Ministers have been accused of absurdity and obfu

first_imgMinisters have been accused of “absurdity and obfuscation” after refusing to explain why they do not publish statistics showing the number of assessments carried out on disabled people applying for their new disability benefit.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) publishes extensive data about the work capability assessment, which tests eligibility for the out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA).But there are no equivalent statistics on assessments for personal independence payment (PIP), the extra-costs disability benefit that is gradually replacing working-age disability living allowance (DLA).Penny Mordaunt, the minister for disabled people, made the admission in response to a written question from SNP MP Kirsten Oswald, who asked her how many such assessments the department had carried out in the last two years.Mordaunt told her that DWP “does not record the information you have requested on… medical assessments for personal independence payment”.But she failed to tell the MP that the outsourcing companies that carry out the assessments on DWP’s behalf, Capita and Atos, do collect this data and that they share it with DWP.A Capita spokesman told Disability News Service (DNS) yesterday (Wednesday) that he did not know why DWP would not publish the statistics.He said: “We do share that information with them and it is their decision about how they use it.“We have no control over that.”Atos refused to answer questions from DNS about the statistics.A spokeswoman for Mordaunt (pictured) had told DNS earlier: “The department does not publish data on the number of PIP assessments that have been completed. “Both Capita and Atos record information on the number of assessments completed.”She declined to say why DWP does not publish this data, and whether it thought it was an issue it should address.And she made it clear that DWP would answer no further questions on the subject other than through freedom of information requests.DWP publishes PIP statistics that show the overall number of claimants currently receiving PIP, and what percentage of them receive the various levels of award, how long it takes to deal with claims, and the number and proportion of claimants who appeal against their award.But there are no figures showing the results of people’s initial PIP assessments, or even how many assessments are taking place every month.There are also no DWP figures to show how many people have to rely on appeals to secure their PIP, or how many claimants attend face-to-face assessments – rather than DWP relying on “paper” assessments – or the proportion of face-to-face assessments taking place in people’s homes rather than in assessment centres.  In answer to another question from Oswald, Mordaunt told her that information on the number of home assessments completed – both for PIP and for ESA, by the contractor Maximus – was “not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost”.The lack of detailed PIP data published by DWP means it is impossible to compare the performance of Atos and Capita, which between them carry out all face-to-face assessments.Bob Ellard, a member of the steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts, which spotted Mordaunt’s parliamentary answer, said: “More absurdity and obfuscation from the DWP.“Firstly Mordaunt claims that the DWP don’t record statistics on the number of PIP assessments.“Then [when asked why], they say they don’t publish it.“If pushed further they in all likeliness would claim that ‘we had it but the dog ate it’.“While the desperate attempts to hide information by the DWP are laughable, they are also very serious.“People’s lives are being wrecked by the catastrophically bad PIP process.“People who are subject to these degrading and inhuman PIP assessments are having their funding cut and Motability vehicles taken away on the basis of flawed and badly-performed PIP assessments.“The PIP process is causing genuine harm and mental distress to tens of thousands of people all over the country and all the DWP can do is play silly games at trying to dodge publishing the most basic information that might begin to shed a light on just how bad things are.”Welfare rights expert Nick Dilworth said he could see “absolutely no reason” why DWP could not publish the same kind of statistics on PIP – using data from Atos and Capita – that it does on the work capability assessment, the eligibility test for ESA.He said: “There’s a reason they won’t publish the data: it’s either connected with them being unable to retrieve it via their chaotic regime or they have something to hide.“My guess is it is a combination of both.”  He added: “It beggars belief that the DWP is continually promoting a digital era upon which the claimant is expected to fully engage, yet when it comes to transparency of data the department still seems stuck on outdated Excel spreadsheets which they battle to share.“It’s hardly confidence-building when we are asked to have faith in a roll-out of the all-digital universal credit.”The latest PIP statistics were published yesterday (14 December).The new figures show that by the end of October, 526,500 former DLA claimants had had their reassessments completed, with 23 per cent of them receiving a cut to their benefit, and another quarter (25 per cent) losing entitlement completely.Two-fifths (40 per cent) of those reassessed saw their awards increased in the move from DLA to PIP.The figures also reveal that the new mandatory reconsideration stage that all those disagreeing with their PIP decision need to go through before they can appeal to a tribunal resulted in less than one in five decisions being altered by DWP.Ken Butler, Disability Rights UK’s welfare rights adviser, said: “When compared to the success rate of PIP appeals [65 per cent of those who appealed to tribunals were successful, according to September 2016 figures], the figures for rejected PIP mandatory reconsiderations are a disgrace.“PIP has now been in operation for over three years – surely enough time for the DWP to have put in place an assessment process that gets most decisions right first time.“Instead, many disabled people are having their right to a disability benefit withheld due to poor face to face assessments and further evidence then supplied effectively ignored in favour of Atos and Capita medical reports.“We would hope that the second independent review of PIP will report early in the new year and recommend root and branch changes to the assessment process.“In the meantime, we would urge all disabled people who are rejected at the mandatory reconsideration stage to seek advice about making an appeal to an independent tribunal.”last_img read more

