The government has confirmed that it is pushing ahead with plans to test how it might be able to merge two disability benefit assessments into one, despite comments from a minister that appeared to suggest that no such plans were being discussed.The plans wereoriginally sketched out by work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd at a high-profile speech in April.Rudd had saidthe Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) would test introducing just oneassessment to decide eligibility for both employment and support allowance(ESA) and personal independence payment (PIP).She said inher speech: “We will therefore explore how a single assessment could improvethe experience of those who apply for PIP and ESA/universal credit atthe same time.”Last week,these DWP plans were confirmed by the Tory peer Baroness Buscombe, who had beenasked if the government had “opened consultation on merging PIP and ESAassessments”.Responding on 29 April to the disabled Liberal Democratpeer Baroness [Celia] Thomas, she said DWP was already working on the new test,and that ministers were looking for ways to address concerns about “the feelingof duplication across the current assessment processes”. She said:“By testing the feasibility of a single assessment for ESA/universal credit(UC) and PIP we can seek to understand if it will improve the assessmentprocess for our customers, and ensure that they still get the right decision.”But her answer came just five days after the minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson (pictured), appeared to tell fellow MPs, during a debate to mark 10 years of the work capability assessment (WCA), that there had been “a bit of confusion” about the government’s plans and that there would not be a single assessment after all.He said:“The view was that it ultimately would be a panacea whereby people would go forone single assessment for PIP and for the work capability assessment.”Instead, hesaid, for the “very few people” who apply for both benefits at the same time,the government’s plans would merely see those people having “both of theassessments on the same day instead of having to come in on the Monday and thenagain on the Wednesday”. But DWP hasnow made it clear to Disability News Service that testing of a singleassessment will be going ahead.A DWPspokesperson said: “The minister [Justin Tomlinson] was referring to theintegrated service for PIP and work capability assessments, which will beintroduced from 2021. “The servicewill reduce the need to submit information multiple times, and some people maybe able to have both their assessments on the same day. “This is notabout creating a single assessment. Under the integrated service, customerswill still attend separate assessments for ESA/UC and PIP.”But sheadded: “Separately, we are undertaking a small-scale test to explore thefeasibility of a single assessment for PIP and [ESA/UC] for the small number ofpeople who are applying for both benefits at the same time.”Manydisabled campaigners have warned against merging the assessments for ESA andPIP into one single assessment.One disabledactivist, Lisa Egan, has launched a parliamentary petition – which has nearly 7,000 signatures– calling on ministers to abandon their plans for a joint assessment because PIPand ESA are “different benefits with different purposes” and “have verydifferent eligibility criteria”. Her petitionsays: “Merging assessments would cause huge harm, especially for PIP claimantsin work or planning to move into work.”She toldDisability News Service: “At the moment, people who are in receipt of bothbenefits have the slight safety net of still receiving one benefit if they havethe other one taken at reassessment and have to wait months for an appeal toget it back. “If both gettaken at the same time, that would be an incredibly difficult situation tosurvive.“If oursocial safety net was functioning safely, this might not be such a dangerousproposal.“But oursocial security is not secure, and this plan could cost a lot of lives. “You wouldhave thought they’d learned from universal credit that merging unrelatedbenefits doesn’t work.”A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
SAINTS are aiming to make u7s participation in Rugby League a priority in the town this season.The Service Area Management Committee will be helping each Community Club to establish an under 7s side for the start of the next campaign.Funding has been secured from the Saints Community Development Foundation for one Level 1 Coaching Course per club, which has been earmarked for the new u7s Coach.And already the fruits of the project have borne fruit with Clock Face Miners u7s playing Newton Storm’s u7s during half time at the recent Saints v Harlequins match.Saints Service Area Co-ordinator, Steve Leonard, said: “The half time game was a great advertisement of what we are trying to achieve, with all the children enjoying their experience.“Credit must go to the players, coaches, parents and both Community Clubs who produced such a spectacle.“The evening was only the start of a long summer promoting u7s and Cubs camps all around the Community Clubs.“We will be working hard with each club to carry on after the Saints Summer Camp to give each child the opportunity to continue playing Rugby League.”He continued: “I’d like to thank Saints for their assistance along with the Widnes Vikings for letting the games go ahead.“The efforts of the Service Area Management Committee in making this happen alongside the Community Development Team at Saints have also been invaluable.”Negotiations are already underway to secure venues for the Summer Camps and will be publicised on Saints Official Website.
