Wednesday 18 January 2012

A PR win for the Government but an Actual Win for Disabled People

This will be a long post, but there's a lot to say!

Firstly, go back to 5th Januuary. We had no hope. ESA was going to be limited to just one year, DLA was to be abolished and replaced with PIP, which we felt were unfit for purpose and designed without the genuine input of disabled people and their groups. We had no media, no polticians, no voice.

On the 6th January, the Boris Johnson story broke (due to our press release) and everything changed.

Suddenly, the Mail and the Telegraph and the Mirror were reporting the first hint that all may not be well with the Government's plans for PIP. The story built over the weekend and then, in a blaze of glory and an unprecedented social media campaign, we launched Responsible Reform (The Spartacus Report)

Kaliya and Sarah and I and all the others involved in writing and producing the report could never in a million years have known how successful it would be. A welfare report? Trending on twitter? Getting millions of reads and crashing servers? Miraculous.

All the while we were preparing Responsible Reform we thought it would be ignored. We did it to go on record, to be heard. We did it to ensure there would be a lasting account of the very grave concerns disabled people have about the plans. 

Did we think charities, celebrities, academics and medics would support our work so resolutely? Did we think the media would start to push ministers on their plans for reform? And most unlikely, did we think we would end up with an amendment under debate in the House of Lords, requested by us and defended by disabled peers in the House? Never in a million years. But we hoped.

We always knew that the more momentum we could build - and remember this was just momentum created by ordinary people - the more pressure the government would face. We could never, ever have known they would face this much pressure and be forced to move so far.

At the 11th hour - oh but what a shame it couldn't have been earlier - the entire disabled community came together with one voice and that, was too much for even the coalition to ignore.

It is crucial to understand the process of yesterday. Amendments are not binding and as ministers have assured us, will be overturned when the welfare reform bill returns to the House of Commons. They are embarrassing PR blows, little more. What IS binding are the speeches Lord Freud makes just before a vote. It is in that moment that peers get to judge just how far the Government are willing to compromise. If it is far enough, the vote will either be withdrawn or will fail.  As I tweeted just before the vote "LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY TO FREUD'S RESPONSE"

As Freud started to speak it was clear that his language was carefully scripted and for once, contained detailed commitments to compromise. At this point, I start to realise that he is moving significantly - I wonder if it will be enough to convince peers.

Here are my tweets as Freud is laying out his compromise :

"He's promising stuff, but will Lords believe him??? #wrb#spartacusreport

"He's actually giving us almost everything to avoid a vote!!!!! #wrb#spartacusreport. Remember this bit is legally binding 


"Remember!! He is saying all of this very carefully under oath. #wrb#spartacusreport

So how accurate is that? What did we ask for and what did Freud promise? 

Here is amendment 50E, Clause 80, 

Clause 80


Page 58, line 26, at end insert—

“( ) The Secretary of State must lay before Parliament an independent review of the plans for implementation of the assessments under section 79 before the provisions are brought into effect, and such plans must in particular provide for—

(a) a trial period before any assessment process is implemented fully for new applicants and those transferring from DLA;

(b) disabled persons organisations to be involved in formulating the assessment process.”

Effectively, we got some of all of those things, without an official pause. In fact, we got more. Here are the key points Freud conceded and what they mean. 

- A formal consultation on assessments to run for 15 weeks and the key point "regulations which we will lay later this year, will be subject to the full affirmative procedure of both houses."

This is crucial. It means that all the details still missing on assessments, weightings and entitlement criteria will have to be agreed by both the Commons and the Lords before they can go ahead. This is what we most needed and is a huge concession. It means the Government cannot sneak unfit plans through without the agreement of parliament. I can't stress enough what a win this was and how resistant ministers had previously been to the demand. 

-Freud went to to promise to test the assessments first, emphasising that "if for any reason [testing is] insufficient we will carry out further testing

-In response to Baroness Browning, Freud promised to "personally look at the impact" PIP would have.

-The Implementation Development group allows disabled people a say in design and implementation. Freud promised not to scrap it in 2013 but to carry it forward. He pledged that "There have been, and there remain, significant opportunities for involvement from disabled people and their organisations, and significant opportunities to influence our proposals to ensure we get them right."

- He promised to test all systems in a "model office environment" before they go live. This means the systems must work before they are used on real people. 

- He promised that anyone taking on the contract for assessments must do the same and confirmed that "We expect them to work with disabled people on the design of their processes to improve customer experience before during and after implementation."

Freud goes on to lay out how they will delay the implementation and in effect, trial PIP in a small way, rolling it out very gradually with checks and reviews at every stage. This is very significant and a million miles from a total rollout in April 2013. 

He says "As well as getting the whole development process right, I recognise the value in moving away from a big-bang approach to implementation which would see both new claims and reassessments beginning in April 2013" The next section lays out exactly how the implementation of PIP will now work. 

"We will limit the number of new claims for personal independence payment to a few thousand per month for the first few months of implementation. This will allow us fully to trial all the processes in a truly live environment.Once we are satisfied that the new processes are working as intended with this reduced number, we will allow all new claims for personal independence payment to enter into the process. We will continue monitoring and reviewing the processes to ensure they are working effectively and appropriately and to see how claimants are finding the experience. We will begin to reassess existing DLA claimants in a co-ordinated way six months after the initial implementation. Again, we will stagger this process. We expect the first stage of reassessment to start in the autumn of 2013, beginning with individuals on a DLA fixed award who will need to renew their claim and those claimants who report a change of circumstances on their existing DLA claims.

At the same time, we intend to conduct a pathfinder trial reassessing individuals who would not, in the ordinary course of events, come up for reassessment. We expect the pathfinder to run for around three months to ensure the processes for identifying and contacting people and taking them through the claim processes are working satisfactorily. Allowing a small number of existing DLA claimants to advance through the reassessment process ahead of full national implementation will enable us to be sure that our approach to engaging these customers into the claims process is working effectively ahead of widening the selection. Also very relevant here is the independent review and report on the assessment that we are legislating for in Clause 87."

-So basically, PIP will be trialled, on a small number of new claimants. Then all new claims, with a commitment to review at every stage. Only if everything is working will existing claims begin the process and that, 6 months later. 

-He went on to promise two independent reviews, at 2 years and 4 years with a third promised if any concerns are expressed at year 4. He stressed that this is a "Firm commitment from me and my ministerial colleagues"

He concludes by saying  "In reality, in the way that we are structuring this, we are trialling it in any real sense; we are doing it on a gradual basis. If we do it in this way, we will get the assessment and wider benefit processes right; we will involve disabled people and we will learn from the earlier delivery of the benefit."

So, what does all that mean? It means the Government had to make very considerable compromises to avoid another embarrassing defeat. Are they significant enough for us? Of course not. Would they ever have been? Of course not. Were we ever going to stop PIP 12 days before the vote? Never. Do we trust this government to listen properly this time? Why would we? 

But, Freud and ministers are accountable for every promise they made. If they renege on even one, we can challenge it. 

Crucially we were heard, not just by nervous ministers, but by the public. There is now real disquiet over plans to cut DLA for 500,000 disabled people. The atrocious arrogance we have seen for so long from politicians, simply must be tempered from now on. We shone a spotlight on these reforms and now they must be implemented in full view. 

Does it matter that they "won" the vote or does it matter that we made PIP safer for millions? That any details or changes must be agreed by the Commons and the Lords? Did we want the PR coup or did we want concessions? 

I wanted concessions, any concessions, but I never thought we would get them. 