JAMES Roby has been named in the 2012 Stobart Supe

first_imgJAMES Roby has been named in the 2012 Stobart Super League Dream Team for the fourth time.The Team features six debutants in the prestigious team of the year, which was unveiled at Old Trafford.The players in the 2012 Dream team have scored more than 1,000 points so far this season, including more than 170 tries, and made in excess of 5,000 tackles.It is chosen by a panel of Rugby League journalists and broadcasters who regularly cover the Super League competition and is based on form throughout the regular season.To celebrate the 2012 Dream Team, sponsors Stobart in partnership with kit suppliers ISC, have developed a special commemorative kit which details the names of every player to have appeared in a Dream Team selection since 1996. Each player, who has appeared in the Dream Team, has been given an individual ID number and these numbers have been woven into the design of the shirt.Dream Team:1. Sam Tomkins; 2. Josh Charnley, 3. George Carmont, 4. Ryan Atkins, 5. Ryan Hall; 6.Brett Finch, 7. Scott Dureau; 8. Chris Hill, 9. James Roby, 10. Remi Casty, 11. Ben Westwood, 12. Gareth Hock, 13. Sean O’Loughlin.last_img read more

LIVERPOOL tradesmen packed the Erskine Industrial

first_imgLIVERPOOL tradesmen packed the Erskine Industrial Estate recently when Paul Sculthorpe MBE cut the ribbon on behalf of TROJAN WORKWEAR to open Arco’s brand new safety store.TROJAN has been the Official Workwear Partner of the Saints since the Magic Weekend, and will continue through the 2016 season.At the launch customers had the chance to meet and have photographs taken with Paul as well as take him on, in the conversion kick challenge.To meet high demand from local customers, the 5,600sq ft store showcases the widest selection of workwear from TROJAN as well as other safety gear, including hard hats, outdoor clothing and gloves.Opening day visitors took part in a conversion kicking competition and enjoyed free food and refreshments.Every customer visiting the store throughout the opening week got the chance to win Super League Grand Final tickets by entering the Lucky Dip Prize Draw, as well as signed St Helens merchandise. Exclusive discounts were also available for customers throughout the week across the range of hard working TROJAN kit.Lee Morton, Brand and Sponsorship Manager for TROJAN said: “The opening of this new outlet in Liverpool has extended Arco’s national network to 46 UK stores which has helped us in our goal of making TROJAN footwear and clothing more accessible to local business and tradesmen.“The partnership with St Helens gives us the perfect platform to showcase our hard-wearing, durable gear to the tradesmen and SME marketplace. Just like the players, we know what it takes to work hard and tackle the toughest jobs.“The attendance of Paul Sculthorpe and the Saints merchandise available to win helped draw a great crowd for the opening.”Dave Hutchinson, General Manager at St Helens RFC added: “We are delighted to see our official partners, TROJAN Workwear working alongside the Saints family. The similarities between our game and the brand go hand-in-hand with their tough, hard-working attributes.”For more information, and to see the full TROJAN® range, visit or find us on Facebook and Twitter.For more information and to claim exclusive discounts, customers should visit the Arco team at the new Liverpool Store Unit 2, Trafalgar Way, Erskine Industrial Estate, Liverpool, L6 1NA.last_img read more

