Showing posts with label commonwealth games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label commonwealth games. Show all posts

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Hitting the vulnerable

Tens of thousands of sick and disabled people in Scotland face being forced on to unpaid work programmes under threat of losing their benefits from tomorrow. People with a range of physical or mental health conditions could find themselves stacking shelves in high-street stores such as Tesco and Poundland, or cleaning private homes, under the new proposals. They are to be told that they must take unpaid positions or risk losing up to 70% of their employment support allowance. 

 Across the UK, some 340,000 disabled people have been placed in the work related activity group (WRAG), which means they must undertake a range of activities to help them get back to work, including training, job-hunting – and now mandatory work placements.

 Most disabled people welcome support to get into the labour market, but compulsory placements rarely work, says Richard Hamer, director of external affairs at Capability Scotland. "When disabled people get forced into jobs, they tend to be unsuccessful jobs," Hamer said. "It can be very difficult, not just because of physical difficulties, but also mental impairments – poor mental health for example – for people to adapt to the labour market. If we start simply forcing people into jobs then there's a high likelihood that the employer won't be the best solution for them."

 Susan Archibald, a disability rights campaigner based in Fife, branded the proposed plans "a disgrace" that "will put disabled workers at risk".  Archibald estimates that around 30,000 work-capacity assessments are being carried out each week on disability claimants by Atos.

 Disabled and elderly protestors plan to disrupt the showpiece relay at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, forcing up security costs, if the "fit-for-work" benefits test company Atos is not dropped as a sponsor. Campaigners plan to turn the Queen's Baton Relay, the equivalent of the Olympic Torch relay, into a public-relations disaster if Atos is involved when the Games start, with pensioners and wheelchair-users potentially being arrested for blocking the route.

 Atos Healthcare has a £110m-a-year contract with the Department for Work and Pensions to run Work Capability Assessments to see if sick and disabled people are fit to work. Critics say the tests are flawed, degrading, and meant to cut benefit spending. Next year the firm begins work on a second £400m contract to assess mobility benefits.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Atishoo Atishooo and we all fall down

Scottish Ministers plan to take £10 million from the pandemic flu budget as the NHS struggles with new cases of the deadly H1N1 strain and spend it on hosting the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

Four people in Scotland have died from H1N1 recently, while another 12 patients were taken to intensive care in the week before Boxing Day.The number of cases is expected soar this month, with the GP consultation rate for flu now more than 50 people per 100,000 visits.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Glasgow's Shame Games

A useful blog to follow that focusses upon the coming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is the Glasgow Games Monitor 2014. It carries the story of Margaret Jaconelli and her fight for a fair deal rather than accept the risible £30,000 she has been offered for her two-bedroom tenement home.Yet Margaret Jaconelli states that an independent chartered surveyor valued her home (which she owns) at £95,000. A quick search on S1 homes shows that there isn’t a single property in the East End of Glasgow going for less than £72,950. This makes a valuation of £30,000 seem like a sick joke.Imagine if a Compulsory Purchase Order was placed on a homeowner in a wealthy suburb of the West End, and if instead of offering the full value of the house, the Council offered less than a third of that value; or shared ownership; or a Housing Association. There would be an outcry. Certain developers – such as Charles Price - who don’t even live in the area, have been compensated with millons of pounds profit. Mayfair property developer Charles Price and the City Council. Price bought a parcel of land in Dalmarnock for £8 million in the period 2002-2005. The land also lies on a site earmarked for the Commonwealth Games Village and is likewise deemed essential for the Games development. The City Council had it within their powers to perform a Compulsory Purchase Order on Price’s land, but instead negotiated with Price (a process denied to Margaret Jaconelli and the other shopkeepers) resulting in a fantastically generous £17 million sale of the land - with £3 million added VAT. A total cost of £20 million pounds . Price has argued that he didn’t know the site he bought would later be developed for the Games Village. This claim seems remarkably economical with the truth. In fact, Price’s PPD consortium was one of two bidders for the construction of the Games Village site, and it is hugely unlikely that a consortium of that scale including leading architectural firms, and real estate advisors wouldn’t know about such a significant development. More likely, they bought the land knowing that its monopoly value would increase enormously with the pressure of the Games.

“I’m just a wee person from the east end of Glasgow...They said well we’re just going to grass the site over. I said, listen, do not tell me that in the East End of Glasgow, near the city centre, that all this land is going to be grassed over. It all boils down to money. I know the way everything gets sold, the bricks, everything, the land will get sold"

Later, when Glasgow bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it became clear that the building, like many others around it, stood in the way of the Athlete’s Village. This development of approximately 38 hectares will be adjacent to the new National Indoor Sports Arena and cycling Velodrome. According to the brief to the consortia of companies bidding for the development rights for the Village, the site should ultimately contain around 1,200 homes. The significant majority of these will be sold in the open market after the Games.