first_imgA Labour MP has written to the work and pensions secretary to call for an inquiry into deaths linked to government social security reforms, and for evidence of criminal misconduct by ministers or civil servants to be passed to police.Debbie Abrahams made the demands –  key elements of the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition – in a letter to Amber Rudd, in which she expressed “grave concerns” about the government’s failure to pass documents linking its reforms with the deaths of disabled people to its own independent reviewer.Abrahams, a former shadow work and pensions secretary, had been told by Disability News Service (DNS) that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had finally admitted failing to send key letters and secret reviews to the team reviewing the work capability assessment (WCA).In her letter, Abrahams demanded urgent answers to “these very serious questions”.She told Rudd: “I am concerned that under your predecessors, two letters written by coroners, and a series of ‘peer reviews’ into the deaths of claimants, were not sent to Dr Paul Litchfield, the independent expert ministers hired to review the Work Capability Assessment in 2013 and 2014.“I would be grateful if you would confirm that these reports are correct and outline what steps you have taken to ensure such an omission could not recur.”Abrahams also raised the issue during work and pensions questions in the House of Commons on Monday.But the minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, failed to answer her questions, insisting instead that the government had “accepted and implemented” more than 100 recommendations made by the WCA reviews and would “continue to do all that we can to improve the process for claimants”.Abrahams told DNS afterwards: “His response, or lack of, speaks for itself.”In her letter to Rudd, she said there needed to be an independent inquiry into all deaths linked to the government’s social security reforms, with any evidence of criminal misconduct in public office by ministers or civil servants to be passed to police.DNS revealed last week how ministers failed to send the review team two letters from coroners and a series of internal reviews, even though they knew the documents linked the WCA with the deaths of disabled people.The admission came in DWP’s response to a complaint lodged by DNS with the Information Commissioner’s Office about the department’s failure to confirm if it passed the information to Dr Paul Litchfield, the independent expert ministers hired to review the WCA in 2013 and 2014.A senior ICO case officer told DNS: “Consultation with the ex-review team elicited statements that no such information was received from DWP nor were any physical files sent to stores.”DWP has this week finally responded to DNS questions about the ICO evidence.A spokesperson said: “DWP co-operated fully with the Litchfield reviews, and shared all relevant information which was requested by Dr Litchfield and his team.“DWP was not asked by Dr Litchfield or his review for information on the specific cases you refer to.“The issues investigated and evidence sought is at the discretion of the independent reviewer, and according to the terms of reference of their review.”But she has been unable to explain how Litchfield’s team could have requested information – the secret peer reviews and coroners’ letters – if they did not know they existed.The existence of the letters and the links between peer reviews and the WCA were not revealed by DNS until after the final Litchfield report was published.She also refused to say if DWP believed the cover-up showed there needed to be an independent inquiry, and that any evidence suggesting criminal misconduct in public office should be passed to the police.*To sign the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition, click on this link. If you sign the petition, please note that you will need to confirm your signature by clicking on an email you will be sent automatically by the House of Commons petitions committee 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…last_img read more

first_imgST. James’ Park in Newcastle will host a full round of First Utility Super League fixtures next May when Rugby League’s unique six-match extravaganza takes place in the North East for the first time.The event will see the sport’s elite players from the 12 Super League clubs showcase their skill and athleticism in six matches – three on Saturday May 30 and three on Sunday May 31 – at the home of Premier League football club Newcastle United.Rugby League fans from around the country are expected to converge in their thousands to watch the action and experience the famous hospitality, sights and sounds of a city and region which welcomes millions of visitors each year.Magic Weekend has previously been staged in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester but the Etihad Stadium, its home for the last three years, is unavailable next May and Super League General Manager Blake Solly believes Newcastle is the ideal venue in 2015.“St James’ Park is one of Britain’s iconic sporting stadiums and Newcastle is a fantastic destination city that will provide the perfect backdrop to the First Utility Super League Magic Weekend,” said Solly.“From all our engagement with Newcastle United, Newcastle City Council, NE1 and other agencies, it is clear that the region will welcome Rugby League fans with open arms and I have no doubts that Magic Weekend 2015 will be a huge success.“We did receive interest in staging Magic Weekend from a number of other venues but none provided as good a fit as Newcastle for many reasons, including its transport links, hotel and accommodation options and opportunities for our fans to enjoy a weekend to remember.”As well as the exciting action on the pitch, visitors to the North East can take in sights such as the Angel of the North and Tyne Bridge, and visit the award-winning Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and The Sage.Famous for shopping destinations such as Eldon Square and the Metrocentre and its lively nightlife where fans can unwind after watching a thrilling day of Rugby League, Newcastle ticks all the boxes to make Magic Weekend 2015 a memorable one.Sean Bullick, Chief Executive of NE1 Ltd said: “NE1 is delighted to be hosting Magic Weekend and to be welcoming Rugby League teams and fans to Newcastle.“The city is well placed to host Magic Weekend and we will give a fabulous welcome to the visiting teams and the thousands of spectators.“The economic impact of this will be significant, particularly for the hotels and restaurants, as well as the retailers. Similar events such as the 2012 Olympics and Great North Run have generated millions of pounds for the city.“Large scale events like this do a fantastic job of promoting Newcastle and the wider region. I’m sure visiting fans will have a fantastic time in the city and we hope this will be the best Magic Weekend so far.”Councillor Nick Forbes Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “I’m delighted that Newcastle has been chosen to host Magic Weekend which will bring additional investment to the City.“Newcastle has a proven track record of hosting large scale sporting events. With so much to do here and our famous hospitality, visitors are guaranteed a fantastic experience and a taste of Geordie Magic.“Our city has excellent transport routes so visitors from outside the region will find it nothing short of easy to get to and if they are staying over, hotels to match all budgets.”Details of Magic Weekend 2015 fixtures and kick-off times will be confirmed in mid-November.Fans looking to secure discounted accommodation early in the North East can do so via a special Magic Weekend website portalFor more information on Magic Weekend and to be kept up-to-date on when fixtures and tickets will be become available please visit www.superleague.co.uk/magiclast_img read more

