• Stop Freezing Overseas State Pensions
    The continued exclusion of overseas pensioners from up-rating adjustments to their State Pensions means that the real terms incomes of those affected falls year-on-year. Over time this leads to hardship, poverty, loss of independence and loneliness. Some individuals have been forced to return to the UK, away from loved ones, just to get by. This policy also creates a barrier to pensioner emigration from the UK, as the prospect of a frozen pension means that many feel they simply couldn't afford to do so. Given the countries involved are largely in the Commonwealth, those in British Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities are disproportionately impacted. There is no dispute about the entitlement to receive a State Pension overseas. All British pensioners who have made the required NI contributions during their working life are eligible. The issue at stake is whether that pension is universally uprated or not. At the moment, the government's policy is inconsistent and unfair, with half British pensioners abroad getting up-rated and the other half excluded. This creates crazy anomalies i.e. uprating in the USA, frozen pensions in Canada. It is time for reform to give all pensioners the full state pension they deserve, wherever they live, and to end this injustice once and for all. A positive, and easily affordable, step forward would be for the Government to include all pensioners in the 2.7% State Pension up-rating to be granted this year, by withdrawing the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Regulations 2016 currently before parliament. CASE STUDIES: Anne Puckridge Former college lecturer Anne Puckridge, now 91, lived and worked in the UK all her working life, paying mandatory NI contributions throughout this time. In 2002, aged 77 she finally retired and decided to move to Canada to be with her daughter and grandchildren who had moved to Calgary in the 1990s. Fourteen years on, Anne, who served as an intelligence officer in the Women’s Royal Navy in the Second World War, is struggling to live on the frozen £75.50 a week rate, she was entitled to when she moved abroad. Anne now feels that she will be forced to move back to Britain, because her pension will no longer cover day to day expenses and she is increasingly reliant on her daughter to get by. Anne says: “It’s the small things, and the injustice, that is really getting to me. I value my independence, but I can’t go on living on the breadline and I don’t want to inflict this on my family. As well as ever-increasingly poverty, I feel a sense of stress and shame, which is affecting my health.” Abhik Bonnerjee Abhik Bonnerjee, now 73, moved from India to Glasgow in 1960. He worked in the UK for 38 years, in shipbuilding, steel manufacture and the food industry. He owned an Indian restaurant for 6 years. Abhik returned to India in 1997 and reached the State Pension retirement age in 2008 when it was paid at £87.30 a week. Having made all the required NI contributions, if Abhik still in the UK today he would get £115.95, 28% more. The decline in his real terms income has left Abhik concerned about losing his home. He now feels he may have to move back to the UK. Abhik says: “The current situation makes me very, very angry. The government are scaremongering… [The Minister] says it will cost a lot of money but it is only a tiny percentage [of the pensions budget]. The government should be doing more, especially for Commonwealth countries and MPs can’t explain why they are not.” Rita Young Rita Young, 78, lives in Peterborough in the UK. She retired in 2002, aged 67, having enjoyed a long career in market research and as a community volunteer. Rita’s son moved to work in Australia some time ago and now has a family there. Since being widowed Rita has wanted to join her son and grandchildren in Australia, but has felt unable to do so due to the prospect of a frozen pension. As she gets older Rita finds daily life increasingly difficult, especially as she doesn’t have a family around who she can call on. She is deeply saddened that she is not able to be with her family during the later stages of her life, and feels that it is a complete injustice that had her son moved to a different country (e.g. France or the USA) she would be able join him with a full UK pension. Rita has spoken at the National Pensioners Convention about the issue and is very active in her community. Rita says: “I worked and contributed to my State Pension all my life. It doesn't seem fair that the government can just stop uprating it because I want to be with my family.” Geoff Amatt Geoff Amatt from Abergele in Wales reached 100 last year. Geoff contributed to the UK economy all his life and fought for his country during the Second World War. Geoff’s daughter Jean emigrated to Calgary, Canada more than 40 years ago, yet Geoff was unable to follow in the knowledge that his State Pension would be frozen at the rate of leaving the country. £29 per week at the time. As a result Geoff has been separated from his two grandchildren and two great grandchildren throughout his retirement. He has lived alone, largely dependent on the state for care, since his wife died seven years ago. Jean says: “Frozen pensions are unbelievably unfair. Canadians get their pension uprated in they live in the UK yet we don’t offer the same for those moving in the other direction. The government is keeping families apart and I worry about my father left all alone in Britain while we’re thousands of miles away.”
