and other protected groups.She said the commission had only recently embarked on its first statutory investigation in eight years of operation, and had “far too often chosen not to use its unique position to engage in public discussions” when disability discrimination had been exposed.She said: “Issues come and go. We have listened, we looked for and we do not hear the EHRC helping us to understand that there are some real issues there.“It is not carrying out what we think is a fundamental educational role.”And Crasnow was critical of EHRC for usually only funding legal actions by “intervening” at the later appeal stage, rather than playing a role in important cases “lower down”.last_img read more

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Three disabled entrepreneurs have told MPs that th

first_imgThree disabled entrepreneurs have told MPs that the government should make it easier for people with impairments to move into self-employment.Jane Cordell, Sara McKee and Robert Winstanley were giving evidence to an inquiry by the Commons work and pensions select committee into whether the social security system adequately supports the growing number of people who are self-employed and work in the “gig economy”.McKee (pictured, giving evidence to the committee), who founded the older people’s lifestyle organisation Evermore, said she believed that making self-employment easier for disabled people could help the government with its aim to halve the disability employment gap.She said: “People want choice and control over how they live their lives. You can’t always do your best work in some organisations and institutions.“I earn currently probably a tenth of what I could earn, but my quality of life is better.”Cordell, a director of the social enterprise Result CIC, which provides coaching and training to marginalised and excluded people, said she had chosen self-employment after being discriminated against by two previous employers, including the Foreign Office.She said she had been forced to make many “sideways moves” in her career because of being deaf, and eventually decided that self-employment would provide “greater autonomy and self-respect”.But she added: “It’s a high-risk strategy because of the massive decline in income. I think it was an 80 per cent decline in the first year.”McKee, who has a mental health condition, said it was easier for her to run her own business than to sit in a job interview and admit that she might be forced to take days off sick because of being unable to get out of bed.She said she believed there needed to be a “safety net” so that disabled people like herself with fluctuating conditions could “come in and out of the workplace”.She said: “At the moment there is no safety net. If I can’t go and do what I’m good at, there is no safety net. That loses an awful lot of talent from the marketplace.”Cordell and Winstanley both pointed to flaws in the government’s Access to Work (AtW) scheme.Winstanley, who runs his own business alongside having a part-time job, said it had taken 18 months to put his AtW package in place, but after just 12 months he was told by AtW that his business should now be sustainable so he should be able to fund his own support.Cordell said she believed the government should secure the data that would demonstrate the value of AtW spending.She said she will eventually face a cut in the support she receives because of the government’s decision to cap high-value AtW packages.She said: “I want to know why and how my ability to contribute may be capped, and my ability to be one of the few senior deaf role models, inspiring others.”She said that self-employment was “a fantastic route if you have the right determination, confidence and experience, but particularly if you have a sensory impairment or quite significant impairment you need to feel you have a fighting chance of getting the right support”.Winstanley told the committee about flaws in the employment and support allowance (ESA) system, for those on out-of-work disability benefits.Because of his condition, brittle bones, he never knows when he might be seriously injured and need to spend eight or nine months in bed recovering.But if a disabled person leaves ESA to return to work, they have just 12 weeks to see if they can manage in employment, he said.He told the committee: “After that 12 weeks, you have to go back through the process.”This limit caused him problems because when he became injured and had to leave work, he had to restart the ESA application process from the beginning.He said the ESA system was too “black and white”, and added: “You either are [eligible for ESA] or you’re not. There is no form of middle ground.”last_img read more

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Sign up to LabourLists morning email for everythi

