The Way We Roll

U.N.ited We Fail and PIP PIP away

June 07, 2024 Phil Friend
U.N.ited We Fail and PIP PIP away
The Way We Roll
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The Way We Roll
U.N.ited We Fail and PIP PIP away
Jun 07, 2024
Phil Friend

We’ve had a show like this before, where we ask what the UK government are doing when it comes to disability and why now. We’re not sure they know what they are doing. 

PM Rishi Sunak has ‘started a conversation’ on reviewing Personal Independence Payment, the main disability benefit in the UK. He decided to start this just before the local elections and also knowing it cannot be finished before the next general election. The Guardian calls it a ‘full-on assault on disabled people’ and The Telegraph, ‘a benefits crackdown’. It appears to be aimed at people with mental health and neurological conditions, who now make up 49% of all PIP claim assessments, compared to 26% of those with muscular-skeletal conditions. 

The United Nations doesn’t cut the UK government much slack either, reporting that ‘it has made' no significant progress in more than seven years since it was found guilty of grave and systematic violations of the UN disability convention.’

Join us as we delve into the issues and talk about the perception and impact now and in the future.  

(At the time of recording, the Prime Minister hadn’t announced the general election, which is happening on 4th July 2024)


BBC Ros Atkins video on PIP review

BBC Proposed changes to PIP

The Telegraph PIP Review

The Guardian PIP Review

Disability News Service ‘Seven years on and no progress on disability rights by UK government, says UN’

Disability Rights UK UN Rapporteurs Question UK Government Over Benefits Deaths and Austerity

Human Rights Watch UN Body Calls on UK to End Detention of People with Disabilities

Show Notes Transcript

We’ve had a show like this before, where we ask what the UK government are doing when it comes to disability and why now. We’re not sure they know what they are doing. 

PM Rishi Sunak has ‘started a conversation’ on reviewing Personal Independence Payment, the main disability benefit in the UK. He decided to start this just before the local elections and also knowing it cannot be finished before the next general election. The Guardian calls it a ‘full-on assault on disabled people’ and The Telegraph, ‘a benefits crackdown’. It appears to be aimed at people with mental health and neurological conditions, who now make up 49% of all PIP claim assessments, compared to 26% of those with muscular-skeletal conditions. 

The United Nations doesn’t cut the UK government much slack either, reporting that ‘it has made' no significant progress in more than seven years since it was found guilty of grave and systematic violations of the UN disability convention.’

Join us as we delve into the issues and talk about the perception and impact now and in the future.  

(At the time of recording, the Prime Minister hadn’t announced the general election, which is happening on 4th July 2024)


BBC Ros Atkins video on PIP review

BBC Proposed changes to PIP

The Telegraph PIP Review

The Guardian PIP Review

Disability News Service ‘Seven years on and no progress on disability rights by UK government, says UN’

Disability Rights UK UN Rapporteurs Question UK Government Over Benefits Deaths and Austerity

Human Rights Watch UN Body Calls on UK to End Detention of People with Disabilities

Announcer  0:10  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend. You can email us at or just search for minty and friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Simon Minty  0:32  
Hello, and welcome to The Way We Roll with me Simon Minty

Phil Friend  0:36  
and me Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:37  
How are you doing?

Phil Friend  0:39  
Not bad, three layers on cold. Where's where's this summer? Come on. Outrageous. Other than that, um, all right, well, I tweaked my arm muscle, but I'm not gonna bore listeners with that. Yeah, no, I'm okay. How are you?

Simon Minty  0:52  
I'm good. We're recording this in early ish May, which is why it should be a little bit warmer, but I'm okay. Few little gripes. But on the whole talking  of gripes,

Phil Friend  1:04  
All things considered, Mr. Minty

Simon Minty  1:08  
Yes, of course, context. But I did a little link with gripe so if you are involved in the disability world, you probably are even if you're not, it was really big news. The UK government has said they want to, I don't really know, review, cut back or change how a benefit called Personal Independence Payment, also known as PIP is paid and who its paid to? This will be a bit of Phil and my thoughts. I think we'll have to play devil's advocate a couple of times, you know, saying things we might not believe, but sort of just to explore it. We also spoke to someone who's in the biz, but obviously anonymously, so there'll be a bit of a blend of that initial thoughts Mr Friend or shall I sort of set out what PIP is to people?

Phil Friend  2:00  
I think that would be terribly helpful to listeners, particularly those who listen to us from abroad. But I suppose all I would say is that there's a bit of me that goes, here we go again. We've been here before Mr. Minty.