SAINTS boss Royce Simmons said the key to victory on Friday night was “repeat sets” and the “weight of possession”.He was talking after he watched his side run in 52 points over Wakefield to keep hot on the heels of Huddersfield at the top of the Engage Super League.And whilst the win came at a price, he was pleased with how Saints performed.“It was really good I thought,” he said. “Wakefield were good for 25 minutes but our weight of possession told. We got a number of repeat sets and goal line dropouts and we burned up a lot of their energy.“They came with a lot of desire and they did a lot of work to get of their lines. But we ground them down and our halves turned them around.“On the back of that Tony Puletua and Shaun Magennis played well as did Louie Mc too. We only had 13 players at the end and they kept on going. In the end we only made nine changes in total as in the last 15 we had no subs left.“James Roby ended up in the halves and Tony Puletua played 60 minutes. Sia was fantastic too as he played the full 80 and never stopped going forward.“Gary Wheeler too… he showed a lot of energy. Jamie Foster is getting better – he’s a quality finisher and so often turns four into six, but we sometimes forget about the guy on the other wing too. Ade carries the ball a lot of yards and has been in tremendous form over the last couple of weeks.“Tommy Makinson is a confident kid and that try will help!”Depsite the win, Saints have injury concerns heading into the Easter programme.Lee Gaskell has “probably fractured his ankle or something along those lines” according to Simmons, whilst Chris Flannery has a torn hamstring.James Graham has damaged his sternum all three are not expected to play next weekend.Shaun Magennis will have a finger injury assessed during the week.
KEIRON Cunningham was pleased with his side’s performance and handling of the weather in their 30-16 win over Huddersfield at Langtree Park.“I thought we played the conditions really well,” he said. “We started with four forwards on the bench and that worked well. Because we were mobile we only used three subs and that meant we had plenty to shoot in the second half.“Luke Thompson was phenomenal. I thought he changed the game. Big Al played well too and changed the flow of the match in his first stint.“I was also pleased with our halves. They were brilliant as was our game management.“Luke Walsh was brilliant too. He has been really focused in pre-season and has taken the bull by the horns. It has been tough finding the right paring for him but we have found something. If that doesn’t work we have other options.“Defensively I was happy. They scored from two kicks and to be fair they shouldn’t have been down that end of the field. You should get some reward for defence, but there were play four penalties that weren’t really.”He continued: “We certainly have improved from the two friendlies. They lost key players but I thought we looked comfortable and I’m happy with where we are heading.“James Roby has a bang on the ribs; a bit of a stinger more than anything and we will get him assessed. It is the luxury of having a squad and we have some cover in that area.”Saints next game at Langtree Park is the mouth-watering World Club Series clash with Sydney Roosters.The game kicks off at 8pm on Friday February 19 and tickets are now on sale.To buy call into the Ticket Office, telephone 01744 455 052 or log online here.
Story updated at 2pm on 17th April.The RFL has confirmed today that four of the eight ties in the sixth round of the Coral Challenge Cup will be televised live on the weekend of May 10-12.Sky Sports will show Hull FC’s tie against Castleford Tigers on Friday May 10 (7:35pm), and then rounding off the programme with Saints trip to Huddersfield Giants on Sunday May 12 (6:05pm).Ticket and travel prices for our trip to the John Smith’s Stadium will be confirmed in due course.The other televised fixtures include the first Bradford-Leeds derby for five years. The Rhinos’ first visit to Odsal since the Bulls were last in the Super League in 2014 has been selected as the first of two matches to be shown live on BBC1 – kicking off at 2:30pm on Saturday May 11.It will be the West Yorkshire rivals’ first meeting in the Challenge Cup since the 2003 final in Cardiff – and the Bulls will be the only club from the Betfred Championship to feature in the four televised matches, after securing their place in the last 16 with a golden-point fifth-round win against Featherstone Rovers.The BBC’s second tie, also to be shown on BBC1, will be the blockbuster between Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday May 12 (kick-off 2:15pm).The draw for the quarter finals of the Coral Challenge Cup will be held on Sunday May 12 and shown by the BBC, with further details to be confirmed.We will also host the draw for the first round of the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup on Easter Monday at 11am, before our women’s team entertain Bradford in the Women’s Super League – with both the draw and the match to be broadcast live on the RFL’s Our League app.Coral Challenge Cup, Sixth Round – televised tiesFriday May 10 – Hull FC v Castleford Tigers (735pm, Sky Sports)Saturday May 11 – Bradford Bulls v Leeds Rhinos (230pm, BBC1)Sunday May 12 – Warrington Wolves v Wigan Warriors (215pm, BBC1), Huddersfield Giants v St Helens (605pm, Sky Sports)Tickets for the 2019 Coral Challenge Cup Final and 1895 Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, August 24 can be purchased by calling the Rugby League Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugby-league.com/tickets.Coral Challenge Cup Round Six Draw in full:Salford Red Devils v Hull Kingston RoversDewsbury Rams v Halifax RLFCWarrington Wolves v Wigan WarriorsBradford Bulls v Leeds RhinosHull FC v Castleford TigersCatalans Dragons v Doncaster RLFCHuddersfield Giants v St HelensWakefield Trinity v Widnes Vikings