Daily Archives: June 21, 2012

Bob Ainsworth signs Motor Neurone Disease Association’s Charter

Bob Ainsworth has signed the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association’s Charter in recognition of the rights and priorities of people living with MND and their carers.

MND kills five people every day, with half of people dying within 14 months of diagnosis.  This terminal disease can affect any adult at any age.  There is no known cure.

Unfortunately, this condition is still little understood and this contributes to many people with MND not receiving the care and support they need.  The MND Charter has been launched with the aim to change this.

The five-point charter sets out what good care looks like for people with MND and their carers and is designed to raise awareness and understanding of this devastating disease.

Bob said:

“I am delighted to sign up to the MND Charter and would urge others to do so as well to help raise awareness of this terminal disease and ensure that the rights of people with MND and their carers are recognised and respected.

“I have seen the difference that good services make to the lives of people with MND and I believe that everyone with this devastating disease should be supported to maximise their quality of life and die with dignity.”

 Liam Dwyer, a person living with MND and fronting this year’s awareness campaign said:

“Many people with MND die without having the right care, not having a suitable wheelchair, not having the support to communicate.  When living with MND, one month waiting for an assessment or a piece of equipment is like a year in most people’s lives, especially as half of the people with MND die within 14 months of diagnosis.”

The MND Charter, which has already received endorsements from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) aims to ensure that people with MND and their carers have access to timely and appropriate information, care, services that allow them to maximise their quality of life and ensure they are treated with dignity.

Farah Nazeer, Direct of External Affairs, said:

“What matters most is that people with MND and their carers can access the right care, in the right place and at the right time.  We need to ensure that the needs of people with MND and the priorities for good care as set out in our Charter are recognised and respected.  We urge everyone to sign the Charter and show their support.”

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Coventry’s JSA Claimant Count still above the national average

Bob Ainsworth has welcomed the small drop in the Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimant count in Coventry, whilst calling upon the government to take action to tackle unemployment in Coventry, which is persistently higher than the UK-wide average.

Figure released on Wednesday 20June 2012 by the Office for National Statistics shows that in May 2012, the proportion of the working population in Coventry claiming JSA stood at 4.8%, a reduction of 0.2% from 5% at the same point last year. Despite this good news, the claimant count is still 0.9% higher than the national average. The variation between the UK-wide count and the Coventry count has fluctuated between 1.4% and 0.9% in the last year.

Bob said:

“The reduction in the claimant count is welcome news but the government needs to do more to tackle the problems that we face in Coventry and across the country. Unemployment among both men and women is persistently above the national average as is the number of people claiming JSA for more than 12 months.

“After the shambles of the government’s budget, the government needs to come up with a growth plan that targets support to areas, like Coventry, which have higher JSA claimant counts than the national average. A VAT cut for instance, which would bring down the price of fuel and put money back into the pockets of low earners, might be a good place to start.”

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Coventry’s average ESA appeals time above national average

Bob Ainsworth has unearthed shocking figures which show that the average length of time for the Tribunals Service to administer an Employment and Support Allowance appeal in Coventry was 36.3 weeks between 1 April 2011 and 31 December 2011 (the latest period for which information is available), well above the national average in England of 24.7 weeks.

The figures, which emerged in an answer to a parliamentary question asked by Bob, reveal that those whose appeals were heard in Coventry were likely to wait around an extra 12 weeks on average for the disposal of their appeal when compared with the national average in England. 

The figures further reveal that average waiting times in Coventry have been persistently higher than the English national average and have substantially increased over the past year from 21.1 weeks in the financial year 2010-2011 to its current level of 36.3 weeks.

Bob said:

“These figures clearly demonstrate that appellants in Coventry are consistently waiting longer on average for their appeals to be heard than those in other areas of the country.  This undoubtedly disadvantages those in Coventry, many of whom are already in a vulnerable position, and adds additional stress and anxiety to what is already a difficult process.

“The Government must act now to increase capacity across the Tribunals Service, but more importantly introduce measures to ensure that waiting times in Coventry reach parity with the national average.”

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