Simon Minty  2:13  
What PIP or as we call it personal independance payment is a non means tested benefit from the UK Government for disabled people. As at September 23, there is 3.1 million claimants, and the government is saying the cost is expected to go up to 33 billion pounds a year by 2028, which is an increase of around 50%. This is context again, is the government this government that introduced PIP Personal Independence Payment about 10 years ago that they reviewed everybody who was on an existing one disability living allowance. According to our contact, they were said don't do this, because it's not fit for purpose as in this new benefit. And I don't think they're told not to do it for this reason, but they said that this will open it up to a lot more people with mental health difficulties. And I think it's a really interesting debate going on around the parity between mental health and physical disabilities. And the majority of the people who are now getting PIP these increases are relating to neurodivergent, or mental health. So why the review, the government is saying, Well, why rather than a fixed monthly amount, why can't it just be a one off payment that you buy a bit of kit for your shower, or whatever it might be, and then we don't have to keep paying you every month. The argument back about that Scope, the disability charity come up with so many surveys, were saying being disabled cost you £500/£700  a month more. And Phil, I'm sure you've got them. But for me, I just think about my kitchen and my clothes and my car on my scooter, my travel, all of these things cost more because of my disability. The idea that you get vouchers instead of cash, one of the arguments was yes, you get maybe having a shower you need grab rails that's a one off could be paid for, but it doesn't do is then pay for the extra long showers that you have the particular hot showers that you have because of your impairment. So it's it's a constant for disabled people rather than just a one off. The reason they're doing it. Depending on your point of view, it's about cost cutting, saying not spending so much. And a more astute or cynical point of view would be we've got an election coming up. This is a group that you can point at and you can victimise disabled people and say, Look at this lot over there rather than look at all the things the government aren't doing very well. Their endeth the introduction. 

Phil Friend  4:49  
Not bad. I mean, that's not bad at all. It's a very complex area this I think just again just to add a little dimension to this when they introduced Pip 10 years ago or there abouts. It was shambolic. People were being asked to be assessed for PIP benefits on the third floor of a building with no lift. I mean, it was there were stories, legendary stories about the assessment process and all of that stuff. And I'm assuming that there needs to be some kind of changes to the assessment process, for any new claimants once, if this wherever, I think it's important to say, as you said, at the very end there, Simon, this is a kind of, if we get reelected type piece of changing, because obviously, if we're in Britain this year, we are we've got to have an election. If the government of the day is removed, then we don't know what the incoming government will do about this particular proposal. 

Simon Minty  5:55  
there we're supportive noises from Labour. I mean, it's kind of one of those ones that Labour agreeing with 90% of the existing government, which is kind of weird, because you want something different, but they don't want to rock the boat too much either. But those legendary stories, there was, is it just badly organised, assessors, which was outsourced? Wasn't it? Or? Yeah, the other part of the story was, so the poor disabled person climbs the three sets of stairs is absolutely wasted. They go, Well, you've climbed the stairs therefore, you're not disabled you don't get it anymore?

Phil Friend  6:27  
Well, there was there was that too. Yeah. And we did. I'm Vice Chair of the Activity Alliance. And we did a piece of research, which showed that certain groups of disabled people would not take up physical activity, because they were frightened, they'd lose their benefits. So you've got these other messaging going on?

Simon Minty  6:48  
Can I claim that for the Dwarf  Sports Association? Yeah, we're a funny old group people with dwarfism, because we do have limited mobility. But it does vary between us. The idea that one of the big things that people do with their PIP payment, if they get the higher rate mobility part is join the Motability scheme, and get a car with it. That's an amazing thing for people with dwarfism to give them all the freedom but because we might be able to walk more than 20 metres we don't get the benefit. And yet there were people who may have disabilities relating to planning a journey, that, would get full rate, but they could walk for 10 miles. It was it's real messy, Ill thought through point system.

Phil Friend  7:33  
I think the overall issue is about cutting costs, saving money. There's no question that in Britain, the benefits costs are going up and up and up every year. And partly that as a result, as as you said, bringing in mental health issues, or neurodiversity into eligibility for certain benefits, which they weren't eligible before. That clearly adds to cost. But there's another strand to this because at the same time, as this announcement is being debated, they're also the government talking about. I'm going to use this word forcing people into work. By cutting their benefits, you will not get benefits if you have certain. So they're talking particularly about people with depression. They're talking about issues like back injuries, because there's a kind of underscoring here of they're all charlatans and rogues and villains, they're not genuinely disabled people. So if you're not in a wheelchair, well, that's it. So it's against that backdrop that this PIP announcement comes in. And just, maybe, I don't know, Simon, whether this is the right time to just mention the UN attacking the government again, because of their lack of, and part of their attack is about benefit cuts. There's a link isn't there that the government seem to be on a path at the moment to demonise disabled people in terms of benefits, ie, that most of them don't deserve it.

