Last weeks general election appears to have seen

first_imgLast week’s general election appears to have seen an improvement in access to polling stations for disabled voters, at least according to early reports.Disability charities have been highlighting the access barriers faced by disabled voters for more than 20 years.And last week, disabled voters who faced polling station barriers were able to secure free legal advice and support from discrimination experts Unity Law, by using the hashtag #PolledOut.The #PolledOut hashtag was even trending on Twitter at one point on election day.A Unity spokeswoman said: “Generally there were positive stories from the people who reported back to us.”She said the early reports received by Unity suggested there had been a “significant improvement” in accessibility of polling stations since 2010.But some reports of problems for disabled voters were passed to Unity’s lawyers.In York, election officials moved an accessible voting booth for wheelchair-users after a non-disabled voter claimed that other voters entering the Monkgate polling station could easily look down and see how a wheelchair-user was voting.A council spokeswoman said the presiding officer and investigating officer both confirmed that the voting booth had “adhered to Electoral Commission guidelines”, but that the accessible booth had been moved further away from the door “as a gesture of goodwill”.Another case reported to Unity concerned a blind man who had asked for a large print ballot paper.The man, who was accompanied by a sighted friend, was appalled by the reaction of the election official to his request, who reportedly said: “Oh, for God’s sake, what’s his number, and what’s he asking for now?”When the large print ballot paper was produced, it was missing some of the candidates’ names.As a result, the man was forced to stand at the end of the officials’ table while they corrected the error.His friend was not allowed to assist him, with one of the election officials crossing the boxes for him instead.Disability News Service has not been able to identify the local authority area where the incident took place, and so has not been able to verify what happened.A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said he was not aware of any particular concerns for disabled voters, but that its official report into the election would be published in July.last_img read more

Representatives of disability charities have given

first_imgRepresentatives of disability charities have given evidence to MPs about the impact of government social security reforms on disabled people, without disclosing that they signed contracts preventing them from attacking work and pensions secretary Esther McVey.Senior figures from Shaw Trust and the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) both answered questions from members of the Commons work and pensions select committee yesterday (Thursday) about universal credit and the government’s new Work and Health Programme.But neither of them made any attempt to place on the public record that the contracts could be seen as preventing them criticising McVey or her Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in the evidence session.And the committee’s chair, Frank Field, failed to ask the two witnesses to place on the record the existence of the contractual agreements, even though Disability News Service alerted the committee to the concerns two days before the evidence session.Charities including Shaw Trust, Leonard Cheshire and RNIB have confirmed that they have signed contracts – either with DWP or with one of the five main Work and Health Programme contractors – that include clauses that prevent them attracting adverse publicity to DWP or McVey.Other charities linked to the Work and Health Programme, such as Action on Hearing Loss, have refused to answer questions about the clauses.Leonard Cheshire, RNIB and Action on Hearing Loss are all DBC members.The clause in the DWP contract signed by Shaw Trust says the charity must “pay the utmost regard to the standing and reputation” of McVey and must promise not to do anything that harms the public’s confidence in her or DWP.And the clause warns that these promises apply whether or not the damaging actions relate to the Work and Health Programme.Other charities, including RNIB, have signed agreements with the main contractors that say they must have “regard to the standing and reputation” of DWP, must do nothing to bring McVey and her department into disrepute in delivering those contracts, and must not “attract adverse publicity” to them.A spokeswoman for the committee confirmed that the two witnesses had not been asked about the clauses or to place the existence of the contracts on the record.She declined to comment further.A Shaw Trust spokeswoman said the clause “does not and has not impinged on our independence as a charity”.She said: “Shaw Trust’s spokesperson [its director of policy, marketing and communications, Gemma Hope, pictured, left, giving evidence] gave evidence informed by the direct frontline experiences of our staff.”But she declined to say why Hope had failed to draw the committee’s attention to the clause, and if she agreed that it could be seen as preventing Hope giving the fullest possible evidence to the committee and from criticising DWP and McVey.Rob Holland, DBC’s co-chair and public affairs manager for Mencap (pictured, right), declined to say why he did not draw the committee’s attention to the clauses, and whether he agreed that the clauses could be seen as preventing DBC giving the fullest possible evidence to the committee and criticising DWP and McVey.He referred instead to a previous statement given by DBC in April.But Geoff Fimister, policy co-chair of DBC and a consultant to the Thomas Pocklington Trust, said later in a statement: “I don’t see why the contracts in question should have any effect on the DBC’s capacity to comment.“There’s nothing in our terms of reference to require us to have regard to such things and I doubt any DBC spokesperson has any inclination to do so.“It isn’t for the DBC to comment on member organisations’ contractual affairs, but if you want my strictly personal opinion, as a commentator on welfare rights issues, I would say that it’s highly inappropriate of the DWP to impose such conditions – which look suspiciously like an attempt to nobble legitimate criticism.“I also think that the charities concerned run the risk of creating a conflict of interest. “Having said that, whether this will have any practical effect is another matter and may vary between organisations.“Certainly, I have done a lot of work with RNIB, some of it recent, and have experienced no pressure to hold back.“I think they would say that well-evidenced criticism is unaffected. But not every organisation may take that view.”last_img read more

