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The Spartacus report

by ceebs Mon Jan 9th, 2012 at 09:49:43 AM EST

Just a quick one while I'm at slave

Today a group of disability rights campaigners have turned up with a thorough analysis of the governments changes in Disability benefits.

It turns out that the government entirely misrepresented the result of the public consultation, which has been discovered by an analysis of public responses gained the FOI requests.

Crowdsourced research reveals strong opposition to disability benefit reform | Blog | False Economy

The report, Responsible Reform (pdf), was entirely researched, written and funded by disabled people, and coordinated Sue Marsh and Kaliya Franklin of the blogs The Broken of Britain and Diary of a Benefit Scrounger. It is based on the responses to the government's own consultation on its planned DLA reforms, which were only made public once disabled people requested them under the Freedom of Information Act.

Findings included:

  • 98 per cent of respondents objected to the qualifying period for benefits being raised from 3 months to 6 months 
  • 99 per cent of respondents objected to Disability Living Allowance no longer being used as a qualification for other benefits 
  • 92% opposed removing the lowest rate of support for disabled people


There was a level of Fury on Twitter when it was found that Parliament would not accept  this report without a payment of £290 (An ammount which was quickly paid by a supporter)

Well known disability rights campaigning celebrities have been quick to support. From Alistair Campbell (For whom I mostly have very little time, but on disability he's on the right side)

Disability campaigners expose sham/cover-up of coalition consultation on benefit reforms | Alastair Campbell

Today's blog is given over to a press release from a group of disabled disability campaigners who have exposed the sham that is the coalition government's public consultation on Disability Living Allowance. It is long, but worth reading. It reveals inter alia, as Boris Johnson might say, the scale of the London Mayor's opposition to the plans.

Even taking into account the positioning game Boris is playing in advance of the Mayoral elections, his is a significant voice, and the opposition is clear.

The coalition like to pretend they have popular support for a lot of the changes they are making - changes they say are needed because of straitened economic times, but some of which are things they have always wanted to do but for which they have never had the mandate or political support.

That is why this exposing of their effective cover-up of the true outcome of their consultation is important. So all power to Sue Marsh and her team. Sue has a piece on this in The Guardian today, and can regularly be found rattling the government cage with her Diary of a Benefit Scrounger. She has shown what a determined campaigner can do, and though the government will not be moved easily, they might yet be moved if enough people get behind the campaign. So Good Luck.

and from Stephen Fry


Twitter / @stephenfry: Looks as if the government ...
Looks as if the government's been found out lying and misleading the people on the subject of disability allowances: ekklesia.co.uk/node/16008

Twitter / @stephenfry: @RedHndd @suey2y Let's jus ...
@RedHndd @suey2y Let's just hope that doesn't crash now - what you are trying to get out is clearly important...


and further to this it has revealed a deep split between Boris Johnson and the Tory Cabinet.

Crowdsourced research reveals strong opposition to disability benefit reform | Blog | False Economy

The research also uncovered the opposition of London's Conservative Mayor, Boris Johnson, to the proposed changes, who, as Left Foot Forward reports, also challenged the "benefit scrounger" myth:

"The government proposes imposing penalties if disabled people do not inform the government in changes in their circumstances. However, the Department of Work and Pensions statistics give the overall fraud rate for Disability Living Allowance as being less than 0.5%. For those with fluctuating conditions asking them to report every change to their condition would prove very stressful."

So if you're a UK reader or if you know any, get them to grab the report, send it to their MP and demand what they're going to do about the new disability benefits scheme.

Display:
Scope responds to new research into Disability Living Allowance reforms | Disability Charity | Scope UK

In October 2011, Scope published new research, which found the the DLA replacement Personal Independence Payment (PIP) won't be directed to those who need the greatest support because the assessment to test for eligibility is flawed.

In November 2011, the Government announced it was reversing its decision to scrap the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for those living in residential care.

DLA was introduced in 1992 because day-to-day activities cost more if you are disabled. This can include anything from increased electricity bills, running medical equipment and doing laundry more often, to increased transport costs, specialist clothing and having to buy more expensive ready-made food, which is easier to cook. There are two components, one for care and one for mobility.