first_imgDEADLINE day is looming with just one month until entries close for the 2016 First Utility Super League Fanorak.Consider yourself Rugby League savvy? Is your knowledge of the game, the clubs and the players second to none? Then this is your perfect opportunity to prove you’re the St Helens First Utility Fanorak!Entries close on Friday August 19, so now’s the time to prove yourself as St Helens’ most knowledgeable fan. We’ve already put Alex Walmsley through his paces, now it’s your turn to face the quiz master.The top three scores from across the league will be invited to the finale at the Dream-Team unveiling later in the season. The overall winner will then be crowned 2016 First Utility Super League Fanorak and win a VIP Grand Final experience, including: two VIP seats, food and drink, behind the scenes access; signed merchandise and a chance to be part of all the Grand Final action, performing the pre-match coin toss and presenting the Man of The Match award.Second and third place will win tickets to the Grand Final and a shirt signed by the stars of their favourite First Utility Super League team, and every club’s winning Fanorak will also get two tickets to the big game in October.Since launching in May, the First Utility Fanorak competition has seen hundreds of Rugby League fans take to the hot seat to prove they know all things Rugby League. The deadline is fast approaching, so get involved to be in with a chance to win the title of First Utility Super League Fanorak and VIP Grand Final prizes! Entering couldn’t be easier – visit www.firstutilityfanorak.co.uklast_img read more

first_imgSAINTS’ Betfred Super League campaign continues this evening when Warrington Wolves come to the Totally Wicked Stadium.We have a whole host of entertainment both on and off the field to bring you the ultimate matchday experience, which is ideal for all the family, including a stunning lightshow.Game Schedule:Turnstiles – Open 6:30pm Club Face Painters – These will be operating in the Hattons Solicitors Family Stand and as well as the Totally Wicked North Stand from 6.30pm … come along and get your face painted in Saints colours for free! Inflatables – Rugby themed inflatables will be in the North and South West Stands.Crabbie’s – Buy two Crabbie’s and get a beanie hat free in the kiosks tonight!Kiosk Food – We have a new range of food for you to sample at selected kiosks – endorsed by big Alex Walmsley. We’ve teamed up with Big Al’s to bring a selection of Burgers and Pizza Twists to the Saints. Click here to find out more!Member Offer – If you’re a member, you can take advantage of our pie and hot drink combo offer for £3.50. Simply present your Membership Card at the kiosks to access this deal. slected kiosksBoots – Your favourite furry mascot Boots, who is sponsored by Small Wonders, will be in attendance in all the concourse areas from 6.30pm onwards so look out for him and say hello! The A Star Saints Angels – Will be performing a brand new routine before the game.Kick Off – We’ve planned a very special and spectacular entrance for the teams tonight – be in your spot ten minutes before kick off!Tony Barrow and a mark of respect – There will be a minute’s silene for the late Tony Barrow just before kick off as well as all those affected in the London attacks on Wednesday. Half Time – Our Crossbar Challenge in association with OD’s Jewellery & Watch Boutique will take place. Participants can win £100 in ODs vouchers. If you want to take part email the club at [email protected] Dash – Check out the great prizes!The match is sponsored by Cultivate Creative with Qualitech as our Corporate Sponsor. The Matchball is sponsored by O2 Rainford.Team NewsKeiron Cunningham has named his 19-man squad for the match. You can find out more here and you can also view a match preview here.TicketsTickets for the game are available from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium or by calling 01744 455 052. Price details are here.There will be cash turnstiles on the Hattons Solicitors West, Totally Wicked North and East Stands.If you require a South Stand ticket then you need to head to the Ticket Office.Saints SuperstoreThe Saints Superstore is open from 9am until kick-off. It will be open after the game for 45 minutes. Our new look programme #asone will once again be on sale.Featuring an interview with Mark Percival it is packed with all you need to know about your Super Saints!The cover has our players on one side of the V and randomly selected 2017 Members on the right hand side! Is your name there? These will change every match!There’s also the latest news and views from around the club, our Academy and community teams.It is priced at £3.Today’s programme is available on the concourse as well as in the Saints Superstore and is sponsored by Warrington AudiTravelMatchday Car Parking details are here.last_img read more

first_imgThe game kicks off at 8pm and you can follow it live with us.For all the very latest from the match log on to our Official Match Centre.You can interact with like-minded fans across the globe at our Official Facebook Page and don’t forget to follow us @saints1890 on Twitter.#saintsasonelast_img