Simon Minty  7:36  
Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, in the last three weeks at the time recording, talked about the sick note culture. And I even I'm getting to that point now where as you say, here we go again, is it every 10/15 years you hear the same story again? I mean, a better me then what we do know post COVID Lots of people haven't gotten back to work. I mean, when I say lots I don't know a number. So forgive my bad generalisation. But how we work is completely different. There is a whole bundle particularly of younger people with anxiety and depression that didn't have it before and then entering the world work isn't the same. If he'd said, the sicknote culture is there all dodging, they're all charlatans like to say, if he'd  said we have an issue here that the world of work isn't either attracting or keeping people in? How do we change what we do? There's something in there, um, kind of, is it a push pull type of type of thing? And I'm sure there's people with these conditions that do have PIP that are, I wish I could work, I wish I could do something, and how do we make that flexible so they can get involved? And we should say PIP is not means tested? And it's not related to employment, it is a stand alone for extra costs for being disabled. It's not all your other stuff.

Phil Friend  10:37  
No, that's quite right. And I think I think there is a need for a genuine debate in the UK about why have we suddenly acquired, I think I've heard figures around six 700,000 additional people not working, but since COVID, because of mental health issues, and so on and so forth. Now, there's a challenge for our society. And why is that happening? And what are we doing now? We've got huge waiting lists in our national health service for things like counselling, psychiatric support, you know, daycare, those kinds of things. So the kinds of programmes that might assist someone who's going through a mental health issue aren't available. So. So understandably, this group aren't, are sitting at home because they can't work. I mean, I think that's a different way of doing it than sort of saying, you know, they're all bloomin sick note whatever's I do think there's you and I've had these conversations before about people who are feeling low, calling themselves depressed you know and we all go through periods in our lives where life is very difficult? What's the difference between that so there is a debate to be had around all of that it's not helped when the government just stand up and say, there's a lot of people dodging work, and we're going to cut the benefits, which seems to be their mantra. And we know, from a political point of view, that's about playing to the right, it's what the right want

Simon Minty  12:12  
you remind me of the old carrot and stick stuff that we used to do, which was, you know, you might need to nudge someone. But also, you want to incentivize them as well is that sort of, do you remember, I'm sure it's all the same people used to go off sick from work. And there was, at some point, your full pay changes to half pay, and then changes to statutory sick pay. And there were some people that then would come back for a bit, and then go off now, though, in that group of people are very genuine people going, this has really screwed me over. So I've got to turn up for a week just to restart it, but I know this will absolutely waste me. And there'll be others, like, oh, I can play the game. I we know the people who play the game is a tiny, tiny percentage, we always know that most people are legit, and you know, want to do the right thing. I don't know how to I'm with you, in the terms of the better support it I'm trying to also now play the government's game, I'm gonna get this isn't gonna come out, right? If they're saying rather than we give you whatever it is 300 quid a month. Because a high rate and we just give you some grab rails and a wooden ramp. Would the same be for someone with anxiety and depression we'll give you six sessions of CBT cognitive behavioural therapy, and then you're done. That it. I don't know how this quite works.

Phil Friend  13:34  
But what a mess. I mean, what a total mess because CBT is free. If you get it on the NHS, you don't need to begin vouchers. It's their access to work pays for all sorts of gadgetry and stuff like that for work in Britain, sorry, because our American friends, this is a brilliant scheme. Motability unbelievably brilliant, Access to Work unbelievably brilliant. There are all sorts of benefits already out there to help people with gadgets kit and stuff like that. What there isn't, is a really fast, effective intervention, when somebody goes off sick. That's what's missing. And we've known for years, this is not new. The longer somebody is out of work, the less chance there is they'll ever go back. So it's there is no doubt a problem. We have got a lot more people at home now than we had before. COVID question. What do you do about it? slashing benefits isn't going to solve that. What will solve it is speeding up NHS waiting lists those kinds of things. And I know the government talks about doing that, but the evidence isn't there that they're winning that particular issue.

Simon Minty  14:45  
So is there a we saying we are up for different ideas, different reviews, better ways of doing it? The fact that everyone said Pip wasn't a good thing in the first place. But what is really problematic is that the demonization is the they're just doing it to cut cost, it is about electioneering. And it's about distraction. So we're rubbish at all these things, but just look at this thing.

Phil Friend  15:15  
I think there is there is a need. I don't know. I'm older than you, Simon, but I think you'll remember this in the days of the 1990's. 