Peers got hundreds of letters and emails. The pressure you put on Government was truly extraordinary and make no mistake, this is a Government unwilling to shift on even the smallest details. I have never seen ordinary people - not politicians or think tanks - ordinary people, affect actual democratic change in the way I saw last night. Never. 

And the peers - what of them? Well, just days before a vote, they heard our requests, tabled an amendment and fought. For us. It was a stronger amendment than any before it. It focused on us, on disabled people and what we needed to start to trust any process affecting us. They fought passionately for an amendment it would be very hard to win. That in itself is significant in a world of political positioning. 

Perhaps one of the most significant statements came from Lord MacKenzie, Labour Lord

"I have some responsibility for having introduced the employment and support allowance so I cannot claim any such accolade. It is clear that the assessment process has not been working and has caused... distress to too many disabled people"

As an unexpected bonus, Labour finally taking ownership for the failures of ESA is a step forward. 

Finally, how did the vote go? 

Not Contents 229 - Tories 150, LibDems 65, crossbench 13, Other 1
Contents 213 - Labour 160, LibDems 2, crossbench 39, other 12 

There is no easy way to say that those figures are brutal. We won the crossbenchers by 3 to 1. We won the argument. On evidence, politically impartial peers voted for a pause to PIP. Lib Dems did not. (With the notable exceptions of Bns Tonge and Bns Doocey ) Even the Tories did not turn out in numbers to match Labour. But the LibDems were whipped - told how to vote - so we could never have won. Did they make Freud shift so far in exchange for a win that would save the Government embarrassment? It doesn't really matter. They signed away the Disability Living Allowance. I hope they sleep well. 

When I took on the Spartacus Report, I hoped that in some small way it might put pressure on the Government. That somehow, it might make people think. I never in a million years thought it would result in real changes to the plans for PIP. It did, and every last one of us should sit back in amazement and really take in what we did. We embarrassed the Government. We embarrassed them so much, they would certainly have lost yesterday if they hadn't moved significantly. We won three amendments to ESA. We changed the structure and implementation of PIP. We had just seven hours to publicise an amendment and ask peers to vote on it. With ESA we had 15 months. Nonetheless, the Government still only won by the narrowest of margins, a mere 16 votes. 

Did you ever - ever - think we would do any of that? 


  1. We read of rumours that the LibDems had had a meeting about DLA and PIP yesterday to get them in line for the vote. And Sue, you're saying Lord F's speech was scripted with detailed concessions which was also the impression I had when I watched it on TV. Not the usual empty fob-off promises. I think the Govnt was very alarmed about losing the vote.

    The next thing to watch is dropping Legal Aid for welfare rights, which has recently been debated in Lords Committee and will return on Report. More info here (need to scroll down for latest)

  2. I do think this is a pertinent point, and something I have actually brought up is to Work to Rule of current DLA; i.e., everyone who hasn't bothered to claim, who is underfunded, who thought they could "just cope" without it should be applying for it. Everyone. Even if you don't get it, appeal. Even if that doesn't work, what has been done at that point is that not only has the process been put to the extremely rigorous test, but it also leaves a very definitive paper trail - it has left evidence as to just how much one condition can vary wildly. It shows that just because someone can undress their upper body doesn't mean that they can tie their shoes (I can't!). It shows that just because we may think walking 200meters is a great feat, it doesn't mean we can walk it back! It shows that those who didn't realise they could get mobility can...and what it means when they lose it.

    I've finally got a bit of breathing room myself and therefore I hope I can start to put in the "change of circumstance" for my mobility and maybe finally get something for this. If I do and this actually gives me more freedom and more scope to actually take a bigger role in being self-employed, I can then argue what a mistake it is to take this away from me. How does making someone go from being a Hard-Working Taxpayer to a Benefit Scrounger benefit anyone?

    I'd encourage people to get out there and secure exactly what you need and what you deserve. Yes, it's daunting, yes, it's scary, yes, it's hard. But it's also playing the Government's own game, and proving the rules are skewed. That's important.

  3. "I have some responsibility for having introduced the employment and support allowance so I cannot claim any such accolade. It is clear that the assessment process has not been working and has caused... distress to too many disabled people"

    I might thank him for saying that, it shows integrity.

  4. No never in a million years, thank you so much for all your work and the work of your friends... Dxxx

  5. Wow, the whole spartacus campaign is so inspiring, huge credit to all involved for your persistence and ingenuity. Thanks for clarifying the implications of last nights speeches and vote, never would have understood the significance otherwise.

  6. Will it work only time will tell, ESa has been a complete failure as we all know i dont like the 2yr then 4yr review, the information should be collated on a monthly basis ie passed failed then a 6 month review needed it will be an ongoing process so leaving it for 2yrs gives them plenty of time to get the people through the system.

  7. what abt the human rights issue not heard nowt abt that yet

    1. Thanks to you and Kaliya and the others for all your sterling efforts. We might not have been seen to have won this particular battle but by goodness we held them to account and made them change course and wrung crucial concessions from them. And we are not done yet! They know we are watching and can marshell formidable forces against them. nil carborundum illegitimi

  8. Forgive me for being slightly negative, ok, there are the concessions and yes the transfer from DLA to PIP will be phased in and monitored that's good. However as one of those whose DLA is coming up for reassessment I expect to become one of (on) in the trial; I also stand to lose my ESA as having been forced to claim for the past 2 years.

    So, I do accept we collectively have forced this Govn to rethink and take action to pacify disabled people, and that's fantastic; but I personally still feel like a lamb of the way to slaughter.

    1. I agree with you...these cuts and forced are going on now. I have had my money stopped today and am being told i have to take a £47 per week cut if i appea. I was given 10 days notice. My Doctor is furious and so is my consultant.I stand to lose my home in a month or two. This is happening to thousands of people NOW..this

      Have i missed something because for me and thousands of others this changes nothing.

  9. so what organisations will be involved?
    i just think it will be another WCA in the end not being negative just realistic

  10. Yesterday, before the debate, I and several others realised that the case studies in the dwp's draft document on thresholds show that potentially thousands of Motability customers stand to lose their cars as some wheelchair users and people who can walk up to 50m will fail to amass sufficient points for the enhanced mobility rate of PIP. This could even mean that I could lose my internal transfer WAV for which most of the large downpayment was funded by a specialist vehicle grant! The implications of this for Motability customers, Motability and the car industry are massive!

    This will be a key issue to point out when we respond to the document, for which the 15-week consultation period has just started.

  11. great point jane knock on effects are massive not just for customers but for motability itself

  12. Yep, don't get me wrong, there are still a billion problems. But in the context of what we could possibly have achieved, it was a big step in the right direction.

    The fight goes on. Just with ever so slightly fewer things to worry about.

    Also don't underestimate the first point I made, it's absolutely crucial. They don't get to do what they like behind closed doors any more. "affirmative procedure of both houses" means any details he adds in must be agreed by the Lords and the Commons. With ESA, they did it all through secondary legislation and got away with murder.

    1. Bang on, as a long time welfare campaigner(not so much now due to worsening health) watching the debates for ESA, you were lucky if there were more that 10 MP's/lords at some of the debates, if you can call them that, coverage in the media was minimal, they are now in the glare, lets keep them there

    2. oh, and yes, much of it was done with little scrutiny under secondary legislation, won't forget how New Labour operated on welfare

    3. I think you are being to early in your self congratuLations. We need to keep going. Do you seriously think that if PIP does not work after 6 months they will reverse it? They wont.

      Need to keep fighting:

      - confront Cameron's hypocrisy like Matthew Norman has done (THE INEPENDENT)

      - expose the degrading assessement interviews - do we want to live in a country that does this to vulnerable people?