first_imgSign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Over the weekend, Labour’s rows over antisemitism – inflamed by the BBC Panorama programme that aired five days ago – did not abate. The public argument between deputy leader Tom Watson and general secretary Jennie Formby in particular intensified rather than cooled off. Durham Miners’ Gala, that fantastic celebration of the labour movement and of coalfield communities, featuring joyous brass bands and proud banners, was held on Saturday for the 135th time. Jeremy Corbyn spoke again, highlighting the impact of Tory austerity on the North-East and promising to investigate Orgreave when in power. Laura Pidcock passionately attacked neoliberalism and defended the leadership.But it was Len McCluskey whose speech at ‘The Big Meeting’ made the biggest splash. “I have a simple message to Tom Watson and his pals in the media,” the Unite leader said. “You should fucking well be ashamed of yourself.” In case anyone had missed it, he then tweeted: “Attacking a woman going through chemotherapy – @tom_watson you are a fucking disgrace.”Dame Margaret Hodge, as you would expect, offered a different perspective on Sky News the next day. There is a “dogged determination” from the leadership “not to listen” to concerns about Labour antisemitism, and to call the Panorama contributors “disaffected workers” was a “real abuse of power”, the MP argued. Asked whether she stood by her description of Corbyn as “an antisemite and a racist”, Hodge replied: “I’ve seen nothing in the past year that has caused me to change my mind.”Next, Emily Thornberry appeared on The Andrew Marr Show. The shadow cabinet member said she thought the Panorama episode was “awful”, both in itself and (“more importantly”) its revelations. “We shouldn’t be going for the messengers,” she added, “we should be looking at the message”. Thornberry’s tougher line came as The Sunday Times published the testimony of another former staffer, Tim Dexter, who claimed the power to suspend members was inappropriately taken away from the disputes team last year and awarded to an individual aligned with the leader’s office.The Shadow Foreign Secretary also talked about Brexit, emphasising the party’s new Remain position, before speaking at the People’s Vote rally in the next Prime Minister’s own constituency. “Boris Johnson has decided that when he marches us off a cliff in October, what will save us will be the warm and welcoming hands of President Donald Trump. Well I don’t know about you, friends, but I don’t want Donald Trump’s hands anywhere near me,” she told the anti-Brexit crowd in Uxbridge. Thornberry isn’t the only leadership figure actively campaigning for a public vote following Labour’s Brexit shift: John McDonnell and Keir Starmer are also set to attend a meeting in parliament of the Love Socialism Hate Brexit group tonight. The Remain flank has substantial representation at the top table now.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Tags:Boris Johnson /Len McCluskey /Durham Miners Gala /John McDonnell /Margaret Hodge /Emily Thornberry /Antisemitism /Brexit /People’s Vote /last_img read more

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CRAIG Richards has joined the Saints as Rugby Leag

first_imgCRAIG Richards has joined the Saints as Rugby League Coach Development Officer for St Helens.His role is to provide a targeted support programme to the area’s coaches to ensure the talent development systems of our Community Clubs continue to bear fruit, Craig joins after working for GB Taekwondo as part of their Olympic programme to mentor and improve coaching.“I’m originally from Yorkshire and played at Bradford, Oldham and finished at Hunslet,” Craig said. “From there I’ve coached at most levels of the pathway, worked with the Rugby Football League and Jamaica RL too and looked after coaches in Lancashire and Greater Manchester“I’ve gained a lot of experience in what coaches want and need to ensure they continue to attract and produce talented youngsters to our game.“My role here is to help develop the Community Club coaches by utilising the club’s and my own experience.“One of the challenges in the current structure is we get players a little later in the pathway.“I will be working with the coaches to upskill them in the St Helens way by providing support and any other information and guidance. That could simply be a different way of looking at skills or other facets of the game such as psychology.“The key is also to ensure the game’s participation and retention remains high through the delivery of fun, challenging and developmentally appropriate practice environments.“I believe that by focusing our energy and resources to deliver a world class coach development programme can play a large part in ensuring local talented players will continue to play leading roles in our future success.”One of Craig’s first duties in his new role was to discover coaching values and philosophies in the area and implement a series of profiling exercises.Next on the agenda will be to hold regular club meetings, share knowledge and enhance elite coaching behaviours through the introduction of workshops, coaching clinics and high profile speakers.“This is important,” explains Craig whose role is supported by Sky Sports Rugby League Foundation. “We have a number of people within the club that are experts in their fields. For example, we could host sessions on Strength and Conditioning and utilise players that are specialist in an area of the game such as kicking.“The key for me is to get out to the clubs, meet the coaches and see what their needs are. Ultimately, I will be judged long term by the standard of the players coming into the pathway as well as how well the coaches have progressed.“My target audience will be the pre-14 age range and giving those coaches factual and practical help but I’m aware there are late developers in the game. Chunks of my time will also be spent with coaches who coach 14s to 18s and I will be an open door for open age coaches too.“I will also be working with school teachers and coaches on our current pathway.”From early meetings with the community coaches Craig is beginning to understand what is required and where he, and the club, can help.“The coaches I’ve met are desperate for something and we are eager to help. They want to know what the club knows; they want to know why a player of theirs misses out on a club and why others make it.“And we want to know what they know too as that will help us improve. I am looking forward to engaging with as many coaches as possible and building on the great work they have been delivering.”If you’re a community club coach in the St Helens or Merseyside area then you can contact Craig here.Craig (right) is pictured with Year 10 at Sutton Academy.last_img read more