Overall DLA caseload and expenditure: Overall, 3.2 million disabled people receive DLA. Forecast expenditure on the benefit for 2011-2012 is £12.6 billion.   Access Keys

  News   Contact Scope's media team

24 hour press line: 020 7619 7200

 

Email: press-pr@scope.org.uk     Latest events

view more events     Related Content    


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jan 9th, 2012 at 10:46:10 AM EST
Disability minister ignorant on how legal aid cuts affecting disabled people | Left Foot Forward

In an interview yesterday with BBC Radio Five, the disability minister Maria Miller urged campaigner Sue Marsh to use her "extensive right of appeal through tribunals" if she was unhappy about the DWP's decision to reduce her award for the disability living allowance (DLA).

Miller wasn't wrong about this: disabled people who believe the decision about their DLA award is inaccurate can and do challenge the DWP at tribunals. And in 38 per cent of appeals relating to the Disability Living Allowance, the tribunals find in favour of the claimant (pdf).

But what Miller doesn't seem to realise is that Ken Clarke's proposals in the legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders (LASPO) Bill, which is being debated in the Lords today, will severely limit access to justice through tribunals for thousands of DLA recipients, closing this option to them.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 08:41:30 AM EST


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 10:36:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blimey even the fail is reporting positively on this

David Cameron's Welfare Reform Bill: Hiding the truth is not the way to achieve it | Mail Online

I believe that there comes a point in the life of any Prime Minister when the electorate is entitled to ask - and loudly - does this person actually know what they are doing?

So it is that I have just posed this question of our current PM and the answer to come back has greatly alarmed me.

David Cameron is lost in his role as PM. That much is apparent. Like a toddler at big school he has no true understanding of the issues before him and blunders in apparently unaware of danger or the need to tread carefully.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 10:38:28 AM EST
Twitter / @jonbat: When Boris Johnson and the ...
When Boris Johnson and the Daily Mail are the voices of reason you have to wonder if the universe is about to implode.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 11:06:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Twitter / @fnafilms: I never thought the Mail w ...
I never thought the Mail would be more in tune with my concerns on welfare reform than the BBC. bit.ly/y0bTl7


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 11:07:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC TV news has somehow managed to miss the fact that the government has been caught lying

Responsible Reform report in simple terms | A Latent Existence

Clearly we haven't explained the Responsible Reform report simply enough for busy journalists to take it in. Freedom of information requests were used to gain access to responses to the consultation on replacing disability living allowance with personal independence payments. The response showed that:

  • The government said that the responses support the reforms. They lied. The consultation showed that only 7% do.
  • The consultation did not meet the government's code of practice. It was too short and it ended two days AFTER they wrote and presented the bill to parliament.
  • The government has consistently claimed a 30% rise in DLA claims. It is 13% and they admit they know this but still claim 30%

In short, this report says that the government broke the rules, LIED, are still lying, and we can prove it. They are lying to force through legislation that will affect millions of people, and could one day affect you. Anyone can become sick or disabled. We simply ask that the legislation is paused and given proper scrutiny.

Surely that has got to be worth a mention in the news?



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 07:47:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that what bothers the Mail is that Cameron's government has handled this issue much like a troubled teenager. Having promised to do something for the adults, the teen finds that it cannot be done properly. But instead of telling the adult, they decide to lie and just say that they have done it properly, thinking that they will never be found out. Now they have been found out and the Mail is very annoyed at the cost and effort it takes to continue ignoring an elephant in the room.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 12th, 2012 at 12:21:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm occasionally amazed at seeming liberal positions the mail takes, for no apparent reason.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 12th, 2012 at 09:22:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The universe has imploded, the shock wave just hasn't got here yet.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 11:16:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that comment is part of the wave of shock :)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 11:23:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
31 deaths during wait for benefits judgment | Herald Scotland

More than 30 benefits claimants have died while appealing against a judgment that they were fit to work, official figures show, leading to accusations the system is in chaos. inShare0 Custom byline text:  Kate Devlin UK Political Correspondent

Tribunal centres across the UK, including in Scotland, are also being forced to hold Saturday sittings to deal with disputed cases, politicians have been told.