      - expose the LIE that the complexity of individual disabled people's needs can be properly assessed by a doctor in an assessment room. Most people have invisible disabilities.

      Over 500 charities wrote in to the consultation against change to DLA - because apart from some areas (that could be addressed) there was no major problem.

      In the 80's and 90's every trawl to show fraud in DLA claims SHOWED THAT BENEFITS WERE UNDERCLAIMED. The govt have no evidence to base the change to PIP apart from saving money.


    4. This is a reply to Anonymous above posted at 3.31AM:

      Sue is not self congratulating herself!! She is highlighting what the government have had to make concessions on, that we never thought would have been possible, just hoped. She is not suggesting that she and many others need to stop fighting, goodness, she and many others are seriously ill/disabled and despite this have been fighting for all of us affected by disability and yet has carried on and with their determination will not stop fighting until they physically cannot!!

      Don't attack the people who are leading a light for us, they need our support and heartfelt thanks. They have done and are doing everything they can.

    5. To the shouty person above, what did you do? Only before you shout at me I wondered if you managed to change anything at all?

      If you think this post implies I think we "won" I don't think you read it properly. Nonetheless people deserved to understand the process and what had taken place.

      He who shouts loudest does the least????

  13. Spartacus must not simply go home now... the fight is only just beginning. Sue you have been amazing. Thank you. You have been a better champion than many an MP - a true Gladiator on behalf of the sick and disabled. And I, for one, am right behind you. There is still so much work to be done.

  14. I think what ever way its looked at - an amazing achievement, I have been around politics since a small child and on many many campaigns and NEVER seen such a movement.

    Think of it in this context 100,000,000 (million+) marched in london me included to stop the Iraq war and failed to change Blairs mind.

    I have no idea how many of us became active but a few 1000 maybe speaking for 3 million and look what happened.

    It aint over, there is much to do and support to give to Sue 3 fronts at least to fight on

  15. We gave them a bloody nose, and we can do it again. Hardly a mention of their role in much of the press, but I think the authors of Responsible Reform have blown the lid off the whole question of welfare reform. It is now open for discussion, something the DWP have resolutely tried to shut down since the last election.

    Thank you all.

  16. We did excellent, but couldn't have done it without you. I agree with you that we are not finished yet we have made a stand and a very big one at that; but where to next what about carers no legislation no impact assessment? Will we come together to input on the assessment? I don't know how many of us there are altogether, but would think we could together help fund you on a monthly basis, I'd be happy to contribute each month. We couldn't have done this with out all of you, I can't begin to tell you how much it means to my daughter and myself, thank you.

  17. All the Spartacus contributors and campaigners are superstars. You've achieved so much on behalf of so many -if I could give you medal I would. Of course there's a long hard fight ahead, but the important thing is that you've shown that we can fight - and you've shown that to the government as well as to the disabled community.

  18. Sue, thanks for clarifying the situation,prior to this I knew virtually nothing of the procedures of politics..ashamed to say!But learning now,fast. As always you look on the positive,which is inspiring as it enables the rest of us to do the same,and that in itself is invaluable. Have meant to say before, but you and Kaliya and all involved must have amazingly supportive families, and I thank them too,their contribution is massive.
    Going back to yesterday, I was interested in the discussion re people claiming DLA who reached age 65. Freud said that they would continue to receive DLA/PIP but insisted this would be kept 'in regulations' rather than stated in the Bill. I wonder why?
    Anyway,let's keep shining a light on the workings of this Government - wouldn't it be great if the Spartacus Campaign became the subject of a Panorama programme, or even made it finally on to Question Time?!

    1. yes! Panorama or dispatches - where we get a chance to really address the issues without being shut up by biased interviewers. we should work on making this happen!

    2. Thank you for explaining this, because I was perplexed by what happened in the Lords. Perhaps this is a new way forward in democracy where the people can legislate the policies and bills that affect them! The government is supposed to be there to represent us and yet it spins and manipulates and tells us that we are ignorant and they know best. The concessions and the amendments to ESA are remarkable achievements and everybody ought to be rightly proud of themselves. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who gave up their time and daily lives (I shouldn't wonder) to research and write the Spartacus Report. Let's hope this is just the beginning. I hope that each and every one of us can present our case to them and this time, be heard.

      Yes Sue, when will we be watching you on Question Time?

    3. I have written to Panorama twice asking them to do an undercover investigation of ATOS doctors who are paid a bonus for each person taken off benefit and LIE about everything you say in their report. I could not believe a professional man, a doctor would come into my home and lie about everything we said.
      Thank you Sue and co for everything you achieved. Some of us are too ill to campaign and thank you for representing us.

  19. Sue, try and get on Russia Today, yes I know, but it has big viewing figures, they will want to cover the future pauperisation of disabled people, it will embarrass the UK and be a useful You tube in the future..

    But do take care of yourself, there was a woman who ran Incapicity Action, she sadly crashed and burned,

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Thankyou so much for this - very helpful. The parliamentary process is so difficult to understand! Thankyou for all your hard work and persistence on this. Be blessed :o)

  22. Bill Scott, Inclusion Scotland18 January 2012 at 09:53

    If just nine Lib Dems had shown courage we would have won but then expecting jellyfish to develop backbones was probably asking too much. Well done Spartacus.

  23. Sue, it was a remarkable achievement in such a short time. I admire you and everyone who took part in the Responsible Reform ( the #spartacusreport ). I also Thank You for helping to force any concession from this government.

    I have a question.

    Are you happier that we lost the vote?

  24. I feel so much better having read this today. Last night I was in tears because I was so scared; I thought it was all over, but this makes me feel hopeful again.

    My DLA is up for review in 2013 so I guess I'll also be one of the first transferred and assessed for PIP. Still don't think I'm going to get it but I will fight and fight to appeal and kick up a fuss when that happens and I know I will have thousands of people behind me.

  25. Btw, I notice we haven't given much credit to your other Report Contributor/compiler?


  26. Amonrosier - Do you know, I AM happier that we lost the vote but won the concessions xx

  27. Thanks so much for this, Sue - we now know that Spartacus isn't just a small group, a one-off report or a campaign to influence the Lords, it's a MOVEMENT, with coherent and valid work to do. We won't just disappear! x

  28. Sorry I am not convinced. They are promising to involve disabled people in ensuring that 1/2 million people lose their lifeline in as smooth a way as possible. They will tinker around at the edges like Harrington...meaningless crap like listening to and showing respect towards the people they are going to shaft.They can claim it is being done with the consent and goodwill of disabled people and their organisations as usual. Agree amendments would simply be overturned in the commons but it would have exposed the reality of making the most vulnerable pay for the crisis they did not cause. It would have been a moral victory and showed the public that not everyone agrees with the government.There have been consultations galore on this and the majority of opinions are just cast aside that will not change.Freud and his like are ruthless and play by their own rules.
    The massive victory you and others have had is in raising public awareness and producing a fantastic and insightful report. I thank you for that. You have given us a voice but we must not get sucked in a distracted by consultations that really are going no where fast.

    1. However, there are now over 200 lords and peers that are obviously more aware of what is going on in the welfare reform and they are on our side. Watching the debate yesterday I was delighted to see those lords understand what we are going through now with the ESA assessments and what we are likely to go through with DLA reform.

      Don't forget the Government only won by 16 votes, almost 50% of the lords voted against the government on the major amendment, that in itself is something to be very proud of. I am sure that some of the more passionate lords that we heard yesterday will hold the government to account in the future. A huge thank you Sue and all for that!

