Time For Maria Miller MP To Resign!
Please join me & ask as many people as possible to join me in emailing your MP and add your name to an open letter in the Guardian.
We believe that Ms Maria Miller’s position as Minister for Disabled People has become untenable for the following reasons:
1) For failing to fight hard enough to ensure that disabled people receive a fairer assessment of their capabilities. For suggesting to Disability Campaigner, Sue Marsh, whose own Disability Living Allowance has been decreased, that she use her ‘extensive right of appeal through tribunals’ if she is unhappy about the DWP’s decision. Ms Miller appears to be ignorant of how the proposed cuts to legal aid will severely limit access to justice through tribunals for thousands of DLA recipients. Added to this, the closure of many Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, because of cuts, means many people cannot get the advice they need.
2) For persistently disregarding the views of charities, organisations, medical professionals, scholars & academics, independent inquiries & commissions, who have made it clear in public statements that the Work Capability Assessment in its current form is ‘not fit for purpose’ but is willingly administered by ATOS Heathcare.
3) For persistently defending the changes to move people from Incapacity Benefit to Employment & Support Allowance, which have led to many sick and disabled people being wrongly assessed and some terminally ill people being passed fit to work. Also for persistently defending the proposed change from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments, which will take away the benefit from many needy and deserving people.
4) For announcing that the Independent Living Fund will be closed down in 2015 (it has already been closed to new applicants since May 2010) and failing to consult with severely disabled people who use this fund, leaving them a state of high anxiety about their futures.
5) Her refusal to engage directly with the people at the first ‘Hardest Hit March’ on the 11th of May 2011, the follow up in October 2011 and more recently in January 2012 sent a clear message that, though she will participate safely from a live internet blog or a radio studio, she is reluctant to meet, in person, people with serious illness and disabilities whose anxiety and sense of injustice drive them to take to the streets in all weathers to voice their feelings.
6) For being responsible for introducing the plan to charge lone parents to access the service which will replace the Child Support Agency, when organisations such as Gingerbread have opposed the idea because of the damaging effect it will have on children and the difficulties, if not impossibilities, of many parents in getting child maintenance. A large percentage of lone parents are disabled or caring for disabled children.
7) For failing to take a sufficiently strong public stand to protect disabled people from disability-based discrimination, prejudice and disability hatred. Such disability hatred often stems from articles in the media, including the state-sponsored BBC, which regularly portray people who are sick and disabled as scroungers, particularly those who suffer from conditions that may not be readily obvious.
8) For misleading the public by claiming that there is not a shortage of jobs but a fear of work, suggesting that all people who receive benefits are workshy. She said she believed the unemployment problem was down to a lack of ‘appetite’ for the jobs on offer, claiming that on any day there are 400,000 job vacancies. What she failed to mention was that there are 2.68 million people unemployed and that in some parts of the country, such as Hartlepool, there are twelve people chasing every vacancy. Neither did she mention that many of the jobs are part time and/or unsalaried and commission-based.
9) Finally, although her background is in marketing and advertising, she does not appear to be using her PR skills to highlight the plight of the sick, disabled, poor and vulnerable in our society, but rather the opposite.
If you would like to sign the letter please contact firstname.lastname@example.org