Wilmington filmmakers make final round in contest

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A few weeks ago we did a story about two Wilmington women who entered a contest called ‘Hometown Heroes.’They entered the contest in hopes to get their movie “Drought” made here in Wilmington.- Advertisement – Out of 73 finalist, Megan Peterson and Hannah Black’s movie idea made it.They came in fourth and will be pitching their idea to the Duplass Brothers, who have a production company in LA.They find out November 4th, but either way they plan on making their movie and are so thankful for the support the community has given.Related Article: Watch the first trailer for locally shot ‘Swamp Thing’ serieslast_img read more

City seeks input for growth in Greater Downtown Wilmington

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The City of Wilmington got an inside look at what residents want changed in the Greater Downtown area.Dozens of people got the chance to voice their opinions about what they like in their neighborhoods and what they would like to see in the future. All in all, it was one of many steps the city is taking to see how they can revamp the area.- Advertisement – “It’s really nice that the city is taking an interest in wanting to hear what the residents of our particular area think is the right way to move forward with our neighborhoods.” Wilmington resident Drew Leadman said.From Greenfield, to South Front, Southside and the Industrial neighborhoods, residents broke down what is working in the area and what is not.Once the meeting started everyone was separated into groups. Shortly after they were asked to make a list of the area’s greatest strengths, problems, opportunities, and threats.Related Article: Apartments at Jervay under repairs, Glen Apartments deemed public nuisance“What we took away from tonights meeting is that Greenfield Lake is really an asset to the community and we all agree that it really is,” City of Wilmington Senior Planner, Christine Hughes said. “We have some work to do addressing some of our problem areas.”Strengths ranged from a great location to a beautiful area. As for opportunities, the majority want more jobs and small businesses. Threats and problems all seemed to include drugs, traffic, safety, and affordable housing.“It’s a very difficult task,” Leadman said. “I mean the drugs are always going to exist and homelessness is going to exist until we find a way to create enough services and housing for everyone. Traffic has continued to get worse every day since the 80s. There’s not a whole lot that can be done about all of it but hopefully we can make a small dent in the problem.”The city hosted the meeting in hopes of getting input that will be used to develop a plan for the future.This was just the first of many meetings the City of Wilmington is hosting. The city plans to host four more before the year is over. The next meeting is set for November 14th.last_img read more

Former DAK Americas site in Brunswick Co for sale

first_imgPictured is the DAK Americas Cape Fear site in 2017. (Photo: AeroPhoto/StarNews) BRUNSWICK COUNTY (STAR NEWS) — It’s been more than four years since DAK Americas closed its plant in Brunswick County, and today the property awaits redevelopment.The Star News reports all of the buildings and structures on the 640-acre site have been dismantled and this year the company will begin actively campaigning to sell the property, said DAK spokesman Ricky Lane.- Advertisement – After closing the plant in 2013, Lane said the company had to complete a plan to meet all of the state’s requirements for shutting the plant down before actively trying to sell it. Click here to read the full story.last_img read more

Humpday Health May is Stroke Awareness Month

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s Stroke Awareness Month in the United States. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the country, but in New Hanover County, it ranks third.Dr. James McKinney from New Hanover Regional Medical Center says we live in the stroke belt.- Advertisement – “If you have a stroke here or patients that have strokes in this area are more likely to be permanently disabled or die from their strokes,” Dr. McKinney said.So what are the symptoms if you or a loved one is having a stroke?“Usually it causes weakness or paralysis on half the body,” Dr. McKinney said. “So if the left brain is affected, the opposite side of the body is weak, so the right side of the body would be affected and vice versa.”Related Article: Preemie baby heads home for Christmas after 6 months in NICUDr. McKinney also says stroke patients can have difficulty speaking and lose their vision in some cases.He says the mnemonic FAST can help you catch the signs of a stroke.“Is there any facial droop or facial weakness? Have patients hold up their arms, does one of them drift? Is the speech slurred or they have trouble expressing themself or is it garbled? And T is time, it’s time to call 911 if you have any of those, because our treatments are very time dependent,” Dr. McKinney said.NHRMC recently expanded its endovascular stroke program, so patients are now covered 24/7 in southeastern North Carolina.last_img read more