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    Created by Tim Snowball
  • Don't cut vital support for disabled people in West Lancashire
    George Osborne has announced plans to take £70 a week away from thousands of people with disabilities, by cutting Personal Independence Payments (PIP). For many of us, this will mean losing the crucial support which enables us to get out of the house. Many people in our area would be hit hard by this cut. This petition calls on our local MP to do all they can to stop this cruel and unfair plan. Please, show your support for local people with disabilities and help stop the cuts to PIP.
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    Created by Sharon Finlay
  • Don't cut vital support for disabled people in Dartford
    George Osborne has announced plans to take £70 a week away from thousands of people with disabilities, by cutting Personal Independence Payments (PIP). For many of us, this will mean losing the crucial support which enables us to get out of the house. Many people in our area would be hit hard by this cut. This petition calls on our local MP to do all they can to stop this cruel and unfair plan. Please, show your support for local people with disabilities and help stop the cuts to PIP.
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    Created by Madeleine Lestrange
  • End the gender bias in autism diagnosis - girls matter too
    Being a parent of a beautiful child that is currently going through this process I understand the complexities that arise from having a child that has different needs. It not only affects the individual but the whole family as a unit. Research tells us that THOUSANDS of young girls are getting misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed due to a lack of awareness and MALE BIASED assessments. Meanwhile this leaves the families crying out for help and more importantly our children suffering unnecessary anxiety, stress and a low quality of life. As a parent all we want is for our children to be safe, healthy and happy. Our children have a right to a fair assessment and service.The whole autism process is way too complicated, frustrating, inconsistent and can take years to attain a diagnosis. No diagnosis no help. Individuals with autism are NINE times more likely to die prematurely, with suicide being the principal cause. This figure could potentially be a lot HIGHER if girls are getting missed. Many girls will have either have been dismissed as a problem child or driven by their overwhelming anxiety and depression into an already underfunded mental health service. We as a society always focus on our physical wellbeing, yet both emotional and physical walk hand in hand. There is an urgent need for the government to address this GENDER BIAS and ensure ALL KEY PROFESSIONALS across the UK are trained and made aware of the differences. Additionally ALL AUTISM SCREENING TOOLS need to include the subtle autistic traits of girls to ensure fairness and consistency. Awareness, early diagnosis and intervention is all that is needed to help our children. Please sign this life changing petition to ensure that no female child or adult gets overlooked or misdiagnosed and suffer unnecessarily. http://network.autism.org.uk/knowledge/insight-opinion/interview-dr-judith-gould-women-and-girls http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/15332985.2015.1031858 http://autismwomensnetwork.org/autistic-women-misdiagnosis-and-the-importance-of-getting-it-right/ http://www.iancommunity.org/cs/simons_simplex_community/autism_in_girls http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2016/apr/05/autism-learning-disability-premature-mortality
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    Created by Nicola Heady
  • Stop Bullying In Schools
    This is important because bullying affects thousands of children across the UK and whether it be in, primary, secondary or college it can affect them greatly. When I was in school I was bullied very severely and it led to many future problems that I then had to deal with myself because of the bullies I had. Bullying can lead to a variety of different problems from anxiety to self harm. I myself when through self harm and am still dealing with it now, three years later, I am so far beating the urge, but the feeling is still there and I hate to think that so many other children are going through the same thing that I went through. There is a statistic that shows 1 in 30 children self harm, which works out 1 child per classroom, which to me is an outrage and if stopping bullying or at least doing more to prevent it, can reduce that statistic, I think a lot more children would be happier. Bullying doesn't necessarily mean a child will self harm, but I feel that if you are bullied is does knock your confidence, no matter who you are, it will knock you. If schools started to put in place real policies and procedures for bullying, like a zero tolerance rule and go through with real consequences then bullying will cut down. When i was in school I would often go to my headteacher with the fact that i was being bullied, and nothing was ever done about it. It got to the point where my mum would call in, but still nothing was done. I feel like this probably happens for a lot of other students, and I think school staff should take it a lot more serious than they do and actually do something when a student comes to them about being bullied. Children are often too scared to go and tell someone, children should be able to feel like they can talk to someone if they're being bullied. I would like to start this campaign against schools dealing with bullying. Eventually i would like to be able to go into schools and do talks about bullying, and maybe ask children to fill in a confidential survey about bullying with questions such as: Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever bullied someone? Has there been any consequences for your bullies? Has there been any consequences because you bullied someone? Has there been any consequences on yourself as a person because you've been bullied? What do you feel when you bully someone? Do you get anything out of it? I could then use these surveys to get statistics to use in other talks and to help show the severity of bullying in certain schools. This is an issue very close to my heart as i don't want children to have to feel the same way that I did when I stepped into school and to have to face the same issues that I did. I know the world is never going to be rid of bullying completely, but if i can at least make a small change in some schools across the UK, it would give me a great sense of achievement and i feel like it would benefit a lot of children.
