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Friday, 10 February 2012

Letter in The Guardian calling for Maria Miller to resign.

From: Darkest Angel darkestangel32@hotmail.co.uk
Date: Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Subject: Letter in The Guardian calling for Maria Miller to resign.

Hello there. In the light of recent interviews with Maria Miller MP (Minister for the Disabled and Under Secretary of State) an online group of disabled and non disabled activists are sending a letter to the guardian calling for her to resign. The article is here http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/feb/06/minister-disabled-no-shortage-jobs?CMP=twt_fd
 If you would like to have your name/organisation added to the list of signatures please reply asap so we can get it sent quickly. A copy of the letter is below. 

 An open letter to Ms Maria Miller, Under Secretary of State (Disabled People) Work and Pensions.
 Dear Maria Miller MP,
 We, the undersigned have no confidence in your abilities as Under Secretary of State (Disabled People) Work and Pensions. We believe that you should resign from your position 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. You 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) Your 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 you will participate safely from a live internet blog or a radio studio, you are 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

5) 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.

6) 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.

7) 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. You said you 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 you 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 you mention that many of the jobs are part time and/or unsalaried and commission-based.

8) Finally, although your background is in marketing and advertising, you does not appear to be using your PR skills to highlight the plight of the sick, disabled, poor and vulnerable in our society, but rather the opposite. Before the 2010 General Election, Politicians were queuing up to promise the right to ‘recall’ MPs who do not do their jobs properly. So far, no legislation has been passed to enable people to do this. However, we, the undersigned, feel that this should be the case for you. It is for the above listed reasons that we, the undersigned believe that you, Ms Maria Miller MP, to be out of touch with the worries, concerns and outrage felt by sick, disabled, poor and vulnerable members of our society. We therefore urge you to resign immediately.

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