  29. Thank you Sue for your positive perspective. As a person who suffers depression, amongst other debilatating conditions, who naturally paints the world black and sees the negative before the positive, the thorns instead of the rose and whose glass is half empty rather than half full, this morning I felt sadness and utter despair that we had lost.

    Yes we all, in ways great and small achieved a tremendous amount. The government have made concessions, though we have to make sure they do not renege on them, and public opinion has changed. Even the Daily mail:

    read this very passionate article written by Sonia Poulton' prior to the House of Lords debate:

    Without Sue and Kaliya and all those who organised the campaign and the Spartacus report, without all our combined efforts the government’s reforms would have gone unchallenged. Without the internet and social networking this could not have happened.

    I echo the following by Sonia Poulton's in the Daily Mail article mentioned above .

    “I am now going to ask something completely irregular for a journalist. And it is this: can we please search our collective conscience and let our local MP’s know, in no uncertain terms, that we do not support this act of treacherous brutality against some of our most vulnerable citizens and that we demand, once and for all, that the ‘well’ be put back into welfare. For all our sakes.”

    Who would have thought that such an article would be written in the Daily Mail

    The government's behaviour concerning benefit reforms which will plunge many people and families, including children, into poverty surely goes against The Universal Declaration of human rights which Britain signed.

    Article 25.
    •(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
    •(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

    Thank you to Sue and Kaliya and everyone who was involved. We have lost the amendment, the battle, but have not lost the war. We must believe that good will triumph over evil, right over wrong, justice over injustice.

    We still though have a long way to go and many people will continue to suffer not just those who depend on DLA but those who have to face the ESA assessments and umpteen other lesser known detrimental reforms that the government has introduced. Including the small number of new claimants who will be trialled for six months.


  30. Thank you Sue, I needed your explanations. And thank you and celebrations to all Spartici!

  31. well done! at last the implications of PIP have been highlighted by the media. On a personal note I am worried as in 2014 my Dla award is up for review just before I reach 65, and balance problems don't seem to figure much in the current criteria for PIP. Incidentally, I now get state pension so why am I still considered to be "of working age"?
    Thanks for all your effort

  32. The huge victory has been how disabled people stood together and spoke out in one voice. Disabled charities do a great job but the government seemed to fob them off with alarming ease , not so when it came to the spartacus report.For the first time disabled people and their allies became a unified, clear and loud voice , that alone shook the government to its core and ensures they had no choice but address our concerns.The fact that the DWP hashtagged the Spartacus Report was staggering.

    Labour seems to have moved onto our territory a little, that is progress, the media now knows that disabled people are out there and campaigning , that is progress .This battle has only just started , well done everyone involved in the spartacus report, everyone who tweeted and e mailed their MPs, Lords and the press. But whatever you do DON'T STOP ,if we go quiet they will ride roughshod all over us again.

    In closing , if you are a Liberal Democrat today you must be feeling rather odd.The Lib Dems were our champions when they were in opposition, in government they are fully collaborating in our torment. You need to ressure your leadership, you need to address this issue more.Disability and the welfare reform bill are vital issues for millions of disabled people and their carers, and we have life long memories.

    1. As someone with two close family members with disabilities and a Lib Dem, I can say I don't feel at all odd. True enough I don't like everything the the Government does, but that's because it's got 305 Tories in it. We've seen and know what Labour and the Tories are like on welfare.

  33. I congratulate on your fantastic work, but I don't think the word of these politicians is worth anything. They'll promise all kinds of things to get the vote through and then like ESA they'll just carry on ignoring our concerns and nothing will change.

  34. There does appear to be scope for some development here. However, it is not just disabled people who are being buggered. Unemployed people, poor people, older people, homeless people, those on low incomes etc etc are also at the receiving end of a debt crisis started and continued by government, the banks and rich people. We are all paying the price for others failure and greed. There is scope therefore to broaden the challenge to the authorities by including others in a concerted action against those who do us harm This land is my land.

  35. For me to be feeling very low right now is no reflection on how hard we have tried to show & change the dangers of #wrb... We know what it is a reflection of...
    I did fight till I dropped just as many others did...
    Sue, you say it's crucial that they will not get do it 'behind closed doors' which may become very significant but I feel all is lost for me....
    If more than half of our Government representatives are prepared to vote publically to throw 2&1/2 million people into perpetual hell; well how transparent is that...
    I've fought for all & hung on for me...
    I needed some protection from face to face interviews with strangers... I have been constantly assessed in my life & had intensive counselling... From 10 yrs ago i first received & was assessed yrly 4 DLA, then 3yrly & finally given indefinite... The eventual result of this is I stopped needing to relate unspeakable things except to my GP & Consultants...
    I got a small life back & the main ingredient was some peace... Childhood etc started to recede for the first time ever... I still coped with seizures, vertigo & stuff but emotional pain started to ease...
    I have relapsed in fear.. at all times I am trying to explain my situation to unmet 'HP's' in the back of my mind...
    I have read that G4 sexual crime investigators will bid to do PiP assessments...
    Let me just say police investigations of sexual abuse were very different in 1973... I was interrogated over & over & asked' do you think you are an adult or a child?'... my quiet response, 'a child'... Their response (men at time).. 'Then why are you doing adult things?'... Within this 'investigation' I was dragged down from our shed roof, taken away & forced to have a medical exmination despite the fact i had repeatedly said that (in this instance) i had not been touched inside... As far as I am concerned my virginity was taken that day.. I had never been touched inside at that time!... They damaged me far more than the man!
    I don't believe this man even went to court... I saw him 6 yrs later working the dodgems on the fair, chatting up very young girls... He saw me & laughed in my face as he spun by....
    I have related just 1 incident from my life that preceded many others & homelessness at 17... Despite that I became a post woman & did a degree at 25 before breaking down at 30...

  36. Big ((( HUGS ))) to you Sue and all those that took part in the spartacusreport. You gave not just hope to many but proved that there are still human beings out there.


  37. Part two:
    Today, 2 months from being 50, my future, running through my body & head is 2-4 times a year being interrogated so 24/7 I'm somehow in the hands of the state & abusers again.. No-one has to be here for me to be experiencing this & my need may be acknowledged by PiP, as it is now by DLA... But the same as for millions of others I don't know...
    I asked for preventative help 18 months ago.. I started receiving crisis care 3 WEEKS ago which probably costs more than all my benefits & will not work because I will now have no good days for the rest of my life...
    It has been said many times that at review we have to consider the worst of our situation... Now I am needlessly back into the grip of constant consideration of my situation & also worry for others...
    Since last night I can see we are all being careful... It took me an hour to stop crying & thank Sue, Kalia, Tanni & all the rest of us & to resist putting any sad comments... I am not feeling suicidal, just dropped from a very great height & no idea where I will land...
    I will continue to strive for safety in PiP & WCA etc. but today I am grieving & again something for the first time.. I'm going to show one of many poems I wrote, this one aged 20...
    Sue, if this post is too much for you or others then please take it down... I understand... I also understand we have achieved a triumph, We are the Spartacus Movement & I send all my best wishes to you all on the secret winds....

