A disabled peer has called on the government to hand out fewer “carrots” to employers and do more to enforce existing equality law as it attempts to secure more jobs for disabled people.The plea came after Justin Tomlinson, the minister for disabled people, had been explaining the merits of the government’s Disability Confident programme in persuading organisations to employ more disabled people, which now includes organising what he calls “reverse jobs fairs”.Tomlinson was one of three ministers giving evidence to the Equality Act 2010 and disability committee, set up by the House of Lords to examine the impact of the act on disabled people over the last five years.But the disabled crossbench peer Baroness [Jane] Campbell (pictured, at the committee hearing) told Tomlinson: “I really don’t want to burst your bubble but as you were talking there I was transported back to my days at the Disability Rights Commission, where we were doing exactly the same things: we held jobs fairs, in fact it was like you were there beside me.“I trained 120 trainers to go round the country to talk to employers about being disability confident when I was working in local government 25 years ago.“What makes you think you will change people’s minds now, and don’t you think it is also time to ramp up the stick?”Baroness Campbell said that disabled people who had given evidence to the committee had made it clear that the government’s carrot-based approach “will not change things substantially”.She said: “We must enforce the law. I think that’s where they feel the government is letting them down.”She added: “I feel there are too many carrots being handed around at the moment, so where are the sticks?”Tomlinson said the government would make a substantial investment in Access to Work, and there were 339,000 more disabled people in work in the last two years, while ministers were reforming the Work Programme and Work Choice through the new work and health unit, with a white paper to be published in the new year on employment support for disabled people that was likely to include demands for “greater local flexibility”.He said: “I accept the point that there has always been business engagement. I don’t think there has been enough with the small and medium-sized employers.”When Baroness Campbell asked if enforcement of the Equality Act would be part of the white paper, Tomlinson said: “Yes.”Nicky Morgan, the education secretary and minister for women and equalities, added: “The first thing we want to do is change cultures and behaviours.“I am not always convinced that sticks and enforcement are the right way to do this. They are a necessary backstop.”
A disabled peer has attacked Labour’s “lazy indifference” to disability equality, after it failed to back moves that would have forced bars, shops and restaurants to ensure their premises obeyed laws on accessibility when renewing their alcohol licences.Peers tried to introduce the measure as an amendment to the government’s policing and crime bill last week, but a vote on the amendment was narrowly defeated because Labour decided to abstain.The amendment was proposed by Baroness Deech, who chaired the Equality Act 2010 and disability committee, which concluded in March that there were problems in “almost every part of society” with laws designed to address disability discrimination.The disabled crossbench peer Baroness [Jane] Campbell, who sat on the committee, told Disability News Service (DNS) this week that she was “very angry” with Labour for abstaining on the vote.The amendment – backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Access Association – would have added the need to secure access for disabled people to the duties of licensing authorities.This would have meant that a pub, club, shop or restaurant that wanted a new licence or to renew their existing licence would have had to prove to their local authority that they had made reasonable efforts to make their premises accessible to disabled people.If they failed to do so, the council would have been able to refuse to grant or extend their licence.But when Baroness Deech spoke to a member of staff in the office of Labour’s chief whip on the morning of the debate, she was told that the party would abstain on a vote on her amendment.She told DNS: “I was amazed, and queried this. He said it was because of ‘strategy’ – they had to decide which issues to defeat the government on, and this was not one of them. “So their real reason was ‘strategic’, regardless of the strength of the case, even though the topic was such that one would naturally expect Labour to be supportive.”Labour peers had voted to defeat the government on another part of the bill less than two hours earlier, so there would have been no problem arranging the necessary peers to be in the Lords for the vote, she said.She added: “I am shocked and disappointed. Some of their members rebelled; a few more and we would have been home and dry.”A Labour Lords spokesman claimed that Baroness Deech had approached the whips office “very late in the day” to ask for backing for the amendment, while there had been suggestions during the day that there might be a significant government concession.He added: “Our understanding was that this [amendment] would not lead to major change.”But both Baroness Deech and Baroness Campbell dismissed these claims.Baroness Campbell said that a Labour peer, Baroness Pitkeathley, who also sat on the Equality Act and disability committee, “was up to speed on this amendment and would have briefed Labour on the importance of the vote”.She said there had been “a full debate on a very similar amendment” at the bill’s committee stage, and the amendment had subsequently been altered to “make it less costly and burdensome on the licensee”.And she said that Labour had taken part in a debate on the Deech committee report, which included a recommendation to amend licensing laws to “make a failure to comply with the Equality Act 2010 a ground for refusing a licence”.She said: “For these reasons, I am very angry with Labour for abstaining.