Half of MEP candidates against derogation on spring hunting

first_img SharePrint Just over half of the MEP candidates responding to a Birdlife Malta survey, said they would not support Malta derogating from the EU’s Nature Directives to support spring hunting and trapping.In a set of surveys carried out by Birdlife Malta to gauge candidate’s positions on environmental priorities, 4 out of the 7 responses obtained by, clearly show disagreement over the question of derogation.Consider, Promote and EndorseThe surveys, which were supplied to the 41 candidates running in the European Parliamentary Elections, outline 5 local and global environmental and conservation priorities that Birdlife Malta wish the candidates should ‘consider, promote and endorse’.Those whose surveys has obtained pertain to Alternattiva Demokratika’s Chairman Carmel Cacopardo, the Nationalists Michael Briguglio and Peter Agius, Partit Demokratika’s leader Godfrey Farrugia and Martin Cauchi Inglott and the Independent candidates Arnold Cassola and Antoine Borg of Brain Not Ego.Fishing at national previously reported on how 5 of these candidates responded to questions regarding the EU’s policies on protecting Malta’s marine habitats and fishing and the increasing of EU budgets towards the protection of biodiversity and natural ecosystems.In the former case, 4 out of the 5 respondents from the original surveys obtained, felt that the issue should be dealt with on a national level.Should fishing and marine planning be resolved at the European level?With the addition of the two extra questionnaires, it appears that besides to over half disagreeing with derogation for Spring Hunting, there are also calls for sustainability.Candidates were asked…‘If there is one piece of legislation that all the EU agrees that it is healthy and relevant, these are the Nature Directives (Birds and Habitats). Are you comfortable with Malta derogating from these Directives solely for the enjoyment of a small part of the population such as for hunting in spring and trapping? Especially when hunting is done during the spring migration when birds are heading to their breeding grounds, and even more importantly when many of these, like the Turtle Dove, are in decline and declared as vulnerable by the EU and IUCN?’This is how they responded…Michael Briguglio – Partit NazzjonalistaBriguglio flat out states that he does ‘not agree with spring hunting,’ adding that, ‘Malta should adhere to EU policy and national legislation to protect nature.’Arnold Cassola – IndependentCassola is brief and blunt in his response, saying that he would ‘Definitely not!,’ support derogation. Cassola also adds that he has been ‘consistent’ on this during his three decades in politics.Antoine Borg – Brain Not EgoFellow Independent candidate Antoine Borg explains that he too is not supportive of ‘any derogation if it is just for entertainment. There are many other better arguments for derogations but this is not one of them.’ Borg instead stresses that people ‘as long as laws are respected,’ people, ‘can continue to enjoy their hobby.’Martin Cauchi Inglott – Partit Demokratiku Cauchi Inglott states that he too is, ‘not comfortable with Malta derogating from these Directives solely for the enjoyment of a small part of the population such as for hunting in spring and trapping.’ He adds that he ‘can just about tolerate sustainable hunting because it is abused locally.’CABSWhile the above candidates are against a derogation for Malta, the following candidates believe in sustainability.Peter Agius – Partit NazzjonalistaDr Peter Agius gives a definite yes to the question, adding that they ‘can find a way forward for sustainable hunting and trapping.’ Agius adds that this was the same ‘word they gave in 2004.’‘I will strive to respect it while promoting dialogue between different organizations and sustainability, mutual respect and legality as overriding criteria,’ Agius adds.Interestingly, the European Court of Justice had ruled in 2009 that Malta had breached the law between 2004 and 2007 on spring hunting during the Nationalist government because it had allowed hunters to shoot birds indiscriminately. Initially it had been thought that the court would ban hunting altogether.Godfrey Farrugia – Partit DemokratikuFarrugia states that ‘Spring hunting should not be permitted,’ but unlike his fellow PD colleague, he states that he would be, ‘in favour of sustainable hunting and bird trapping.’Carmel Cacopardo – Alternattiva Demokratika While the previous two candidates are interested in sustainability on hunting, Cacopardo says that derogations can only work if there are some scientific grounds to them. But, he stresses that this should, ‘not be a blanket exemption from provisions of directives.’FKNK questionsThis follow-up on the Birdlife questionnaire comes just after the FKNK published the responses from 17 responding MEP candidates.Of the 17 who replied, 8 had signed the attached manifesto supporting the FKNK’s manifesto of points on hunting in Malta. Most of the candidates who signed the document were from the Labour Party.Less than half of MEP respondents sign FKNK manifesto; most from PLPeter Agius was also a signatory to the manifesto, stating in his answer on protecting the tradition, that ‘a lot can be done from Brussels for the cause of the trappers especially, and also for the hunters.’WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Sampaoli resumes his coaching career in Brazil