    "Any day of any year of my life...
    the wound opens in the cloak of my protection
    like a zip
    and I bleed
    I race to seek out a balm
    and a dressing
    to contain a soothing lotion
    to wind around & envelop me
    to press firmly & gently
    to cease the spillage
    to fold up my pain
    & prevent a mess on the best rug.
    Limbo time & me inside life's vehicle
    but I'm not sure how far I have driven..
    The pain ebbs comfortingly
    I must be healing..
    Am I?
    Defying hope,
    calling on all resources of patience
    my wound forms yet another barrier
    between the antiseptic & the sore
    the hurt persists
    but the dressing wears thin & loosens
    I try crookedly, manically
    to press it back around me
    to force extra service
    when the task should have long been complete
    I realise too late
    I haven't tried to keep it there at all
    only blind attempts
    at sticking it back down.
    I expected too much from an ordinary plaster
    I picked & rubbed
    Now threadbare & dirty
    an eventual unwinding & falling away
    after hanging on for so long
    the antiseptic is dried up
    the dressing exhausted
    has fallen apart
    and despite all
    I am now wrinkled, white & bare
    with a slender red wound stretching,
    widening, overtaking now
    as my cloak recedes
    and I bleed..
    and bleed..
    and bleed..."

    I am spartacus...

  38. Anonymous Jan 13 o3.34am is me & should be called Part One:

  39. I for one feel proud to have been part of this movement in my small way, tweeting, facebooking & emailing like mad.
    Sue has given us all so much to be proud of & to fight for, it is history in the making!
    well done everyone. keep strong, keep safe, keep fighting! xx

  40. This fight must go on and get louder. Last night on the Guardian live comment, on the amendment failing to pass, someone took an overdose.

    Contributors asked the Mods to do something to get them help. Not clear what happened but a post came in from the person saying they were getting help and would explain when they got back (?from where- hospital?)

    Others were expressing similar feelings. We have lost 21 people known ( according to Private Eye) to suicide over ESA. This must not happen to anyone over PIP. One is too many.

    The majority of disabled people see this as a crushing defeat. Sue's explanation must be got out to those now feeling desperate. Our voices must get louder, till the public are on our side.

  41. I think I agree with Matthew Norman in the Independent myself.

  42. I am not going to comment on or analyse the main issues and outcomes of yesterday's debate in The Lords - Sue, and others have done that more than adequatly. But there are two fragments of speeches that I would like to quote here. The first is to sound a cautionary note:

    Lord Newton of Braintree, Conservative (tone of voice - annoyed):
    "I do not accept the tenor of the e-mails that jammed my system from yesterday through the early hours of the morning into today, which suggested that the Government had a dastardly plot to do down disabled people. It is not the case, and I would not say this if I believed that for a moment. It is clear to me, having glanced at some of the
    e-mails—I have not been able to read them—that a number of them came from people who will not only not lose but may well gain from the proposals that the Government made. I hope that the senders will reflect on that."

    Secondly, something I was very glad to hear articulated:

    Baroness Hollis of Heigham, Labour (tone of voice - angry):
    "In quite a lot of the publicity run in some newspapers preceding today’s debates, there has been—how can I put it—synthetic outrage about the number of DLA awards that have
    been made for life, as though they are somehow fraudulent,
    negligent or erroneous, thus apparently besmirching the entitlement of the holder of that lifetime award to it as of right, as though they have somehow manipulated or cheated the system and that the previous Administration has colluded with them at the taxpayer’s expense. That publicity has been extremely ugly and extremely unfair.
    Could he therefore ask his press hounds to lay off
    those people who have had them in the past and who
    ought, in all decency, to go on to enjoy them in the

    1. I answered Lord Newton on Twitter last night and I do so again today as someone on HRC and HRM DLA who knew from the outset that they were unlikely to have anything to fear from PIP.

      "Just because I will not personally lose from PIP does not mean I should not fight for those who will, my Lord. #spartacusreport"

  43. I must thank everyone who fought on behalf of those of us who can no longer fight...hope that you can carry on. You've done something amazing.

  44. Being as I have no faith in the majority of politicians to ever do anything which is just I am not suprised by the results - what is suprising is that they even did concessions on anything. We need to keep on campaigning and doing freedom of information recquests for any consultations. We also have to keep campaigning against the WCA, workfare etc.

    One thing which I am quite worried about was what Lord Freud said about keeping the charities on as consultants and deliverers - cant remember exact words but it implied they were being paid for their services - I am hoping this is not some sort of bribe type thing to influence their consultations.

    Thats probably personal paranoia as they came through for the spartacus report.

    (((Big Hugs))) to fellow spartaci and a huge thank you to all the lords n dames who voted for the amendments and have been campaigning and debating for us and of course to you Sue and Bendy girl n Spoonydoc xxx

    1. Apparently the charities that are involved in the back to work programmed have been 'gagged' by the government contracts they signed. They are not allowed to say anything against the government policies.

    2. I knew that thought hadnt come from nowhere - yes ive heard that too. Wd you know if its poss to get that info via freedom of information act or not?

    3. That's interesting. I felt a niggly anxiety when I heard Lord Freud explaining to the proposers of amendments to the assessment process, that although he was in sympathy with them, he didn't want to write them into the Bill, and probably not even into Regulations, but into the 'Contract', which would allow for more flexibility. I didn't twig at the time but now it seems obvious. It will be the contract with ATOS I guess, or whatever company gets the contract for PIP. And the same thing with any other contract they get people to sign. And where assessments are concerned, it will mean that responsibility for compliance is then at one remove from Government. Sounds sneaky to me.

    4. I was thinking re consultation - fnd link - charities who have contracts to deliver any of the work programme have clauses in contract not to say anything which could portray dwp in bad light to media! dont know all of the charities involved - but CAB n Papworth trust are 2 of them.

    5. Thanks for the link, Anonymous.

  45. For those who feel they have little energy to fight, please at least sign Pat's Petition.
    The numbers who have, have increased dramatically over the last few days of campaigning. Now at 22,500. With all these changes there should be at least 2 million. 100,000 will trigger a debate.

  46. It was truly an awesome thing to behold and for that we must send huge thanks to Bendygirl, Sue2y and Spoonydoc and everyone who blogged, e mailed, tweeted and shared. We have to remember that what we saw yesterday as real people fighting the government, and we nearly won the vote. We won concessions and made them listen. We have a lot to be proud of, you're all amazing.

  47. Thank you Sue, you can be very proud of yourself. We are all Spartacus now. And we have a voice.

    1. Just want to second that. Sue, Kaliya, Spoonydoc and the other contributors, you are the heart of this, you have given us a voice. No thanks is enough for what you have and are doing. We are all spartacus and are behind you.

  48. i dont think it was a victory, he had to give a little but in the grand scheme of things they got their own way. very dissapointed with outcome safely say not a lot of people will be gtting PIP im afraid

    1. As Sue said in her post, it would not have been possible to stop them doing this but we got concessions for which they can be held accountable to. We had an impact, the work of the spartaci was listened to, they made concessions which are a start.

      It wouldnt have been possible to stop and change PIP entirely overnight, it will happen in stages and we have got that with Freud promising the 'trial period'. Don't give up hope, we made our voices heard.


  50. " psychosocial model "

    You mentioned this on twitter last night Sue care to elaborate for those not on twitter

    1. the bio-psycho-social model has been developed by the private USA insurance companies involved in health care - in reality it doesn't exist except in the minds and practices of those who would harm people.

  51. The above post is in reply to Judith and anonymous. sorry i'm not very good at this.

    1. I mean the link above. its to do with the charities being gagged.

  52. Rome was not built in one day, we have come along way with what we did in a very short time. Giving up is giving in, letting them have what they want. What should be the case is that we should have a hell of a lot more disabled people helping out in whatever way they can; 500,000 due to loose I don't think we have that many or even close behind our campaign or signing Pat's Petition - where are these people?
    I for one am not willing to concede when we have barely gotten started. Great job everyone!