Simon Minty  15:25  
No way too young!

Phil Friend  15:26  
You're too young well, let me let me give you a history lesson. If the 1990s, you were around, because you were part of this, the government had this amazing ability to get disability organisations into a room with them and talk about stuff like this, I can remember being on a very, very interesting group of made up of all sorts of different people, employers, disabled organisations coming up with a charter, about how work might be improved, and so on and so forth. Now. There are no consultations that I'm aware of, there are no get let's all get the disability groups together and say, look, we got a problem here. Now, how are we going to solve it? There's none of that, as far as I can see, it's just that's not to say isn't going on, because I haven't heard of it. But I'm just aware that there's knee jerk reactions. And what we know is that there will be many disability organisations who do agree with you and I, that there are groups of people who are genuinely off who could get back to work, if the interventions were there to help them and they're not, it's just not. Now, many years ago, I went into Marks and Spencers store bought, so didn't have the money for it offered a cheque. And in those days, they wouldn't take cheques for over whatever it was a supervisor was called across. And the person serving me said he's presented a cheque for a suit, he hasn't got any money. And she signed it off and said, That's fine, no problem. And I said to the woman, but how do you know that I'm not a crook? And she said, we assume that most of our customers are honest. Why would we punish all of them because two 3% aren't. Now when you look at Pip, I think the same thing holds true 95% Of the people using that system are genuinely doing it for all the right reasons. And not trying to cheat anybody. There will be three or 4% or five, maybe even more that are cheating. But you don't build a system around the cheats. You build a system around helping the majority in my view. And I refer to John Timpson of Timpson shops, who I'm leaping about now, they they, they, they talk about being kind to people, and they sell more goods. Now, if the government default position was that most of us are honest, that would inform the way they go about policy and it might actually improve the systems we have for catching the deviant. The one that is cheating, because seems to me we don't spend much money on that either. Or maybe we do. But anyway, I feel better. for that

Simon Minty  16:29  
I didn't know you were part of the woke brigade with your be kind malarkey. And don't forget, we did have a minister of disabled people going around with the flak jackets into benefit cheats flats.

Phil Friend  18:27  
Dawn raids in the north of England

Simon Minty  18:30  
Yeah, a couple of links I we know from the career development programme that people come along who have different types of disability. They're already in employment, because that's how we meet them. But what the course does is allow them to be a sort of better version of themselves. It's already there, but it's just what you are you open that up, I just wonder whether there's almost like a course like that for those who have either lost the confidence or whatever it may be to get back to work. And they're really nervous and hesitant, and you kind of help them with that and steer them through it. I think that would be an effective way. I did the Business Disability Forum awards this week. And the Minister for disabled people work and health was there. Her name is Mim. Anyway, my point was I did quite like her. She had some pizzazz She had to present an award. She said I really like this organisation what they're doing and I really liked the way they are, you know, maybe I'll be looking for a job with them. And I may well need one the way things are going. Is that kind of self deprecating, I quite liked. There was a point. That's right. I was allowed three minutes at the top to open up and talk. And I said, I think you read my early draft. I talked about going to the theatre and it's great to see disabled people on stage. But it was also the people I want to sit with. We're not sitting together because of access. And still today, I talked about work and an organisation with 30% of their contact centre people, having adjustments, and it's really starting to wobble. Anyhow, I did one no two lines, I said. And also the government recently said, they're going to review Pip. And I said, I think this is gonna get very, very messy. And it's all I said, I didn't have the time or the space to expand on it. This was opening in an awards event. I had at least three people come up to me and said, that was the best thing of the whole night. You said there is a political statement,

Phil Friend  20:43  
I don't think I mean, it's a not not party political statement. But it's a political statement. This is going to disrupt all

Simon Minty  20:49  
sorts of and the people who are hosting it came up and said, thank you for mentioning that. So there is a groundswell of this is, feels like government posturing, nasty, and not terribly effective.

Phil Friend  21:06  
And most of it, the other thing that I suppose, because I am older, there's nothing particularly new in this. This has been said so many times before, and what what you're looking for is innovation. We're in a different world. Now. We've now got the technology that you and I are now using every single day to communicate. And it's brilliant. Working from home, all these technologies that are now available, where's the innovation in looking at how we help people to make a contribution that gets them off benefits? Where's the innovation? And I think the only way you get that is to get the award winners that you were seeing the other evening, alongside disability organisations, government officials, put them in a room together and say, innovate, come up with something that's different. That fits 2025, not bloody 1986, which is what they're continually banging on about. I think there is a real, I think there is a, an enthusiasm for that sort of thing. But you've got to be asked, and what government can do is to organise that meeting all that group, too. So Mims, if you're listening, we are available. We are available,

Simon Minty  22:19  
and she liked some of my jokes. So

Phil Friend  22:23  
well, that's yeah, that's a bit worrying. But anyway, and

Simon Minty  22:26  
I am that pathetic. If someone laughs at one of my jokes, I'm like, Oh, you're lovely. You're great.