“My annoyance stems from what I see to be a lazy indifference and lack of attention to the hard work of all sides of the House of Lords, to find ways to progress disability equality through licensing, within the constraints of our economic situation.“This was a perfect opportunity to do something practical and low-cost which would make an enormous difference.“How could Labour abstain on such a positive amendment?”Baroness Deech told fellow peers last week – Baroness Campbell had been unable to attend the debate because of ill-health – that businesses were not being asked to do anything extra through the amendment, “but simply to put their minds to accessibility”.Such a measure would help the UK to meet its duties under article nine (on accessibility) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and would “shift the burden off the shoulders of disabled people to the local authorities”, she said.The disabled Liberal Democrat peer Baroness [Celia] Thomas said: “Our lives are hard enough now without having to enforce the law too.“This is a golden opportunity to do what many organisations think should have happened years ago – to have licensing officers who are able to take action beyond [just] writing a licensee a letter or having a word in their ear.”The disabled crossbench peer Lord [Colin] Low also backed the amendment, because he said the Equality Act duty was “widely disregarded, placing the onus on the individual to enforce the duty, when enforcement is extremely difficult for the individual on account of its cost and complexity”.The government refused to back the amendment, with Home Office minister Baroness Williams warning that the cost of enforcing it would fall on businesses through increased licensing fees, and that it was “seeking to skew the regulatory regime… and use it for a purpose for which it was never intended” and “potentially puts us on to a slippery slope”.Lord Kennedy (pictured), Labour’s spokesman in the Lords on housing, communities and local government, as well as home affairs, failed to support the amendment.Instead, he suggested that the minister might argue that “there are general duties under the Equality Act 2010 in force already and that adding a specific amendment does not add anything to the statutory requirements already in force”.Peers who spoke in favour of the amendment included the disabled Tory peer Lord Shinkwin, who served on the National Disability Council that advised the Conservative government on the implementation of the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).He told fellow peers: “I have to say that 21 years on from the DDA, I am suffering not from my disability but from a sense of déjà vu.“Despite the milestone that the act represented both for disabled people and for the Conservative party, disabled people are still waiting.“The regrettable fact is that the passage of time has not been matched by the passage of progress. The passing of this amendment would help to put that right.”He said: “I know from personal experience that the system is broken because far too many disabled people are still trying unsuccessfully to access many licensed premises.”And he added: “Accepting this amendment would enable the government to prove to disabled people that they mean what they say when they commit to building a country that works for everyone.”Labour’s failure to support the measure led to the amendment being defeated by 177 votes to 135, with only 16 Labour peers rebelling against the whip and voting in favour.
HAVE you got your Pink Vee shirt yet?Saints will play in a unique one-off pink shirt to throw their weight behind the fight to beat breast cancer.Royce Simmons’ men will take to the field against Catalans on Friday July 15 (8pm) in the special kit to help raise money for the Burney Breast Unit at St Helens Hospital and promote Breast Cancer Awareness.As well as a collection at the Engage Super League tie, the players’ match shirts will be auctioned to raise funds.Replicas of the superb looking shirt are now on sale in store and online at the Saints Superstore – and have nearly sold out.Limited sizes are available to buy and proceeds of each shirt sold will go to the Burney Breast Unit.The dedicated team at the Burney Breast Unit – who helped launch Saints home and away kits at the beginning of the season – are committed to providing patients with the best quality of care.Based at St Helens Hospital, highly skilled staff detect and treat more than 200 cases of breast cancer a year.This renowned unit has its own x-ray facilities and provides a one-stop clinic with rapid access for patients requiring screening and a range of treatments.Patients treated at the Trust benefit from a unique collaboration between the Burney Breast Unit and the Mersey Regional Plastic Surgery Unit at Whiston Hospital. This enables surgeons to perform breast cancer surgery within the same operation as breast reconstructive surgery, leading to faster recovery times and better cosmetic results for patients.You can get your shirt by visiting the Saints Superstore in St Marys Shopping Centre or online at www.saintssuperstore.comTickets for the Pink Vee Charity Match are on sale here, by calling into the Saints Superstore or by calling 01744 455 052.