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    Created by Jodie Barry
  • Paid adoption leave for self employed people
    For some self employment is chosen, for others, in this current climate, it is the only way of having an income, for some adoption is chosen and for others it is their only chance to have a family. An independent report by Julie Deane OBE recommends that self employed people should be given the same rights as those that work for an employer. This has been seen by parliament and so far ignored. I am proud to be self employed, I am also very much looking forward to starting my family however and whenever it happens but I know that without the same support the my employed friends get, we could struggle. This is unfair. The current government is very proud of the rise in self employment. It is one thing that has made the unemployment figures look better over the last few years. The entrepreneurial spirit is something to be proud of. It is time to bring adoption, maternity and paternity pay for self employed people in line with that of employees.
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    Created by Matthew Lee
  • EU Referendum Votes for 16 and 17 Year Olds
    It's important as the decision and outcome that is created will have a greater effect on younger people. Scotland allowed 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the Scottish Referendum, which what's the difference between that and this vote? Why shouldn't the people who are going to be affected have no say in the decision?
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    Created by Samuel Miller Picture
  • 3 Fee Waivers for refugee students
    The current refugee crisis is the largest humanitarian disaster facing Europe since World War 2.  Over 11 Million Syrians have been unsettled and were forced to flee. Once Syrian Students have managed to claim refugee status in the UK, they face dramatic barriers to enter university, as they cannot access student loans and suffer from financial restraint. Generations of students miss out on valuable education to rebuild their future and contribute to society. Our university is rightly proud to host an increasing international student body. Our Human Rights Center has been praised as one of the leading institutions of its kind. We would like to see the university act in a humanitarian way and find ways to support the refugees.   Other universities are starting to play their part: “Four UK universities (UEL, York, Warwick and Sussex) were offering scholarships to refugees. Since then a number of other universities have announced their scholarship and bursary schemes for refugees, including University of Edinburgh, Salford, SOAS, Newman and Sheffield.” In total, more than 26 universities have pledged to support refugee students to study at their universities. Let us join in this proud number: This is a petition BY students, FOR students. We want everyone to fully enjoy their right to education, regardless of the conflicts raging on in the world. Please consider this petition so we can contribute to the humanitarian disaster in what we do best: education.
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    Created by Nele Schuldt
  • Save the Feminist Library from Eviction!
    Southwark Council are threatening to evict the Feminist Library from the building on Westminster Bridge Rd, London, that has been its home for 30 years. The council have given notice that the rent on the Library’s space in the building, which has housed a variety of community groups alongside the Library for the past 30 years, will be raised from £12,000 to £30,000 a year. Council officers are refusing to negotiate - join us in calling upon them to work with us to save the Library. On 10th February, Southwark Council Cabinet approved a report that ‘highlights the need for a thriving VCS (Voluntary and Community Sector) that mobilises community action and makes best use of community resources, skills, knowledge and spaces’. We cannot understand how treating our organisation in such a way is consistent with approving this report. [1] Dr Laura Schwartz, Associate Professor of Modern British History, University of Warwick has said: ‘"The Feminist Library is a wonderful cultural resource that needs to be defended at all costs. Generations of my students have used it for their academic research, as well as informing themselves about the continued oppression of women in our society and how to fight against it. The Library is now the only archive in London where a wide array of feminist publications are truly accessible to the general public and available on the open shelves. It also provides one of the few spaces in central London where women and feminist activists can come together to meet and organise for a better world. If the Feminist Library is evicted from its current premises, Southwark Council will not only be guilty of cultural vandalism but also of silencing women." Learn more about the Feminist Library and donate to our Emergency fund here: http://feministlibrary.co.uk/support/emergencyfund/ About the Feminist Library: The Feminist Library has an incomparable collection of over 7,000 books, 1500 periodical titles from around the world, archives of feminist individuals and organisations, pamphlets, papers, posters, and ephemera. We also provide space for meetings, readings, exhibitions and events, a space which supports and encourages research, mutual support, activism and community projects, with well over 20 different groups having used the events space just in the past calendar year, a number of them national and international. We are volunteer led, as we have been all our life; we are intergenerational, being significant custodians of our feminist heritage, whilst looking to the future; and our approach is intersectional – we provide a space for different feminisms to co-exist. We support not just archiving work, but also publish our own zines and support independent producers and artists. We are a registered charity, and completely self-funding. [1] Details of report http://casouthwark.org.uk/focus-southwark/southwark-council-agrees-new-voluntary-sector-strategy ‘Southwark Council Agrees to New Voluntary Sector Strategy’