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Club First Team Match SAINTS TV

first_imgA youthful Saints went down to the Broncos as Academy product Josh Simm impressed on debut whilst fellow youngsters Callum Hazzard and Josh Eaves also came off the bench to pick up their Saints heritage numbers.Holbrook admits his side showed the endeavor and attitude and was proud how his team came back after falling behind early.“I thought we competed really hard today. It got away from us in the end but we competed well,” he said.“I was really proud how we came back and I thought we were unlucky in the first half to be behind like we were and with Louie in the bin and all that stuff. Nothing went our way in that first half.“I thought we tried really hard in the second half and we had a real good chance when we got back into the game at 14-12 and then we made our own error and didn’t defend on the last play and once they got that try to take it to 20-12 they kicked away from then. I thought up until that point I was confident we would go on and win the game.”Simm played 80 minutes in the centres and Holbrook paid credit to him as well as the rest of the Saints youngsters who he insists will develop following this experience.“It is a big jump from Academy to first team and they will learn a lot from that today. They deserved their opportunity. We have some great young players at our club and I would have loved to come down here and get the win to celebrate with them but we didn’t play well enough and London were too good for us. For those guys to get their debuts is a special occasion for them, but unfortunately we couldn’t get the win for them.“I thought everyone of our young lads did well today, but I thought young Josh Simm to play his first game of the season in the first team [was great]. He is a great young talent and while he didn’t do anything flash I thought it was really good for him to get a game under his belt in the first team.”Holbrook had no regrets about throwing some of his young players in for their debuts and paid credit to London for the victory.“It was the right time that’s for sure – we have played a lot of hard games and asked a lot from our players. I thought our young guys earned the opportunity and it was the right time absolutely. We made the right changes, but we didn’t play good enough despite doing well to get back in the game from where we were.”last_img read more

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Club First Team Match

first_imgSaints saw off a stubborn Halifax team 26-2 at the University of Bolton Stadium to reach the Coral Challenge Cup Final at Wembley where we will face Warrington Wolves.And Holbrook was naturally delighted his side are at Wembley for the first time in 11 years, whilst he paid credit to Halifax for their proud effort.“I am just really happy to win. Obviously in the Semi Final the main thing is to win and get to Wembley and we have done that so it is really pleasing.“We expected a tough game and it was great that we won the game, but it was also good for the competition over here to have a Championship side in the Semi Final and to play as well as they did I thought was great. They tried hard for the full 80 minutes, but for us I am just happy we won.“I knew it was going to be a tough game. They were always going to make it hard for us and they are tricky games to play when you are the side that everyone says you have already won the game. In the end it was a Semi Final to get to Wembley. That’s what we kept telling ourselves and it was in tough conditions in the end with the constant drizzle.“We tried to play a bit too much in the first half and we didn’t handle that very well, but we settled down a bit better in the second half which was great. Defensively we were terrific for 80 minutes.“We all know we haven’t been to Wembley for a long time and that was weighing on the boys shoulders as well so it was a tough game, but the outside backs did a great job, in particular Mark Percival who was the best on the field tonight. He carried strong and defended really well.“It’s hard as a coach because you want to play better, but when it all sinks in the fact that we are there is terrific and I am looking forward to it.”Tickets for Saints’ Coral Challenge Cup Final vs the Warrington Wolves, Saturday 24 August (KO 3pm) at Wembley Stadium, London, are now on General sale!last_img read more