Last night Labour called on the Tory-LibDem Coalition at Westminster to get a grip on the situation before it spirals "completely out of control".

Almost four in 10 cases are currently overturned on appeal, a proportion campaigners say is unacceptable.

A series of written parliamentary answers has revealed the strain on the system. They show that centres around the country, including in Dundee, Hamilton, Cardiff, Plymouth and Wrexham, have been forced to hold Saturday sittings in recent months. Other centres, including Newcastle, South Shields, Leeds and Sheffield, are due to sit at weekends from this month.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 10:57:00 AM EST
Diary, Stories and Research of a Epilepsy sufferer: DW&P Research: How Many Trained Disability Employment Advisors are there at JobCentre Plus ?
So I ask... How Many 'Trained' Disability Employment Advisers are there at Job Centre Plus offices ?

From late 2009, I was Unemployed due to several chronic effects from my Epilepsy. And therefore had to claim Unemployment Allowance, otherwise known as JSA. The first few sign-on meetings, the "job centre" advisors didn't recognise that I had a Disability, and they didn't check either.. they simply ignored it, and kept on asking why I wasn't working, and Why I had barriers against working.

A few weeks went by, and finally someone said that my next sign-on meetings should be with the offices (DEA) Disability Employment Adviser. All the DEA did, was to take down notes of my disability, and put it in to the JCP online system. The DEA didn't offer me any support, or help. They treated me like I had no disability.

This, made my feel angry. So I asked about what they knew about Epilepsy, and how the condition effects people with it. The DEA didn't have a clue, and said "this isn't a thing we are trained about..".
Aha! - I thought.
So after my sign-on meeting with the DEA, I traveled from the JCP office by bus to a near by Internet Cafe, where I emailed my local MP, to ask 2 questions at the next Prime Ministers Question Time, in the House of Commons in London.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 02:13:23 PM EST
Inaccuracies dog 'fit to work' test | Society | The Guardian

A detailed year-long study into the coalition government's controversial work capability assessments (WCAs) has revealed new evidence of widespread inaccuracies in the medical reports that help to determine whether individuals are eligible for sickness benefits.

The research, conducted by the charity Citizens Advice, identified a group of people about to embark on the process of claiming employment and support allowance (ESA), which replaces incapacity benefit, and followed them throughout the process from the summer of 2010, looking at how their claims were handled and the accuracy of the medical assessments.

The report's conclusions are stark: of the 37 individual reports examined, 16 (43%) revealed "serious levels of inaccuracy", and a further 10 contained a "medium level of inaccuracy", a level still significant enough to have an impact on the claimants' eligibility for benefits. Only 11 were entirely accurate or had a low level of inaccuracy.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 02:30:35 PM EST
Well the first night of votes on amendments in thehouse of Lords. and once again, with a Thatcherite government in power, the only effective parliamentary opposition is coming from the elderly members

BBC News - Government suffer Lords defeat over welfare cuts

The government has lost a vote in the House of Lords over its plans to cut the welfare bill.

Peers voted by 260 to 216 to protect up to 15,000 young disabled people from cuts to employment support allowance.

Opponents of the coalition's plans said they would mean disabled children who could never work would never be entitled to the benefit.

Ministers also suffered a defeat last month over elements of their plans to overhaul housing benefit.

As part of their drive to cut spending on welfare, the government wants to remove the so-called "youth provision" that allows some young people to receive contributory employment and support allowance (ESA) even though - due to disability or illness - they have not been able to work and build up National Insurance.

The Lords have now had Two more votes Both of which have gone against the Government.

(1) Social Welfare Advocacy

To sum up: the government has astonshingly lost three straight votes in the Lords. They are for the following amendments:

* To retain automatic eligibility for ESA for young disabled people who are unable to work
* To impose a two year time limit for ESA claimants, overriding the government's proposal that claimants be reassesed after 12 months
* To exempt cancer patients from the proposed ESA li...mit.

