Disabled peoples organisations DPOs have accuse

first_imgDisabled people’s organisations (DPOs) have accused ministers of attacking freedom of expression and trying to muzzle their critics, after announcing new rules that will ban charities from using government grants to lobby politicians and civil servants.DPOs say that the new rules, announced by the Cabinet Office, will make it even harder to campaign to promote the rights of disabled people.The new rules say that all government grant agreements from 1 May will forbid charities from spending money on work that is intended to influence “parliament, government or political parties”, or “legislative or regulatory action”.But there has been Cabinet Office confusion over whether the new rules would apply to charities responding to government consultations, or trying to improve proposed legislation as it passes through parliament.And the Cabinet Office risked ridicule after it told Disability News Service that government departments would be holding their own consultations on the new rules in the lead-up to their introduction on 1 May.This holds out the prospect of charities being asked to comment on a policy that could prevent them taking part in such consultations in the future.Asked whether this suggested “double standards”, a Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “I don’t really see a problem at all.”Henrietta Doyle, policy office for Inclusion London, said the new rules showed that the government “dislikes criticism” and was “trying to clamp down on the voluntary sector highlighting the damage their policies are causing”.    She said: “For [Cabinet Office minister] Matthew Hancock to call it ‘the farce of government lobbying government’ shows little understanding that charities provide government with an independent opinion about the impact of their policies on the population.“The proposal inhibits the democratic process. Government policy should be examined by the third sector, which includes disabled people and their organisations.“If a policy is damaging disabled people’s lives then government should be informed of this and voluntary organisations play a vital role in providing this feedback to government and it should not be inhibited in any way, regardless of where the funding comes from.”Tara Flood, director of The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE), said the new clause was “appalling”.She said it was already becoming more difficult for campaigning organisations like ALLFIE to secure meetings with government decision-makers, and to find the time and resources to respond to the frequent consultations sent out by government departments, such as the Department for Education.She said: “There is a real resistance, particularly among politicians, to meet with those of us who are going to challenge what politicians say.”Flood said the new clause would also intensify the competition for grants from the few organisations that still fund campaign work, while some charities may just decide to stop campaigning completely.Disability Rights UK said the new clause “fundamentally undermines the value of the third sector in bringing insight and feedback from the people we represent”. Sue Bott, deputy chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said: “It goes against open policy-making and is counter to the ideas of co-production where those affected by a policy have the opportunity to help shape it. “We think this attack on the freedom of expression undermines good policy-making and in the end, far from being good for taxpayers as it is claimed, will do the exact opposite, as poor policy will result.”She said the new clause also contradicts the Compact, the agreement between the government and voluntary organisations across England to ensure that they “work effectively in partnership”. Clause 1.1 of the Compact states that the government will “respect and uphold the independence of civil society organisations to deliver their mission, including their right to campaign, regardless of any relationship, financial or otherwise, which may exist”.Picture: Social care minister Alistair Burt speaking at a meeting organised by the charity-funded Care and Support Alliance at the 2015 Tory party conferencelast_img read more