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Most expensive NC home for sale is located in our area

first_img Castello dello Belena or Castle of the Whale sits on Bald Head Island and is the most expensive home on the market in the state.The home overlooks Cape Fear, South and East Beach on Bald Head Island, and the 22-mile Frying Pan Shoals. It even includes your own private beach boardwalk. Okay, so the price tag? Just under $12 million.The website says the house was inspired by Moby Dick.Related Article: Payless pranks VIPs, sells discount shoes at luxury pricesThe home at 710 Shoals Watch Way has an asking price of $11,990,000.Also, making the top 5 list is a home located in Wilmington.Sea Lilly located near the Sea Breeze community stretches across 12 acres with 750 feet of water frontage on the Intracoastal Waterway. A 3-bed main house, 2-bed guest house and 1-bed pool house offer more than 8,600 square feet of indoor living space. Did we mention there is even an area to land your helicopter?This house at 7422 Sea Lilly Lane is on the market at $8.2 million.Other homes on the top 10 list are located in Asheville, Cashiers, Mooresville, Charlotte, Cullowhee, Rougemont, and Linville. Castle of the Whale is the most expensive home in the state. It’s located on Bald Head Island. (Photo: Property Shark) NORTH CAROLINA (WWAY) — Would you love to live in a 5,514 square-foot home with 270-degree views of the ocean? Well, it may cost you a pretty penny!According to Property Shark, some of the most expensive homes in North Carolina right now are located along our coast.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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WPD Hitandrun suspect said hed return to crash after dropping off kid

first_img The victim pulled onto the median, while Wooten pulled into a business parking lot and got out of his car. He allegedly told a witness that he was taking his child to school and would return once he dropped his child off. As Wooten left, the witness took photos of the suspect vehicle, which officers say helped identify him.WPD says Wooten never returned nor did he call 911 to report the crash.Wooten caused $2,500 damage and the victim suffered a sprained knee, police say.Related Article: Nearly 1,000 grams of meth seized and several arrested in drug investigationHe is charged with hit and run leaving the scene with property damage, driving while license revoked and failure to stop at a stop sign.Anyone with information on Wooten’s whereabouts is asked to contact WPD at (910) 343-3609 or use Text-A-Tip. Wilmington Police are searching for Quemar Deshawn Wooten of Wilmington for a hit and run in late August that left a Pender County woman injured. (Photo: WPD) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Police are searching for a Wilmington man accused of a hit-and-run in late August that left a Pender County woman injured.According to the Wilmington Police Department, Quemar Deshawn Wooten, 31, was driving north at the intersection of 11th and Market streets when he ran a stop sign around 7:30 a.m. Friday morning. The victim, who was driving east, told police she swerved to avoid the crash, but was hit.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Pender County private road narrowed down to one lane until further notice

first_img He says that between the traffic and damage from Hurricane Florence, the community cannot afford to repair the private road.He says the road will stay one lane until they can get raise money for the repairs. PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The residents of Cedar Landing and Creek Estates will not be making Cedar Avenue. A toll road for the holiday weekend, but there is another road block to look out for.One resident from the neighborhood near Surf City says Cedar Ave. has been narrowed down to one lane.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Overwhelming public feedback pushes back Cape Fear Crossing route deadline

first_imgCertain routes for the Cape Fear Crossing could impact U.S. Highway 17. (Photo: WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The public hearings concerning the Cape Fear Crossing were such a success that the state Department of Transportation is pushing back the deadline for choosing a preferred alternative route until late this year.In late April NCDOT held two public hearings and meetings in Brunswick and New Hanover counties to accept comments on the six alternative locations being considered. The department received more than 3,000 comments through the May 16 public comment deadline.- Advertisement – Because of the amount of input, NCDOT has decided to move the date of when a preferred alternative is chosen until December.NCDOT says all six alternatives are still being considered.Officials say an additional six months will allow staff to review public comments, analyze more data, and examine each alternative more closely before selecting the preferred choice. Once that’s determined there will be additional public input opportunities to provide feedback as the design phase begins.Related Article: NCDOT recognized for drone use in disaster responseThe Cape Fear Crossing is an approximately 9.5-mile proposed road and high-level bridge over the Cape Fear River that would help improve traffic flow and enhance freight movements from U.S. 17 and Interstate 140 in Brunswick County to U.S. 421 near the Port of Wilmington in southern New Hanover County.last_img read more

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