SAINTS travel to Bradford Bulls on Sunday having won their last three meetings over at ‘Odsal’.The Bulls’ last victory against the Saints was a 12-8 home success on March 17 2012.The game, which kicks at 3pm at the Provident Stadium, will see second take on thirteenth.Super League Summary:Bradford won 21 (includes wins in 1999, 2002 and 2005 play-offs)St Helens won 27 (includes wins in 1999 and 2002 Grand Finals & 1998 play-offs)1 drawHighs and Lows:Bradford highest score: 64-24 (H, 2004) (Widest margin: 54-8, H, 2004)St Helens highest score: 66-4 (A, 2005) (also widest margin)First Utility Super League Leading ScorersTries:1 Tom Makinson (St Helens) 132 Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos) 113 = Justin Carney (Castleford Tigers), Morgan Escare (Catalan Dragons) & Kevin Brown (Widnes Vikings) 106 = Michael Shenton (Castleford Tigers) & Elliott Whitehead (Catalan Dragons) 9Goals:1 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 432 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 403 Marc Sneyd (Castleford Tigers) 394 Luke Walsh (St Helens) 385 Danny Tickle (Widnes Vikings) 35Goals Percentage:1 Chris Bridge (Warrington Wolves) 86.66 (13/15)2 Marc Sneyd (Castleford Tigers) 82.97 (39/47)3 Jamie Foster (Bradford Bulls) 82.75 (24/29)4 Jarrod Sammut (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 82.50 (33/40)5 Danny Tickle (Widnes Vikings) 81.39 (35/43)Points:1 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 962 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 953 Jarrod Sammut (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 904 Luke Walsh (St Helens) 885 Marc Sneyd (Castleford Tigers) 84
SAINTS started their 2015 U16s season in the same style as last year, in freezing conditions at Thatto Heath and with a 34-14 defeat to Leeds.However, there the similarity ends as this year was a very different display.The Saints let themselves down in the opening minutes five or ten minutes of each half allowing the Rhinos to score twice in each half making it much easier for them to play on the front foot and giving the Saints a mountain to climb.But climb it they did despite a massive penalty count against meaning they had to do much more than their fair share of defending.Once they managed to put the visitors under pressure the Rhinos wilted and the Saints came into their own.With half backs Ben Heyes and Elliott Jenkins running the show out wide and Captain Brad Pinder bringing the big props Jordan Olmez and Jorge Lewtas onto the ball the Saints took the game to the visitors.Pinder was denied the opening score on 22 minutes when he was tackled at the line. In truth he should’ve passed out to the unmarked Kevin Brown who would’ve fallen over the line but he did manage to keep the ball alive and the Saints got a repeat set. From the play the ball Jenkins gave it to Brown and the full back reached out to plant the ball over the whitewash.Saints got their second in as many minutes on the next set as the impressive Jordan Gibbons took Heyes’ towering bomb from the hands of the full back, passed it to Brown who got it out to winger Alex Burke and he stepped inside the cover to score.Burke was denied his second on the half hour as a miss pass which would’ve seen him in opposed went into touch.The wind took both Gibbons’ kicks wide but the Saints were within touching distance at the break.Unfortunately a serious injury to Jenkins meant that the influential scrum half couldn’t continue and the Saints missed him immensely in the second period as they again tried to come back.Harry Coleman got the Saints back within striking distance as he strolled under the sticks after the full back had spilled another towering Heyes bomb but that was as good as it got.The Rhinos scored twice more in the final ten minutes to give the score a slightly flattering look.There were some good displays off the bench from Danny Edwards, Alex Eckley, Tom Pinder and especially Ben Twist whilst Callum Hazzard and Cameron Brown worked hard. Best for the Saints on the day were Ben Heyes and the mazy running of Kevin Brown who always caused problems for the visitors bringing the ball out of defence.Match Summary: St Helens U16s:Tries: Kevin Brown, Alex Burke, Harry Coleman.Goals: Jordan Gibbons.Leeds U16s:Tries: Kiedan Hartley 2, Harvey Whiteley, Cameron Smith 2, Luke Naughton.Goals: Jack Walker 5.Half Time: 8-10Full Time: 14-34Teams:Saints: 1. Kevin Brown; 2. Jacob Cummings, 3. Cameron Brown, 4. Jordan Gibbons, 5. Alex Burke; 6. Lewis Gartland, 7. Elliot Jenkins; 8. Jordan Olmez, 9. Brad Pinder (C), 10. Jorge Lewtas, 11. Harry Coleman, 12. Chris Follin, 13. Callum Hazzard. Subs: 14. Ben Heyes, 15. Danny Edwards, 16. Alex Eckley, 17. Ben Twist, 19. Jack Grimes, 20. Tom Pinder.Leeds:1. Kiedan Hartley; 2. Harry Newman, 3. Nathan Waring, 4. Alex Sutcliffe, 5. Alex Young; 6. George Senior, 7. Jack Walker; 8. Tom Hall, 9. Harvey Whiteley, 10. Mikolaj Oledski, 11. Spencer Darley, 12. Dyson Nicholson, 13. Cameron Smith (C). Subs: 14. Alex Ward, 15. Loui McConnell, 16. Luke Naughton, 17. Kieron Hainsworth, 18. Tyron Travis.