This is an extraordinary start to the welfare reform bill voting season. More votes will take place on similarly controversial issues in the next fortnight, including next week on disability living allowance.

Meanwhile here's a tweet from the Guardian's Polly Toynbee:

Remarkable triple defeat for government in Lords. Shame again on most LibDems, voting to cut benefits to dying and life-long disabled young.

Her's a tweet from disability campaigner and blogger Kaliya Franklin, who tweets as @bendygirl:

I can't believe it!!! Time for a little cry. We did it guys, we did it!!


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 11th, 2012 at 03:07:06 PM EST
Welfare reform bill - Lords debate and live discussion | Society | guardian.co.uk

My colleague Tom Clark has just filed this assessment of what's happened in the Lords this evening

There are more experienced Lords-watchers than me, but I can't remember anything like it. I've seen double defeats but can't recall a triple defeat in a single session.

The victories on crediting in disabled children was the kind of detailed measure of principle that the Lords like to get right. And with a price tag they are putting at ten million a year the government certainly wouldn't have attempted to reverse it.

The most recent vote on cancer exemptions was also, perhaps, predictable - my expectation is that this sort of popular rather than policy proposal can only have won with significant Lib Dem backing, many cross benchers may have voted with the government.

Again, however, I can not imagine that the government would want to pick a fight in the Commons on an issue affecting a small number of people like this.

The second vote, however, on increasing the time limit is different. Lord Freud has been said to be quoting some very large figures for the cost, and I can't check this immediately but (off the top of my head) I would expect it would make a significant dent in the £1-2bn which (again off the top of my head - perils of live blogging!) is what I would expect they will save from the time limit in the first place.

In other words we could be talking about hundreds rather than tens of million, and amount which could lead to the government being forced to go back to MPs and ask them to reverse it later down the line. Lib Dems in particular will find that hard to swallow if their friends upstairs have just said no to it.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 11th, 2012 at 03:42:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Able2UK | News and interviews relating to disabilities | BBC shuns the Spartacus Report

"Looks as if the government's been found out lying and misleading the people on the subject of disability allowances." Not our words, but the ones from Stephen Fry who tweeted in response to a new report launched by online blogger Sue Marsh and thousands of disabled people.


The `Responsible Reform', which is also being dubbed as the `Spartacus Report' is another attempt for the Disability Living Allowance amended. Last year despite peaceful protests and campaigns the government refused to listen to those asking for a reform to the DLA.


In October 2011 MP's compiled the Impact Assessment for changes to the DLA...However very little has been changed, the reports are almost identical!


As MPs return from their Christmas holidays the Spartacus Report has brought to light a few important points which the government have tried to hide.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 11th, 2012 at 07:29:17 PM EST
Welfare reforms: Cameron defeated in the Lords...again. What a surprise! | Mail Online

I wonder if David Cameron is starting to get the message yet? If not, let me spell it out.

His much-vaunted Welfare Reforms are proving to be something of a turkey. In the first instance, his disability proposals were rejected by almost 100 per cent of people involved in a public consultation - although his Government chose not to include that information when presenting the proposals to the Lords.

In other words our Coalition paid, handsomely no doubt, to solicit opinion on the intended changes and when they didn't like the answers that came back, they discarded them. Oh well, we've got plenty of money to spare, haven't we?



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 12th, 2012 at 04:18:02 PM EST
BBC News - Welfare Bill: Changes to continue despite Lords defeats

The government says it will press ahead with changes to the welfare system, despite defeats in the Lords.

Labour and independent peers, and some Lib Dems, voted down restrictions on benefits for cancer patients and young disabled people.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said the welfare state would support those in "genuine need" but "tough decisions" had to be taken to tackle the deficit.

Labour said ministers had crossed "the basic line of British decency".



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 12th, 2012 at 04:19:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm torn between commenting Bastards and scum.

Green crayon time for the local MP

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 12th, 2012 at 04:20:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Coalition accused of abusing parliament | Politics | The Guardian

The government was warned on Thursday that it is running the risk of abusing parliament in its attempts to reverse a triple defeat in the House of Lords over plans to cut benefits for disabled people.