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SAINTS are set to launch their 2016 home and away

first_imgSAINTS are set to launch their 2016 home and away shirts at a special Member Only event at the Red V Cafe Bar next week.From 6.15pm on Wednesday November 4 the kits will be revealed – with the 2016 Home Shirt also available to purchase in store until 8pm.First team squad members will also be on hand to chat to fans and there will be refreshments available at the bar too.And you’ll be able to pre-order the 2016 away shirt for arrival in store in the first week of December.The event is strictly limited to the first 150 2016 Members to arrive – on a first come first served basis – and you must show your 2016 Membership card to gain entry.If your card hasn’t arrived then we will have a list of 2016 Members on the door.A sneak preview of the kit can be seen here.To be in that number for 2016 click here for more information.last_img read more

CONGRATULATIONS to Blackbrook Royals U12s and Newt

first_imgCONGRATULATIONS to Blackbrook Royals U12s and Newton Storm U15s who were representing St. Helens in the latest junior Lancashire Cup finals on Sunday at the Halton Stadium, Widnes.Blackbrook ended up running out 19-12 winners in what was an exciting final but not before Leigh Miners Rangers staged a fightback in the closing stages.Jack Stephens settled Brook’s nerves with a drop goal to extend their lead to seven points with Daniel Ganson taking the man of the match award.Newton Storm (pictured) came up against a determined Waterhead side in the U15s match showing some consistent play before Mikey Wynn put over a 42 metre penalty conversion right on half time.However, as in all finals both teams will have their “purple patch” so to speak and the men from Oldham got within two points before Storm full back Alex Haselock got out of dummy half quickly and showed the rest a clean pair of heels to make the game safe.Final score 30-22.last_img read more

SAINTS have named an unchanged 19man squad for Sa

first_imgSAINTS have named an unchanged 19-man squad for Saturday’s Betfred Super League Round Five game at Catalans Dragons.Alex Walmsley is available for selection after submitting an Early Guilty Plea whilst Zeb Taia looks set to line up opposite his former club.Head Coach Keiron Cunningham will choose his 17 from:2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Adam Walker, 17. Tommy Lee, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 19. Greg Richards, 20. Morgan Knowles, 21. Jack Owens, 23. Jack Ashworth, 36. Zeb Taia.Catalans 19-man squad is:3. Krisnan Inu, 4. Brayden Wiliame, 5. Fouad Yaha, 6. Luke Walsh, 7. Richie Myler, 8. Sam Moa, 9. Paul Aiton, 10. Rémi Casty, 12. Justin Horo, 14. Julian Bousquet, 15. Ben Garcia, 16. Thomas Bosc, 17. Jason Baitieri, 18. Vincent Duport, 19. Mickael Simon, 20. Luke Burgess, 21. Iain Thornley, 23. Alrix Da Costa, 25. Thibaud Margalet.The game kicks off at 5pm (GMT) at the Stade Gilbert Brutus and the referee will be Robert Hicks.Our 19s also make the trip to Catalans to take on their counterparts. The game kicks off at 3:15 (GMT).Derek Traynor’s squad will be:Alex Eckley, Brad Billsborough, Brad Pinder, Callum Hazzard, Cameron Brown, Christian Kellett, Elliott Jenkins, Evan Bullen, Jordan Gibbons, Jordan Olmez, Jorge Lewtas, Joseph Sharratt, Joshua Eaves, Kevin Brown, Matthew Costello, Matthew Lees, Mike Weldon, Owen Smith, Sean Croston, Thomas Nisbet.Ticket details can be found here.last_img read more

