Petition is successful with 1,811 signatures
To: Sarah Newton MP (Minister of State for Disabled People) and Will Quince MP (Colchester)
Make Colchester's Disability Assessment Centre Disabled Accessible!
This campaign has ended.
Make the ESA assessment centre in Colchester accessible, or make a genuine reasonable adjustment for disabled users (such as providing home visits).
Why is this important?
As elsewhere in the country, disabled people in Colchester are routinely forced to undergo unnecessary and degrading assessments in order to access the support they are entitled to. Yet the centre at which the assessments are conducted isn't even accessible, and neither the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) nor Maximus (the company that manages the assessments and the building) will provide an accessible venue to wheelchair users claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), or home visits as an alternative. Instead, those affected are expected to travel around 20 miles to either Ipswich or Chelmsford to complete their assessments!
Under the Equalities Act 2010, if a building cannot be made accessible, then a reasonable alternative must be provided. But expecting people to travel 20 miles to a different town is not reasonable: it is an expense many simply cannot afford since cuts to ESA already mean they are expected to live on just £73 a week, and travelling that far on public transport is simply impossible for many. Likewise, staff offering to manhandle people into the building is not a reasonable adjustment either, especially when they are not trained in manual handling: it is dangerous, degrading, and frankly no alternative to being able to simply enter the building like an able-bodied person.
Because of their failures to provide a reasonable alternative which treats disabled people with the respect and dignity they deserve, the DWP and Maximus are in breach of the Equalities Act and are actively discriminating against disabled people in Colchester. Both MP for Colchester Will Quince and Minister of State for Disabled People Sarah Newton MP have been made aware of this issue, yet neither has been willing to treat it as the serious issue of discrimination that it is and force a solution. We need your signatures to help us to force them into action.
Since 2010, the Government's cuts have hit disabled people far harder than any other group. Disabled people have been vilified and treated as scroungers, had their already meagre support cut, and been forced to complete unnecessary and humiliating assessments to access support that they are entitled to. It is intolerable that on top of all this the DWP won't even supply an accessible venue for disabled people in Colchester to complete assessments the DWP says they have to if they want the money they need to live. Please sign and help us to get this situation resolved, and visit and like our facebook page for information, updates and related news.
How it will be delivered
During recent statements in relation to these issues, Will Quince MP stated that he will be seeking a meeting with Sarah Newton MP, the Minister responsible. We've asked Mr Quince for the meeting to be held in Colchester where we will deliver this petition.