Labour, which accused the government of crossing the line of decency with its reforms, pledged to fight any coalition effort to use special parliamentary procedures to reverse the votes.

The row erupted after Lord Freud, the welfare reform minister, surprised peers late on Wednesday night by tabling a new amendment. Freud acted after peers rejected plans to means-test employment and support allowance (ESA) payments for disabled people - plus cancer patients and stroke survivors - after only a year. Peers also rejected plans to time-limit ESA for cancer patients and to restrict access to ESA for disabled or ill young people.

But the minister's amendment partially reversed the vote on young people.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jan 13th, 2012 at 08:01:23 AM EST
Twitter / @JBeattieMirror: Telegraph today applauds I ...
Telegraph today applauds IDS for taking benefits off cancer patients on p30 and demands child benefit is reinstated for high earners on p31


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jan 13th, 2012 at 04:10:14 PM EST
Ministers getting ahead of themselves | A Latent Existence

The DWP has released a ministerial statement from Chris Grayling. Here's the important bit:

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Chris Grayling): The Department for Work and Pensions has obtained approval for an advance, prior to Royal Assent, from the Contingency Fund of £1,000,000. The funding will allow for the development of the IT changes required to introduce new benefit fraud and claimant error sanctions.

A tougher fraud and error regime was set out in the "Tackling fraud and error in the benefit and tax credit systems" strategy published in October 2010 and changes to sanctions and penalties are included in the Welfare Reform Bill. They provide for the introduction of a Civil Penalty for claimant error and strengthen sanctions for benefit fraudsters. To enable their introduction changes to the Departments' IT systems will be required. The contingency advance will enable the IT provider to begin work in January 2012 giving them sufficient lead in time to commence changes in 2012.

Did you see what I saw? The DWP are getting their IT provider to start re-writing their computer systems so that they can fine people who make mistakes on their benefit claim forms. In order to do that, Chris Grayling has asked for and received one million pounds to pay for it.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jan 15th, 2012 at 02:35:26 PM EST
Diary of a Benefit Scrounger: Conservative Manifesto 2010 - Disability & Care
Social Care and DisabilityThe Government believes that people needing care deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We understand the urgency of reforming the system of social care to provide much more control to individuals and their carers, and to ease the cost burden that they and their families face.
  • We will establish a commission on long-term care, to report within a year. The commission will consider a range of ideas, including both a voluntary insurance scheme to protect the assets of those who go into residential care, and a partnership scheme as proposed by Derek Wanless.
  • We will break down barriers between health and social care funding to incentivise preventative action.
  • We will extend the greater roll-out of personal budgets to give people and their carers more control and purchasing power.
  • We will reform Access to Work, so disabled people can apply for jobs with funding already secured for any adaptations and equipment they will need."


Quite apart from the appalling betrayal of carers highlighted in this afterthought of a manifesto entry, does anyone notice anything? Anything huge they forgot to mention? 
Oh yes, silly them. Not a peep about scrapping DLA and replacing it with PIP. Well, except this of course :
"Conservatives have pledged to preserve Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance as cash benefits."
Makes it sound like there's nothing to worry about doesn't it? 


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jan 15th, 2012 at 07:02:21 PM EST
Where's the Benefit?: The Good, the Bad and the unnecessarily expensive
A new Comment is Free piece by former Tory MP Paul Goodman appeared online this evening, in which he tried to justify taking money from disabled people and giving it to a company like Atos instead.

He starts out pretending that he might actually live up to his surname and feigning concern for his old constituents. In paragraph number 5 he even uses some actual facts:

The problem with DLA isn't that it traps disabled people on benefits - its purpose is to support the care and mobility needs of disabled people, whether they work or not. Nor is the key issue fraud - which is proportionately tiny: a mere 0.5%.

You can tell he's no longer in office, can't you? If a current MP told the truth about benefits so brazenly Cameron would probably have him bent over his lap, bullwhip in hand, faster than one can say "calm down dear".


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jan 15th, 2012 at 08:25:40 PM EST


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