Phil Friend  22:31  
Yeah, I think your best minister for disabled people I've ever met. Oh, my

Simon Minty  22:35  
God, the scary bit is. And I didn't say this is it's just the eighth. I've met in our time. I say, oh, net 345. In the mean. Yeah, scary.

Phil Friend  22:49  
I mean, in fact, Mim, I've heard that is very energetic and committed actually to. But I think the the, the government had to be dragged kicking and screaming to make the appointment, because they left the post vacant. So that says something about their commitment to disability

Simon Minty  23:05  
I challenged her and I said, it's great that you're in post. I said, the sad bit is you're going to get good at this and then you're going to lose your job, aren't you? And she said, I said it with a smile. And she said, I'm okay at it already should have been around the DWP for five years, I've been aware of this. So I'm not starting from scratch. I'm coming in already up to speed which I really liked. And there was a confidence  about that.

Phil Friend  23:39  
This is this is a nother attempt. I believe that this is window dressing. I think this is about you said it in the introduction. This is something about vote, vote catching lets nail benefit scroungers kind of approach? And there is a real genuine desire, I think, in lots of groups and individuals who want to look at this properly and say, how do we actually what is the issue here, that we've suddenly got so many more people on on sick, sick, sickness benefits and so on? What's gone wrong? You know, what's, what's that about? And how would we change it rather than saying they're all sick note malingering whatever's?

Simon Minty  24:21  
And I don't know. I don't know. I've just been a bit pedantic myself. Now PIP isn't related to us. It's not a sick thing. It's a it's a cost of living thing. But there may be a lot of people that are unemployment because of whatever their condition might be. It's a real messy muddle the thing I suppose the

Phil Friend  24:37  
Peplink Simon is of course that many of the things you spend that money on help you get to work you know, get you up in the morning if you haven't got somebody to help you out of bed, then you're gonna work are you so you use your PIP and whatever else for things like the

Simon Minty  24:51  
car that's where the car comes flying back in you take away PIP you take away the car Motability are getting a lot more customers. And this is Because

Phil Friend  25:00  
the other kind of line that you just mentioned touched on is replacing with vouchers or lump sums. Well, I remember vouchers, the first thing that happens with vouchers is that you limit where you can get stuff from. What does that do? Well, no competition so the prices go up. I mean, it's it's, I ran a children's home where we could only get clothes for the children by using vouchers at a certain shop. So when the child came into care, they had nothing to stand up at. They said, well, they stood up and we'd go down down the shop with our voucher, which was very embarrassing, because they all knew it was about kids in care. And then we we were charged extraordinary prices for things that you could have bought at Woolworths. Remember Woolworths could have bought a Woolworths for half the money. It doesn't work.

Simon Minty  25:48  
And that makes me sick when it's one you're absolutely ashamed by it. I was in Poundland the other day a major in clothes in the one night near me. Oh my god, some of this is amazing. So anyway, I don't get anyway, when you said vouchers

Phil Friend  26:11  
Your spending your PIP in Poundland.

Simon Minty  26:14  
One minute I'm John Lewis, and Waitrose and the next minute Poundland. Yeah, I will go wherever I need to go. That doesn't matter. But it is because it's cash. It's my choice to choose to go there.

Phil Friend  26:24  
Absolutely. That's the point. Yeah. That's

Simon Minty  26:27  
the point. There are finer minds than ours that are working on this, I'm sure I I'd like to think the government and other people have got people going in the room, we may not be invited. So that's okay. Someone was the right voices are being listened to. And yeah, I would like to see how this plays out. And the thing that is probably a truism, I've had one or two, either x Twitter comments, or Instagram or people going, I'm really scared about this. And there'll be people that I've got disabilities who are terrified that this chunk of money that makes a big difference to their life could disappear, they probably won't, because I suspect their level of condition or impairment is pretty high, and they'll be fine. But that sense of Oh, my God, my life could be really radically changed by that. That's really scary.

Phil Friend  27:17  
Yeah. And again, it's about trying to deal with the minority, which would affect the majority. So everybody was bad. And I remember as I'm sure you do, the real anxieties that came when they introduced PIP in the first place, the old benefit was stopping and the new ones, and that cause huge people were being, in fact, do we not remember how many people no longer qualified for Motability cars because their PIP didn't cover it? Absolutely.