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    Created by Anna Pigott
  • Keep Anti-Abortion Picketing Away from Cardiff Clinic
    This petition is not about censorship; it’s not about undermining freedom of expression or about anyone being offended. It is about protecting women’s right to access abortion freely, confidentially and without fear, intimidation or public shaming. Each year 40 Days For Life picket the BPAS Clinic, on St Mary Street in Cardiff throughout lent. They gather under banners and placards and hand out unsolicited, inaccurate, pseudo-medical anti-abortion material. These tactics are intimidating, distressing and damaging to clients and staff of BPAS. We respect everyone's right to peaceful protest; let 40 Days for Life publicly state their anti-abortion views, let them be held to account and their doctrine interrogated. What we can’t let them do is operate in the vicinity of BPAS to shame, distress and intimidate women who are accessing the legal and vital reproductive health care that they’re entitled to. It is inappropriate and unjustified for an anti-abortion organisation to be allowed to interfere with women’s fundamental human and legal right to seek medical advice and care in the case of pregnancy. If you want 40 Days for Life to remove their prayer, picketing and propaganda from the vicinity of the BPAS clinic, please sign.
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    Created by Mawgaine Tarrant-Cornish
  • UK Government To Force All Supermarkets To Give Unsold Food To The Needy
    There is far to much food waste when we have people going hungry. All stores should be required to donate unwanted food to charities and to food banks. It should apply to any supermarket with a footprint of 400 square metres or larger. If companies flout the law they are to incur fines. Supermarkets are to sign a donation deal with charities, which will be able to increase the quality and diversity of food that they currently get and distribute. In terms of nutritional balance, they currently have a deficit of meat and a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. This will hopefully allow food-banks to push a fresh source of nutritional quality food to people and families in need.
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    Created by Cllr Sue Sampson
  • Asda fines disabled customers
    Once a month, I take my blind amputee brother to Asda supermarket in Perth. During our last visit to the store, we were appalled at our treatment following the use of a disabled parking space. I discovered a fine which had been imposed on the grounds that my brother (who has lived in a care home for many years and cannot drive for obvious reasons) does not have a blue badge to display. Why should a genuinely disabled person be fined in an Asda car park for not displaying a blue badge? Blue Badge Scotland clearly state on their website: "The Blue Badge scheme is for drivers or passengers with severe mobility problems. The scheme provides a range of on-street parking concessions enabling Blue Badge holders to park closer to where they need to go. The scheme does not apply to off-street car parking, for example in privately operated car parks at supermarkets or airports." I immediately contested this fine with the store management and was shocked to discover that Asda have no power to waive these fines under any circumstances. This is because Asda allow a private company - Smart Parking - to run many of their car parks across the country. This company exploits the blue badge system under their "contract" agreement and employ their own staff to cowardly affix parking fines to windshields without care or consideration for who could be using this space. By allowing such a company to run their parking areas, Asda are complicit in this greedy money making exercise. Following my formal complaint, I had a call from an Asda corporate employee who claims to be among the highest echelons of customer service representatives. This individual showed no understanding or compassion whatsoever, responding to my issue with cold bureaucracy. This employee showed (as with any other member of Asda management that i have discussed this issue with) utter incompetence in understanding the difference between criminal law and contract law. I have been persistently shamed as having “broken the law”, which is absolutely not the case. Perhaps the most shocking revelation during this call is that Asda have confirmed they DO NOT provide their own spaces for disabled people who do not have (perhaps have forgotten or never had the need for) a blue badge. Their best suggestion was that I use the drop off point at the front door. This shows an incredible lack of understanding as they expect me to leave my blind, wheelchair bound brother unattended while I find a regular space. My brother is effectively barred from Asda as there are no suitable spaces to allow safe access to their stores. This amounts to discrimination against disabled customers, as confirmed in my correspondence with Citizens Advice Scotland. They have suggested that there is a strong argument here for the discrimination against the disabled and they have notified trading standards with regards to this issue. I am grateful to have guidance and support of local mps and msps on this matter in addition to a local newspaper that intends to run our story. PLEASE SIGN this petition to help prevent other people from suffering this discrimination, humiliation and indignity while visiting their local Asda store. N.B. Tesco have confirmed that they do not treat their disabled customers in this way and are equally shocked by the conduct of Asda.
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    Created by Bill Cuthbert Picture