The full back took his tally to eight as Justin Ho

first_imgThe full back took his tally to eight as Justin Holbrook’s men bounced back from last week’s loss to Leeds.Defensively, the visitors were solid too, halting a number of Rovers’ attacks on the goal-line to stay top of Super League.The game took a while to get going, but when it did Saints took full advantage.Firstly, Theo Fages’ footwork wrong-footed the Robins defence to win a penalty.Then, Luke Thompson took a short pass to smash through the defence and put down under pressure.It was great show of strength from the young prop to bring up his second of the season.Danny Richardson tagged on the extras – and then added a penalty on 18 minutes for 8-0.Saints defended four sets on their own line following an error from the restart – and then forced a knock on to gain possession in the host’s 40.And it was a chance they weren’t going to pass up as from the scrum, Benny Barba ‘showed and goed’ and went over in the corner.Richardson bettering the score with a cracking conversion from the touchline.Hull KR came back into it as the half ended and after huge runs from Mose Masoe and Justin Carney, they found Ryan Shaw who reduced the deficit.14-6 to the visitors at half time.Both sides ripped into each other in the early stages of the second but each found ball control at a premium.Indeed, Saints missed a couple of opportunities to turn the screw and silence the home support but a superb inside pass from Zeb Taia, close in, saw Barba get over for his second just before the hour mark.Ten minutes later it was game over.Back to back penalties got Holbrook’s men into range before great handling saw Barba link up with Tommy Makinson on the right touchline – the centre duly turning it back inside for Lomax.Moments later, after the restart had gone into touch, Dom Peyroux took the ball at pace and smashed through the defence to seal the deal.Match Summary:Rovers: Tries: Shaw Goals: Shaw (0 from 1)Saints: Tries: Thompson, Barba (2), Lomax, Peyroux Goals: Richardson (5 from 6)Penalties Awarded: Rovers: 10 Saints: 9HT: 6-14 FT: 6-30REF: L MooreATT: 7724Teams:Rovers: 1. Adam Quinlan; 5. Ryan Shaw, 4. Andrew Heffernan, 3. Thomas Minns, 36. Justin Carney; 7. Danny McGuire, 24. Christopher Atkin; 21. Robert Mulhern, 18. George Lawler, 10. Mose Masoe, 11. Maurice Blair, 17. Chris Clarkson, 13. Ben Kavanagh. Subs: 12. James Greenwood, 15. James Donaldson, 19. Tommy Lee, 29. Jordan Walne.Saints: 23. Ben Barba; 5. Adam Swift, 2. Tommy Makinson, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 1. Jonny Lomax, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin. Subs: 6. Theo Fages, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles.last_img read more

Club First Team

first_imgThe 34-year-old, who recently signed an extended Saints contract, went down after a challenge with the Rhinos’ Mikolaj Oledzki.In his post match press conference, Justin Holbrook said: “He is not good. His shoulder popped out on the field so it is a dislocation.“He will have to get scans next week, but it is not good. We won’t know how much damage is done until next week.”And scans have now revealed that Taia will miss the next six weeks which means he will at least sit out games against Warrington, Hull FC, Wigan, London Broncos, the Coral Challenge Cup Semi Final against Halifax and Wakefield and he will be hoping to be back for our second away clash with Warrington on 9th August.Mark Percival was also taken off with a tight hamstring early in the second half of the win over the Rhinos, but that was only precautionary. You can hear an injury update from Head Coach Holbrook live on later this week ahead of naming his 19 man squad for the trip to Warrington on Wednesday around 12 noon.Tickets for Saints top of the table clash with Warrington on Friday are still available and are on sale from the Ticket Office, via 01744 455 052 and online here.Tickets for Saints Coral Challenge Cup Semi Final against Halifax, Saturday July 27 (KO 4:30pm) at the University of Bolton Stadium, are also on sale by clicking here.last_img read more

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