A new user-led campaign has issued a controversial call to replace out-of-work disability benefits with a new system that recognises that many sick and disabled people cannot find work because of their “reduced productivity”.The Dead Parrot campaign is the latest to call for the government to scrap employment and support allowance (ESA) and its eligibility test, the work capability assessment.But its emphasis on “reduced productivity” and the argument that a replacement for ESA must recognise the “ruthless” nature of the labour market has led some disabled activists to brand the campaign as “dangerous”.Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch, the two user-led groups that have launched the campaign, say the labour market allows only people who “can do the most work for the least money” to find employment.They argue that this means that many sick and disabled people will never find work, because of their “reduced productivity”, even if employers make reasonable adjustments for them.Because the government has made it so tough for people to claim unconditional support – through the ESA support group – many have been left in no-man’s land, not qualifying for the support group but with no chance of finding paid work.Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch say the government could address this by easing the ESA support group eligibility criteria, amending equality laws and intervening in the jobs market.They say: “Until this changes, people whose productivity is reduced won’t be able to gain employment and so need a safe secure income without threats and conditionality.”So they argue that the replacement for ESA should be paid – without any conditionality – to anyone who cannot find work because of reduced productivity.The idea has won support from some prominent disabled campaigners, including Professor Peter Beresford, Spartacus researcher Stef Benstead, union activist Sean McGovern, and Rick Burgess, formerly with the New Approach campaign and the WOW petition.Pat’s Petition (PP) and CarerWatch are now encouraging other campaigners to discuss the idea on the PP Facebook page and website.But their campaign has already divided disabled campaigners, particularly because of its focus on “reduced productivity”.A statement from the national steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) said this focus – with the phrase mentioned three times on the website – was “dangerous” because it implied that all disabled people have “reduced productivity”.DPAC said the new campaign failed to focus on disabled people’s support needs, or attempt to challenge issues such as government cuts to Access to Work.DPAC said: “We feel this has not been thought through properly in terms of negative implications.”And it warned that the new campaign was “totally naïve” in suggesting that the government would consider signing up to its demands.It also warned that the campaign could provide ammunition for work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who has suggested that people in the ESA work-related activity group could work a few hours a week, and welfare reform minister Lord Freud, who has spoken approvingly of paying some disabled people a lower hourly rate because they are “less productive”.DPAC also pointed to the controversy in 2011 when the right-wing Tory MP Philip Davies argued in a Commons debate on the minimum wage that employers should be allowed to pay people with mental health conditions less than the minimum wage because they were not “as productive in their work as someone who does not have a disability of that nature”.The DPAC statement adds: “The DPAC national steering group feel there are too many problems and negative implications with [the campaign] to give our support to it.”Frances Kelly, a founder member of PP and CarerWatch, accepted that their campaign risked entrenching employer discrimination, but said it was vital to find a new approach that “closely models reality in the job market and helps and protects everyone”.She said they had been left with no option to their new model by the government’s insistence that “the only way out of poverty is work”, even though the job market was “ruthlessly competitive”.Kelly said the system assumed a “cliff face” from the support group to everyone else, which made life intolerable for those who cannot compete on a level playing-field.Pat Onions (pictured), founder of Pat’s Petition, said: “We hope that this campaign will put pressure on Iain Duncan Smith to ensure a safety net that supports all sick and disabled people into work at their own pace, without the sanctions that have been such a major part of the current system.”She added: “We are aware that we are liable to being accused of siding with [ministers] and of suggesting that sick and disabled people are less productive and therefore of less value.”But she added: “We want to acknowledge that some of us are indeed less productive: why are people so scared to say the obvious? But that does not make any of us less valuable for that.”