SAINTS Reserves side kept their 100% record intact with a fine 24-12 win against a good Halifax side sprinkled with names familiar to anyone watching U19s rugby over the past few years, writes Graham Henthorne.The Saints again fielded a side with a mixture of older and younger heads and all will be better for the experience.As will all of the Championship Reserve sides playing Super League opposition the home side were quick out of the blocks and eager to take the game to the Saints.They opened the scoring capitalising on poor Saints handling to gain a repeat set and three tackles later prop Martyn Reilly scored the first of his brace crashing over at the posts.The Saints continued to stutter as the new formations got to know each other but as the half went on the home side visibly wilted. Couple that with the Saints finally holding onto possession and the strangle hold was well and truly applied.The scores were levelled as a series of slick, quick passes down the left put Matty Costello away and he had the simplest of tasks to put his winger Regan Grace away to glide under the sticks.There followed numerous great grubber kicks from Tom Connick and Danny Richardson which kept Halifax penned in. From the resulting repeat sets Calvin Wellington was twice held up over the line.The home side just couldn’t summon the energy to get out of their own half which allowed the Saints to finally take the lead right on the stroke of half time.Richardson’s pin-point last tackle cross kick was taken by the home winger but he was quickly bundled into touch by Tommi Hughes and Dave Eccleston giving the Saints a scrum on the Fax 10 metre line. Three tackles later and Richardson expertly dummied his way over under the posts.The half time interval re-energised the home team and they again took it to the Saints who had to absorb a good deal of pressure for a ten minute period. But once Lewis Charnock, back from his sojourn down the road at Leigh, had crumpled his opposite number in half with a big tackle there was seemingly only one winner.However, on the hour Fax did manage to take advantage of a 40/20 and levelled the scores as the big prop scored his second try in identical fashion to the first.The response was immediate. Good work at the play the ball by Hughes forced the error and four tackles later Ross McCauley trundled his way through an increasingly beleaguered defensive line to give the Saints the lead.From the restart the saints again camped on the Fax line and the prop again burst his way through but seemed to get white line fever passing the ball instead of going for the line and the chance was lost.The game was made safe five minutes from time as a Charnock miss pass put Wellington free to interpass with his Welsh colleague finally taking the return ball to score. Charnock’s fourth goal gave the score a more fitting look to go along with the performance.This game was a fantastic advert for all that the Reserves League is about. Two evenly matched sides playing good, hard attractive rugby made for a great spectacle.There was invaluable experience for the Furlong’s, Weldon’s, Morris’s and Costello’s of the team who all played against bigger and older opposition than they have faced before. The midfield trio of Tony Suffolk, Olly Davies and Charnock were relentless, Jonah Cunningham and Aaron Smith controlled the ruck and there were good performances from Liam Cooper and Tom Connick.But this game was yet another step on the seemingly inevitable road to first team recognition at some point for Danny Richardson as he demonstrated his artistry both with ball in hand and in his kicking.Match Summary:Halifax:Tries: Martyn Reilly (8 & 60).Goals: Connor Robinson 2.Saints:Tries: Regan Grace (28), Danny Richardson (40), Ross McCauley (63), Calvin Wellington (74).Goals: Lewis Charnock 4.Half Time: 12-6Full Time: 24-12Teams:Halifax:1. Joe Martin; 2. Gareth Potts, 3. Ben Heaton, 4. Chester Butler, 5. Craig Robertson; 6. James Woodburn-Hall, 7. Connor Robinson; 8. Martyn Reilly, 9. Ryan Maneely, 10. Gavin Bennion, 11. Jordan Syme, 12. Ed Barber, 19. James Saltonstall.Subs: 13. Josh Greenwood-MacDonald, 14. Jack Georgiou, 15. Callum Dunne, 16. Cian Timmins, 17. Luke Nelmes, 18. Jordan Baldwin.Saints:1. Matty Costello; 2. Dave Eccleston, 3. Tommi Hughes, 4. Calvin Wellington, 5. Regan Grace; 7. Danny Richardson, 6. Tom Connick; 18. Tony Suffolk, 9. Jonah Cunningham, 19. Ross McCauley, 11. Olly Davies, 12. Dave Llewellyn, 13. Lewis Charnock.Subs: 8. Levy Nzoungou, 14. Aaron Smith, 15. Lewis Furlong, 16. Mike Weldon, 17. Liam Cooper, 20. Ben Morris.