  53. As a pathologically cynical person, thank you for the glimmer of hope from the Spartacus Report.

    As a recipient of lower rate DLA, however, I'm history.

    Take care everyone.

    1. Please do not give up. They may have won the PR battle but not the war yet. The government have done everything they could to not lose the vote last night and that included making major concessions that we can hold them accountable for.

      They have to carry on this 'trial period' that Freud spoke about for 6 months before even beginning to assess current DLA claimants. As well as other concessions. The eligibility and levels of entitlement rules also have to be accepted at both houses.

      The fight is not over yet. Our voices were heard and will carry on doing so, we have shown that we have had an effect so we can continue to do so.

      I also receive lower rate care and mobility DLA, I also feel very scared. But we aren't history yet. We are fighting together for each other.

      Sending you a big hug and hope you can be lifted a little that there are lots of people that will carry on fighting for us. Just don't give up it is not over. xxxx

  54. The earlier ESA amendment victories and last night's PIP concessions emphasize that we should never give up.

    Anything *is* possible and we owe a debt of gratitude to the instigators and authors of the Spartacus Report for lighting that beacon of belief.

    That being said we must remain vigilant and there is one statement of Freud's that slightly bothered me.

    "We will limit the number of new claims for personal independence payment to a few thousand per month for the first few months of implementation."

    Is the intention to run DLA and PIP applications processing in parallel for that period, "the first few months", e.g. a proportion , "a few thousand a month", of new DLA applicants switched onto the PIP application process? If not does that mean that new applications will be put into a 'holding queue' for that period and released into the PIP processing at a rate of a 'few thousand a month'? Catch my drift?

  55. seen elsewhere

    Grouchie says:
    January 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    some people do very well out of state benefits

    Maria Miller is the minister leading the abolition of DLA and placing disabled people into more hardship

    Disabled people are feeling pretty miserable today after Lord Fraud gained the majority he wanted in the HoL to continue to abuse disabled people. The man who as a millionaire still accepted his £300 winter fuel allowance. Similar to Cameron’s acceptance of DLA for his child. They don’t care now do they?

    1. They might not care or realise the effect these changes will have on disabled people. But we can force them to listen, to be accountable for the compromises they have made last night. And make more people aware of this situation that do care.

  56. Judith mentions Lord Newton of Braintree - when I was listening to him yesterday, he mentioned Nicholas Scott. Does anyone remember him? This was back in the early '90's, he was the minister for disabled people - believe it or not, an even worse one than Maria Miller! He lied to parliament as he attempted to wreck the prospects of the Disabled Persons Civil Rights Bill. Even his own daughter Victoria disagreed with him. He resigned over this..he resigned as a result of this. Just struck me yesterday, as Lord Newton spoke of him fondly..

  57. thank you for all your hard work, i only became aware of this through my first use of twitter. I was getting more and more frightened about the proposed change to DLA and as a result my life, with not much knowledge of computers and the fight taking part on my behalf, it seems such a small thing to say thank you for the work carried out by all of you (especially when i read of your health problems) THANK YOU

  58. Thanks Sue for your reassurances over concessions, but I am afraid I do not trust the government an inch and will only believe they will do what they have agreed to do once my PIP claim has been passed. I feel that I am being hit on both sides as am likely to lose £70 of my weekly ESA as I will have been on it for 2 years come April.

    Both myself and my husband are partially sighted and only receive lower rate mobility and care on DLA. My worry now is that we will both fall through the net and our benefits will be cut. If this happens as well as the ESA time limit, we will lose our home. I also suffer with anxiety and depression, and frankly the uncertainty and worry over what is to happen with both of my benefits is making my condition worse.

    I am sure I speak for a lot of people who have worked and paid in, and who feel shafted by the government. I worked full time for 20 years and eventually had to give up my job due to ill health as a result of the bullying and discrimination I received from my employer. Now I feel I am going through this all over again!

  59. First off congrats to sue and the team who put the report together and put it to em as we say.NOW the fight really starts as the momentum has to be fed.If the momentum is not kept up then the story of what this govt is doing will fade from view.This is what they are expecting so i think the next part of the campaign is to further inform not just the lords and the mps but as many people as possible by whatever means we can of the effects this whole bloody bill will have on sick/disabled people(and its not just those who receive dla but all of us on whichever benefit)and those around them such as carers,children and partners who although working will now have to bare the financial burden that removing any or all of these benefits will have on us all.
    They must now be made aware as should that great body of society...the PUBLIC...that the refrom is NOT about saving money as it will not do in the long run but it is and always has been ideological and if you read the article in todays daily mirror entitled... Nice work if you can get it...we see that deloitte wins a govt contract worth some 774 MILLION . The firm won the deals as part ofthe govts work programme.The firm aslo gave a 700,000 pounds in donations to the tory party and this includes a 28,000 pound donation 'In Kind' to chris Grayling.No big surprises there but the public and the rest of westminster (as i bet you some of those in both houses will not know of these deals.I mean who will tell them?)must be made aware that the whole thing is one big con to provide rich contracts to ones chums by cameron etc and NEVER was about saving money.This of course is only one part of the deal involving the Work programme and this is also not to mention the hundreds of millions already payed to atos and Unum as part of the whole welfare reform...SOMEBODY is getting VERY VERY rich out of this WRB fiasco and it sure as hell aint non of us.This goes on and all the while the bankers ....who have no regulations governing thier sharp practises at all in the city of london...NON AT ALL...get away with stealing money from all of us whilst the poorest and most needy are made too pay.WE really need to wake em all up now and get the great british public to realise this govt ...and the previous Labour govt (NO WE havent forgotten THIER role in all this) have been conning us all.WE know times are hard but we didnt create the bloody mess and ALL of the cuts need to stop before it kills more people...before it puts more homeless on the streets...before before before any kids starve or turn to crime will go because of the wrb and other will have a big knock on effect and people haave yet to see the dangers of all of this but it will happen.
    WE have to keep up the momentum we have to so NOW more than ever lets all put some more money in this pot to fight em. WE could take out ads in the mainstream media (or pay freelancers to write the articles and submit them to the paers)..and tell the rest of the public just whats going on of we get enough money in and then maybe then we will get to roll a really big ball right up to the door of No 10.AND we must tell these mps in no uncertain terms that the millions of us that there are and our familys and friends will NOT vote for them again EVER come the glorious election and we sure as hell will never believe a bloody word the EVER say ever again....NOW THE REAL FIGHT STARTS CAMCLEGGMILLIBOY....make us mad will you.....shouldnt have done that....

  60. Ive already appealed against my PIP assessment - thought I would get in early as there's going to be a long queue

  61. I wish someone would make it very clear what the interaction between carers allowance and the new PIP will be.

    1. I heard Lord Freud speak about this after the vote. It seems that carers will remain the same as they do on DLA, if the person they care for is in the higher care component. Also they can still earn £100 a week. Wow.

      Remember, carers save the government a fortune, and although they will not increase the allowance, they'll keep it similar or the same for those already caring for someone in receipt on DLA. (Providing they get the care component of PIP)

      I receive HRC, but I do not have a person who gets carers allowance for me. I take that money myself, because it works out more and I can get more value for the money. I do not know if I will be allowed to do this however with PIP.

      I am not absolutely sure that the person will need to be in receipt of HRC on PIP, but because there are only two rates, I believe you could make a fair assumption they will need the higher rate to get a carer.

  62. Sue I just wanted to say thank you to you and all the others for the considerable work you have done, also thanks to your carers who are no doubt exasperated with you for running yourself into the ground again.

  63. what is the point of MPs?