first_imgBrazilian club Santos have reached an agreement with Jorge Sampaoli to become their new manager. The former Argentina and Chile coach is expected to sign the deal after meeting with Santos’ directors over the weekend.The 58-year-old has been unemployed since leaving Argentina’s national team after an underwhelming World Cup campaign in Russia, during which the Albiceleste were eliminated by France in the round of 16. Sampaoli was also linked to Major League Soccer side Atlanta United and the China national team.This is set to be Sampaoli’s first experience in Brazilian league football, having previously coached in Argentina, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Spain.WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=a7617b59&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img read more

HP Introduces 27inch AllinOne Workstation New World Record

first_imgAdvertisement The HP Z1 combines a sleek industrial design with accelerated performance featuring Intel® Xeon® processors, NVIDIA Quadro graphics, support for more than 1 billion colors and HP’s world-class reliability.Built for computer-aided design, digital media, entertainment, architects, education and independent professionals, the HP Z1 provides blazingly fast rendering and performance. It offers a full range of workstation-class graphics cards and processors, and is thoroughly tested and certified to work with today’s leading industry applications. – Advertisement – Whether it’s an engineer creating 3-D components, an architect designing buildings, a videographer editing event footage or photographer finishing photo shots, the HP Z1 gives creative professionals the power they need to bring ideas to life faster.“The revolutionary HP Z1 creates a new category of workstations elevating the standard for design, performance, upgradability and serviceability,” said Fulvio Dona, HP Workstation Category Manager. “With its game-changing design and an experience that optimizes visual and computing performance, the HP Z1 will help attract new customers and expand our market leadership.”Workstation performance without compromiseWorkstation performance. Features professional NVIDIA Quadro graphics, ECC memory, quad-core Intel Xeon processors,(2) independent software vendor solutions and whisper-quiet acoustics.Tool-less chassis. Users can easily add a hard drive, upgrade memory or access the graphics card by snapping open the chassis to swap out parts.Workstation-class storage. Users can choose from a variety of storage types, including 7.2K and 10K SATA, SSD, optional RAID configurations, a multiformat media card reader and optical drives.(5)Professional display: The 68.6 cm (27”) LED-backlit display with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 supports more than 1 billion colors(3) and features a wide, 178-degree viewing angle and an in-plane switching (IPS) panel.High-fidelity audio: Front-facing dual-cone speakers and SRS Premium Sound offer high-fidelity audio.HD Webcam: Have face-to-face meetings and see every detail right down to the twinkle of an eye. Also captures HD-quality video.(5)HP Remote Graphics Software: Users can work remotely while still accessing the high-performance 2-D, 3-D, video and media-rich applications they count on.HP Performance Advisor: Reduces the time spent troubleshooting by providing a consolidated report of the workstation’s hardware and software configuration that can be used to tune the workstation for specifically professional application workloads with just one click.AvailabilityThe new HP Z1 Workstation is expected to be available in East Africa in April.last_img read more