SAINTS kept up the pressure at the top of the Supe

first_imgSAINTS kept up the pressure at the top of the Super League table with a 28-12 victory over Crusaders.Breath-taking and irresistible in parts, they were skilful in attack – Jonny Lomax’ solo effort a real class above – and keen in defence when it mattered.They led 10-0 at the break thanks to the clinical finishing of Jamie Foster.He bagged all his side’s ten points; scoring in the first 32 seconds after a contortionist like twist in the corner and adding another right on the stroke of half time.In the second, Jon Wilkin increased the lead further before Jonny Lomax stole the show with a wonder try.Coming back from an ankle injury, he stepped off both feet to turn Clinton Schifcofske inside out and bring the crowd to its feet.Jarod Sammut pulled one back for the Crusaders but led superbly by Sia Soliola, Saints were in no mood to let them begin a comeback.Lee Gaskell signalled his return to the side with a nice dummy that had the Crusaders all at sea, before Lloyd White finished off the scoring to give the the visitors a deserved consolation.Welcoming back five players from injury, Saints ripped into the Crusaders and scored on their very first play.After just 32 seconds in fact.From the kick off, they won the ball back, sent it left and Jamie Foster twisted over in the corner as he was falling down. Superb – and his 200th point of the season.Twelve minutes later they were nearly in again after a strong defensive set.Jon Wilkin broke down the field following a fine sidestep and fed Foster – but the winger delayed his pass just a second too long and that meant James Roby’s scamper to the line was closed down.Ade Gardner left the field with a serious looking ankle injury – replaced by Kyle Eastmond – and moments later Ben Flower and Josh Perry explained blows in the centre of the field.The referee opting to penalise Perry and let the game run.Saints continued to throw away a couple of half decent chances and when Meli forced Stuart Reardon to bang the ball in touch, they looked like they would score again.A strong Kyle Eastmond kick gave Saints a drop out, then a penalty gave them yet another set. But Crusaders held firm once again – denying the homester’s four sets on their own line.With five minutes to go, Crusaders had a great set right on Saints’ line but the scrambling defence was just too good; a last gasp tackle on Sammut the highlight.But Saints were always on top and a fast passing move that involved Eastmond, Lomax and Meli saw Foster fly in from 20 metres.Foster converting his own try from the touchline.Half Time: Saints 10 Crusaders 0Saints begun the second half like the first – with a strong set resulting in points. This time a drop out was forced by some tenacious tackling and two drives later, Wilkin was adding to the scoreline. Foster making it 16-0.And it got better moments later as Jonny Lomax went on a amazing run to increase the lead further.The youngster stepped off both feet to totally bamboozle the defence… and his own teammates… bringing the crowd to its feet.Jarod Sammut pulled one back for the Crusaders but Saints continued to be mean in defence – withstanding three sets on line as the game headed into the final quarter.Lee Gaskell brought up Saints’ fifth of the night with a cheeky dummy as the ball flowed right, before Lloyd White pulled back a late consolation.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Foster (2), Wilkin, Lomax, GaskellGoals: Foster (4 from 5)Crusaders:Tries: Sammut, WhiteGoals: Schifcofske (2 from 2)Penalties:Saints: 9Crusaders: 4HT: 10-0FT: 28-12REF: Ben ThalerATT: 6752Teams:Saints:1. Paul Wellens; 2. Ade Gardner, 3. Michael Shenton, 5. Francis Meli, 22. Jamie Foster; 25. Lee Gaskell, 20. Jonny Lomax; 10. James Graham; 9. James Roby, 15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 4. Sia Soliola, 12. Jon Wilkin, 21. Shaun Magennis.Subs: 7. Kyle Eastmond, 8. Josh Perry, 18. Matty Ashurst, 19. Andrew Dixon.Crusaders:1. Clinton Schifcofske; 5. Stuart Reardon, 12. Jason Chan, 4. Vince Mellars, 18. Elliot Kear; 6. Michael Witt, 17. Rhys Hanbury; 8. Ryan O’Hara, 19. Lloyd White, 22. Richard Moore, 11. Hohepa (Hep) Cahill, 13. Frank Winterstein, 23. Peter Lupton.Subs: 7. Jarrod Sammut, 10. Mark Bryant, 16. Ben Flower, 27. Jordan Tansey.last_img read more

Vote counting starts for Local Council Elections

first_imgMiguela XuerebMiguela Xuereb From 2PM, the process of sorting and counting the votes in the Local Council elections, will take place.Counting will split the 23 localities across Malta and Gozo, into three groups of localities; the first taking place today with the second and third set for Thursday and Friday.Today, the votes will be counted in the following localities; Birżebbuġa, Ghajnsielem, Dingli, Balzan, Tarxien, Zebbug, Valletta, Fontana, Marsa, Mellieha, Qrendi , Nadur, Xewkija, Zejtun, Zurrieq, Ghasri, Iklin, Mqabba, Pembroke, St Julian’s, St Paul’s Bay, Santa Venera, and Ta ‘Xbiex.From 5 pm the counting process is expected to begin.So who led the local councils in the previous legislature?Birżebbuġa PLGhajnsielem PNDingli PLBalzan PNTarxien PLZebbug PLValletta PNFontanaPNMarsa PLMellieha PLQrendi PLNadur PNXewkija PLZejtun PLZurrieq PLGhasri PNIklin PNMqabba PLPembroke PLSt. Julian PNSt. Paul’s Bay PLVenera PLTa ‘Xbiex PLVoters in the local council elections were also selecting their European Parliamentary representatives last week.  The Labour Party managed to elect 4 candidates to the European Parliament, the returning Miriam Dalli and Alfred Sant of the previous legislature and two new candidates, Josianne Cutajar and Alex Agius Saliba.The Nationalist Party managed to return Roberta Metsola and David Casa.  In terms of vote share, the PL managed to achieve 54.29% of the votes while the PN scored 37.90%.WhatsApp SharePrint <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more