Simon Minty  27:46  
I've yet to be reviewed. I'm still on DLA Disability Living Allowance. And my theory was they were avoiding me because I made a podcast with you. And I'd be banging on about it. But I was nervous, I still am a bit nervous. It's kind of this will really impact me. It's not only the cash, it's actually a kind of gateway, it then allows you to get a blue badge, it then allows you to get an access card, it allows all these other things that you don't need further evidence for.

Phil Friend  28:17  
So yeah, and I'm on DLA to the same I've never been assessed on PIP. So you and I could both lose this, we better be a bit careful. Oh, I think the government's absolutely right. What they're doing is I totally support it and leave my benefits alone.

Simon Minty  28:34  
Thanks for selling out at the end there. Very good to see.

Announcer  28:38  
This is The Way We Roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend. 

Phil Friend  28:42  
Well  I think it's probably not a bad moment to introduce the other stuff that I mean, this week has been difficult for the government in all sorts of levels, the Rwanda immigration all you know, everywhere you look, but the thing that affects us and people listening to us was the UN's were in town again, criticising the government on their disability, but I'll be very brief here. But basically, the UN Convention on disability, as you know, gives us certain rights. And there was a rapporteur that visited the UK some time ago, made pronouncements and then went away again say you've got to improve and they've come back and had another look. And this is what they say. There's a lack of progress. The UN committee noted there'd been no significant progress in advancing the rights of disabled people in the UK. And it highlighted particular concerns regarding the rights to independent living to work and adequate standard of living and social protection. There were signs of regression, things going backwards, so institutionalisation and the use of restraints and coercive measures in institutions. The government, of course, defended itself by saying they were doing a lot of things and mainly they they cited a lot of things about getting people back to work as their defence in a sense. Here's the bit that I think stood out for me in a sense was the committee accused the UK Government of demonising disabled people and treating them as undeserving citizens, particularly in the light of plans to fund tax cuts by reducing benefits. And then they go on and it's a call to action British government to change things. So it's a very whizzed through, we will put links to that report and what was said in more detail for those of you that are interested read it, but dehumanising demeaning? They're powerful words, aren't they? Don't you think?

Simon Minty  30:38  
Yes, I do. And I remember this something a few years ago. And at the time, I was slightly critical of the UN rapporteur, because though I was joining the government, and in that they, I think she'd spent about 10 disability organisations rather than a broad church for want of a better phrase. I hear what you just said, that really does worry me that the fact they've come back, and it's still the same,

Phil Friend  31:06  
if not worse, yes.

Simon Minty  31:09  
Always with this you, and I read it, and lots of other people read it, does it? Does it land in the right places to the government even care?

Phil Friend  31:22  
It would appear not because if you remember, they didn't attend those hearings in in Europe. They didn't show up. They didn't send a delegation that it would appear not. I think it's it's another. It's another Noises Off as far as they're concerned. But it paints Britain. In a very poor light, when you think about Britain in the political, international political arena, you know. You and I had the great joy of going to watch Nye at the National Theatre, the play about the formation of the National Health Service. We live in a country that led the world when it came to universal health care, and things of that sort, Education for All, all those special schools. I know they're not the thing now. But back then that was amazing. And here we sit with the UN telling us, we're going backwards. And the government's seeming not to care about that. And

Simon Minty  32:29  
where it does make me stop and reflect and get concerned is if you had not given me the country at the beginning, and said the UN reporting back this, this, this and this, about how they this country treats disabled people I'd have given you 10 Other countries before we got to us, and then you suddenly go, oh, hell, this is ours, we're doing that. And if it was in another country we'd be going, well, that's a terrible place. And I can't believe they're treating their people like that. And what will presumably means if we went through the UN report on other countries, we'd look at countries that we would think would don't treat people fairly. And they might be doing better than us on disability. And that's, that's pretty shocking. I'm not one of those people who always says, oh, six biggest economy in the world will that I don't think quite works like that. But but there is something about who we are and what we believe or what we stand for, and how we treat people. All of that is deeply.

Phil Friend  33:24  
I think I'm right in saying that in 1995, when you and I were engaged in all sorts of other stuff to do with the implementation or the formation of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, first European country to pass legislation, rights of disabled people 1995. Now look at us, we've got the UN saying, You're dehumanising you're demonising you're, you're just in some ways discriminating against the very people that you were the first to recognise should have rights in employment. I mean, it's just it's depressing, is what it

Simon Minty  34:03  
is, is really difficult. I mean, we are presumably signatures to the UNCRPD?