SAINTS have announced their 19-man squad for Sunday’s First Utility Super League match against Castleford Tigers.Jon Wilkin, Adam Swift and Lance Hohaia are recalled to the side but Alex Walmsley is unavailable through suspension.Nathan Brown will choose from:2. Tommy Makinson 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Luke Walsh, 8. Mose Masoe, 9. James Roby, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 11. Sia Soliola, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Willie Manu, 15. Mark Flanagan, 17. Paul Wellens, 22. Mark Percival, 24. Gary Wheeler, 26. Matty Dawson, 27. Greg Richards, 28. Luke Thompson, 33. Andre Savelio.Daryl Powell will choose his Tigers side from:2. Kirk Dixon, 3. Michael Shenton, 4. Jake Webster, 5. Justin Carney, 6. Luke Dorn, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Andy Lynch, 9. Adam Milner, 10. Craig Huby, 11. Grant Millington, 12. Weller Hauraki, 13. Nathan Massey, 14. Daryl Clark, 16. Oliver Holmes, 18. Frankie Mariano, 19. Scott Wheeldon, 20. Jamie Ellis, 26. Liam Finn, 32. Lee Jewitt.The game kicks off at 3pm and the referee will be Richard Silverwood.Tickets are still on same for the game from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455052 or by logging on here.
THE 2016 Rugby League season will be kick-started by popular rock band We Are The Ocean at this year’s Rugby League Rocks event that is being held at New Dock Hall, Royal Armouries, Leeds on Saturday January 30 from 7.00pm.Fresh from their recent appearance on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch programme, the Essex four-piece will embark on a European tour on January 17 taking in countries such as Germany, Holland and Switzerland before heading to Leeds to treat fans to a lively performance that should set the season up in style.We Are The Ocean, who consist of Liam Cromby (vocals), Alfie Scully (guitar), Jack Spence (bass) and Tom Whittaker (drums), released their fourth album ‘Ark’ last year – tracks ‘Ark’, ‘Holy Fire’ and ‘Good For You’ were all play listed at BBC Radio 1.Their most recent release is a cover version of London Grammar’s hit ‘Hey Now’ after amazing responses to the band’s performance of the song in Radio 1’s Live Lounge in November.“We’re delighted to be playing at the launch of Super League 2016. Rugby League has attitude and pace that few other sports can match. This season can’t come soon enough,” said Liam Cromby.First Utility Super League General Manager, Blake Solly added: “Last year’s Rugby League Rocks event was an instant hit with fans which showcased the talent within our game alongside first-class entertainment. As always, we’re going to go bigger and better in 2016.“Music and sport go hand in hand. Booking a band like We Are The Ocean really sets the bar high for our season launch. Rugby League supporters love a high energy performance – I’m confident this will deliver.“It seems like such a long time since last season ended in dramatic style. We can’t wait to get started. It promises to be another ‘stop & take notice’ year for Rugby League.”Tickets for Rugby League Rocks at New Dock Hall, Royal Armouries, Leeds cost just £10. To purchase your tickets, please visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or call the Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113.
ANYONE witnessing Friday’s game could be forgiven for thinking that the Saints Reserves had just been thrown together an hour before kick off without a game plan and told to go and play. In defence of coaches Ian Talbot and Paul Wellens that couldn’t be further from the truth, writes Graham Henthorne.The problem is that for most of the game the team just didn’t stick to it. But when they did they scored and in the end still managed to come away with the win.The first half definitely belonged to the visitors as the Reserves gifted them possession and position allowing them to show what a good side they are.Two tries in the first quarter opened up a 12 point lead but both came off the backs of good Saints play that came unstuck with poor passing.The first was a 90 metre sprint to the line after a massive 70 metre touch-finder signalled the return from injury of Danny Richardson.The second came two tackles after an 80 metre interception had been superbly run down by Ben Morris.The Saints finally put a good series of sets together putting the visitors under pressure with a repeat set coming from a high spiral Richardson bomb and a fabulous chase from Chris Follin, Alex Eckley and Olly Davies which forced the full back in goal.From the restart Follin and Regan Grace set the stage for