How are you?

How long has it been? A year has turned, Christmas has passed and I have a new website. We have been working on the new site for a couple of months, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

I’d be particularly interested to hear about any accessibility issues. As you know, websites are never perfect for everyone, but I’m determined to make mine as welcoming and as accessible as possible so do let me know.

Graeme Whippy MBE doing what he loves
Graeme Whippy MBE doing what he loves

My thanks to Graeme Whippy who built my previous site and who I see was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours list, See what happens if you design my website! Tricia Howey from Narus Productions designed this one so you’d better get ready for a Dameship Tricia!

Susan Scott-Parker OBE
Susan Scott-Parker OBE

I spent a very happy evening on Thursday celebrating the work of Susan Scott-Parker, who, as many of you will know by now, has moved from her role with the Business Disability Forum and is now the CEO at Business Disability International. Kate Nash (not the singer!) organised an informal get-together of past and present colleagues and associates, and we all shared a story or anecdote that spoke about our work or involvement with Susan. A mixture of funny and moving tales but all very entertaining. Susan has done so much to change the landscape for disabled people and employers, so it was a very fitting tribute and thoroughly deserved. 

Severely damaged wheelchair
Severely damaged wheelchair

Once I’ve finished writing this I’m going to start focussing on packing for my Carribean cruise. Yes, I know it’s a hard life! I don’t know about you, but I’m heartily sick of the weather. I’ve not seen as much rain since our house was flooded a couple of years ago. So the Carribean here we come. The only concern I have is whether my wheelchair will arrive in Barbados and if it does, will it be in one piece. You might have seen my recent Twitter post about a severely disabled athlete who had his £20,000 wheelchair demolished by baggage handlers. Fortunately, the story attracted a great deal of attention on Facebook, and the airline was ‘shamed’ into paying compensation. Here’s a link to the story Airline forced to pay compensation
I hope Barbadian baggage handlers are a little more careful with mine. Now where’s the suntan cream, better take the Factor 50? Will tell all on my return.

Now here is this weeks news which I hope is useful to you.

Maximus-owned Remploy slashes pay of disabled experts by half 

The care watchdog has allowed a US outsourcing giant to slash the pay of disabled people by more than half when it takes over two contracts to manage service-users who work as expert advisers on care home and hospital inspections. 

Council’s ‘wicked’ care cuts are‘like social cleansing’, say service-users

Disabled and older people have compared a council’s plans to cut £5 million from its adult social care budget to “social cleansing”, and have accused it of “treating people no better than animals in Longleat”. 

Disabled people are falling through holes in local welfare safety net, warn MPs

A committee of MPs has called on the government to stop local authorities discriminating against disabled people who need financial help following the introduction of the “bedroom tax”.The work and pensions select committee’s report on the local welfare safety net – which focuses on England – warns that many councils are failing to follow government guidance when deciding whether disabled people should be awarded discretionary housing payments (DHPs).

 Disabled MP’s jobs warning to government: ‘Do not under-estimate prejudice’

A disabled Conservative MP has warned the government not to underestimate the difficulty of achieving its aim of halving the disability employment gap, because of the extent of “prejudice” faced by disabled people. 

News provided by John Pring at

Author: PhilFriend

Dr Phil Friend (OBE FRSA) himself a wheelchair user, is acknowledged as the UK's foremost consultant on disability matters. A powerful and highly popular communicator, his company – Phil & Friends – has provided consultancy to many of the country's best-known companies. In addition to his professional activities, he is also a respected champion for equal opportunities and diversity in general, where his special blend of humour and direct speaking has won admirers from around the world.

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