    In the light of the above, I have recently and still am in crisis with bipolar. My benefits are also messed up and I have little income. My MPs office have said they can help - in early December but I find now they have still not done anything because they're too busy despite me keeping in touch with them. I am now frantic with concern. They really are bastards and cannot be trusted with anything. Don't believe a word they say

  64. Sue, Kaiyla and all those who have worked so hard on this - thank you

    This is a huge acheivment. We still have work to do and musn't give up the fight, but today I actually cried about something other than the scarey brown envelope which might drop on my doormat any day soon.

    You have given us a voice - lets not lose it

    Well done, now please take rest and save some spoons!

  65. Thank you for all you and Kaliya are doing.
    My DLA has been whied away without so much as a letter informing me of this. My requests to reinstate are ignored. Could this possibly be an illegal act? This has also happened to a friend of mine, and he only sorted it out due to the quick thinking of his daughter who managed to out-wit the DWP employee. Otherwise he would also be without much-needed financial support. Have to sign this anonymous as I can't get it to accept anything else.


  67. what we should remember when all is done is that without sue and her team we as a group of sick and disabled people would have been well and truly sunk with the death rate over the next few years horrendous on a scale never seen before since the second world war such are the very difficult circumstances we have found ourselves in

    we are not out of the woods by any stretch and people like me who are battle hard and have fought the DWP system for over thirty years still cling that i may one day be free from this ongoing persecution and live a normal life albeit in a wrecked body

    1. Fourbanks.I dont think anyone is forgetting that.We have as i said got some momentum and in any battle it is vital to keep that going so we must now fight more together than ever.As we see from anon 01.21 they are still up to thier tricks and i would say this particular one is if not illegal then definetley evidence of this trick should be documented for use in the fight.They are also cancelling peoples appeals by telling the appeals clerks that the appelant no longer wishes to persue the appeal whic MUST be illegal and must be followed up on as if you dont know they have done this then you end up OUT OF TIME to get it reinstated..YET another attack on our rights...LIKE we know this fight is NOT over and they will get dirtier in thier attacks so vigilance is the word.This will cost hence my point of keeping the fighting fund going as we are gonna need more help .Sue and the team cannot do it all and they have to think of thier health too so we do need to up the game..I dont get dla but i did put money in as i know its ALL our benefits that are at stake here and i am never going to get any better and i too await the brown shitty brown envelope....

  68. what I dont understand is that if the Government is saying that PIP's proposed timeline is to start in May 2013, so why then are people being re-assessed now?

    I like many others would like to show my real appreciation at the hard work to sue et al for the amazing Spartacus Report, I was completely bowled over, and for that I thank you from my heart and soul. BUT, as a lot of you have eloquently said here, this is only the first step, this is where the Fight really starts. Like many others I endure a number of complex health issues, and I currently receive ESA (or the old incapacity benefit) and High awards for both personal Care & Mobility on DLA for an indefinite period...Yet, I know, that I will lose this, if not all of it including the pass-ported benefits that I get as a direct result of being in receipt of DLA, so no doubt Ill lose that too and when that time comes I despair what my life will become, How our lives will become and that deeply saddens me. I have some hope left, but not much, certainly not in the current Government and I will remain cautious at their diluted and tempered promises of 'easing' people in to PIP as well as other concessions they 'appear' to have agreed on. However, that small piece of hope that I have left can be developed and nurtured in to something transformative But that will only happen whilst We All stay together and keep this debate Alive' through Sue's blog, media, Facebook, Lobbying local MP's, obtaining documents/files through the FOIA until we have covered as much ground as we can until people Hear us..My previous life before it became so difficult, was as a Community Education Worker, working with people to campaign against the Status Quo, fighting for Equality, decent housing, childcare, fairness for all etc etc..And I feel galvanized once again, albeit a tempered one but fight I will...even until the end. x

  69. Just a further note to add to my last post.. That wonderful job I had as a community worker, was crudely taken away from me, as I was deemed 'incapable' of doing my job due to my health.. I felt discriminated against, demoralised, disregarded, And finally 'Dismissed', an unlawful act (which I ended up walking away from), And now I am experiencing the same again, And this too is an Unlawful act, it is deeply flawed & Discriminatory and is in serious breach of our Human & Equal Rights and I wonder if perhaps this area needs serious consideration? Stay well

  70. Thank You Kaliya and Sue.

    I am one who will lose all my DLA when PIP comes in - Seems looking at the proposed descriptors that don't take acount of pain or fatigue. If you can put a cup of soup in the microwave you wont get any care (welcome malnutrition) and if you can walk so far even in pain you wont get mobility (welcome being housebound) I am very sad but I guess Cameron will be happy as Scrooge said '' If they'd rather die, then they had better do it and decrease the surplus
    population'' Seems the surplus shall be lessened Cameron - well done you nasty nasty man.

  71. I think that the church should be looking into this. I have a link to contact The Archbishop of Canterbury but I am not very good at writing and wording emails. I believe his attention should be brought to this site and the fantastic work that it is struggling to do. Maybe someone goo at writing emails could have a go?

  72. I haven't been able to make this link work, Anonymous. Is there some other way you can give it to us? It's split into three lines here, so could a character be missing do you think?


    1. I hope that is better Judith. I am useless with computers. The contact link is at the bottom of the page.

  74. I've done a bit of research. This is the Archbishop of Canterbury's own website:

    At the very bottom of the page is a 'Contact' link. This gives an address, telephone number and email address.

    There is also a link on the website to his fan page on Facebook. I'm not very familiar with the workings of Facebook, but although you can comment on the Bishop's entries I don't think you can post there on a new topic.

    And don't forget the Bishops who have been voting for amendments in the House of Lords:
    Ripon & Leeds
    Bath & Wells

    I won't offer to contact them myself, because I don't have the evidence and the arguments at my fingertips.

    1. Thank you for your response Judith.

      I am not a church goer but I do understand the basic principles in the teachings of Jesus are to look after and speak out for those less fortunate than yourselves and I know Jesus spoke of looking after the sick. Someone with more knowledge of this will be able to put it better than I. The church could be a strong ally for us.

      I am grateful that those bishops have been supporting us however I noticed that some of the Bishops did not vote for the amendment this time???


  75. I am very very concerned about these PIP assessments


    1. A quote from the above link:

      "The thing is much to the Government’s consternation, disability campaigners - led by the formidable Spartacus team who prepared the impressive counter-argument ‘Responsible Reforms ‘The Spartacus Report‘ - are not prepared to go away quietly.
      Oh, no, siree. Despite their collective illnesses and disabilities - and even hospitalisation as a result of the stresses and strains of compiling the report - they are jumping up and down and banging the table and saying ‘No, we will not take this lying down’."

  77. Well done young Miss.

    As you will have heard before are a star.

    I join with all those saying thanks and the very best of wishes for your own future well being.

  78. Well done everyone for their time, effort and emotional investment in this endeavor.

    A war is never won in one battle and make no mistake, this is a war!

    I was wondering, does anyone have a link to the ATOS assessments process and perhaps, the assessment itself?

  79. It looks like Fraud will be using the biopsychosocial model for the PIP guidelines developed by the 'rogue US insurance company Unum Provident and promoted here by Mansel Alyward former DWP Chief Medical Officer. Spartaci with M.E will be very aware of this model and its impact on both diagnosis and access to benefits through Wesseley and White and their influence on the DWP.