a flowing passing move to the right from which Shannon McDonnell set Dave Eccleston through the line and the centre’s high ball put his winger Ricky Bailey in at the corner. Richardson’s majestic conversion against the grain from the touchline sealed the score.Five minutes later and the Saints could have gone in level as Grace bounced off four defenders before escaping through the line. The speedster was away from the line with only the full back against him and Richardson screaming up on his outside. He did everything right apart from passing the ball instead deciding to hold on and was swallowed up by the full back.It could only get better, couldn’t it? That was the gist of the half time talk and from a possession point of view things certainly did with the Saints completing at 85% which ultimately took its toll on the bigger FC pack as the half drew on.But not before the Saints went further behind to a missed tackle try under the posts.The final 20 minutes, however, well and truly belonged to the Saints as the Reserves gained repeat set after repeat set due to some fabulous last tackle kicking from Tom Connick and second half substitute Brad Billsborough.The comeback was started by Jake Spedding who made amends for some earlier mistakes jinking his way over down the left.Minutes later Captain Olly Davies knocked on over the line but was soon back on the attack as the visitors knocked on. Having swapped positions with McDonnell Bailey showed how dangerous he can be from full back scoring with a lovely arcing run to the right corner.The Saints were completely dominant now and yet another repeat set was followed by a Billsborough try as the young scrumhalf reached out of the tackle to put the Saints ahead for the first time.The frustration started to manifest itself in the visitor’s ranks as a trademark big hit from Liam Cooper resulted in a little scuffle.More was to come, however, as a scrum on the FC 10 metre line was won by the Saints as they pushed the bigger but wearier pack off the ball and they didn’t like it at all. From the resultant penalty Billsborough put the Saints six clear and they played out the final minutes to take the win.In the cold light of day this was a good win for a young, inexperienced side against a side filled with bigger, older players which was built around a good defensive display and a massive will to win. But it could and should have been so much easier had anyone been able to take control of the play and stick to the game plan.There were yet more debuts at this level for Jorge Lewtas, Jordan Olmez and Josh Eaves as the Reserves continues to fulfil its purpose of exposing players to greater challenges.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Ricky Bailey (30 & 66), Jake Spedding (60), Brad Billsborough (71).Goals: Danny Richardson 1/1, Brad Billsborough 3/4.Hull FC:Tries: Mike Adlard (7), Jack Downs (17), Jez Litten (52).Goals: Harry Tyson-Wilson 3/3.Half Time: 6-12Full Time: 24-18Teams:Saints:23. Shannon McDonnell; 29. Ricky Bailey, 3. Dave Eccleston, 33. Jake Spedding, 34. Regan Grace; 6. Tom Connick, 31. Danny Richardson; 8. Levy Nzoungou, 9. Aaron Smith, 22. Olly Davies, 11. Owen Smith, 12. Ben Morris, 13. Liam Cooper. Subs: 4. Chris Follin, 7. Brad Billsborough, 10. Alex Eckley, 14. Josh Eaves, 15. Lewis Furlong, 16. Jordan Gibbons, 17. Jorge Lewtas, 18. Jordan Olmez, 20. Callum Hazzard, 22. Tom Whittle.Hull FC:1. Jack Sanderson; 2. Mike Adlard, 3. Connor Bower, 4. Zeus Silk, 5. Callum Lancaster; 6. Bobby Downs, 7. Harry Tyson-Wilson; 8. Masimbaashe Matongo, 9. Josh Wood, 10. Brad Fash, 11. Jansin Turgut, 12. Jack Downs, 13. Jordan Lane. Subs: 14. Niall Sidney, 15. Ash Bastiman, 16. Brad Clavering, **. Ross Osbourne, **. Jez Litten.
The duo will feature in England’s first World Cup final for 22 years.Roby will start the match which kicks off at 9am UK time, whilst Walmsley will come off the bench.England’s most capped player, James Graham, will take his total up to 39 at the weekend as the prop forward appears in his first World Cup final for his country.The fomer Saint made his England debut back in 2008 and has featured in three World Cup tournaments (2008, 2013 and 2017) for the national side.England Squad:1. Gareth Widdop 2. Jermaine McGillvary 3. Kallum Watkins 4. John Bateman 5. Ryan Hall 6. Kevin Brown 7. Luke Gale 8. Chris Hill 9. James Roby 10. James Graham 11. Sam Burgess 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Sean O’Loughlin © 14. Alex Walmsley 15. Thomas Burgess 16. Ben Currie 17. Chris Heighington 18. Jonny Lomax 19. Scott Taylor 20. George Williams 21. Mark Percival