Phil Friend  34:09  
We did finally sign it yet we were led kicking and screaming to the table about that as well.

Simon Minty  34:13  
And there's that ratification bit where it may you can sign it, but not do much. But you if you ratify, you then got to actually report back in. Did we repeatedly ratify as well do

Phil Friend  34:22  
you believe we did. That's where we have more kicking.

Simon Minty  34:25  
It just one little bit that you alluded to there. And I it's a very brief story. And again, if you spotted it this week, it was on the BBC website about another sort of care home for people with learning disabilities, that it's been found that they've been ill treated, abuse and so on and so forth. And that bit that links to the UN bit and it also I don't know where to go with it because you just read it every five years and we could we can name two or three brilliant people who are always constantly trying to do this. I just

Phil Friend  35:03  
Well, you might remember our, our story that we discussed three, four podcasts ago about the guy in Bristol that was might be losing his independent living arrangements and having to go into a a care home. Well, when you talk about institutionalisation from the UN, that's what they're talking about, in fact, is that there is more and more and more, and then you get when you get into the institutions. I know it's only one example. But when you get into some of the institutions and hear that learning disabled people are being abused, seriously abused? You kind of YOU DO feel I do feel a sense of powerlessness. What, you know, what can I as an individual, you as an individual, I mean, we have our little podcast, and we talk about these things, but we want to see somebody take some action that actually shows that things are gonna get better. I don't know. I'm depressed.

Simon Minty  35:59  
you will have gone on one. And that's okay. Because it's not a fun subject. I, I would be critical of us. Because you and I, yes, we do our little podcasts. But we do have influence And we do have some we have a voice. It's, we have chosen to do put that voice in other areas. Because as someone who cares about disability rights and inclusion, you can't do everything all the time. And that's not excuses realities. So where we focused, Jane Campbell Baroness Jane Campbell always used to compliment and have a pop at me by going, you do all the fun stuff? While I do. Yeah, I'm talking about theatre on stage and representation, because that really is something in my heart that I really care about. And that drives me doesn't mean to say I care less about the institutions and it but I just want it maybe we just support the people who are doing the brilliant work who know more about it.

Phil Friend  36:57  
Well, I did say to somebody the other day, I'm going to blow my own trumpet. I said, when we were running minty and friend, I came up with a reasonable adjustment plan for Lloyds Banking Group on the back of an envelope. And that became a major programme of work for Lloyds Banking Group became an exemplar of how to do that. We got booted out in the end, because we were too expensive. But we were the people that developed those ideas, we saw them implemented, and they have benefited 1000s of people. And I take great pride in that. So it isn't that we aren't able to do things. I think it's it's back to my point about when you and I used to sit in our little room on a Friday afternoon reviewing the week. And we were thinking about what we might do better or differently, or what scheme might we dream up that would be really useful to helping disabled people work and stay in work and those things. I look back on that. And it was innovation, it was talking to other people, their ideas were all over the place. I know I'm out of the loop. Now. I'm not I'm retired now. So I don't get involved in all the meetings that I'm sure are still going on. You're much more in touch with that. And I'm wondering where is the innovation, then? Where are you at the BDF awards the other evening? That's where I would expect to see those people coming in and being given awards because they're doing something different and new. And perhaps that's going to advance. Anyway, I'm rambling.

Simon Minty  38:25  
No, you give me a beautiful by the way, I do remember that back of the envelope. And you were quite right. You came up with an amazing idea. And then usually with a case I had to try and see how we can make it work.

Phil Friend  38:36  
I dispute that, I think where the dispute was that I probably gave it to him for a tenner. And he wanted to charge 20 I wanted to actually ensure there's no VAT. Don't worry about the VAT.

Simon Minty  38:48  
I wanted to make sure we could pay everybody in Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Phil Friend  38:52  
Oh, that's when the problem started. But the idea was easy. It was all the other stuff. You're quite right about that.