    Freud says that the more functional WCA model will not be used but

    ''Nor will the PIP assessment focus on the functional limitations of the individual in the way that the work capability assessment does. Instead, it will assess how the individual's health condition or impairment impacts on his or her everyday life by looking at their ability to carry out a series of key and holistic activities, all of which are essential for participation and independent living. In such an approach, the type of condition or impairment an individual has is of limited relevance.''

    Am i right in saying that is basically how assessments of DLA already work: not the condition but how it affects ability to perform tasks. The biopsychosocial model also asserts a lot of physical/neurological conditions are 'all in the mind' or 'abberrant belief's.

    Fraud asserts

    'Sickness and disability are best overcome by an appropriate combination of healthcare, rehabilitation, personal effort and social/work adjustments" .

    If you are sick, generally no amount of personal effort or rehabilitation will get you well, I suspect those with conditions like M.E or Fibromyalgia are going to have a very hard time.

    anyway read up on UNUM, Alyward, Biopsychosocial model, Wesseley
    its alarming and worrying stuff

  80. An open letter… I am not sure if this is of any interest to folk, but here goes…

    Dear (Names removed- MP,W.T.F., Friends…)
    For your Attention.

    The DWP/ATOS/ Policy of “Not Listening or Replying continues. No doubt emboldened by the recent Govt’/Freud victory recently.

    What kind of society are we becoming?

    Those least able to bear it shoulder the burden of the ‘Crash’ whilst society rewards the Bankers/Hedgefund gamblers; and Cronyism and the penalty for the ‘Crash’. The danger to democracy is written large on the wall – however, as we know there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.
    “We are talking here about not taking money away over five years even to the level of £1.3 billion from the most vulnerable in society. As I pointed out, they are those on the lowest third centile of income, to whom, as the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, said, it is £94 a week. If we are going to rob the poor to pay the rich, we are entering into a different form of morality. The noble Lord asked the question whether it is moral. I say that it is moral to look after those that are sick, vulnerable and poor. If that is immoral, what is moral is to pay the rich-and we are on a different planet altogether.” - Lord Patel addressing Freud (House of Lords: 11.01.12)
    This morning I received a letter from the DWP containing “Very Important Information about my ESA claim to benefit.” Despite the fact that I had written and advised them that I was not able to attend – and I attached several documents with the letter, including a Drs Report, and SSP certificate explaining the context of my decision.
    The letter states: “Because it is a condition for receiving the full amount of your benefit that you attend the interview, it is important that you contact us by 31/01/12. to give a good reason why you did not attend this and to arrange the interview, otherwise your benefit may be affected”
    Despite the far from satisfactory issues surrounding my ATOS Appeal, and subsequent ‘new’ ATOS Questionnaire that I completed before Christmas I am now be threatened by sanctions?
    In the letter I sent them last Thursday 12th January 2012 I outlined and positively reinforced the context of my current situation,
    The result?

    I am feeling lousy, my anxiety level is going ‘through the roof’ and I can feel the pulse of my heart beating in my head. What have I done wrong to deserve such treatment. It is not by choice that I am ill and not working. I am 57 and at the moment I am feeling every year coarse through my veins. I loved my job, my Vocation; I know within myself that I am not fit or able to attend such baron interviews. I am realistic enough to know that I am surplus to requirement – But, I am NOT STUPID, I am NOT IDLE, and I am NOT A SCROUNGER!!!

    I am a PERSON. Who just happened to be too ill for Employment? I despise that little runt Freud speaking about ill people being “Customers” or “Clients” watching him summon up bile to pour out against those least able to defend themselves. His use of hyperbolic language to exaggerate monies is a disgrace, and his action in the House of Lord’s where he knew he was wrong yet still tried to overturn a decision that went against him! This reveals his level of underhandedness and his lack of morality.

    I am so tired of this.

    Yours Adrian.

  81. oh look, bang on que, privatised unemployment insurance is promoted by Freud and Unum organised by Demos..

    tbh, it is an indication of the political class(and thinktanks/lobbysists) that they can be so brazen now, they know they won't be challenged effectively

    or will they?

    Of Mutual Benefit Launch

    10th March 2011, 08:30AM
    Portcullis House, House of Commons
    On Thursday 10 March, we launch Of Mutual Benefit, a new Progressive Conservatism Project report on welfare reform.
    Confirmed speakers:
    •Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform
    •Rt Hon. Frank Field MP
    •Jack McGarry , CEO of Unum UK
    •Kitty Ussher, Director of Demos (Chair)

    Of Mutual Benefit: Personalised welfare for the many looks at how radical reform to incapacity benefits could provide more generous, secure coverage for individuals whilst saving the taxpayer billions. The report argues for reform to encourage and incentivise greater take-up of private welfare solutions such as personal income protection.
    This is a privte, invitation-only roundtable taking place under Chatham House rule in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA. For more information on the project, please email

    1. well well well what a good post.....seems to me they are showing themselves now and while they may think they can get away with....writing out the prescription before they have seen the to speak we now know the what and where so lets get on to em.....lets ee if we can get someone invited....knowledge is power and we need to watch these people like hawks...

    2. Sorry Sarcboy - check out the date - it is from 2011.

  82. Question is... do you think you would have been able to pull this off under a labour government?

    If it was anything like the last one, I doubt it very much.

  83. DLA forms changed. Re-designed to confuse people and remove their benefits, especially the Mobility Component - a precursor to PIP! (In my humble opinion of course!)

    I hadn't really expected any problems with renewing my HRM with DLA round about now. I started to get concerned when my form didn't come out in December like it usually does when it's renewal time and I asked where it was. Call centre said if I haven't got it before March then to call again. That is too close to my award finishing for my liking so I called last week and they sent out a claim pack but it's not the same as it was three years ago, where they asked reasonable questions like how far can you walk before you get pain and discomfort and I think it was 5 metres for me then. But, this new form needs me to be a clear headed mathematician (which I am not) as I now asks how many minutes do I take to feel pain and have to stop, and how many metres or yards does it take me to feel pain and stop. If I get my maths mixed up I won't get my benefit reawarded. So my thinking here is that they have changed the DLA claim form and reworded it in such a way that people are being taken off DLA BEFORE PIP comes in, probably hoping that the number going onto PIP will therefore be reduced and not be such a big drop as everyone is expecting. WHY? Well, because the damage is being down NOW by this DLA form.

    People are now posting stories of their being refused DLA/HRM and other parts of their benefits after being on them with no problems for six, seven or even eight years. In my case I have been receiving HRM for the last 7 years, with renewals every three years with no problems. It took me a while to get DLA at first as an ATOS doctor lied on the form about my condition (a ;'face to face medical') saying I could do all the things I told him I COULD NOT do, had me sign a blank piece of paper (to which I objected and I told him I was unhappy doing that as he could then go away and could write anything he wanted to on it after he left – which he did btw) he said if I didn't sign the paper he wouldn't do the medical and I wouldn't get the benefit. Because I was denied the benefit I had to ask to see this form and had to correct EVERYTHING on it – utterly disgusting, and that was back in the early 2000's

    Also, with my claim pack I get a letter telling me that my award is coming to an end and if I wish to claim again I need to fill in the attached pack and send it in, there is usually a date stamped on the letter for when the form needs to be in by. With this pack I have just been sent there is NO letter, NO date stamped for a return date, so I will have to get on the phone again tomorrow and ask when it needs going in by, too soon and my award will end way before it should (if they take it off me as I'm assuming they will) and if I don't send it back they could just stop the benefit anyway as an unreturned form to the DWP means the claimant doesn't need the benefit anymore.

    This redesign as a precursor for PIP is THE only reason I can see for that change to have taken place. Date of the new form? October 2011! Am I scared witless (polite version) by this, hell yeah!