Simon Minty  38:56  
But without those back of the envelope ideas, nothing ever changes anyway. So it's so at the Forum they are called the Disability Smart Awards, which we had to say every time which was quite a mouthful, I'll tell you. Anyway, there were so many amazing things that are going on. Now remember two or three things. Microsoft had a lovely line, they won an award or two and they said technology makes things possible. It's the people who make it amazing. And I really like that that's a great tech does do an amazing I was already tech does make things possible. But without the humans in the first place or at the other end. It's a standalone. Huddersfield Town, the football club  bearing in mind. They were in a category with the European Central Bank on something and HSBC. And then you don't get that anywhere else. But I've done amazing stuff about welcoming their different supporters, different people with different disabilities and I really liked where they were at the one that stood out and I'm here thing, this is an injustice to this so many others. And there was one person I know and I wanted her to win and that she didn't get it because she's up and led some competition. Anyhow, the one that stood out was Primark

Phil Friend  40:12  
 Primark, good old Primark,

Simon Minty  40:14  
hey have created a range of adaptive clothing. I think primarily based women, but it's underwear. So it is bras and pants that are either velcroed or easy clips, and you can put them on and you can take them off, and they look beautiful, they're sexy, they're cool. And this is in their stores. Right. And the woman, there's two women who went to collect the award, and one of them said, the bit I love about this, it's not a passion project. It's a it's a mainstream project that we're pushing, the models they use, the crew they use, how they made it were all, definitely disabled people from, you know, photographers, to the models, etc. And this makes it so much easier for people with all types of dexterity or different impairments to put fabulous clothing on and off. And I really liked it, I did the risky joke of saying, and the real boon to everybody is if you are a disabled teenager, who is the partner, it makes it a lot easier to get off for the sexy bits. They did laugh risky that one, I must confess. But there was loads of great innovation there, there really was.

Phil Friend  41:27  
Well, that's what we want to hear more about. We want to hear more about that stuff. Because where we've ended, in a sense, or as we draw this to a close, that whole overwhelm that you feel when everywhere you look, it's depressing, you know, the government are doing this, or the UN is saying that, or somebody's done this to me, whatever it is, what I've always, okay, what I've always going back to our PDP courses, when you feel with somebody that's really overwhelmed by the difficulties they're facing. The advice I always used to give was, let's, let's find one thing that you can control in all of that. And let's take some action on that. Let's just go for that. And that seemed to work that seemed to help at least I can do this everything. And in a sense, what you're saying, Simon is that, despite all the things that are going on at the moment, and some of them aren't of the British government's making, you know, there are all sorts of things in the world going on that make life very difficult for disabled people. Hearing that Primark are developing range of clothing, which makes it a lot easier for people to get dressed and undressed independently and look good doing it and wear nice things may seem quite small, and in some ways, perhaps trivial but actually, that you're giving me control over how I dress and what I wear. And that at a fundamental level is incredibly important.

Simon Minty  42:57  
I think, do you remember ages ago, I did a little tweet that said name one thing that's not been invented yet that you would make a big difference to your life as a disabled person and yours was trousers that I can get on and off while sitting down.

Phil Friend  43:10  
Yeah, I'm going up Primark soon as this is over, I'm going up there.

Simon Minty  43:13  
Tell me about it. Diane Lightfoot Chief Exec of the Business Disability Forum, we did a little round up with me and her ad lib  at the end, and she said the amazing thing is that you know, tonight has been pants Why did you laugh at her joke more than mine?

Phil Friend  43:35  
Because her's was funny. that's very good Diane has actually got a very sharp sense of humour hasn't she.

Simon Minty  43:44  
She  was on fire. That's brilliant. Doing this little one to one we do at the end and it is unscripted we might have got some ideas but you don't know where it's gonna go. And I think both of us look at each other's eyes terrified what's gonna come out exactly but no, no, she's as sharp as  tack and very, very quick.

Phil Friend  44:02  
Well, that all sounds like it sounds like a good place to sit unless there's anything else we have no focus on Mr.Minty

Simon Minty  44:10  
Know if you've listened this far, thank you very much. I'm hoping you might have listened to our prior podcasts on shame. And we do want to hear from you because I've mentioned it to two or three people since you recorded it and they all said oh my god and they started giving me comments so I do think that's a topic we might revisit with guests because I think it's a big issue.

Phil Friend  44:31  
Okay, that sounds like good advice no listeners corner although we did of course feature hugely in our last pod as you say Natalie, who did write to us. And thank you, Damon, I don't think I've had a chance to say thank you to Damon who contributed something to that previous podcast discussion is well well worth a listen, everybody if you haven't heard it yet. Okay. Well, I think on that note, contact info. Well, people need to get in touch with us, don't they? That would be At is my contribution.

Simon Minty  45:06  
That's brilliant. And you can find us all over social media, LinkedIn, Instagram, X and Facebook. So drop us a line. We'd love to hear from you. Yeah.

Phil Friend  45:17  
And take care everybody have a good, a good whatever you're doing.

Simon Minty  45:22  
And let's hope those reviews don't impact you. Okay. Cheers. Bye bye.

Announcer  45:32  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend. You can email us at or just search for minty and friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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